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A most dreadful account of misbehaviour and scandal

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Dear Sir,
As an avid reader of your illuminating reports, it behoves me to inform you of some rather scandalous behaviour recently observed concerning a certain gentleman of my acquaintance, FD. This man, well known in the first circles of society, is of the finest pedigree, if not, perhaps, always so gentlemanly in his actions toward others. He is, at present, rusticating in parts not far from London, where he is consorting with a lady so far below him as to make one wonder at his intentions.

Whilst in Hertfordshire, at the home of his friend, this gentleman has found himself in a most alarming situation, for there are now residing in the house not one but three unmarried ladies, only one of whom is related to either gentleman.

One of these is the above-mentioned lady, EB, who has been heard hurling the most venomous insults towards FD, and FD—so unlike anything a gentleman ought to do—has responded in like manner. Scarcely a word can pass between them that is not barbed like an arrow, which brings one to imagine whether this is all a show for the benefit of their companions to divert all notions that there might be some other, even less respectable, association between them. The town is quite put out by this outrageous behaviour, and now the two are forced to be living in the same house!

Furthermore, there have been a number of scandalous activities taking place in this very house, such as eavesdropping, deliberate trickery on the part of others, and play acting. I, myself, have been party to some of these as an invited guest and have seen such goings-on as to cause me to blush.

EB’s character must be brought under suspicion for her role in this whole affair, and likewise that of her sister J must likewise be concerning. FD is certainly consorting with people so far below him.

This is, I might add, the same FD who only last summer removed his dear sister from a most fortuitous engagement, thereby depriving her of the love of her life, and casting her into a sort of prison, guarded over and unable to receive any communications from those who have her interests at heart. I put it to you, sirs: should this gentleman—in name only—be permitted to retain his elevated position in society when he engages in such dreadful behaviour?

Yours, etc,
GW

Buy Link: http://www.books2read.com/muchadoinmeryton

Retrieving A Truant Husband? Or Falling Into Sin?

Sam, I have a doozy of a story for you this time. You told me the other day that the Truant Earl is back in England, and that you hoped he wasn’t ready to settle down. That man has been good copy for at least decade, even though he hasn’t set foot in the country for almost half as long again. But his lovers, his fights, and all his other adventures have kept your readers entertained ever since we started to write about him.

Well, you’ll be pleased to know that–for from settling down–he has taken himself off to a house party. And not just any house party. His lordship has left for a week in the country with none other than Lord S.! That’s right. Lord S. whose house parties are a byword for sin and debauchery. Apparently the two of them were at school together.

The thing is, Sam, that isn’t the story. The Truant Earl’s countess is in London, too. Or she was. Came to collect her husband, found out that he had gone to S.’s party, and took off after him.

Will Lady C. retrieve her husband? How will she know? She hasn’t seen him since their wedding, when they were both all but children. What if she chooses the wrong man? This is, after all, one of S.’s parties! Anything could happen.

Perhaps Lady C. can turn her husband to the paths of righteousness. Or perhaps, just perhaps, she is about to fall down the slippery paths of sinful delight.

I’m getting myself off to the nearby village in the hopes that I can find a few loose tongued servants. More in my next letter.

The Truant Lord Clairmont by Jude Knight

Lady Clairmont goes to a scandalous house party to retrieve her truant husband after his return to England from a nine-year absence. What she discovers is unexpected.

A short story in Sunflower Season a fundraiser collection for Ukraine

SUNFLOWER SEASON is a charity collection featuring stories (some never-been-published and some old favorites) by over 70 — that’s right — SEVENTY of your favorite Historical Romance authors. ALL royalties will be donated to humanitarian relief in Ukraine. This set was released on June 7, 2022 and will only be available for a limited time. Preorder now and enjoy a summer of historical romance!

Featuring novellas, stories and novels by Sabrina Jeffries, Christi Caldwell, Amalie Howard, Virginia Heath, Caroline Lee, Golden Angel, Bree Wolf, Lori Ann Bailey, Nicole Locke, Natasha Blackthorne, Royaline Sing, Lenora Bell, Sabrina Jeffries, Amy Quinton, Janna MacGregor, Annabelle Anders, Rachel Ann Smith, Eva Devon, Sandra Sookoo, Tabetha Waite, Diana Bold, Sadie Bosque, Cheryl Bolen, Erica Monroe, Kate Bateman, Cara Maxwell, Tracy Sumner, Jenna Jaxon, Jane Charles, Eliza Knight, Mariah Stone, Robyn DeHart, Wendy LaCapra, Hildie McQueen, Madeline Martin, Amy Rose Bennett, Ava Bond, Kristin Vayden, Piper Huguley, Fenna Edgewood, Kathryn Le Veque, Caroline Linden, Nancy Yeager, Dawn Brower, Celeste Barclay, Lauren Royal, Michele Pollock Dalton, Glynnis Campbell, Rose Pearson, Erica Ridley, Sydney Jane Baily, Deb Marlowe, Rebecca Paula, Amanda Mariel, Christine Sterling, Ava Stone, Lauren Smith, Sawyer Quinn, Caroline Warfield, Jessica A Clements, Jude Knight, Anna St. Claire, Tamara Gill, Gina Conkle, Charlie Lane, Terri Brisbin, Bronwen Evans, Emmanuelle de Maupassant, Merry Farmer, Tammy Andresen, Cecelia Mecca, Meredith Bond, Christine Donovan, Lana Williams, Carrie Lomax, Eve Pendle, Bethany Bennett, Bianca Blythe, Maggie Dallen, Samara Parish, Anna Campbell and more????

Again, ALL proceeds will be donated to Ukrainian relief efforts. We are not affiliated with any charities but are only doing what we can to provide help for the innocent people who’ve lost so much as a result of this senseless tragedy.

Buy now at your favourite retailer. https://books2read.com/Sunflower-Season-For-Ukraine

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?

 

Vital Correspondence Revealed!

Letter received by Lucy, Lady Cleeve, July 1817

Plas Coed, Capel Bodfan

My dear Lucy

I write again so soon after my last to ask for information. Today I received a letter from my brother, informing me (not asking, you understand) that my niece Isolde will be arriving shortly and staying “until she comes to her senses.” This is Izzy’s third season, I think, and she is as yet unwed—I suspect that my brother is being as dictatorial as ever and  Izzy has rebelled. It would be helpful to know more, if there is any talk in Town that you have overheard.

From Frederick’s reference to providing funds to ‘supplement my meagre income’ while Izzy is with me, I gather that he has still not found out about my change in circumstances since I arrived here. You will understand why I did not tell him beforehand, but it was not well done of me to keep the news from him in the years since.

Yours, as ever

Genie

Letter received by Lucy, Lady Cleeve, August 1817

My dear Lucy

Well the cat is out of the bag and no mistake! Your letter informing me of Izzy’s refusal to marry Lord O arrived only a day or two before my brother! The impoverished distant relative tasked to escort Izzy here must have let drop my current circumstances, and Frederick came to take Izzy home again. Such a bad example as I must be setting her! Oh, the horror!

But I have another favour to ask, if I may. Pray see if you can assist Izzy in some way. I believe she formed an attachment in the few weeks she was with me. Frederick would definitely not approve, and is likely to have her kept under close supervision. However I think the two young people would deal very well together if left to get on with their lives without my brother’s interference.

Yours, as ever

Genie

About the Book

 

An Embroidered Spoon

Can love bridge a class divide?

Wales 1817

After refusing every offer of marriage that comes her way, Isolde Farrington is packed off to a spinster aunt in Wales until she comes to her senses.

Rhys Williams, there on business, is turning over his uncle’s choice of bride for him, and the last thing he needs is to fall for an impertinent miss like Izzy – who takes Rhys for a yokel. But while a man may choose his wife, he cannot choose who he falls in love with.

Izzy’s new surroundings make her look at life, and Rhys, afresh. As she realises her early impressions were mistaken, her feelings about him begins to change.

But when her father, Lord Bedley, discovers the situation in Wales is not what he thought, and that Rhys is in trade, Izzy is hurriedly returned to London. Will a difference in class keep them apart?

Sale price: 0.99p/0.99c 21st – 26th June 2022 (UK and US only)

Amazon link: mybook.to/Spoon

Excerpt:

Finally, Rhys reached the outskirts of Capel Bodfan and turned down Bridge Street. A smart chaise stood outside the inn, its sides liberally plastered in mud. A man Rhys remembered as one of Morgan’s grooms stood behind it, unfastening a trunk.

A young lady stepped out of the post-chaise, clad in a pelisse of deep blue frogged with gold. A much older woman descended to the cobbles beside her and looked around, an air of faint puzzlement on her face.

Rhys cast another glance at the travellers as he dismounted by the inn door. The young woman turned her head, and Rhys gave a silent whistle of appreciation. Eyes as blue as a Spanish sky, hair the rich colour of chestnuts, and lips like red wine, all set in an oval face. She spoke to the man with the trunk, who just shook his head and walked into the inn. Rhys slung his saddle bag over his shoulder and took hold of the reins.

“Excuse me?”

Her voice carried well. Rhys wondered who she was talking to as he started to lead Seren through the low arch to the stables.

“You with the horse!”

Rhys looked around. The animals from the post-chaise had already been stabled; he was the only person nearby with a horse. He turned to face her.

That expression would curdle milk.

“I’m looking for Miss Farrington, at…” The woman broke off to consult a piece of paper in her hand. “Stryd y Bont,” she added, mangling the pronunciation as most English people did. “Do you know where that is?”

Farrington? The only Englishwoman he knew around here was Mrs Lloyd.

His brow creased as a sense of familiarity nudged at his brain; he’d heard the name Farrington before.

Izzy tapped her foot as the yokel puzzled over her words. His mount was a magnificent beast, a black gelding with a white star on its forehead, but the man’s serviceable garments indicated he was from the lower orders.

Had he misunderstood her? Or perhaps he had not understood her at all—this place was deep in the heart of Wales.

“Do… you… speak… English?” She made her voice loud and clear to give him the best chance of understanding.

The man nodded, one side of his mouth curling up.

“Where is Stryd y Bont?” Was that the name of a house or a street? Had she even said the words correctly?

He took off his hat, revealing brown hair that curled loosely where it wasn’t soaked. His eyes narrowed as he scratched his head.

Was he a farmer? His skin was tanned, as if he spent a lot of time out of doors, and the mud on his steed and on his boots suggested he’d ridden some distance.

“Well?” she prompted.

“By yur, isn’t it.” He spoke in the sing-song tones of all the natives she had encountered on the journey.

“What…? What does ‘by yur’ mean?”

He pressed his lips together; the creases at their corners and beside his grey eyes gave the impression of suppressed laughter.

At me?

“This road, Miss. Bridge Street, isn’t it.”

“I asked you about Stryd…” Izzy shut her mouth with a snap, heat rising to her face as she realised that Stryd y Bont must be the Welsh for Bridge Street.

“Diwrnod da, Miss.” He knuckled his forehead and led the horse away.

Izzy’s eyes narrowed—were his shoulders shaking? He was laughing at her!

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About the Author

Jayne Davis was hooked on Jane Austen and Georgette Heyer as a teenager, and longed to write similar novels herself. Real life intervened, and she had several careers, including as a non-fiction author under another name. That wasn’t quite the writing career she had in mind…

Finally, she got around to polishing up stories written for her own amusement in long winter evenings, and became the kind of author she’d dreamed of in her teens. She currently has 10 titles published, and is working on several more.

Links

Website: www.jaynedavisromance.co.uk

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

Amazon author page: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Jayne-Davis/e/B078WTF3DP

HELP US FILL THE TEATIME TATTLER OR HEADS WILL ROLL!

“Don’t drop him, Will,” said Fred, compositer for The Teatime Tattler.

“It would serve him right,” Will, the pressman, grumbled. “This is all his fault.”

“Let’s not argue about this again,” Fred responded. “We need him to write some articles, so I can typeset them and you can print them, so Mr Clemens doesn’t fire the lot of us when he gets back from Paris.”

“He’s the one that should be fired,” Will complained. “He promised Mr Clemens he’d find enough correspondents to fill the paper for the whole of May and all of June, too. And what has he done? Drunk half of London dry, that’s what he’s done. Why should we save his bacon?”

“Because ours will be cooked along with his, that’s why. Now drop him here, and I’ll tip a bucket of water over him while you make the coffee.”

Help! The Bluestocking Belles have spaces for the rest of the year in The Teatime Tattler, and we need gossip about your characters and blurbs and covers for your book! New releases, backlist, current promotions—we take them all. We’ve even printed articles set in the worlds of role-playing Facebook pages and groups.

If you’re an author, read on. If you’re a reader, please help us out and share this article with your author friends.

The situation is desperate. The Editor went off on holiday to Paris, and the assistant editor was meant to promote the paper, but fell down on the job. And it was Sam’s first summer holiday in seven years!

We have spaces all the way to the end of the year.

Samuel Clemens (our fictional London-based uncle to the more famous American nephew) is due back any minute, and the assistant editor is for the chop unless we can show some great bookings.

What’s in it for you and your readers?

You get something fun to share with your fans.

You have the joy of playing with minor characters or backstory, or taking a cheeky peek at your hero or heroine through the eyes of an outsider.

We Bluestocking Belles promote your article by sharing it on Twitter, Pinterest, Tumbler and Facebook, then each individual Belle shares again to Facebook groups and pages.

What can you write for us?

In 150 to 500 words:

  • Have a minor character report on what they see happening in the story.
  • Use a character snippet to give backstory to your novel. If you create a scene of some sort, put a note over the top that a gossip sheet might have such as “Overheard at a . . .”
  • Create a correspondence between two characters
  • Stage a lecture on a controversial topic
  • Have Mr. Clemens interview a character during a public lecture
  • Write a “report” by a fictional reporter
  • Write on a topic from your research. Report it as a character from that era.
  • Or propose another take on a suitable gossip sheet topic

Then send us your blurb, your cover, your buy links, your bio and mugshot, and any other images you’d like us to use.

Book your spot now

https://www.signupgenius.com/go/10c0f44a9ad29a6f4c34-write

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