A friend of The Teatime Tattler in Shropshire sent word this week of a delicious bit of naughtiness. Lady B—’s cook’s cousin’s daughter serves as an upstairs maid in the house of a rather notorious baroness so we know this report to be true. The baroness and her nephew, we’re told, departed the manor in a rush last week in pursuit of the nephew’s fiancé, who had disappeared. How, we may ask, does on misplace a fiancé.
We will not mention the baroness by name, but she is well known as the daughter of a wealthy mill owner, mills well known for their ghastly employment practice and filthy premises. The woman, Lady B— insists is a jumped-up mushroom who bought a titled husband and now— But perhaps that is a story for another day. Suffice to say, the young woman perhaps had her reasons for departing such a place in a hurry.
We would have left it at that, but one of Lady B—’s happened to follow a similar route and reports that the baroness and the nephew inquired after this person all along the road from under Wrexham to Birmingham and back. One might have ignored the incident except at every stop they queried not only about a gently bred—but distraught—young lady and—this is the important part—a shabby coachman. What sort of well brought up innocent runs off with a coachman? Perhaps she’s no better than she should be. Or perhaps the cad has nefarious designs on an innocent.
Kindly forward any word about the fugitive pair to our offices in London.
About the Story, “The Fugitive Fiancé”
What can a penniless orphan do, when faced with a malodorous baron and an authoritarian baroness? She can run, that’s what.
Alone and without family, Alice Pennysmith puts up with a lot: an unpaid position as companion, waiting on a demanding baroness, people mangling her name, the scorn of superior servants… She almost lets herself be pushed into marriage with the vile Reggie, but his behavior is the last straw. How can she escape?
With his year of service to at an end, Grant Lambert is eager to leave his contract with Lord Reginald Buffton, Baron Albright——a foolish agreement to settle a bet. He already found far better, well-paying, respectable employment. He just can’t bring himself to leave the charming Miss Pennysmith in the clutches of his despicable employer. There’s only one thing for it—he’ll have to take her with him, even if he has to “borrow” the baron’s carriage to do it.
“The Fugitive Fiancé was written to order from story element specified by a contest winner. It was given away to subscribers of Caroline Warfield’s newsletter. She gives original stories to her subscribers two to three times a year. To receive this one and others, subscribe to her newsletter:
About the Author
Traveler, poet, librarian, technology manager—award winning author Caroline Warfield has been many things (even a nun), but above all a romantic. Having retired to the urban wilds of eastern Pennsylvania, she is now a writer of historical romance, enamored of owls, books, history, and beautiful gardens, who sits in an office surrounded by windows and lets her characters lead her to adventures in England and the far flung corners of the British Empire. She nudges them to explore the riskiest territory of all, the human heart.
Fira slipped out through the door of the Garrison Hall and into the bright sunshine of the new day. She raised a fist to the glaring sun before she hung her head in her hands and cried. Garrick had refused her and she held little to no hope he would change his mind. Not when the Lady Coira was ever near.
His rejection stung her pride that she was unable to win him over with her charm. She had returned to the kitchen and her duties last eve hoping to make him jealous if she gave her attention to another. She had laughed and flirted with one of the men who had recently come to Berwyck Castle to train with the Devil’s Dragon. Sneaking off to the Garrison Hall with him had seemed like a good idea at the time. Now, all she felt was disgust at her own behavior of bedding a man she did not care for.
Fira was half way across the inner bailey before Kenna, the castle’s healer, came running up to her. The woman stood before Fira, most likely ready to scold her.
“Whatever ye are planning next, ye best forget it Fira,” Kenna said in a calm tone. This was not what Fira had expected. “Garrick doesnae belong tae ye and loves another.”
“I am planning nothing,” Fira fumed whilst trying to move around the woman who apparently had more to say. Was it her imagination or did Kenna’s face continue to soften?
“Nothing good can come from yer infatuation with our piper. Best tae leave him be, Fira. Love will find ye when ye least expect it,” Kenna replied before placing a hand on Fira’s arm.
Fira swayed as images of a man flashed before her eyes. Tall and handsome, this unknown stranger swung Fira up into his strong arms before she slowly slid down his body. When her feet touched the ground, he bent forward to kiss her as she had never been kissed before.
The vision lasted only a moment but ’twas enough to have Fira’s mouth open in an O of surprise. “Who was…” she began.
Kenna smiled. “Have patience, dear Fira. He will find ye when the time is right and ye are ready tae allow him into yer heart.” She leaned forward and gave Fira a brief embrace before continuing on with her way toward her own duties.
Fira smiled and felt as though fate might finally shine down upon her. Mayhap Kenna was right. Perchance ’twas time to forget about Garrick and let this unknown stranger find her.
This is an original piece by Bluestocking Belle Sherry Ewing. Fira is a secondary character in The Piper’s Lady: The MacLarens (Book Three). Previously in the Belles’ boxset Never Too Late, The Piper’s Lady is now being released November 17th for individual sale.
“You saved me,” she whispered in a shaky tone. “You are truly a gallant knight to rescue me. Your liege lord must value you as one of his warriors.”
Warrior? Him? He opened his mouth to correct her assumption but could not find the words. He knew she would think less of him if she but knew he was only the clan’s piper.
“Are ye harmed?” he murmured, still holding the pleasing womanly curves of the lady who had not yet moved from atop him. Her brow rose, and Garrick inwardly cursed knowing there was no way to hide his Scottish accent.
“Nay, but only because of your ability to move so quickly. Thank you, Sir…” She left her sentence linger in the air between them.
“Garrick,” he answered, giving her his name, “of Clan MacLaren.”
“My thanks, Sir Garrick,” she replied with a kind smile.
They seemed to come to the realization the lists had become eerily silent with the exception of one person running in their direction.
“Get your hands off her!” a voice bellowed.
Before either of them could move, the woman was ripped from his arms, and Garrick saw her enveloped in the fierce embrace of Morgan. Her arms wrapped around his neck, and Garrick could not help the feeling of jealousy assaulting his emotions and tugging at his heartstrings.
“Coira! By St. Michael’s Wings you gave me such a fright, woman,” Morgan scolded in concern. Setting her down upon her feet, he proceeded to clasp both her cheeks afore placing kisses on each.
The Piper’s Lady The MacLarens (Book Three) Release Date: November 17, 2020 By Sherry Ewing
True love binds them. Deceit divides them. Will they choose love?
Lady Coira Norwood spent her youth traveling with her grandfather. Now well past the age men prefer when they choose a wife, she has resigned herself to remain a maiden. But everything changes once she arrives at Berwyck Castle. She cannot resist a dashing knight who runs to her rescue, but would he give her a second look?
Garrick of Clan MacLaren can hold his own with the trained Knights of Berwyck, but as the clan’s piper they would rather he play his instruments to entertain them—or lead them into battle—than to fight with a sword upon the lists. Only when he sees a lady across the training field and his heart sings for the first time does he begin to wish to be something he is not.
Will a simple misunderstanding between them threaten what they have found in one another or will they at last let love into their hearts?
This novella was previously released in the Bluestocking Belles boxset, Never Too Late. It has been revised with additional material and an alternative ending. The Piper’s Lady is now being released for individual sale.
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.
This letter has fallen into the hands of your Teatime Tattler editors. We trust our readers will find it of interest.
From Mrs. Letitia Piggott-Pym, Berkeley Square, London
To Miss Lorena Ogilvy, Vine Cottage, Sussex
At the close of this most successful Season, I am delighted to report that not only have we secured an entirely satisfactory husband for Arabella, but that our future son-in-law, if somewhat lacking in the matter of a chin, more than makes up for it in family connection and social distinction.
But I will confess that for a time our prospects appeared somewhat less propitious when Bella (along with several silly girls of her set) conceived a sudden tendre for a certain Mr. Merion – a development which, as you can imagine, Mr. Piggott-Pym and I found not a little worrisome.
In particular, dear Lorena, it simply wasn’t possible to refuse to receive Mr. Merion. He is a protégé of Viscount Crowden, not only having saved the viscount’s life during a terrible battle at sea, but being quite excessively attractive, looking just as one wishes one’s national heroes to look, as, sadly, they rarely do. War, after all, will cause disfiguring scars, burns, and amputations, but Mr. Merion’s wound is of the more decorative variety. In truth, the nearly imperceptible limp with which he walks, aided by a masterfully wielded cane, can only fan the flames of patriotic virtue among the girls, and perhaps, at times, even within the bosoms of their Mamas.
Not to speak of the fit of his coat, and even what might discern beneath…
But I digress; and in my meanderings have nearly forgotten to add that Mr. Merion is quite rich, or well on his way to becoming so. Of course, a lady doesn’t speak overmuch of such matters, but I am assured that he’s highly respected as a commercial investor in properties in certain neighborhoods. And although one wouldn’t venture to such quarters oneself, Mr. Piggott-Pym tells me that large sums of money may be made there in rents to a certain class of person.
Which brings me finally to the inescapable truth, that as ornamental an addition as Mr. Merion had made to one’s guest list – for his aforementioned assets and as proof of patriotism on the part of his hosts – the fact remains that Mr. Merion was not born a gentleman, and in fact served in His Majesty’s Royal Navy as a common sailor. And although this did not stop certain families from countenancing his attentions to their daughters, I can assure you that Mr. Piggott-Pym and I felt very differently…
And so in consequence, it was no surprise to find ourselves quite vindicated by the most shocking, interesting, andentertaining development… when a week ago, without a word of explanation or apology to any of his generous and condescending new connections, and leaving several dinner parties horribly lopsided, Mr. Merion quite entirely, and inexplicably, disappeared…
ABOUT THE BOOK: A House East of Regent Street
The future looks bright for former sailor Jack Merion. His wartime heroics have won him influential contacts, and his good looks and flair for business are definite assets. With funds to invest, he’s on the brink of financial success in the high-stakes world of Regency London.
And buying the house in Soho Square is a can’t-miss opportunity. Once a fashionable brothel, the property will yield a good income in commercial rents and a clear path to the respectable life Jack has never known.
There’s only one problem – another prospective buyer. With a dark past, a desperate future, and some unmistakable assets of her own, Miss Cléo Myles is a formidable obstacle, one that Jack would be wise to steer clear of.
But instead, he proposes a bargain that’s as scandalous as it is irresistible.
Five afternoons. Five rooms. Uncountable pleasures…
…In a neighborhood that’s seen better days. And a house that’s seen everything except love.
Woman, rather than lady.
Unless, Jack supposed, one knew how to pronounce the word lady with a certain ambiguity – a tone of voice like a wink or smirk exchanged with the other men in the room, to show that one really meant quite the opposite. A courtesan. Or even better, the French phrase Lord Crowden had taught him – trust the French to come up with an expression like grande horizontale. He himself had never encountered such a woman at first hand, and so he’d never been quite sure of all the nuances of implication.
But this… ah, lady could quickly fill the gaps in his education. He need only contemplate her posture and manner of address; it would be like memorizing an entire lexicon – of new uses for ordinary words that Miss Myles’s extraordinary presence had suddenly rendered inadequate.
One couldn’t, for example, exactly say she was small: not with her posture so regal that only the proximity of the lanky servant called attention to her lack of stature. Slender? He doubted that the possessor of such a voluptuous bosom could correctly be called slender. She was hardly young but it wouldn’t do to call her old either; the word ageless came to mind, but here his common sense rebelled. No woman was ageless – her youth, or lack of it, was always a critical index of her value.
Beautiful? He wasn’t quite sure – he’d always thought that beauty brought with it a comforting, disinterested sort of serenity. Well, striking, then, Miss Myles was certainly that. Sparkling eyes slanted catlike above well-drawn cheekbones; her mouth was expressive, the sinuous upper lip curving in a wary half-smile above the full, appetitive lower one. The afternoon sunlight seemed to embrace her as its own, her bright eyes and creamy skin outshining the brilliance even of these surroundings.
And oddly dignified, Jack thought, dignified and defiant – though world-weary might have been a more accurate word…
Release Date October 6, 2020 – Available for Preorder Now
FOR BUY LINKS, go to
About the Author
Author of historical romances set during the English Regency and before the French Revolution, Pam Rosenthal has been praised for her graceful style as well as her writing’s unabashed eroticism. She was twice nominated for Romance Writers of America’s RITA award, and in 2009 her novel The Edge of Impropriety won the RITA for Best Historical Romance. Find out more about Pam and her books at pamrosenthal.com, on Twitter @pamrosenthal, on Facebook, and on Goodreads.
“Elegant, tender, and daring… Pam Rosenthal has an impeccable sense of the Regency and a fearless way with a story.” – Julie Anne Long, USA Today Bestselling Author
Yes, dear reader, the rumour about London’s newest and most exotic viscount is true. We have it from one who heard it from the Duke of W.’s own lips.
Viscount E. has been ordered choose a bride and marry as soon as possible.
One sees the Duke’s point. The man is heir (after his father) to his grandfather’s title, and he is (not to put too fine a point on it) a foreigner. An English bride as mother of the Duke’s greatgrandchildren, including the one day future duke, would make his existence much more palatable to the high sticklers of Society.
Not that the young viscount is shunned. Far from it. He is handsome (though swarthy) speaks English without an accent, is personable, and is almost certainly extremely rich, if the money now being spent on the much neglected W. estates has anything to say to the matter.
Good looks and fine manners will get him invited to dinner tables and dance floors. Money and the prospect of one of England’s finest titles may assist with the rest. For the moment, the most cautious matchmaking mothers are reserving judgement, waiting to see whether Society’s acceptance will warm beyond reluctant.
But those who have hopes of a duchess in the family may be too late. Our source tells us that Viscount E. has been instructed to marry one of his cousins. Which shall it be? The one known as the Saint of Mayfair? Or Society’s darling, the W. Diamond?
Or, has the prospective groom ideas of his own? His attentions to the sisters of the Earl of H. have not gone unnoticed. Will Lady F. be the viscount’s bride?
Your devoted reporter watches with interest.
Excerpt from To Wed a Proper Lady
James had stayed back from the hunt organised for the men in the hopes of spending time with Sophia, and had found out about the charity expedition too late to offer his services. “I am sorry that I missed it,” he said sincerely.
He noted one glaring omission in her descriptions of her preparations for Christmas. “Just a decoration,” she had told him, mendaciously, when he asked about the kissing boughs.
And now pretending to be ignorant of these English Christmas customs was about to pay off. One day, when she was safely his wife, he might admit to Sophia that he and the whole citadel had hung on his father’s tales of an English Christmas, that his mother and her maids had decorated high and low, and his father had led the troops out to find a fitting Yule log to carry home in triumph on Christmas Eve. A harder job in his dry mountains than in this green land.
But this was not the time for that story. Not when Sophia was relaxed and about to pass under a kissing bough that retained its full complement of mistletoe berries.
James suppressed a grin. “Look,” he said, at the opportune time, pointing up. “My Kaka—my father—told me about these.”
She stopped, as he had intended, and with a single stride, he had reached her, wrapped her in his arms, and captured the lips that had been haunting his dreams this past eight months.
And she kissed him back. For a moment… for one long glorious moment, while time stood still and the world ceased to exist, Sophia Belvoir kissed him back.
The Children of the Mountain King series
In 1812, high Society is rocked by the return of the Earl of Sutton, heir to the dying Duke of Winshire. James Winderfield, Earl of Sutton, Winshire’s third and only surviving son, has long been thought dead, but his reappearance is not nearly such a shock as those he brings with him, the children of his deceased Persian-born wife and fierce armed retainers.
This series begins with a prequel novella (Paradise Regained) telling the love story of James senior and Mahzad, then leaps two decades to a series of six novels as the Winderfield offspring and their cousins search for acceptance and love. It is free to download from most ebook retailers.
The first novel, To Wed a Proper Lady, tells the story of James junior, the Viscount Elfingham. It was published in April this year and is available from those same retailers.
The novella Melting Matilda (this year’s Bluestocking Belles’ story published in Fire and Frost) is also set in the world of The Children of the Mountain King, and happens after To Wed a Proper Lady and novel 2 (coming soon), To Mend the Broken Hearted.
I beg of you indulge this poor author for deviating from the Tattler’s normal publication of humorous and tittilating information. A desparate situation has arisen with in our armies on the continent, which is like to win The Corsican’s victories for him.
How could that possibly be when British Forces are the best equipped, best trained in the world? In a word, FEVER. This month sees campaigns at both Guadiana in Spain and Walcheren in the Netherlands where our armies are decimated, not by powder and shot, but by insidious fever that strikes without warning.
Casualties number in the thousands with countless more of our brave lads unable to stand and fight. Medical staff are over worked and supplies to fight this invisible enemy are small.
A Mrs. C., whose son serves in the Royal Fusiliers received word from him of dire conditions.
“[N]o ventilation, twenty men sick in the room, of whom about eighteen died. In this place there were [sic] one door, and one chimney, but no windows. Relapse again; deaf as a post; shirt unchanged and sticking to my sore back; ears running stinking matter; a man lying close on my right hand with both his legs mortified nearly to the knees, and dying. A little sympathy would have soothed, but sympathy there was none.”*
We know well that our women, Ladies or otherwise, cannot go to war personally. However, you can send support. Medical and cleaning supplies (see the list on page seven) are desparately needed. Letters of encouragement, sympathy and hope are needed to give our soldiers the will to continue, to fight to regain their health for confrontations on the battlefield.
Do not allow this sickness to win Napoleon’s war for him. Act Now! Organize, cooperate with churches and charities to send all possible aid to Britain’s only defense against the Coriscan’s aim to conquer England. With your help we can rise victorious over all enemies.
The Tattler is interested in news of your efforts and promises complete discretion to any who wish to share their efforts and contributions to aid our Military.
*This quote was copied from an article by Andrew Bamford.