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The Libelous Letter

Mr. Clemens,

I write to demand a retraction. Your unscrupulous newspaper printed a libelous letter from an anonymous source in Kirkwall maligning our recently hired organist and choir director. I know it to be false.

To begin with, I received an identical unsigned letter, claiming immoral conduct on the part of our beloved Miss Dunning, and questioning the judgement of one of our most prominent merchants, Sir Alexander Bradshaw. (Yes, I dare name the names spelled out in the letter. You, Sir, hid behind initials!)

libelous letter

However, I have an advantage over you. I have known the gentleman in question for many years, and I can assure you he is a man of great integrity. In addition to that—and more to the point—I have a perceptive wife. She read the letter, tossed it down, pronounced an unladylike oath (for which I did not chastise her), and named the culprit. She immediately recognized the handwriting as a long-time choir member who frequently quarreled with the previous director, and who has disrupted Miss Dunning’s work with demands regarding traditional services, hymn choices, desirable (and undesirable) members of the choir, and any number equally petty and inappropriate complaints and demands. My Maud has frequent dealings with the woman over bake sales, church flowers, and the like and knows her handwriting well. She also knows her as a quarrelsome baggage.

libelous letter

While I generally attempt to avoid getting in the middle of disputes between individuals, I was forced to call this woman to task. Though she denied writing the letter to my face, I made clear she will be expelled from choir and perhaps the parish if any further malice occurs.

Finally, Sir, I am pleased to report to you that Sir Alexander Bradshaw and Miss Ann Dunning were married in my presence this week past.

Kindly print a retraction, and I suggest you confine your deplorable reporting to more serious matters in the future.

The Reverend Edmund Salter, Bishop of Kirkwall, Orkney, Scotland

*****

Editor’s note: The editor of the Teatime Tattler believes the correct form of address of any clergyman of any rank in the Church of Scotland is in fact, “Mister.” However, we will forgive Mr. Salter’s attempt to impress us, leave any complaints to his church’s Assembly, and print his letter as the retraction he demands.

About the Book

Sir Alexander Bradshaw, solid Scots merchant, needs to acquire a wife, a sensible woman who can manage his unruly sons and sullen daughter. As Orkney’s long, dark winter approaches with no suitable candidates, an acquaintance suggests a music teacher might occupy his daughter. He embraces at the idea.

Ann Dunwood let herself be lured to Orkney by the opportunity to play The Kirkwall Organ. For the beauty of the instrument, she can endure the tedium of choirs and parishioners who wish only for the most banal of hymns; she’s done it before. She knows how to fade into the shadows and keep to her place.

When Alec comes upon her filling the cathedral with a Bach fugue he is enchanted by the magical creature at the keyboard. The object of his fascination sinks into a demure young woman when the music ends. Alec determines to get the magical creature back, and quickly discovers she can fill his life with the music it sorely needs. How long before their solos become a duet?

About the Author

Caroline Warfield, a Bluestocking Belles, pens family-centered historical romance, primarily regency and early Victorian, from her office in the urban wilds of eastern Pennsylvania when she isn’t traveling.

The Caricaturist Strikes

It was clearly my duty to visit my friend, Mr. Charles. I knew he would be most distressed when he sees this morning’s newssheet, for prints by Corvus, London’s most scandalous caricaturist, bring him a good deal of revenue. They also provide fodder for the Teatime Tattler.

Soon we were cozily ensconced in his office at B.P. Charles and Co, Stationers, in the Strand, tea and plum cake before us. I pulled the offending newssheet from my bag. “Look at this. How ghastly!”

caricaturist

Corvus mocks the cream of English society—most recently, Lady Rosamund Phipps. The headline read: At all costs, Corvus must be unmasked!

Was he distressed? “Not at all, my dear girl. This is excellent publicity,” Mr. Charles said.  

“In what possible way?” Everyone longs to unmask Corvus, but how dreadful if it meant he could no longer produce such scandalous caricatures. In his latest, he well-nigh accused Lady Rosamund of murdering her footman, suggesting that the poor man had refused to take her husband’s place in her bed. “If his identity were disclosed, he would no longer have access to the scandalous doings of the beau monde,” I said. “If he is a gentleman, society would shun him; if a servant, he would be thrashed.”

“He won’t be unmasked,” Mr. Charles said smugly. “If I, who receive his drawings regularly, have not yet learned his identity, who is likely to do so?”

I eyed him narrowly. “Have you tried to unmask him?”

He bristled. “No, for he wishes to remain anonymous, and I respect that.”

More likely, he respects the amount of money he makes from selling the prints. I gave him a Look.

He chuckled, but then we were interrupted by his assistant. “Mr. McBrae to see you, sir.”

“Show him in,” Mr. Charles said, “and bring another cup and plate.”

A dark-haired gentleman of medium height appeared, and we were duly introduced. “Mr. McBrae does etchings for me,” Mr. Charles said, showing him the newssheet. “You’ll find this nonsense amusing.”

caricaturist

“Aye, I saw that claptrap.” Mr. McBrae helped himself to a slice of plum cake. “Lady Rosamund won’t be arrested for murder. She’s the daughter of an earl.”

“Perhaps not,” I said, “but how unkind of Corvus to mock her. She can’t help it if her husband is unfaithful.” I paused. “Although it is rather strange that she is bosom friends with his mistress—but such a situation is not unprecedented in the ton. Perhaps it is her attempt to pretend nothing is wrong, poor thing.”

Mr. McBrae snorted. “No need to feel sorry for her. She found the caricature amusing.”

“How do you know this?” Excitement gripped me. “Have you met Lady Rosamund?”

“We were introduced.” He rolled his eyes. “She’s far above my touch.”

Evidently so, for although he spoke like a gentleman, he must be poor indeed if he scrapes a living from doing etchings. But how thrilling to meet the daughter of an earl! “What is she like?”

He shrugged. “Well-mannered, but aware of her own worth.”

That was only to be expected—and not the least bit scandal-worthy. “Tell me, Mr. McBrae—do you think she pushed the footman down the stairs?”

“Not at all,” he scoffed. “If she wanted to get rid of a footman, she would merely dismiss him.”

“But in a fit of temper…?” I suggested. Aristocrats are notoriously capricious.

“I doubt she would have found the caricature amusing if she actually were guilty.”

I sighed. Not that I wished Lady Rosamund to be a murderess, but scandal is the lifeblood of the Tattler.

“Just wait till you see his next effort,” Mr. Charles said with a twinkle.

Mr. McBrae cocked his head. “What has he pulled out of his sleeve now?”

Mr. Charles grinned. “That would be telling.”

Surprised, I asked Mr. McBrae, “Do you not do etchings of Corvus’ drawings?”

He shook his head. “No, for I work at my lodgings. Once drawings by Corvus are in Mr. Charles’s hands, he keeps them very close indeed. Attempts have been made to steal them, most likely by another printer.”

“Heavens!” I assumed on my coyest expression. “Dear Mr. Charles, pray give me some small clue about the new caricature?”

“It will embarrass Lady Rosamund,” he said.

I huffed. “That’s not a clue. His caricatures always embarrass someone.”  

“Yes, but I fear she will find this one particularly upsetting.”

Odious man, to tease me so! “Fine, but is what he depicted true?”

“How should I know?” Mr. Charles said. “By what I have heard, her maid is impervious to bribes, and I expect the other lady’s maid is—” He coughed. “How indiscreet of me.”

“Which other lady?” I cried.

But he wouldn’t say another word, and although Mr. McBrae sent me a sympathetic glance, he knew nothing useful.

Well! I am no fool. Mr. Charles was indiscreet on purpose. He expects me use what little he said to drop several improper hints in the Tattler. So I shall—whilst hoping that no one unmasks Corvus!

About the Book

Lady Rosamund and the Poisoned Pen

Lady Rosamund Phipps, daughter of an earl, has a secret. Well, more than one. Such as the fact that she’s so uninterested in sex that she married a man who promised to leave her alone and stick to his mistress. And a secret only her family knows—the mortifying compulsion to check things over and over. Society condemns people like her to asylums. But when she discovers the dead body of a footman on the stairs, everything she’s tried to hide for years may be spilled out in broad daylight.

First the anonymous caricaturist, Corvus, implicates Lady Rosamund in a series of scandalous prints. Worse, though, are the poison pen letters that indicate someone knows the shameful secret of her compulsions. She cannot do detective work on her own without seeming odder than she already is, but she has no choice if she is to unmask both Corvus and the poison pen.

Will Corvus prove to be an ally or an enemy? With the anonymous poison pen still out there, her sanity—and her life—are at stake.

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About the Author

Rumor has it that Barbara Monajem is descended from English aristocrats. If one keeps to verifiable claims, however, her ancestors include London shopkeepers and hardy Canadian pioneers. As far as personal attributes go, she suffers from an annoying tendency to check and recheck anything and everything, usually for no good reason. Hopefully all this helps to explain her decision to write from the point of view of a compulsive English lady with a lot to learn about how the other ninety-nine percent lived in 1811 or so.

As for qualifications, Barbara is the author of over twenty historical romances and a few mysteries, for which she has won several awards. On the other hand, she has no artistic talent and therefore is really stretching it to write about an artist who draws wickedly good caricatures. But she’s doing it anyway, because he’s irresistible. To her, anyway. Not so much to the aristocratic lady. Or at least not yet.

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A sister lost in time…

Jennifer checked the answering machine for the hundredth time but there was still no word from the police or anyone else as to the whereabouts of her sister Ella. How can one person just disappear into thin air?

It had been over a month since that fateful day at the Fountain of Youth when Jennifer had last seen her. Who had known that a fun day out with the grandchildren would become such a tragedy? She had been crying ever since.

She opened the drawer of her desk and pulled out the sealed bag that contained an old copy of some gossip rag called the Teatime Tattler. Oh how they had laughed when they had read part of the column about someone who claimed they had traveled through time.

Carefully pulling the fragile newsprint out, Jennifer began skimming the pages again until an article she had not read before caused her to gasp.

Oh gentle reader! This tiny tidbit just came across my desk and I knew you would enjoy the tale. Seems like an old parchment was discovered in a hidden metal box at Berwyck Castle. This editor could not help but put this up for your reading pleasure.

S. Clemens

To my dearest sister, Jennifer:

One day you may hopefully come across this and I pray it will put your mind at ease. Aye… time travel is possible! There is no need to look for me in your future life. You will not find me there. Just know that I have found the love of a good man and he is everything I always wished for.

Take a drink from the Fountain of Youth the next time you are there. I give you and the family my love from twelfth-century England.

Love,
Ella Fitzpatrick of Clan MacLaren.

Jennifer re-read the words again. With her head spinning, she called for her husband and then passed out cold.


This is a small original piece by Belles Sherry Ewing. Ella Fitzpatrick is the heroine of Sherry’s upcoming novel Love Will Find You: The Knights of Berwyck, A Quest Through Time (Book Four). If you missed the original piece Sherry wrote for the Teatime Tattler, you can find it here: https://bluestockingbelles.net/slipping-through-time/

Excerpt:

Ella’s nerves were on edge. That must be why she was feeling so anxious when she noticed Killian making his way across the hall. She reached for her chalice of wine, her fingers trembling before she managed to wrap them around the cup to take a sip without the heady red liquid spilling all over her gown. Perchance she should excuse herself and seek her chamber to rest. That was all she needed. She just had to go and rest before she left Berwyck forevermore to finally meet her destiny.

“He favors you,” Amiria’s voice was a soft whisper barely heard above the lutes playing in her hall.

There was no point in denying that she knew whom Amiria meant. “You are mistaken,” Ella replied taking another sip from her goblet before setting it upon the table. She clutched her hands together upon her lap, her knuckles quickly becoming white. Her heart tapped a ferocious beat inside her chest. This was not happening! Not when she was this close to being reunited with the one man she had crossed time for.

Amiria reached over to clasp her hands, giving them a slight squeeze. Ella turned to look upon her friend, who had given her shelter more times than she could count over the years. Amiria was a beautiful woman with flaming red hair and eyes of violet. She reminded Ella of a Viking shield maiden of old, since Amiria could wield a sword as no other woman of Ella’s acquaintance.

“I have waited many a year for some woman to catch his eye,” Amiria replied, her tone conveyed all the love she felt for the man who had watched over her like her father would have done if he yet lived.

Ella saw Killian’s progress was interrupted when he began having speech with Gregory, another of Dristan’s knights. “I have not caught his eye, my lady. Besides you know my fate lies in another direction.”

Amiria sighed, leaning over towards her husband when he whispered in her ear. She began to rise but bent over to kiss Ella’s cheek. “Be kind to him, Ella. I do not wish to see him hurt.”

Before Ella could make any reply, Amiria left to dance with her husband. They were an impressive pair, the two of them, and she was happy the couple twirling across the floor had found true love. Everyone deserved to find the person who called to them, soul to soul, Ella included.

Killian stood in front of the table clearing his throat, bringing her back to the challenge before her. “Mayhap ye would favor me with a dance, Ella?”

He appeared nervous, but the smile she gave him was genuine when he willingly dropped the whole lady business and called her only by her first name. “Aye, of course, Killian.”

His faced showed the briefest glimpse of relief before a mask of indifference fell into place. He came around the table, gave a courtly bow, and then offered his arm. Hesitant, but curious if she would have the same reaction as when she had touched him earlier, she placed her hand in the crook of his elbow. Her breath hitched at their contact. How could this be happening? She did not understand what was going on with the man who began ushering her through the patterns of a lively tune.

The other dancers upon the floor became a blur, her partner the only one who remained in focus. Each time they came together and touched, small sparks flowed like the sweetest nectar through her body. The sensation warmed her entire being, making it hard to remember the steps of the dance. Her wits surely must be addled as she continued to gaze into the hypnotizing eyes of her partner.

Killian was an accomplished dancer, of that there could be no doubt, despite him always showing the outside world a gruff appearance. He took her by the waist and lifted her high while the dance continued, his arms of steel more than capable of easily picking her up as though she weighed nothing at all. As he lowered her back to the floor, her eyes widened as she slid down his body. Her hands remained on his shoulders as they just stood there, the dance all but forgotten.

Love Will Find You:
The Knights of Berwyck, A Quest Through Time (Book Four)Available for PreorderRelease Date: May 19, 2020

Sometimes a moment is all we have…

Ella Fitzpatrick is a woman with a secret. As she comes and goes from Berwyck Castle, seeking refuge within its gates, she yearns to be reunited with the one for whom she crossed time from the twenty-first century. She has lived another lifetime in the twelfth century waiting for the date of their reunion and it is almost upon her. But how could she have known the man she believes she loves is not the person she needs?

Killian of Clan MacLaren has been infatuated with Ella for many a year but has guarded his heart, knowing her affection lies with another. When Ella must flee Berwyck, Killian vows to escort her to her encounter with destiny. But passion flares between them and there is no doubt the bond they have is far greater than either of them expected.

Their time together is running out. Killian has a decision to make that might give him and Ella a future together. If you could change someone’s past, would you seize the moment?

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About Bluestocking 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.

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Family Secrets and Ghastly Deeds

To the editor, Teatime Tattler,

Dear Honoured Sir,

Though it is not in my gentle nature to speak ill of those in the highest of society’s ranks, I feel it my duty to report a most shocking miscarriage of justice. The Amesbury family, those who are relations of my lord, the Earl of Tarrington, may not be all they seem. In fact, they are, in fact, secretly villains. You see, good sir, I have information, nay, verily proof, that while they appear all that is proper and noble, with two of the family’s sons serving His Majesty’s’ army and navy, scandal and danger follow in their wake.
You see, sir, I know for a fact that the current earl married his wife under false pretenses almost too shocking to utter. Although they seem blissfully wedded now, they had most unbecoming beginnings including a false identity. Is their marriage even valid? Is their infant son a legitimate heir?

As far as the second son, it’s a well-known fact that he served as a privateer during the war. However, I have it on good authority that he was, in truth, a pirate! He was captured by His Majesty’s Navy, stood trial, and nearly met his doom at the gallows. Oh, he used an assumed name—that seems to be a family trait—but I know it was him.

The third son, alas, has always been the black sheep. He shuns society, snubbing conventions, and wearing shockingly low apparel. But this is not all; he even works—works!—with the Bow Street officers to solve cases that are best left to those of the working class. To be fair, he has saved lives, but has also taken a good many under the excuse that it was all in the line of duty. But does that include shooting peers without trial?

Though hailed as society’s golden child, the youngest Amesbury son, who most closely resembles the late earl, has the most shocking secret of all. He not only may have participated in arranging the death of a peer with the help of his brothers, but more shocking still, he even married the widow within mere weeks of the ghastly deed.

Now, I ask you, does this not bear further inquiry into the Amesbury family? Do we demand that this family answer to the laws of justice or do we let them live above the law?

The Amesbury sisters, it seems, are perfectly respectable, although one is estranged from her husband, and the other, a bluestocking spinster. This suggests that something went terribly wrong in their upbringing, does it not?

With regards to the men (I refuse to use the word “gentlemen”) of this family, I beseech you to consider my words. Since Bow Street has discounted my concerns—likely due to their familiarity with the aforementioned brother who works with Bow Street—perhaps this public revelation will put pressure on the law to do the right thing. If nothing else, the opinion of society may deliver its own form of justice.

Sincerely yours,

A concerned neighbor

About the Book

The Stranger She Married

When her parents and only brother die within weeks of each other, Alicia and her younger sister are left in the hands of an uncle who has brought them all to financial and social ruin. Desperate to save her family from debtor’s prison, Alicia vows to marry the first wealthy man to propose. She meets the dashing Lord Amesbury, and her heart whispers that this is the man she is destined to love, but his tainted past may forever stand in their way. Her choices in potential husbands narrow to either a scarred cripple with the heart of a poet or a handsome rake with a deadly secret.

Cole Amesbury is tormented by his own ghosts and believes he is beyond redemption, yet he cannot deny his attraction for the girl whose genuine goodness touches the heart he’d thought long dead. He fears the scars in his soul cut so deeply that he may never be able to offer Alicia a love that is true. When yet another bizarre mishap threatens her life, Alicia suspects the seemingly unrelated accidents that have plagued her loved ones are actually a killer’s attempt to exterminate every member of her family. Despite the threat looming over her, learning to love the stranger she married may pose the greatest danger of all, a danger to her heart.

Excerpt:

As Cole looked down into Alicia Palmer’s face, he knew of a surety she was worth any risk. She touched him in a place he’d thought long dead.

A younger man wearing a saucy grin approached Miss Palmer. “Did you save me a dance, Lissie?”

Cole’s initial irritation for the man’s cheekiness faded to puzzlement. He knew him from somewhere. A vague unease arose.

When the young man’s gaze moved to Cole, he paled visibly. “You!”

Miss Palmer gasped. “Robert Palmer, where are your manners?”

Of course. Robert Palmer. From London. Cold dread trickled  across  his  heart  as  he  considered  the ramifications.

 Palmer pinned him with a dangerous glare. “Stay away from my cousin.”

“Your cousin?” Cole looked from him to the lovely Miss Palmer and understanding dawned. He cursed under his breath. He hadn’t been aware Armand Palmer had a sister. Not that he’d bothered to find out. The possible ramifications took a more serious turn.

Miss Palmer sent Cole a look of apology and turned to her cousin. “Robert, explain yourself.”

In a cold sweat, Cole waited for her condemning stare.

Palmer trembled in rage. He spoke quietly, but each word shot through Cole like bullets fired at close range. “He’s the scoundrel who shot your twin.”

About the Author

Multi-award-winning author of more than twenty best-selling Regency Historical Romances, Donna Hatch is a hopeful romantic and an adventurer at heart. Each book she writes is filled with wit and heart and plenty of swoon-worthy romance. Donna sings, plays the harp, and loves to ballroom dance. Her family, including six children and two cats, recently left their native Arizona for the US Pacific coast. No matter where they live, she and her husband of over twenty years are proof that there truly is a happily ever after.

To find out more about this author and her books, visit her at:

Website: www.donnahatch.com

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An Earl Scandalously Kisses an Innocent Miss

Dear Lovely Readers:

A most scandalous display of courtship occurred yesterday on the stoop of Lady R’s townhome. The dashing Lord B swept the innocent debutante Lady D into his embrace for a scorching kiss. The neighbor’s windows steamed over from the passionate heat. It was said that the lady did not protest the affectionate gesture, but wrapped her arms around the gentleman pulling him closer. The kiss was soon broken-up by the reformed rakes The Duke of S and Lord W.

Earls and Scandal

As Lord B was dragged away by Lord W, he drunkenly declared his apologies. While The Duke of S offered an explanation for his friend’s actions to Lady D. (Who I might add had also courted the lady himself before he wed the lovely Lady S.) A smile of pleasure graced the lady’s face before she closed the door.

But wait, there is more to this story readers. My sources tell me that earlier in the day while at his club, Lord B laid Lord P to the floor with a planter. He threatened him with more punches if he ever approached Lady D and his sister again. It leaves me wondering who the Earl tried protecting more, his sister or the red-haired beauty, Lady D.

Earls and Scandal

Well readers, does the impoverished Earl mean to ruin Lady D for financial gain? Or is he smitten with her charms? While most ladies would have slapped a gentleman stepping over the bounds of propriety, Lady D did not. Which leads me to believe that she welcomes this scandalous courtship. I for one, will enjoy watching this scandal unfold.

About the Book: I Shall Love the Earl (Tricking the Scoundrels #3)

How many times must a gentleman ruin a lady before he offers for her hand….

She waited for the temptation held in his gaze. He refused to give into his desire to court her. Can a ruination of a lady lead toward a love to last a lifetime?

Every ball Dallis MacPherson attended, she saved a spot on her dance card for a certain gentleman. Many balls later and still no offer, prompts her to pursue the earl. When she encounters him on a darkened balcony, he steals a kiss and warns her away. His stolen kiss promises a passion she wants to explore. At every occasion he attends, she tempts him with her own promise. Soon the earl falls for her charms and sends her down a path of ruination with one incident after another. Can Dallis overcome the scandal of the earl’s pursuit?

Roderick Beckwith watched the Scottish beauty from afar. He lost his heart the moment he set eyes upon her. Throughout the season every gentleman offered her a dance, but him. With his financial affairs on the brink of disaster, he couldn’t provide her with the life she deserved. When his mother introduces his sworn enemy to his heart’s desire, he must set aside his pride. However, his courtship is less than ideal. At every opportunity he brings scandal to her name. Can Rory redeem himself and prove to Dallis that he is a gentleman worth loving?

With every glance, Dallis pulls Rory in deeper. His stolen kisses forces him to make her an offer of marriage. As they prepare for their wedding, he acts as the perfect gentleman. However, the proper gentleman was not who Dallis desired. Will her scoundrel show himself before they say I do?

I Shall Love the Earl is the third book in Laura A. Barnes’s romantic historical romance series. If you love a novel filled with a scandalous courtship set in Regency England, then you will enjoy Rory enticing Dallis with promises of love.

Devour I Shall Love the Earl, the third novel in Laura’s Tricking the Scoundrel series today.

Excerpt:

Dallis heard the pounding on the door and realized that for some reason Shaw wasn’t going to answer the caller. Even though it was highly improper, Dallis opened the door herself. She stood in surprise at who stood on her doorstep. Lord Roderick Beckwith swayed back and forth, trying to fight for his balance. His eyes glazed over as his lips pulled into a lopsided smile.

      “Yous is sooooo betiful.”

      He was drunk. The ever-proper, keeping his temper in a tight control, protective Rory Beckwith, was blazing drunk. He reached out to wrap his finger around a stray curl.

      “Soooo soft. Knew wods be.”

      Rory’s touch stilled Dallis from helping him stand. The gentle caress caught her unaware. His thumb brushed across the loose strand. Rory continued to sway and soon lost his balance. He fell into the doorjamb, where he decided to lean. When Dallis didn’t respond to Rory, he took his touch one step further and brushed his thumb across her lips. The jolt propelled Dallis closer to him, her mouth opening at his touch.

      “Soft engf to kiss.”

      Dallis didn’t know how to react. Rory was finally near and touching her. Her body took over, responding to his need. Her tongue slowly slid out to lick his thumb. At her reaction, he groaned and pulled her into his arms.

      “See, I tolds you I’s dangerous.”

      Rory’s lips devoured hers passionately, exploding her senses. His mouth pulling kiss after kiss from her soul, while his hands dived into her hair causing her hair pins to scatter across the foyer. As he sensed her desire, the kiss turned more urgent. Everything she ever read about was coming true at this moment. Still, Dallis held back from responding due to her naivety. Until he groaned and tightened his embrace, giving her the encouragement to return his kiss and match him stroke for stroke.

      “We thought this might be your next destination. C’mon mate, before the neighbors catch sight of your stupidity. I told you, Sheffield, that he would go to her.”

      Sheffield and Wildeburg pulled Rory away from Dallis. Her face flamed with embarrassment to be caught so intimately in Rory’s embrace. Dallis held her cheeks as Wildeburg led him away.

      “Sorrysss Dallis,” Rory called out.

      “For the kiss?” she whispered.

      Sheffield answered for him. “No, my dear, for another matter. I am working to quell that problem. But you should be aware that he defended your honor at the club today with Lord Phipps.”

      “Defended, how?”

      “By a bloody punch to the nose.”

      “Oh. More to add to my embarrassment.”

      “I am afraid so. Do you remember our conversation in the park?”

      “Yes.”

      “If it is any comfort, you are not the only one suffering from love.”

      “Then why does he ignore me?”

      “Pride, my dear Dallis. A man’s greatest downfall in life.”

      “Pshh.”

      “My sentiments exactly.”

      “Thank you, Sheffield.”

      “Anything for a friend. Will we see you at the Sambourne Ball?”

      “Yes, I am very excited. Lady Beckwith offered to introduce me to Lord Holdenburg.”

      “So I have heard. Another reason for our acquaintance’s inebriation.”

      Dallis smiled. Rory’s display of drunken affection proved he was jealous. Was he jealous enough to stop the courtship her grandmother proposed? If not, his actions this afternoon secured that he must court her or ruin her reputation. They could have explained away the punch, but the kiss held the most damage. Dallis knew her grandmother’s neighbors watched them. There wasn’t an activity in the neighborhood they didn’t observe.

      “Give Sophia my love.”

      “Will do. Please save me a dance this evening. We might as well make the bloke so bloody jealous that he will become a pup at your feet, begging for a treat.”

            Dallis closed the door as Sheffield entered his carriage. She leaned against the paneling, her smile growing wider, realizing she had Rory right where she wanted him. Her smile turned to astonishment as she remembered the taste of him on her lips. She pressed her fingers to her mouth. Would he recall their kiss after his drunkenness wore off? If not, she would be sure to refresh his memory.

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About the Author

International selling author Laura A. Barnes fell in love with writing in the second grade. After her first creative writing assignment, she knew what she wanted to become. Many years went by with Laura filling her head full of story ideas and some funny fish songs she wrote while fishing with her family. Thirty-seven years later, she made her dreams a reality. With her debut novel Rescued By the Captain, she has set out on the path she always dreamed about.

When not writing, Laura can be found devouring her favorite romance books. Laura is married to her own Prince Charming (who for some reason or another thinks the heroes in her books are about him) and they have three wonderful children and two sweet grandbabies. Besides her love of reading and writing, Laura loves to travel. With her passport stamped in England, Scotland, and Ireland; she hopes to add more countries to her list soon.

While Laura isn’t very good on the social media front, she loves to hear from her readers. You can find her on the following platforms:

Website: http://www.lauraabarnes.com

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