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News Expressly for The Teatime Tattler

The Teatime Tattler has just confirmed that Lady Katherine Thornton has laid her uncle, Bennett Sutton to rest in the family mausoleum. It is with a great deal of hunting and pecking that this reporter has found some shocking information. Bennett Sutton was murdered in the most dreadful manner. He was poisoned with snake venom, a venom that has no antidote.

It has also come to my attention that before his demise, Mr. Sutton made his business partner, the very eligible and handsome Lord Ian Wallace, the 4th Duke of Blackhall, vow to marry his niece, Lady Katherine, not once, but twice. I also have reliable information from Mr. Hawkins, the editor of the Sommer Sentinel that he’s been contacted by the London Gazette regarding a statement in that was published in said publication regarding His Grace’s vow. It seems, London is abuzz with gossip and mothers and their debutante daughters are in mourning.

I wonder if that is why Lord Ryder Whitaker has been seen in town. You remember the young rogue. Five years ago, when Lady Katherine had her first (and only) Season in London, he was her constant companion. The queen’s Diamond, everyone thought Lord Whitaker had won her heart until one day she got up and returned to Sommer-by-the-Sea. Has the rake renewed his interest knowing Lord Wallace will take her for his wife? The young cad is outranked in so many ways. I understand he is not welcome in any home of good standing, nor the gambling hells.

My sources have not rested. To add to this mix, I have it on very good authority that prior to the duel gone wrong that took her uncle’s life, Sutton lost the deed to Thornton Abbey to His Grace in a card game. I can only imagine what will happen when the very outspoken Lady Katherine finds out she’s lost her home and her independence to His Grace, a man she’s never met, all in one fell swoop.

Can all this get sorted out to a happily ever after? Read on my friends. I hear there are swords and kidnappings involved as well.

The Lady and Her Duke

 Could she use her skills as a lockpick to crack open the secrets to the murder as well as unlock his heart?

Lady Katherine Thornton has no interest in men after an indiscretion at her disastrous Season in London. No man can be trusted. Instead, she indulges in her fascination for gears and all things mechanical. Her unique drafting skill is an asset to her uncle Bennett Sutton, who is automating his textile factory. She doesn’t need anything else.

Lord Ian Wallace, the 4th Duke of Blackhall, is a retired military officer. An accidental duke after the deaths of his father and brother, he retreats from society and the clawing mothers and debutantes who stalk him. He’s focused all his energy on his partnership with Sutton. He’s satisfied and needs nothing else.

An oath to marry, a family legend to preserve, an uprising of the factory workers, and Sutton’s murder, throw Katherine and Wallace together to find a blackmailer and murderer. They also will find two things neither knew they were missing… each other and their happily ever after.

Now on Pre-Order – Release July 7 Amazon Kindle Unlimited

Excerpt from Chapter One

June 20, 1815
Royston Mills, Baycliff Woods 

The blast of a pistol shattered the quiet afternoon. Shouts and screams rose, their sound carrying into the surrounding area. In a clearing by the lake where the wood bordered the village, the shock and chaos subsided into a deafening silence.

Lord Ian Wallace knelt next to his business partner, Bennett Sutton. His bruised and bloody face was a mess of soot and gunpowder. Wallace glanced over his shoulder, signaling his valet.

“Water. Quick. His eyes need to be flushed.” Wallace wavered between restraint and rage as he ministered to Sutton. “Stay calm and whatever you do, keep your eyes closed.” His hands ran over Sutton’s torso checking for injuries. He found none, other than the small tremors he assumed were from shock.

“I’m dying.” Sutton spoke not in disbelief, but in resignation, as if his dying was an undisputed conclusion.

Wallace’s chest tightened at the sound of those words. He had heard them before from the injured men he commanded in Spain. For a moment he was back on the battlefield going from man to man comforting them, waiting for medical attention and, in too many cases, saying good-bye.

“Swear to me.” Sutton, agitated and breathing hard, reached up and grabbed his lapel. “Swear to me you’ll marry my niece, Ivy-Rose.”

What niece? Sutton had a niece?

“Swear it!”

“Yes, yes. I swear.” In a fit of rage, he’d say anything to escape from the madman. It was luck that Sutton’s gun misfired. He gazed at his friend and partner in disbelief. From the moment his valet pulled him to the ground he found it difficult to comprehend why his friend and partner tried to kill him, tried to shoot him in the back.

Sutton tugged on his lapels. “No, on your honor as a gentleman. Swear it.” Another tug. Bennett’s strength was waning.

Wallace’s anger softened. The man had to be kept calm. Roddy, his foreman, and Lord Ryder Whitaker had gone to fetch Dr. Price. The doctor had left the clearing when Sutton called off the duel.

“Swear it.” The man sounded as if it was his last breath.

“As a gentleman, I, Lord Ian Wallace, 4th Duke of Blackhall, promise to marry your Ivy-Rose.” He bent closer to him. “Is that better?”

Sutton released his lapels and slumped onto the ground, his breath coming in spurts.

Lenard returned carrying a basin of warm water.

Wallace stood aside and gave his valet room. They had been together a long time. Lenard was his personal attendant at Cambridge as well as in Spain during the war. Together they had seen worse. Now he flushed the gunpowder and soot out from Sutton’s eyes. It would serve Sutton right if the pain was unbearable.

“Much better.” Sutton’s voice faded to a calm stillness.

Wallace wasn’t sure if his partner referred to the oath he gave or the warm water.

“Your Grace. I cannot find any wound.” Lenard kept streaming water over the man’s face.

The battlefield images flashed in his head. Some had outcomes that were more severe than others. But that was war, not a card game gone wrong.

“God’s blood, where is that doctor?” He glanced about.

Sutton raised his face to Lenard as the man ran more water over him and, with a gentle touch, wiped him dry.

“You have my thanks.” Quiet at last, Sutton winced when he tried to lay down on the ground.

“Over here, Dr. Price.” Whitaker and Roddy led the doctor to the injured man.

“I thought Sutton had the good sense to call off the duel.” Dr. Price pushed his way in front of Wallace. “Where did your bullet hit him?”

“I never fired my weapon.” Wallace stood back to let the doctor do his job.

“His pistol misfired when he aimed at Wallace’s back.” Whitaker stepped forward. “I stood in shock when he raised his pistol and took aim.”

The doctor, on his knees, paused and glanced up at him.

“That’s not at all like Sutton. Wallace, what did you say to him?” The doctor resumed examining Sutton’s head.

“Not a thing. I convinced him to call off this ridiculous duel. I thought to give him time and hoped he’d have more sense in the morning. I was leaving the clearing, not far behind you when the shot went off.”

“There are some abrasions from the powder blast and irritation from the gunpowder, but no wound.” Price examined Sutton’s hands. Scrapes, a bit of a burn in places, but nothing fatal. “Sutton’s a lucky man.”

The doctor stood up cleaning his hands with a cloth from his bag.

“Help me bring him to my carriage. We’ll take him to the inn. I want to watch him until tomorrow rather than have him brought back to Sommer-by-the-Sea now.”

Roddy and Lenard lifted Sutton, made their way through the gathered onlookers, and laid him in the back of the doctor’s carriage.

“There’s room enough for you and me up here.” Roddy tapped Lenard and pointed next to the driver.

“I can go with them if you prefer.” Whitaker stood next to him. “I know you’re the man’s partner, but no one would blame you for washing your hands of him.”

“That won’t be necessary. I’ll go with him. I’m staying at the inn.” Wallace got in the carriage still thinking through the events. He agreed with Dr. Price: this wasn’t at all like Sutton.

The door closed, Whitaker signaled the driver, and the carriage pulled away.

“I don’t know what’s gotten into him.” Wallace stared at Sutton propped up on the seat across from him.

“I’ve known that man since he was a boy and agree this is out of character for him. But don’t you worry, Your Grace. We’ll have him all to rights soon enough.”

The carriage pulled up to Weaver’s Inn. News of the incident traveled faster than he imagined. More onlookers buzzed about them like a swarm of angry bees. Wallace led the way for Lenard and Roddy to bring Sutton up the stairs to his room.

“I’ll stay with him for a while. Head injuries can be nasty.” Dr. Price stood over his patient and checked Sutton’s breathing again.

“Ale for you both and watered ale for Mr. Sutton.” Lenard put the tankards on the table. “Your Grace, I have the papers you gave me earlier. I’ll put them in your room.”

“I’ll take them. I can review the documents while I sit with him.” Wallace nodded toward Sutton.

“If that will be all, I’ll be in the tavern if you need me.” Lenard put the folio on the table.

“I’ll go with you.” Roddy looked at the patient lying in the bed and shook his head. The two men left and closed the door behind them.

Dr. Price sat at the table and took a tankard of ale. “How did this start?”

Wallace sat next to the doctor and reached for the second tankard.

“I found him troubled over several issues when I came up from London. He was in a fit over worker demands. He also expected a sizeable amount of fleece, but instead received a smaller delivery than promised.

“I had an issue to discuss with him, but in his state I knew it would be impossible. I thought to divert his attention, a game of cards to take his mind off everything. Once he was himself, we could address the business problems and go over my visit to Cambridge. But Sutton drank too much, took risks no man in his right mind would take, and lost miserably.”

“And his mood went from bad to worse.” Dr. Price glanced at his patient, shook his head, and took a draw on the tankard.

“Yes, it did. I was at a loss what to do. Sutton wouldn’t stop playing despite losing one game after another. I couldn’t imagine the situation getting any worse, but it did.

“I dealt the cards. How Sutton preened like a peacock, so sure the winning hand was his. He drank and taunted me. He drained his flask dry and had Mr. Jackson fill it to the top. I was astounded when the deed to his home landed on the table.”

“His cards…” The doctor closed his eyes and moaned.

“A beginner would know better than to bet on the cards Sutton held. He had no chance of winning.” Wallace let out a strained laugh. “I conceded defeat and laid my cards face down, but Sutton demanded to see them. I refused. He reached across the table and turned them over. Then he went mad. Sutton grabbed a pen from the bar, sat down, and started writing. I stayed his hand. I didn’t want his home. I thought to entice him with the best two out of three games, but he refused. I pay my debts.”

“Sutton is a proud man and a man of his word. But I’ve never known him to be this reckless.” Price sat back, his legs out in front of him, staring at the tankard in his hand.

“Man of his word. We wouldn’t be here if our workers believed him. I told them over and over the new mechanicals would not replace them. But fear does strange things to people. If things go as Sutton and I plan, there will be more work for more people and more money, not less.

“I offered to speak with the workers and explain the plan. That’s when Sutton exploded. I tried my best to calm him, but now I understand. Sutton didn’t calm down during the game. If anything, his card playing was more intense, more erratic, more irrational.” He stared at his partner. “My strategy to calm him with the card game did the opposite. It pushed him over the edge.”

“Don’t blame yourself. From what you’ve told me, Sutton was already agitated. It wasn’t one thing. It was everything.”

“My partner accused me of siding with the workers and called me out in front of everyone demanding satisfaction. A duel.” Wallace glanced at the doctor. The incident still beyond belief. “I refused. I told him I had enough of weapons in Spain. Businessmen didn’t settle disputes with weapons. To everyone’s horror, he slapped my face. I remember his odd smirk, daring me to ignore the affront.

Choose your weapon. I refused. Pistols. You didn’t think I’d want to be near you with a blade. At least with a pistol I have a fighting chance.

“I still didn’t give up.

“All the way to the field and even when we arrived, I tried to dissuade him. I would have gladly shot myself to put an end to his stupidity. At last, the fight went out of him. You witnessed how we called off the duel, shook hands, and sent everyone home. Sutton was still holding his loaded pistol. I told him to take his anger out on the red maple tree, the one by the lake.” He paused and glanced at Sutton. “I thought he came to his senses.”

“That is how I remember the morning.” Dr. Price nodded.

“I turned to leave with the others, only to hear Sutton’s pistol discharge. Lenard pulled me to the ground. When we got to our feet, it was Sutton who was down.

* * * *

The Lady and Her Duke is book 3 of the regency series, The Ladies of Sommer-by-the-Sea

  • The Lady and Her Quill
  • The Lady and the Spy
  • The Lady and her Duke.

 

About the Author

 Ruth A Casie is a USA Today bestselling author. She writes historical adventures from the shores of medieval Scotland to the cobblestone streets of Regency London. Her stories embrace strong women and the men who deserve them. Within the pages you’ll discover ‘edge-of-your-seat’ suspense, mind boggling drama, and heart melting emotions. Grab your favorite cup of tea, or an ale if you prefer, and join her heroes and heroines as they race across the pages to find their happily ever after.

She lives in New Jersey with her hero, three empty bedrooms and a growing number of incomplete counted cross-stitch projects. Before she found her voice, she was a speech therapist (pun intended), client liaison for a corrugated manufacturer, and vice president at an international bank where she was a product/ marketing manager, but her favorite job is the one she’s doing now—writing romance. Ruth hopes her stories become your favorite adventures.

Where You Can Find Ruth:

At her website:  https://ruthacasie.com/ 

Sign up for her newsletter:  http://bit.ly/RuthsNewsletterSignUp

Instagram:  https://www.instagram.com/ruthacasie/ 

Facebook at Casie Café: https://www.facebook.com/groups/963711677128537/ 

Facebook Author Page: https://amazon.com/author/ruthacasie 

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4792909.Ruth_A_Casie 

BookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/ruth-a-casie

Is that Viscount really a Duke in disguise? A deceit in our midst!

Gentle Reader,

Dowager Duchess M is throwing a house party with a motley assortment of guests. I dare swear most are little better than treasure seekers. 

Worse, she has loudly and publicly welcomed the Duke of E to her home as Viscount R! Now everyone is calling him Viscount R and the man can’t get a word of correction into the conversation.

The absent Viscount R is a suitor for AH, the Duchess’s granddaughter, but this author suspects AH finds the Duke a more compatible companion. If she doesn’t, she should!

Given the Duchess’s reputation as a prankster, the next couple days should prove entertaining. 

Purchase Link: https://www.amazon.com/Artful-Deceit-Art-Love-Book-ebook/dp/B09XRCHTP7

Blurb for An Artful Deceit:

What happens when a Duke is mistaken for a Viscount—on purpose?

Add that to two Michelangelo sketches, hidden passages, vanishing and reappearing art, threatening messages, conniving art collectors, arrogant academicians, a Bow Street agent, a lovelorn couple, and an elderly prankster.

It’s enough to give a Duke a headache.

Miles Wingate, the Duke of Ellinbourne, was not supposed to be at the Dowager Duchess of Malmsby’s house party. He was supposed to be in London preparing for the spring opening of the Royal Academy of Art, yet here he was, a stand-in guest for his injured cousin, Viscount Redinger.

This was taking family loyalty too far. The only rational person at the house party was Miss Ann Hallowell, the Duchess’s granddaughter, and as his luck would have it, his cousin’s intended!

Thrown together when he’s mistaken for his cousin, Miles and Ann join to unravel the house party mysteries. But every time they pull one mystery thread free, another appears, for seemingly everyone has a hidden agenda—including the Duchess!

Excerpt from An Artful Deceit:

“Yoo-hoo! Viscount Redinger!” called out Lady Oakley. She stood on the terrace and waved at him. Even at the distance across the grounds Miles could tell she was smiling. She fairly bounced as she waved to them.

Ann dropped his arm as they turned to face Lady Oakley

Ann huffed; her mouth set in a straight line. She crossed her arms over her chest. “She knows you are not Redinger,” she said crossly.

He nodded. “I’ll warrant your grandmother does as well.” He slid a sideways glance at Ann. “I think your grandmother and Lady Oakley are up to some mischief,” he murmured.

“Why do you say that?”

“When the maid showed me to my rooms—the suite reserved for royalty, I might add—she called me Your Grace.”

“You’re in the purple passion suite!” Ann exclaimed. “That is what my cousins and I called that suite.”

A laugh burbled up inside her, then she finally broke into uncontrollable laughter.

“What? What is it?” he asked.

“You are probably right as to mischief,” Ann said as she struggled to get her laughter under control. “I should have realized she has been good for too long!”

“I don’t understand,” Miles said.

“My grandmother loves pranks. Not nasty ones, but fun ones. She was always thinking up pranks to pull on her grandchildren when we were growing up,” Ann explained as Miles smiled and waved back at Lady Oakley. 

“We should probably be heading back to the main house anyway. The wind is picking up and there is the beginning of a chill in the air,” he said as he put on his jacket. 

It impressed Ann that he could shrug into his coat without the assistance of his valet.

“The maid, I believe her name is Donna,” he continued, “addressed me as ‘Your Grace’. I did not tumble to the import of that action until an hour later. If the staff knows I am not Redinger, then I believe your grandmother does as well. So, I’ve decided to play along,” he said as they walked back to the house and Lady Oakley.

Lady Oakley tried to wave them to her at a faster pace; however, Miles chose to ignore that bit of body language and take his time with Miss Hallowell. He enjoyed her company.

 “What do you mean?”

“I shall answer to Redinger.”

“But you’re a Duke! That’s so disrespectful!”

“Perhaps it would be if I had been raised to the expectation, but I wasn’t. I am a clergyman’s son.”

“You have said that before. Do you hold that as some trump card?”

“I suppose in a way I do. It is my way of honoring my father and not allowing myself to become caught up in the title and lose my sense of perspective with those around me.” He laughed. “Too many others do that for me!”

The twilight breeze quickened. Treetops swayed and garden flowers bent before it. The chilling breeze snatched Ann’s untied bonnet from her head.

“Oh!” Ann whirled around to try to catch a ribbon, but the wind sent the bonnet twenty feet away before dumping it to the ground and rolling it over and over.

Miles thrust his sketchbook into Ann’s hands and ran to rescue the bonnet. When first he stooped to pick up a ribbon, the wind playfully skittered it out of his reach. He quickly moved again to the capture the errant headgear and planted his boot on the end of the ribbon to lay claim before the wind could play again.

When he turned back to look at Ann, he found his breath caught in his chest. While the wind had played with Ann’s bonnet, it had played with Ann’s hair as well. Strands whipped free of their confining pins and framed her face in a riot of dark blond curls and waves. This would be a portrait worth painting, he decided, not some staid formal sitting. She was beautiful. Not in the London marriage mart diamond-of-the-first-water sense. She was too real. Her eyes glittered brightly, her cheeks showed a delicate blush that owed nothing to artifice. His cousin was getting a prize, and Miles felt disconcerted by that thought.

About Holly Newman:

Holly lives near the Florida Gulf Coast with her husband and six cats. An Artful Deceit is her 11th novel. When she is not writing she likes to read, garden (more like perpetually pulling weeds) and take walks.

Website: https://hollynewman.com/

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/HollyNewmanAuthor

Pinterest: Reading, Writing, Not ‘Rithmatic

The Marriage Stakes

My dear Mr. Clemens,

I have the distinction of attending a most exclusive house party at Clarion Hall in Ashmead, hosted by the Earl of Clarion with his sister, Mrs. Morgan—she who was once Duchess of Glenmoor—serving as hostess. Much of London vied for invitations, and ours was obtained only by dint of my longstanding friendship with none other than the Marchioness of Danbury, patron of the event. The usual

Clarion Hall

entertainments have been on offer but I quickly realized that all of this forced conviviality is in the service of politics, of all provoking and boring things. I note the attendance of the Home Secretary himself along with his closest cronies including the Duke of Awbury. I personally have always found Awbury a bit too high in the, well, instep, for my comfort. The man believes himself superior to most mortals except perhaps the Prince of Wales, and he disapproves of Prinny, too. It is all most disappointing, but I digress.

What is most interesting to your dear readers, of course, is the question of the earl’s marital aspirations. For weeks the most frequent on-dit in London would have it that, while the excessively proper earl had finally bent sufficiently to host his peers, he had no intention of looking for a wife, being content to mourn his first spouse dead these six years. Families with daughters to puff off, for the most part, stayed away.

You may understand, then, dear Sir, why I am aflutter with excitement. One could ignore the handful of persistent mamas who inserted ambitious daughters into the party. An unattached earl—particularly one as attractive (dare I say it?) as the earl—is a marital prize they cannot ignore. One can hardly blame them, but one can ignore them. I say that because it quickly became clear that Mrs. Morgan had marshaled the ladies of the family–regrettably not all of them legitimate members—to depress those ambitions. No amount of sprained ankles, lost wandering into the bachelor bedrooms, rearranged seating charts, or manipulated teams for games escaped the vigilance of the earl’s female relatives. I was ready to believe that he actually was not in search of a wife. Almost.

The arrival of Lady Estelle Wilton in the company of her grandparents, the Marquess and Marchioness of Wilbury, was an entirely different thing. A perfect lady, she has resorted to none of the shenanigans the other hoydens have attempted and yet, she has monopolized much of the earl’s attention. A man as reserved and proper as the upright earl would certainly seek such refinement in a wife. A man with political ambition would no doubt seek one with a pedigree as illustrious as that of Lady Estelle who would without doubt make a superior political hostess. As if all that weren’t transparent enough, my maid confided that a footmen told those assembled in the servants hall that the two of them rode out today with only his nominal company. Furthermore, they rode to Willowbrook, the earl’s former home and spent over an hour inside—sans footman or other chaperone.

In short, it appears we anticipate a happy announcement. I write now so that you may have the news first, and get the jump on your competition. You may coyly print:

Has a certain house party in the midlands brought marital aspirations to the Earl of C__? A certain Lady E__ W__ appears to have won the race to capture his attention. We expect wedding bells soon.

I have no doubt you will be merely reporting the truth, though of course you will protect the lady’s name. There has, alas, also been some foolish gossip about Lady Delia Fitzwallace, Awbury’s former daughter-in-law. If she weren’t a widow and a matron one might call her a hoyden as well. She lacks the refinement one would expect in an earl’s bride. Awbury himself is quite critical of her easy ways. Her looks are too coarse for a countess—her skin and hair reflect an island heritage—even as her manners show her family origins in trade. No, she would not do at all, and the earl can be relied on to know it. I’m sure of it.

Your devoted friend,

Alvira, Lady Eaton

About the Book

The final book in Caroline Warfield’s beloved Ashmead Heirs series is available at preorder pricing (only 99 cents) today. It reverts to retail after launch on June 28.
The notorious will left David, the very proper Earl of Clarion, with a crippled estate and dependents. He’s the one left to pick up the pieces while caring for others—his children, his tenants, and the people of Ashmead. He cares for England, too. Now that the estate has been put to right, he is free to pursue his political ambitions. But loneliness weighs him down. Then he meets his new neighbor. When his family plans a house party to launch his political ambitions, nothing goes quite as he planned.
Her uninhibited behavior shocks him. Why can’t he get her out of his mind?
Happily widowed Lady Delia Fitzwallace revels in her newly rented cottage, surrounded by flowers and the wonder of nature, thrilled to free her three rambunctious children from the city of Bristol and let them enjoy the countryside to the fullest. If only she can avoid offending her very proper neighbor, the earl, when their children keep pulling her into scrapes.
She is not what he needs in a countess. Can she help him find a proper political wife?

 

A little bit of gossip goes a long way…

Lady Abigail Danvers set the quill down and stared at the letter she had been composing to Samuel Clemens, editor of the Teatime Tattler.

“I don’t know, Prudence.” Abigail gave a heavy sigh and handed over the parchment. “I just don’t think it has enough gossip in it to be worthy of what Clemen’s usually expects from us.”

Prudence took the letter and began to read aloud.

Gentle Readers;
This just in from York… Seen more than once in each other’s company, Viscount C and Lady S may just have a budding romance in the making. Will wedding bells be ringing the York Cathedral? Or maybe one of her stepdaughters will beat her to the altar. Only time will tell and you’ll read the latest news here first in the Teatime Tattler.

An Anonymous Reporter

Prudence tapped her finger to her chin. “It is rather boring, sister. Are you sure you couldn’t find any dirt on the pair?”

Abigail rolled her eyes. “Don’t you think I tried? The Dowager Countess guards her stepdaughters like the fiercest of warriors, along with her own reputation?”

Prudence nodded. “I suppose given she’s trying to get them married off is a good reason to remain so guarded. What of Cranfield? Surely his reputation is slightly tarnished. Didn’t he have a mistress?”

“Old news. He let her go and paid off her accounts months ago before he arrived in York,” Abigail replied taking the letter and folding it. “He’s here to see that his sister finds a match. Since his arrival in York, I haven’t been able to turn anything up on him that might provide any newsworthy gossip.”

A frown marred Prudence’s brow. “Then I guess this will have to do. Send it off to Clemens. Hopefully, he won’t be too disappointed and still publish the piece —”

“—and continue to pay us for whatever tittle tattle we can dig up in the future,” Abigail finished before going to the bell cord to summon a servant to deliver her latest news.


This is an original piece by Belle Sherry Ewing. Richard, Viscount Cranfield and Patience, Lady Seahaven are in her novella, A Countess To Remember in the Belles’ boxset, Desperate Daughters. Continue to read on to learn more along with our ongoing contest!

Excerpt:

The unseen woman was still in the carriage, as if she was still preparing to collect whatever had been left behind. A small dainty shoe poked out onto the edge of the step and Richard heard her heavy sigh that she made no attempt to mask.

Richard stepped forward, offering his hand. “May I be of assistance, my lady?”

“You are most kind,” the lady inside said. She put her hand in his and Richard swore he felt a tingling sensation rush up his arm.

“Where are my manners?” Lady Barbara exclaimed. “May I introduce my stepmother, Patience, Lady Seahaven. Patience, this is Lord Cranfield and his sister Lady Josephine.”

Richard was prepared for a matronly woman to reveal herself as she alit from the carriage. But when she lifted her head once upon solid ground to acknowledge their introductions, he was unprepared for the young beauty he faced. Blue-grey eyes that could rival the sky above met his. Wisps of strawberry blonde hair had escaped her bonnet while her porcelain skin was set in a lovely round face. But when her small bow mouth turned up into an enchanting smile, Richard became lost.

“Lord Cranfield,” her voice reached into his soul. “It’s a pleasure to meet you.”

Richard bowed, completely bewildered in the spell she had captured him in with just one glance. At a loss for words, he could only stare at the woman before him, even while he continued to hold her hand in his. What had she done to him?


Desperate Daughters: A Bluestocking Belles and Friends Collection
Release Date: May 17, 2022
Preorder for only $0.99

Here’s the blurb for Sherry Ewing’s contribution to the set, A Countess To Remember:

Sometimes love finds you when you least expect it…

Patience, Dowager Countess of Seahaven cares for a bevy of stepdaughters and a Season for each to find husbands seems out of reach. With her own young daughter to care for, there’s been no chance for romance for herself. She’s been so busy worrying about putting food on the table, that finding love is the last of her concerns.

Richard, Viscount Cranfield is in York to see to his sister’s Season. He has no desire to find a wife despite his parents prodding him to do so. A chance encounter with a countess leaves him wondering what spell she has cast around him.

Will Patience and Richard find enough time to allow love to fill their hearts?

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About Belle Sherry Ewing:

Sherry Ewing picked up her first historical romance when she was a teenager and has been hooked ever since. A bestselling author, she writes historical and time travel romances to awaken the soul one heart at a time. When not writing, she can be found in the San Francisco area at her day job as an Information Technology Specialist. You can learn more about Sherry and her books on her website where a new adventure awaits you on every page at www.SherryEwing.com.

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On the Shelf or On the Stage?

Music room at Chateau de Cheverny. Photo by Cerise Deland.

Dear readers, such excitement at York! Here, as you know, the daughters of the late Earl of Seahaven are taking the Season by storm. They are of course very properly chaperoned by the Dowager Countess, who just happens to be delightfully young and beautiful – younger, even than at least two of her stepdaughters!

And it is to one of those elder stepdaughters we turn our attention today. Lady Barbara, the late earl’s second comely if no longer youthful daughter, has let it be known she attends the events of the Season only as an additional chaperone for her lovely and lively younger sisters. She never dances and she is certainly of an age – all of seven-and-twenty, we hear – to be considered mostly On the Shelf. One would never dream of scandal coming from this quarter…

However, this very daughter, Lady Barbara Bigglesworth, has been seen by this reporter, promenading alone with respected composer and musician, Mr. John Sutton. Rumor says that Lady Barbara is also of a musical turn of mind and is, in fact, most accomplished on the pianoforte. Indeed, a little bird has whispered to me that she has been teaching proficiency on the instrument to her social inferiors – which might be judged by the high sticklers among you to be a scandal in itself.

Considering all of this, and the apparent intensity of the lady’s talk with Mr. Sutton, is it possible that instead of marriage, the stage is Lady Barbara’s goal? In concert, we might say, with Mr. Sutton?

The late earl would turn in his grave at such outrageous behaviour in his family, though one might argue in that case that he should have left his daughters better provided for. But whether Shelf or Stage is to be Lady Barbara’s final destination, we must wish her well – and we shall, of course, be watching closely.

Desperate Daughters, Box Set

Desperate DaughtersThe Earl of Seahaven desperately wanted a son and heir but died leaving nine daughters and a fifth wife. Cruelly turned out by the new earl, they live hand-to-mouth in a small cottage.

The young dowager Countess’s one regret is that she cannot give Seahaven’s dear girls a chance at happiness.

When a cousin offers the use of her townhouse in York during the season, the Countess rallies her stepdaughters.

They will pool their resources so that the youngest marriageable daughters might make successful matches, thereby saving them all.

So start their adventures in York, amid a whirl of balls, lectures, and al fresco picnics. Is it possible each of them might find love by the time the York horse races bring the season to a close?

 

About the author, Mary Lancaster

Mary Lancaster lives in Scotland with her husband, three mostly grown-up kids and a small, crazy dog.

Her first literary love was historical fiction, a genre which she relishes mixing up with romance and adventure in her own writing. Several of her novels feature actual historical characters as diverse as Hungarian revolutionaries, medieval English outlaws, and a family of eternally rebellious royal Scots. To say nothing of Vlad the Impaler.

Her most recent books are light fun Regency romances written for Dragonblade Publishing: The Imperial Season series set at the Congress of Vienna; and the popular Blackhaven Brides series, which is set in a fashionable English spa town frequented by the great and the bad of Regency society.

 

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