The Bluestocking Belles’ Holiday Wassailing Tour

Welcome to the third stop of the Bluestocking Belles’ Holiday Wassailing Tour.

The Earl and Countess of Arlington

The Earl and Countess of Arlington

The Bluestocking Belles trust you are enjoying the tour so far. On this third stop, the Earl and Countess of Arlington of All She Wants for Christmas, by Amy Rose Bennett, welcome you to Arlington Abbey. Jasper Hargreaves and his lovely wife Tessa are newly wedded and such is their conjugal bliss, they are more than happy to share their Christmas cheer with guests.

To win a Kindle (digital Amazon) copy of Amy Rose Bennett’s Lady Beauchamp’s Proposal, comment below with:

a) what your favourite Christmas dish is, and

b) the answer to the following question… What dish was served during the ‘fish course’ at the Duke of Buckingham’s Christmas dinner in 1808? (Hint: you can find the answer at the previous stop on the tour, Nicole Zoltack’s blog).

The randomly chosen winner will be announced at the end of the wassailing tour! All the stops are below.

To help you, our most esteemed guests, feel welcome at Arlington Abbey, please do take a seat in the Great Hall before the Yule log fire and enjoy a glass of ratafia or holiday wassail as carollers regale you with Deck the Halls. The third course, a stuffed roast turkey, will be served presently…  

Chambers_Yule_Log

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Holiday Wassail 

Found on Jane Austen.co.uk ~ Here We come A Wassailing

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 gallon apple cider
  • 1 large can pineapple juice (unsweetened)
  • 3/4 cup tea (can use herb tea)
  • Place in a cheesecloth sack:
  • 1 Tablespoon whole cloves
  • 1 Tablespoon whole allspice
  • 2 sticks cinnamon

INSTRUCTIONS

This is great cooked in a crock pot. Let it simmer very slowly for 4 to 6 hours. You can add water if it evaporates too much. Your home will smell wonderful! Serve warm, garnish with orange slices. Serves 20.

With thanks to the Jane Austen Society (Please see link for an in-depth discussion of the recipe).

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Screen Shot 2015-12-07 at 2.12.40 PMWhen confirmed bluestocking, Tessa Penrose, is thoroughly compromised at a Yuletide ball by Jasper, the Earl of Arlington, she is none too pleased to have to marry him. But not only her reputation is at stake. Can Tessa trust this disreputable rogue with a secret she will do anything to hide?

One thing is certain: she dare not trust her husband with her heart.

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Excerpt from All She Wants For Christmas

The door opened then closed, and Tessa sagged into the cushions at her back. Thank God that was over. Lord Arlington—Jasper—would leave and then she would lock the door.

And tomorrow she would tell Christopher exactly what she thought of his so-called friend. Rakehell was too polite a term to describe a thorough reprobate like him. Aunt Beatrice had been right. He was a devil.

A soft snore penetrated the silence.

Oh no. Tessa ground her teeth together in frustration. It seemed Lord Arlington wouldn’t be leaving her studio after all.

Well, she certainly wasn’t going to stay.

She quietly and carefully rose to her feet then cursed under her breath when she realized she wore only stockings on her feet; she’d left her matching cerise slippers on the Aubusson hearthrug by the very settee where Lord Arlington rested. He and Lady Montagu must have been so caught up in—well, whatever they’d been doing—they hadn’t noticed them.

You don’t need them, Tessa. Just sneak away.

 But what if someone did catch sight of her traipsing about Penrose House sans shoes? She had to make her way back to the main staircase to reach the stairs leading to the third floor. And the servants’ stairs were at the other end of the hallway. Either way, she had to traverse the main landing in full view of the hall leading through to the ballroom, and there would be guests about, of that there was no doubt. She glanced down and scowled at her feet. Given the hem of her new silk gown barely skimmed below her ankles, her fashion faux pas would be clear to see. And she refused to cause a stir. She could never do that to Emma on her special night.

There was nothing for it. She was going to have to retrieve her slippers.

Taking a deep breath, Tessa slipped between the curtains and tiptoed toward the hearthrug. Lord Arlington had stopped snoring, but when Tessa chanced a glance at his face—no she wouldn’t look more closely to see if he was as handsome as she suspected—it was clear he was still asleep. Permitting herself a faint sigh of relief, she rounded the settee. Her slippers lay exactly where she had discarded them… right beside Lord Arlington’s very long and very muscular, outstretched legs.

Desperately trying to ignore the fact his black silk evening breeches and white silk stockings seemed to be molded quite indecently to every hard curve of his thighs and calves, she bent down toward her slippers.

“I wondered who those belonged to.”

Tessa squealed and jumped bookglobal.net/health/ backwards as Lord Arlington sat up straight and yawned. He ran a hand down his much too handsome face, and despite the fact he still looked half asleep, his perfectly sculpted mouth tipped into a wolfish smile. “Good evening, m’dear,” he drawled. “How do you do?”

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Arlington Abbey, Little Arlington, Surrey

Tessa, Lady Arlington, on the arm of her very handsome and very attentive husband, approaches the assembled guests as they sip their glasses of warmed wassail. “I hope you are hungry, my dear friends,” she says with a smile as bright as the ruby and diamond necklace she wears at her throat, “as I believe the main fare for this evening is ready. Mrs Newbury, our cook, declares it is the finest turkey she’s ever served. There is also ratafia for those of you who would prefer something a little lighter to drink with their meal.”

Lord Arlington nods; his own smile is wide as he catches everybodys’ eye. “Indeed. I think this year’s Christmas dinner at Arlington Abbey will be the best I’ve ever sat down to.” His hazel eyes, glowing with pride, return to his wife. “And with the loveliest company,” he says softly.

With his blushing countess on his arm, Lord Arlington leads the party into the dining room where the most glorious feast awaits!

A Stuffed Christmas Turkey

Recipe from: Hannah Glasse, The Art of Cookery Made Plain and Easy, 1747 shutterstock_334791641

To Roast a Turky [sic]

The best Way to roast a Turky is to loosen the Skin on the Breast of the Turky, and fill it with Force-Meat made thus: Take a Quarter of a Pound of Beef Sewet, as many Crumbs of Bread, a little Lemon-peel, an Anchovy, some Nutmeg, Pepper, Parsley, and a little Thyme; chop and beat them all well together, mix them with the Yolk of an Egg, and stuff up the Breast; when you have no Sewet Butter will do: Or you may make your Force-Meat thus: Spread Bread and Butter thin, and grate some Nutmeg over it; when you have enough roll it up, and stuff the Breast of the Turky; then roast it of a fine Brown, but be sure to pin some white Paper on the Breast till it is near enough.

With thanks to the Jane Austen Society (Please see link for an in-depth discussion of the recipe)

 

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Ratafia

Still Life with Liqueur and Fruit, by Raphelle Peale, 1814

Still Life with Liqueur and Fruit, by Raphelle Peale, 1814

Recipe from: Robert’s Guide for Butlers & Other Household Staff, published in 1828.

Into one quart of brandy pour half a pint of cherry juice, as much currant juice, as much of raspberry juice, add a few cloves, and some white pepper in grains, two grains of green coriander, and a stick or two of cinnamon, then pound the stones of cherries, and put them in wood and all. Add about twenty five or thirty kernels of apricots. Stop your demijohn close and let it infuse for one month in the shade, shaking it five or six times in that time at the end of which strain it through a flannel bag, then through a filtering paper, and then bottle it and cork close for use; you can make any quantity you chose, only by adding or increasing more brandy or other ingredients.

With thanks to Laura Chinet (Please see link for more information about the recipe).

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Box-Set-3D-Square-WebMistletoe, Marriage, and Mayhem: A Bluestocking Belles Collection
In this collection of novellas, the Bluestocking Belles bring you seven runaway Regency brides resisting and romancing their holiday heroes under the mistletoe. Whether scampering away or dashing toward their destinies, avoiding a rogue or chasing after a scoundrel, these ladies and their gentlemen leave miles of mayhem behind them on the slippery road to a happy-ever-after.

***All proceeds benefit the Malala Fund.***

Goodreads Reviews

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Donate to the Malala Fund

SeparatorNow that the dinner is done, make sure you link back to all of the Belles’ holiday wassailing stops, with a different Regency era Christmas carol, dinner selection, and beverage, and wassail recipes at every stop that you can make in the modern kitchen. The following links for the stops will be updated as they become available.

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Digital Christmas Card by EKDuncan using digital Christmas ornaments of Regency ladies

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Christmas at Arlington Abbey – #HistoricalHeartsBlogHop #Giveaway

24th December 1816

Dearest Readers,

As you know, I— Letitia Wellbeloved, roving correspondent—have been commissioned by the chief editor of The Lady’s Magazine to visit the most splendid country houses of several well known and respected members of society and to share with you, a little about the Christmas traditions of these families. And my, what a wonderful whirlwind of a tour it has been so far! Not only have the most delightful Christmas recipes been shared, but there’s also been a fare amount of juicy tidbits of gossip sprinkled throughout each report… Let me assure you, dear Readers, you are about to hear a few more… er, recipes and Christmas traditions that is!

At the end of this post, I have included the list of other grand homes I will be visiting, together with details of two generous prizes donated by the editor of The Lady’s Magazine. All you have to do is enter something called a RAFFLECOPTER… whatever that is! You can click HERE to enter it or go to the end of this post.

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Today, I have the pleasure of reporting from Arlington Abbey in Little Arlington, Surrey, home of the very newly wedded, Jasper and Tessa Hargreaves, the Earl and Countess of Arlington.

The Earl and Countess of Arlington

The Earl and Countess of Arlington

[ As an aside, dear Readers, you may have read in certain society pages such as the Teatime Tattler (although it is rather naughty of me to mention such a salacious tome), about the events leading up to the sudden betrothal and marriage of the notorious, but-oh-so-scrumptious rake, Jasper Hargreaves, Lord Arlington and Miss Tessa Penrose, the sister of Viscount Trevilian.

For many years, Miss Penrose had been a relative stranger in the realm of the haute ton. A confirmed bluestocking, she devoted much of her time and energy to supporting charities and to pursuing a ‘career’ (quite outrageous, I know) as a portrait artist. It was a shock indeed when whispers about the scandalous behavior of the quite singular Miss Penrose and Lord Arlington reached this correspondent’s ears. Apparently, this spinsterish miss was publicly compromised by Lord Arlington—and by compromised I mean the pair were actually ‘caught beneath the kissing bough’—at a Yuletide ball at Penrose House in London at the start of this month. It is my understanding that Lord Arlington decided to take the course gentleman should always take in these situations and offered for Miss Penrose’s hand in marriage straightaway. This seemingly mismatched couple have since been united in holy matrimony in the private chapel right here at Arlington Abbey. Only time will tell if this hasty union will be a love match…] 

Now, without further ado, I’d like you to meet Mrs. Greenaway, the housekeeper of Arlington Abbey… 

LW.: Dear Mrs. Greenaway, I must thank you for taking the time to chat with me today. I understand you were very much involved in preparations for Lord and Lady Arlington’s wedding breakfast last week, and I also hear the earl has planned a grand feast for the estate’s tenants on Christmas Day (heavens, is it really tomorrow?)

Mrs. G.: Yes, that is indeed correct, Miss Wellbeloved. And what a right busy time it’s been. However, it’s been such a pleasure to organize both events for his lordship and his new countess. And such a beautiful sweet-tempered woman she is—I can see why Lord Arlington appears so smitten, even though the wedding was… ahem, so sudden. I don’t mind the extra work, considering his lordship seems so happy. After he returned from Waterloo last year… Oh it was such a sad time… [Mrs. Greenaway takes a moment to dab at her eyes with her apron before I feel I can ask my next question]

L.W.: As I mentioned, it must have been quite a surprise for you and the other staff to hear your master was getting married. I can’t imagine you had much time to prepare for Christmas considering the wedding was on the 18th December. Are there any Christmas traditions particular to Arlington Abbey and the earl’s family that you would care to share with the readers of The Lady’s Magazine?

Mrs. G.: Well, yes. However, Lord Arlington’s father—he passed away last year—was not one for celebrating Christmas. So the festivities Jasper has organized (I’ve known his lordship since he was a boy so it’s hard for me to think of him as Lord Arlington), they will be new traditions. It is wonderful to see the house brought to life again.

L.W.: How lovely! Do tell me what has been planned.

Mrs. G.: You may have noticed how bright and welcoming the Great Hall is. Lord Arlington asked his steward to procure an enormous Yule log for the fireplace and his lordship lit it himself this very morning. I’m sure it will continue to burn right through the season (and what a dreadfully cold year it has been. We surely need it!) The Hall and the main living areas have also been beautifully decorated with boughs of holly, ivy, mistletoe and Christmas roses. And so many candles. No expense has been spared, let me tell you. I’m sure Lady Arlington will be delighted to see what the master has done to make her feel welcome.

L.W.: And what will be served for Christmas dinner, Mrs. Greenaway? I’m sure it will be a veritable feast!

Mrs. G.: I certainly hope so considering the menu I planned buycheap-pillsonline.com with Mrs. Newbury, the head cook here. There will be ham, roast goose, turkey and duck aplenty, a haunch of venison, roast beef and even a suckling pig. There will be stuffing from the fowl, roast chestnuts and vegetable dishes of course—Mrs. Newbury has even managed to obtain asparagus and Brussels sprouts! And then to finish there will be trifle and Christmas pudding all washed down with mulled wine, cider or ale.

LW.: And what particular family recipe will you be sharing with us today, Mrs. Greenaway?

Mrs. G.: As a special treat for your readers, I would be happy to share my tried-and-true recipe for plum pudding. The late Countess of Arlington—Jasper’s mother—loved it so. And I hope the new Lady Arlington loves it too!

Regency Dinner

Traditional Plum Pudding

Ingredients for the fruit mixture:

  • 1 cup of water
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 225 grams/½ pound of butter
  • 450 grams/1 pound of dried mixed fruit (e.g. sultanas, currants, raisins, peel, glacé cherry pieces)
  • 1 tablespoon of marmalade
  • 2 tablespoons of brandy
  • 1 teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda

Ingredients for the cake mixture:

  • 2 beaten eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup of self-raising flour
  • 1 cup of plain flour
  • ¼ cup of toasted, slivered almonds
  • 1 teaspoon each of cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and mixed spice

To serve: custard and cream

Method:

  1. Combine all of the ingredients for the fruit mixture—except for the bicarbonate of soda—in a large saucepan. Stir over low-medium heat until the butter has melted and the mixture is combined. Bring to the boil and let the mixture simmer over a low heat for 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and add the bicarbonate of soda—the mixture will froth up at this point. Set aside to cool for an hour.
  2. Sift the flours and spices into a large bowl. Add the cooled fruit mixture, lightly beaten eggs, vanilla, brandy and toasted almond slivers. Stir with a wooden spoon until just combined.
  3. Transfer mixture to a greased pudding basin with a lid (grease with butter). Seal well. Place a trivet in the bottom of a very large soup or stock pot, then place the basin on top of this (this will stop the top of the pudding from sticking too much). Carefully pour boiling water from a kettle around the pudding until the water level is about half-way to two-thirds up the side of the basin. Bring the water to the boil over low-medium heat, place the lid on the pot, then boil/steam the pudding over low heat for 3-4 hours. Check the water level every so often and top up with more boiling water from the kettle as required.
  4. After 3-4 hours, very carefully remove the boiled plum pudding from the pot of boiling water.
  5. Let cool then store in a cool, dark place for several weeks (even a month to six weeks). Every week, you can remove the top of the pudding basin and sprinkle the pudding with a little more brandy.
  6. To serve the pudding hot on Christmas Day, place the pudding basin in another pot of boiling water as described above and ‘steam’ for an hour or two until heated through. Remove from the basin, turn out onto a pudding plate and serve with thick custard and cream.

This is Letitia Wellbeloved bidding farewell to Arlington Abbey. I hope you will join me at one of the other places I will be visiting. You can click here to join the hop or scroll further down to find each stop…

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If you want to find out more about Miss Tessa Penrose and Jasper Hargreaves, Lord Arlington, you can read about their romance in the Christmas novella All She Wants For Christmas by Amy Rose Bennett. It’s one of seven novellas in the recently released Bluestocking Belles’ Christmas box set, Mistletoe, Marriage, & Mayhem.

All She Wants for Christmas, by Amy Rose BennettMMM Box-Set-3D-Square-Web

When confirmed bluestocking, Tessa Penrose, is thoroughly compromised at a Yuletide ball by Jasper, the Earl of Arlington, she is none too pleased to have to marry him. But not only her reputation is at stake. Can Tessa trust this disreputable rogue with a secret she will do anything to hide?

One thing is certain: she dare not trust her husband with her heart.

Mistletoe, Marriage, & Mayhem

In this collection of novellas, the Bluestocking Belles bring you seven runaway Regency brides resisting and romancing their holiday heroes under the mistletoe. Whether scampering away or dashing toward their destinies, avoiding a rogue or chasing after a scoundrel, these ladies and their gentlemen leave miles of mayhem behind them on the slippery road to a happy-ever-after. ***All proceeds benefit the Malala Fund.***

Book Buy Links

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

iBooks

Kobo

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Join the Historical Hearts for a weekend of Christmas revelry in the tradition of all good historical romances. Take a sneak peek behind the scenes of the grand houses and share some of the gossip about ‘them up there’ as well as forgotten traditions and favorite family recipes.

Click on any of the following links to start the Blog Hop …

Alison Stuart – Writer

Tea Cooper, Romance Author – From the Outback to the Ocean

Suzi Love – Historical romance, sexy to hot

Cassandra Samuels (Author)

Elyse Huntington – Christmas at Cavendish House

Sasha Cottman – Keeping Historical Romance Fresh

Elizabeth Ellen Carter – Love’s Great Adventure

Erin Grace – Historical Romance Author

And especially for the readers of The Lady’s Magazine, there is a chance to win yourself a Christmas present of one of two Amazon Gift Vouchers. Just make sure you enter the Rafflecopter right here!

Rejected Lovers Gossip – Part One

Welcome! You’ve dropped in at just the right time to hear some juicy behind-the-scenes Regency gossip from the Bluestocking Belles’ soon-to-be-released Christmas box set, Mistletoe, Marriage, & Mayhem.

In the following never-before-seen vignette, Cordelia, Lady Montagu, the villainess from my Christmas novella All She Wants for Christmas catches up with Enid, Lady Bosville, the villainess from Jude Knight’s Gingerbread Bride. The following post features the first half of an exclusive chat with these two arbiters of ton gossip. Then drop by Jude Knight’s blog to read the remainder of their scandal laden conversation. There’s quite a bit of delicious inside information sprinkled throughout each post about other characters featured in Mistletoe, Marriage, & Mayhem. Go on, read on… You know you want to…

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Enid, Lady Bosville can barely hide her boredom. The Stanton musicale is a dismal affair—mostly ladies, with a smattering of husbands. And they are actually listening to the music! She hides a yawn, and forces a smile as the newly wedded Julia Stanton passes by. How nauseating it is that the young woman appears blissfully happy as she gazes up at her new husband, Oliver Stanton—and a commoner no less! How utterly dreadful.

Enid wonders if she can steal away; perhaps pretend a call of a delicate nature and revisit the tea table in the other parlour. The afternoon tea, at least, is to her taste. No sooner thought than put into practice, she slips from her seat and glides quietly to the door.

But someone is before her at the tea tables…

* * *

Cordelia, Lady Montagu, scans the chattering crowd seated in the drawing room and only just manages to hide a bored sigh behind her fan. The musicale at Oliver and Julia Stanton’s Manchester Square residence had turned out to be a frightfully tedious affair. Not an unexpected circumstance at this time of year, mid-December. But she’d had rather high hopes of meeting some roguish fellow up to the task of keeping her warm in bed tonight. However, all the men present this afternoon are either well into their dotage or sickeningly devoted to their spouses. It seems that all of the rakes have left Town and have retired to their country estates for Yuletide. Deciding to seek diversion elsewhere, Cordelia rises from her seat and makes her way toward the tea tables in the adjoining parlour. Her mouth curves into a genuine smile when she spies her friend Lady Bosville. She had no idea Enid was attending the musicale. This afternoon might be quite entertaining after all.

“Cordelia!” Enid appears delighted when she approaches. “I have not seen you since that rather astonishing evening at Penrose House! Tell me, are the rumours true?”

Cordelia smiles archly. “Yes, my dear, Enid. They most certainly are.” She places a hand on Lady Bosville’s arm and leans closer to speak in a low voice, “We should find a quiet corner to sit and chat about the supposed wedding of the year. I’ve been dying to share the details.”

Enid’s eyes gleam. “I knew you would know what had really happened that night. Perhaps… the library? Does a banker have a library, one wonders?”

Cordelia sniffs. “I suppose Mr. Stanton thinks he can afford one. However, I believe there might be a sitting room nearby.” Armed with cups of tea and all manner of salacious tales to tell, the ladies repair to a small side parlour and seat themselves on an over-stuffed sofa. “Now, what would you like to know, Enid?” asks Cordelia, with a conspiratorial smile. “How thoroughly disreputable Jasper, Lord Arlington is, or how odd and entirely unsuitable his affianced, Miss Tessa Penrose appears to be?”

“I am well aware of how disreputable Jasper can be, my dear Cordelia,” Enid replies with a smirk. “I would love to know how disreputable he actually was! And with his best friend’s sister, by all accounts!”

Cordelia takes a sip of tea, pulls a face as she suspects it is really not the best quality, then puts down her cup on the occasional table beside her. “Well, Jasper was certainly a busy man that night,” she says with a knowing smirk of her own. “And perhaps I’m partly to blame for what flomaxbuyonline.com happened. Jasper had been in such a lather earlier that evening, poor boy, I felt compelled to soothe the proverbial savage beast. But I obviously didn’t soothe him enough. Mind you, I wasn’t present when the ‘incident’ with Miss Penrose occurred. That happened later. Apparently, Jasper was caught flagrantly kissing her during the height of the ball at Trevilian House. By her aunt, Lady Cardew and that shocking old tabby, Lady Salter.”

“No! After he already…? Cordelia, I am shocked!” Enid is openly grinning. “One can admire his stamina, if not his taste. But surely Miss Penrose is not even out. Was it not her first ball?”

“Ah, you are thinking of Viscount Trevilian’s youngest sister, Miss Emma Penrose,” explains Cordelia. “The ball was held for her – a trial come-out ball or some other such nonsense, I believe. But it was the eldest Miss Penrose, Tessa—such a strange woman—who was compromised. I hear that not only does she hire herself out as a painter, she is also,” Cordelia pauses for effect, “a bluestocking. Why Jasper kissed that bizarre creature, is a complete mystery to me. Although, he was quite foxed when I left him.” She smiles slyly. “Perhaps he mistook Tessa for me.”

“Poor Jasper!” Enid crows, clearly delighted. “How ever will he manage!”

Cordelia shrugs. “Lord knows. Although, he is always welcome to cry on my shoulder. And he well might. There are certain things society does not know about Tessa. I rather suspect that leg-shackled or not, it won’t be long before Jasper and I take up where we left off.” She shudders and adds, “Miss Tessa Penrose really is a most unsuitable match for a man like Lord Arlington. Forced marriages. They never work.”

“I dare say,” Enid agrees. “And Miss Penrose can hardly expect him to be faithful. Not Arlington. Certainly not under the circumstances. A spinster at her last prayers? And a peculiar one at that? She saw him foxed and took her chances; you mark my words! And a marriage begun with a trick is unlikely to be a happy one. You may remember, Cordelia, that I told you how I and Bosville… Well, he wanted me, of course. I merely helped things along a little. It wasn’t the same thing at all as this sad situation with the Penrose chit.”

Cordelia inclines her head in agreement. “Yes, one must always look out for oneself. And take comfort wherever and whenever one can.” She eyes Enid with interest. “How is your husband these days if you don’t mind my asking?”

Her friend sighs almost as dramatically as an actress from Vauxhall Gardens. “His whores and his horses keep him entertained and out of my way. So boring, all these people who pretend to be enamoured of their spouses. So plebian. He was a fine figure of a man before he put on all that weight, but no patience, Cordelia. Always in a rush… if you understand me.”

Cordelia touches Enid’s hand. “Oh yes I do. Completely. My husband—God rest his soul—could barely even rise to the occasion. Now, men like Lord Arlington…” Cordelia smiles wistfully as she recalls their last encounter. “I’m sure that starchy Miss Penrose will have no idea how to keep him happy. Mark my words, Enid, I’m sure it won’t be long before the earl casts a look my way again.” She gives her friend an assessing look. “Speaking of straying spouses, what news do you have of that entirely delicious Rick Redepenning? I know he married Mary Pritchard some years ago. Surely he’s grown tired of her by now.”

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To read the remainder of the gossip, see the second half of this post on Jude Knight’s blog.

Buy your copy of Mistletoe, Marriage, and Mayhem to find out:MMM Box-Set-3D-Square-Web

  • the full story of what really happened at the Penrose Ball—and how Tessa Penrose and Lord Arlington fared afterwards in All She Wants for Christmas
  • the real story of the courtship of Rick Redepenning and Mary Pritchard, and how Bosville and Enid attempted to derail it, in Gingerbread Bride.
  • how the Stantons come to meet and marry in The Ultimate Escape, by Susana Ellis

And don’t miss our Facebook launch party on 1 November!

 

 

 

Welcome to Amy Rose’s Parlour… H.C. Brown, Author

Multi-published, best-selling and award winning author of romance, H.C. Brown is visiting my parlour today to talk about her writing and her latest Scottish historical romance release Charmed – The MacKenzie Trilogy, Book One.

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Welcome, H.C. Brown…

Amy Rose: What or who inspired you to write romantic historical fiction?

H.C. Brown: I write across a number of genres, but I read a great deal of historical fiction. So many authors wonderful stories and events in history capture my imagination.

Amy Rose: What is your writing process? (I’m 2/3 plotter, 1/3 panster)

H.C. Brown: I’m a pantser but with historical fiction I spend a lot of time researching the era to make sure I have the right flavor for my story. Then I write every day stopping only to check my historical detail or to edit and polish.

Amy Rose: What story are you working on at the moment?

H.C. Brown: I’m working on an Australian Outback Mystery Romance titled Run.

Amy Rose: That sounds exciting. Would you like to share an excerpt?

Excerpt of Run by H.C. Brown

Moving through the airport’s sliding doors and into a wall of humidity, she waited on the footpath as the other passengers climbed into cars and drove away. Perspiration tickled between her breasts and ran down her stomach to soak the waistband of her white skirt. She batted away a group of persistent flies peppering her blouse and making every effort to climb up her nose. Deciding inside had to be better than becoming an insect snack bar, she turned and dragged her bags back into the terminal. At least inside, she would be out of the sauna like conditions and enjoy the small comfort of the inadequate air conditioning.

The stark emptiness of the building unnerved her, not one person remained. She moved toward a drink dispenser and dropping her bags in a heap by her feet, searched her purse for change. She selected a bottle of water and waited for it to thump into the collection slot. Nothing happened. The next moment the machine shook violently and the plastic bottle shot from the front opening. As she bent to secure her purchase, a dark shadow fell across her path.

She staggered back and tripped over her bags waving both arms. Someone grabbed her arm and she gaped up at a tall man wearing a battered cowboy hat. Embarrassed, she straightened, intending to move past him to recover her drink. “Thank you.”

“No worries.”

His deep calming voice settled her nerves but the sight of him mesmerized her. Her gaze moved over shoulders wide enough to carry a piano, encased in a pale blue tee shirt stretched across a muscular chest, then down to jeans and dusty boots. He scooped the bottle up in one suntanned hand then held it out to her and the deepest blue eyes, she had ever seen in her life scanned her features. She stared back at his handsome face with a long straight nose and determined chin. The ragged pink scar along his jaw gave him a roguish look and didn’t detract from the animal magnetism given off by the stranger. A lock of raven hair had fallen over one eye and she had the sudden need to tuck the curl under the rim of his hat. Oh my God! You are gorgeous. Dragging her attention back to reality, she took the water, and smiled. “Thank you again.”

***

Amy Rose: Do you write to a schedule (e.g. daily page/word count goal) or when the muse decides to visit?

H.C. Brown: I write to a schedule and try to write 1500 words a day.

Amy Rose: What helps you get into the mood to write?

H.C. Brown: Music, walking on the beach.

Amy Rose:  Where do you get your inspiration? E.g. Are you inspired by people, places or actual historical events?

H.C. Brown: Historical events. I studied history and its part of my life. Sorting through old documents is my kind of fun.

Amy Rose: Do you have a particular period of history you are passionate about?

H.C. Brown: I like the Georgian Era. So many things happened in this time, it is a font of inspiration for me. Wars, historical characters, scandals..what more could I ask for?

Amy Rose: Who is your favorite historical ‘go-to’ author or what is your favorite historical romance book of all time?

H.C. Brown: Diana Gabaldon and the Outlander Series.

Amy Rose: What is your idea of perfect happiness?

H.C. Brown: Walking on the beach with my husband.

Amy Rose: What is your greatest extravagance?

H.C. Brown: A mint condition 1877 English Sovereign.

Amy Rose: What do you consider the most overrated virtue?

H.C. Brown: Patience.

Amy Rose: What or who is the greatest love of your life?

H.C. Brown: My husband, 43 years and counting J

Amy Rose: What do you consider your greatest achievement?

H.C. Brown: Having my children.

Amy Rose: Thanks for visiting my parlour today, H.C. Brown. It’s been a pleasure. 

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H.C. Brown is also sharing an excerpt from her Scottish historical romance release Charmed – The MacKenzie Trilogy, Book One. Please read on…

Chapter One

Lady Adrianna Beachwood slid into the shadows masking the terrace, her attention captivated on the tall ourhealthissues.com/product/clomid/ stranger bowing over Lady Bracken’s hand in the receiving line. At last, a gentleman worthy of my consideration. He straightened and bestowed a brilliant smile on his hostess before moving through the reception room in her direction. Sauntering past in elegant glory leaving the expensive fragrance of bergamot in his wake, he astounded her. Dangerously handsome and with the hungry countenance of a wolf, he cast a predatory gaze over the silk encased ladies gathering in the foyer. From the enthusiastic titters beside her and the flutter of fans in her periphery, his perfect proportions, and elegant form had attracted more than a few ladies devotion.

She admired tall men and he was indeed the most stylish of gentlemen. His magnificent broad shoulders fit snugly inside a dark blue jacket nipped at the waist and worn over crisp ivory linen with an overindulgence of lace in the French mode. Her gaze drifted in wanton abandon from his expertly folded silk cravat tucked into a heavily embroidered waistcoat to his breeches cut tight enough to enhance his long muscular legs. Lifting her fan to hide her heated cheeks, she gaped after him. Rather than covering his head with a wig, he had queued his glossy ebony hair at the nape without one trace of powder, yet he certainly appeared to be a devotee to fashion by the cut of his cloth, and the expensive lace at his cuffs.

Her attention matched his swagger in the direction of the ballroom and entranced by his devilish countenance, she stepped into the hallway and followed him along the passageway. She picked up her step, but he sauntered straight past the ballroom without as much as a glimpse within and continued in the direction of the card room. Bother! Adrianna pressed her lips together and stared after him. Determined not to miss the opportunity to catch his eye, she cleared her throat. The temptation of a man stopped abruptly and turned to face her. His languid gaze traveled over her and as he inclined his dark head, the corners of his full mouth twitched into a secretive smile.

A booming voice, announcing the arrival of her father, broke the spell.

“Ah, there you are Adrianna. Why, may I ask do you find it necessary to dally so close to the card room? It is not seemly for a lady to be in close proximity to gamesters, my dear.” He moved to her side then his gaze slid past her and darkened at the sight of the handsome stranger. “Come along, I am sure there are more suitable gentlemen waiting to fill your card.” He offered his arm.

Annoyed by her father’s untimely appearance, she composed her features into a mask of disinterest, and rested one hand on his arm. “I noticed you in the company of Lord Somerton in the receiving room and assumed you would pass this way so I waited for you, Papa.”

His nostrils flared in disgust and he bent his head lowering his voice. His acid tongue lashed over her like a whip.

“You are not a girl on her first come out and should know better than to expose yourself to rakes and ne’re do wells.”

She turned to him aghast. “Oh, Papa, your worry is unfounded. To be sure, Lord Bracken would not allow scoundrels within a mile of Lady Bracken’s soiree.”

Her father raised both eyebrows and peered at her thoughtfully through his quizzing glass.

“Adrianna, your naivety astounds me. It would seem I will have to keep a closer eye on you this evening.” He tucked an errant curl into her chignon with unexpected skill. “Come along, I have arranged for a number of respectable gentlemen to make your acquaintance.”

Genre & heat level : Georgian, Scottish Highlander, Smugglers, Pirates, spicy Romance

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Highlander Drew Mackenzie’s double life as a respectable gentleman and the notorious, smuggler, Le c-tm-hcb-fullDiable Noir, comes into jeopardy the moment Lady Adrianna Beachwood’s father rejects him as a suitor. He devises an ingenious deception to meet her in secret by using his cousin, the respectable, Lord Rupert as a decoy.

Nothing goes to plan and when the feisty goddaughter of George II is thrust into danger, her only chance of survival lies in the hands of her courageous and deliciously handsome Scottish warrior.

 

 

 

Buy Links

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__________________________________________

H.C. Brown is a multi-published, bestselling, award-winning author of Historical, Paranormal, Sci-Fi, Fantasy, BDSM, Time Heather BrownTravel, Action Adventure, Suspense, and Contemporary Romance. In 2015, she was delighted to be named Luminosity Publishing’s Bestselling Author of 2014. In 2015, Highlander in the Mist placed 3rd Historical and Rock ‘n’ Leather placed 3rd GLBT in the Easychair Bookshop Competition. In 2011, she was delighted to receive nominations in three categories in the 2011 CAPA Awards: Favorite Author, Best GLBT Romance, and Best Science Fiction Romance. She was nominated for Best Historical M/M in the 2013, Goodreads Book of Year Awards. H.C writes about strong alpha male heroes and girl next door heroines in complex settings, and all her stories have happy endings.

 

To connect with H.C. Brown, you can find her at the following places:

A chat with our heroines from ‘Mistletoe Marriage & Mayhem’ – by Amy Rose Bennett and Sherry Ewing. Part One…

bookshop photo

Mrs. Marlowe’s Book Emporium and Teashop

The Bluestocking Belles are having a blog hop this month in anticipation of the release of our Christmas box set Mistletoe, Marriage and Mayhem, due out on November 1st. The pre-order buy links are at the end of this post, and all proceeds are being donated to the Bluestocking Belles’ chosen charity, the Malala Fund, which supports the education of girls and women around the world.

Peter Prichard

Mr. Peter Prichard, reporter from the Regency Morning Gazette

Following is Part One of an exclusive interview with the heroines from Amy Rose Bennett’s and Sherry Ewing’s respective Christmas novellas…

This is Peter Prichard from the Regency Morning Gazette, reporting to you from Mrs. Marlowe’s Book Emporium and Teashop. Today I have the pleasure of sitting and chatting with Miss Tessa Penrose, the heroine of Amy Rose Bennett’s ‘All She wants for Christmas’ and Miss Margaret Templeton, the heroine of Sherry Ewing’s ‘Under the Mistletoe’. Both stories are contained within the Bluestocking Belles’ Christmas anthology ‘Mistletoe, Marriage & Mayhem’. Ladies, thank you for your time. It is such a delight to speak with you.

Margaret: Thank you for asking us to join you.

Tessa: Yes indeed, thank you for the invitation, Mr. Prichard. You are most kind.

Peter: As I just mentioned, both of you will be featured in your own novellas within a box set entitled ‘Mistletoe, Marriage, & Mayhem’. That must be very exciting.

Margaret: It is indeed, Mr. Prichard. I never imagined that someone like me would have their very own novel, let alone that people would be interested in reading about my life. I understand that the box set collection is selling very well and it has not even been released as yet. I am very pleased to be a part of a book where the proceeds are being given to a charity to help bluestockings around the world.

Tessa: I agree wholeheartedly, Miss doxycycline-buy.com Templeton. I consider myself to be a bluestocking and within my story ‘All She wants for Christmas’, I am a patroness of the London-based charity, The Benevolent Society for the Women of Whitechapel. To see all of the proceeds of the Christmas box set going to the Malala Fund—a charity that supports the education of girls and women around the world—is most satisfying.

Peter: Let us take a few moments to learn a little more about you both. Please tell me, what are you most proud of in your life?

Portrait of a Young Woman Gilbert Stuart

Miss Margaret Templeton [Portrait of a Young Woman Gilbert Stuart]

Margaret: I must admit that my greatest accomplishment has been raising my youngest sister, Sophie. After our mother passed away, my father was beside himself and it was only natural that I took Sophie into my care. She’s an imaginative child and a bit fanciful. I never know what that girl will do next.

Tessa: I am most proud of the fact that I have a great deal of independence and because of that, I am able to pursue my passion, portrait painting. I’m also proud that any income I earn from my commissions, (combined with the small wage I receive as an art tutor at Mrs. Brooke’s School for Young Ladies in Kensington), I give to charity. I must make mention of the fact that my brother, Christopher, Lord Trevilian, is most supportive of my philanthropic endeavors. Society may look askance at me for taking up paid work, but my brother understands it is all for a good cause. Besides, it is hard to set aside a calling. I would not give up my painting, for anyone. It is part of who I am.

 

Peter: What are you most ashamed of in your life?

Mary Anne Bloxam by Thomas Lawrence

Miss Tessa Penrose [Mary Anne Bloxam by Thomas Lawrence]

Margaret: Oh my…you really do wish to get to know us with such a question. To be honest, I did not handle very well the way in which I refused a certain gentlemen’s offer of marriage many years ago. He was my best friend, you see, but he was titled, whereas I was not. His parents never would have approved of our match. At the time, I thought I was doing him a favor, but now I am not so sure I made the wisest choice. But I shall not say another word on the matter of Viscount Frederick Beacham. You will need to read about it in our book.

Tessa: Oh my goodness! Isn’t that a veritable hornet’s nest of a question? Hmmm. I think I will respond by saying that there was a time that I was not always the most dutiful of daughters. My father, the late Henry Penrose, Viscount Trevilian, and I did not always see eye to eye. I am ashamed to admit that I had a youthful tendency to be rash and over-confident. But that is all I am willing to divulge at this moment lest I reveal too much about myself! As Miss Templeton said, you will need to read each of our stories to find out more.

Peter: What impression do you make on people when they first meet you?

Margaret: I would like to hope that people think kindly of me even though most would not care that I consider myself an educated woman. My father always put great stock in my ability to learn new things and I spend a great deal of my time with my books.

Tessa: At the age of five and twenty—and did I really just admit my age? Oh dear!—I think most members of the ton would find me to be a quiet and considered individual. At least I hope so. I know there are whispers about ‘the eldest Penrose sister’ because of my bluestocking tendencies, and the fact I am rarely seen in society even though my brother is well-connected. But they are only whispers and do not bother me overly much.

Peter: What is your greatest fear?

Margaret: Disappointing my father.

Tessa: I cannot say. You must read my story, ‘All She Wants for Christmas’ to find out. Although I will admit that I loathe social functions of any kind… and that places me in a most difficult position as I will be chaperoning my younger sister, Emma, who is due to make her debut next Season! I love my sister, but my very bones quake when I think about all of the balls and soirees and garden parties that I will be required to attend. I also fear having my heart-broken. And that is why I have decided to never marry. Ever.

Part Two of the interview with Miss Tessa Penrose and Miss Margaret Templeton is featured on Sherry Ewing’s blog. Click here to read more.

You can also join in all the release day fun on November 1st at our Bluestocking Belles’ Mistletoe, Marriage & Mayhem Launch Party on Facebook.  There are some wonderful giveaways, so please do join us.

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Mistletoe, Marriage, and Mayhem: A Bluestocking Belles Collection is releasing on November 1, 201511891469_386705598205207_1563724846616892015_o

In this collection of novellas, the Bluestocking Belles bring you seven runaway Regency brides resisting and romancing their holiday heroes under the mistletoe. Whether scampering away or dashing toward their destinies, avoiding a rogue or chasing after a scoundrel, these ladies and their gentlemen leave miles of mayhem behind them on the slippery road to a happy-ever-after.

All She Wants for Christmas by Amy Rose Bennett

A frosty bluestocking and a hot-blooded rake. A stolen kiss and a Yuletide wedding. Sparks fly, but will hearts melt this Christmas?

When confirmed bluestocking, Tessa Penrose, is thoroughly compromised at a Yuletide ball by Jasper, the Earl of Arlington, she is none to pleased to have to marry him. But not only her reputation is at stake. Can Tessa trust this disreputable rogue with a secret she will do anything to hide?

One thing is certain: she dare not trust her husband with her heart.

Under the Mistletoe by Sherry Ewing

When Margaret Templeton is requested to act as hostess at Captain Sander Morledge’s Christmas party and possibly agree to marry him, she did not think she would see the man who once held her heart. Viscount Frederick Beacham had never forgotten the young woman he had fallen in love with, and his feelings are evident when he sees her at a holiday gathering.

In a swirl of Christmas miracles and joyous celebration, will the two finally put down their differences and once again fall in love?

***All proceeds benefit the Malala Fund.***

Pre-order Buy Links 

Amazon

Amazon UK

Amazon Australia

Barnes & Noble

iBooks

Kobo

Sherry Ewing’s Author Bio_DSF0006

Sherry Ewing is a bestselling author who writes historical and time travel romances to awaken the soul one heart at a time. Always wanting to write a novel but busy raising her children, she finally took the plunge in 2008 and wrote her first Regency. She is a national and local member of Romance Writers of America, The Beau Monde and The Bluestocking Belles. Sherry is currently working on her next novel and 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 on her website at www.SherryEwing.com.

Connect with Sherry Ewing:

Website & Blog

The Bluestocking Belles Website

Amazon Author Page

Facebook

Goodreads

Pinterest

Twitter

Authorgraph

Amy Rose Bennett’s Author Bio:

Amy Rose Bennett JPG

Amy Rose Bennett has always wanted to be a writer for as long as she can remember. An avid reader with a particular love for historical romance, it seemed only natural to write stories in her favorite genre. She has a passion for creating emotion-packed—and sometimes a little racy—stories set in the Georgian and Regency periods. Of course, her strong-willed heroines and rakish heroes always find their happily ever after.

Amy is happily married to her own Alpha male hero, has two beautiful daughters, and a rather loopy Rhodesian Ridgeback. She has worked as a speech pathologist for many years, but is currently devoting her time to her one other true calling—writing romance.

Connect with Amy Rose Bennett:

Website

Facebook

Twitter

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Goodreads

The Bluestocking Belles Website

 

 

 

Welcome to Amy Rose’s Parlour… Sasha Cottman, Historical Romance Author

Award winning author, Sasha Cottman is visiting my parlour today to talk about her latest Regency romance release in the The Duke of Strathmore series, The Duke’s Daughter. I’ve read the first two books in the series – Letter From a Rake and An Unsuitable Match – and loved them both so I’m certainly looking forward to reading the next instalment. Sasha shares an excerpt from The Duke’s Daughter and a classic French recipe from the Regency era (which I must try – I love cooking).

Welcome and take it away, Sasha…

The Regency recipe I am sharing is cassoulet in honour of Paris where part of The Duke’s Daughter is set.

He chuckled softly. It was Tuesday. Madame Dessaint always cooked cassoulet on Tuesdays.

The Duke’s Daughter

Cassoulet

Cassoulet is a traditional French, slowed cooked casserole. The dish is named after the earthenware pot in which it is traditionally cooked in, the cassole. Varying meats can be used in the recipe including duck, goose and even mutton (lamb). For this recipe we used chicken.

Cassoulet

Ingredients

1 cup (215g) dried cannellini beans

2 teaspoons olive oil

500 g pork belly cut into small pieces

200 gm bacon cut into small pieces.

2 garlic or spicy sausages.

2 piece of chicken Maryland (or breasts)

2 brown onions roughly chopped

2 garlic cloves, crushed

1 sprig thyme

1 sprig rosemary (fresh is best if you can find it).

400 g can chopped tomatoes

1 litre of chicken stock

1 ½ cups of breadcrumbs

30g melted butter

Method

This is a good Saturday afternoon recipe. If you start it mid- afternoon, it will be ready in time for dinner.

Soak the cannellini beans in a bowl of fresh water overnight. (Or you could use the tinned variety, washed and drained if you want to cook the recipe all in one go).

Preheat the oven to 140C/280F

Cook the pork in a stovetop pan. Recipes often call for small batches, but if you have a big enough pan then you can cook it all in one go. It will take about 6 minutes to brown the pork.

Set the pork aside in a large bowl.

Next cook the bacon in the pan until it is brown. Then put it in the bowl with the pork.

Then cook the sausages in the pan until well done. After you take them out of the pan, slice them up thickly and put them in the bowl with the pork and bacon.

Add the chicken to the pan and cook for 5 minutes either side until browned. When cooked put them in the bowl with the rest of the cooked meats.

Now cook the onion and garlic for a couple of minutes until they are soft. Add the pork, bacon, sausage and chicken back into the pan. Add the thyme and rosemary.

Drain the beans which have been soaking. Add the bean, tomatoes and stock to the pan. Heat for 2 mins.

Transfer all the ingredients to a casserole dish and cover (unless of course you have been using an oven proof pan on the stove top which is very clever of you).

Bake the cassoulet, covered for 1 ½ hours.

Take the cassoulet out of the oven and cut up the chicken pieces before returning them to the dish.

Combine the breadcrumbs and melted butter in a bowl. Sprinkle this mix over the cassoulet and then bake the cassoulet uncovered for another 40 minutes in the oven until the top is golden.

Remove from the oven and serve.

Serving it with bread is a nice touch as you can use the bread to soak up any of the lovely remaining juice in the bottom of the cassoulet.

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Excerpt from ‘The Duke’s Daughter’

Chapter One

By every measure of her own behaviour, Lady Lucy Radley knew this was the worst.

‘You reckless fool,’ she muttered under her breath as she headed back inside and into the grand ballroom.

The room was a crush of London’s social elite. Every few steps she had to stop and make small talk with friends or acquaintances. A comment here and there about someone’s gown or promising a social call made for slow going.

Finally she spied her cousin, Eve. She fixed a smile to her face as Eve approached.

‘Where have you been, Lucy? I’ve been searching everywhere for you.’

‘I was just outside admiring the flowers on the terrace.’

Eve frowned, but the lie held.

Another night, another ball in one of London’s high-society homes. In one respect Lucy would be happy when the London social season ended in a few weeks; then she would be free to travel to her family home in Scotland and go tramping across the valleys and mountain paths, the chill wind ruffling her hair.

She puffed out her cheeks. With the impending close of the season came an overwhelming sense of failure. Her two older brothers, David and Alex, had taken wives. Perfect, love-filled unions with delightful girls, each of whom Lucy was happy to now call sister.

Her newest sister-in-law, Earl Langham’s daughter Clarice, was already in a delicate condition, and Lucy suspected it was only a matter of time before her brother Alex and his wife Millie shared some good news.

For herself, this season had been an unmitigated disaster on the husband-hunting front. The pickings were slim at best. Having refused both an earl and a viscount the previous season, she suspected onlinepharmacies247.com/levaquin_generic.html other suitable gentlemen now viewed her as too fussy. No gentleman worth his boots wanted a difficult wife. Only the usual group of fortune-hunters, intent on getting their hands on her substantial dowry, were lining up at this stage of the season to ask her to dance. Maintaining her pride as the daughter of a duke, she refused them all.

Somewhere in the collective gentry of England there must be a man worthy of her love. She just had to find him.

What a mess.

‘You are keeping something from me,’ Eve said, poking a finger gently into Lucy’s arm.

Lucy shook her head. ‘It’s nothing. I suspect I am suffering from a touch of ennui. These balls all begin to look the same after a while. All the same people, sharing the same gossip.’

‘Oh dear, and I thought I was having a bad day,’ Eve replied.

‘Sorry, I was being selfish. You are the one who needs a friend to cheer her up,’ Lucy replied. She kissed her cousin gently on the cheek.

Eve’s brother William had left London earlier that day to return to his home in Paris, and she knew her cousin was taking his departure hard.

‘Yes, well, I knew I could sit at home and cry, or I could put on a happy face and try to find something to smile about,’ Eve replied.

Eve’s father had tried without success to convince his son to return permanently to England. With the war now over and Napoleon toppled from power, everyone expected William Saunders to come home immediately, but it had taken two years for him to make the journey back to London.

‘Perhaps once he gets back to France and starts to miss us all again, he shall have a change of heart,’ Lucy said.

‘One can only hope. Now, let’s go and find a nice quiet spot and you can tell me what you were really doing out in the garden. Charles Ashton came in the door not a minute before you, and he had a face like thunder. As I happened to see the two of you head out into the garden at the same time a little while ago, I doubt Charles’ foul temper was because he found the flowers not to his liking,’ Eve replied.

____________________________________________

When handsome army officer Avery Fox unexpectedly inherits a fortune, he instantly becomes one of the season’s most The Duke's Daughter - hi res covereligible bachelors. More accustomed to the battlefield, he has no patience with the naive debutantes who fill the ballrooms of London.

Honest and impetuous Lady Lucy Radley is a breath of fresh air, guiding him through the season and helping him to avoid any traps. So when Avery is left with little option but to marry Lucy, he can’t help but feel he’s been manipulated. Nor can he shake the feeling that a duke’s daughter should be out of his reach.

From the wildly beautiful Scottish Highlands to the elegant soirees of Paris, Avery and Lucy go on a journey that is full of surprises for them both.  But will their feelings for each other be strong enough to overcome the circumstances of their marriage and survive the ghosts of Avery’s past?

THE DUKE OF STRATHMORE SERIES:

Letter from a Rake

An Unsuitable Match

The Duke’s Daughter

Buy Links

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Sasha Cottman’s Bio and Bits:sasha cottman author pic

Sasha Cottman’s debut novel was published in 2013. Letter from a Rake, was a Romantic Book of the Year finalist in 2014 and won the Book Junkies Choice Award in 2014.

Her books are centred on the theme of love, honour and family. Her current book series, The Duke of Strathmore, covers the story of the love lives of a group of siblings and their cousins.

Sasha’s second novel An Unsuitable Match, was a four time ARRA finalist in 2015. The third book in the Duke of Strathmore series, The Duke’s Daughter, was released in August 2015.

Sasha divides her time between the city of Melbourne, Australia and her family beach retreat at Torquay. She and her family have discovered all the places the family cat disappears to whenever it realises they are about to head home on a Sunday night.

Before accidently enrolling in a course for romance writers a number of years ago, she had always had a love of history. While her writing career may appear at odds with her professional career as a finance executive, it means she can spot a poorly written company board report at twenty feet.

A self-confessed ‘hopeless’ cook, she writes a blog, In the Regency Kitchen, where she recreates recipes from the Regency/Georgian era. Her family have so far managed to survive being the test subjects of her culinary efforts.

The little time she has left during the week and weekends is spent trying to beat her husband at Fitbit challenges and trying to find where the pair to that sock really went.

Sasha is published by Destiny Romance a digital imprint of Penguin Random House.

To connect with Sasha:

You can follow Sasha and find out more about her and her books on her website .

Follow her In the Regency Kitchen Blog where she attempts to recreate Regency Recipes with mixed success

Follow her on:

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Sasha’s newest release The Duke’s Daughter is released through Destiny Romance.

Book Trailer

Welcome to Amy Rose’s Parlour… Thamsine Granville, the heroine of Alison Stuart’s ‘The King’s Man’

Award winning historical romance author, Alison Stuart, visits my parlour today to talk about her recent release, THE KING’S MAN, the second novel in her trilogy set around the time of the English Civil War.

Welcome and take it away, Alison…

Thank you so much for inviting me to your blog today, Amy. For your readers, I am running a rafflecopter contest for the launch period of THE KING’S MAN … to enter click HERE .

I love having the opportunity to chat to my characters, particularly as both Kit and Thamsine were particularly strong minded and chatty during the course of writing THE KING’S MAN.

Kit Lovell, the hero (or anti-hero) has already had his chance for a chat with readers… click HERE to read his interview… so let’s take a moment to interview Thamsine Granville, heroine of THE KING’S MAN.

AS: How do you pronounce your name, Thamsine?

TG: TAMZIN – Thamsine and Thomazine (an innumerable variations) were both popular names during the seventeenth century.

AS: You have just escaped the accusation of attempting to assassinate Oliver Cromwell, do you mind me asking why you threw the brick at his coach?

TG: That was a bit of a mistake on my part. I wasn’t really trying to kill Cromwell, I just wanted a distraction. I had no idea it could potentially land me in so much trouble.

AS: Distraction from what?

TG: I’d rather not say… shall we leave it as – a person I did not particularly want to meet.

AS: What is the worst thing that has happened in your life? What did you learn from it?

TG: My life over the last couple of years has gone from bad to worse, but ending up on the run in London, with no money in the middle of winter, probably has to count as a new low in my life. What did I learn from it? Not to try to kill people.

AS: What is the worst thing you’ve ever done to someone? Why?

TG: I tried to kill someone because he was trying to persuade me to marry him in the worst way possible. He only wanted my money but he would take both me and my fortune by force if he could.

AS: How do you feel about your life right now? What, if anything, would you like to change?

TG:   Since Kit Lovell saved me from the noose and found me a job in a tavern, life has improved considerably, but I would still rather be back in my own home. I really wasn’t brought up to be a tavern wench and I’m not very good at it.

AS: Ah, Kit Lovell. What attracts you to him?

TG: Attracts? Alison, really we’re just friends… Oh well since you ask, just between us girls, how could one not be attracted to a handsome man with a slight French mentalhealthupdate.com/adderall.html accent, some intriguing scars, a limp and a penchant for rescuing fallen women off the streets of London, but he’s not mine…

AS: Not yours?

TG: Alas he has a wealthy and rather pretty mistress who indulges him shamlessly. I don’t have the money to keep Kit in the manner in which he has clearly become accustomed.

AS: What would you like to change about him?

TG: I wish he would learn to forgive himself. Something has happened in his past, which of course he won’t talk about (men!), but I think it has set him on the course of something that will end badly. All those secret meetings in the inn parlour for starters… I just have a bad feeling…

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ABOUT THE KING’S MAN

The second in a tantalising trilogy from award-winning author Alison Stuart, about warriors, the wounds they carry, and the women that help them heal.TheKingsMan-Harlequin SMALL

London 1654: Kit Lovell is one of the King’s men, a disillusioned Royalist who passes his time cheating at cards, living off his wealthy and attractive mistress, and plotting the death of Oliver Cromwell.

Penniless and friendless, Thamsine Granville has lost everything.  Terrified, in pain, and alone, she hurls a piece of brick at the coach of Oliver Cromwell, and earns herself an immediate death sentence. Only the quick thinking of a stranger saves her.

Far from the bored, benevolent rescuer that he seems, Kit plunges Thamsine into his world of espionage and betrayal – a world that has no room for falling in love.

Torn between Thamsine and loyalty to his master and King, Kit’s carefully constructed web of lies begins to unravel. He must make one last desperate gamble – the cost of which might be his life.

 

Buy Links

Buy THE KING’S MAN on KOBONOOKiBooks and AMAZON

(Australian readers can still buy THE KING’S MAN for just 99c on AMAZON AUSTRALIA and the first book in the series, BY THE SWORD is currently free)

ABOUT ALISONAlison Stuart hat

Award winning Australian author, Alison Stuart learned her passion from history from her father. She has been writing stories since her teenage years but it was not until 2007 that her first full length novel was published. Alison has now published 6 full length historical romances and a collection of her short stories. Her disposition for writing about soldier heroes may come from her varied career as a lawyer in the military and fire services. These days when she is not writing she is travelling and routinely drags her long suffering husband around battlefields and castles. Connect with Alison on her website, Facebook, Twitter and Goodreads.

 

DON’T FORGET TO ENTER THE RAFFLECOPTER CONTEST: Click HERE (The prize is a kindle Ereader)

(And if you would like a smile, THE KING’S MAN is featured in an ABC Art Nation program called ‘My Secret Art Life’… Australian readers can view it on my website… click HERE)

 

Welcome to Amy Rose’s Parlour… Konstantin Volkov, the villain of Caroline Warfield’s ‘Dangerous Weakness’

Fellow Bluestocking Belle, Caroline Warfield, visits my parlour today to share an exclusive excerpt of her soon-to-be-released (on the 30th September) Regency romance, Dangerous Weakness.

Welcome and take it away, Caroline…

Lily Thornton, heroine of Dangerous Weakness, overheard something she shouldn’t in Saint Petersburg, something that put her in danger. Now she is on the run and the villain has not given up. This scene does not appear in the novel, but it could have.

Thasos, Ottoman province of Macedonia, 1818

Konstantin Volkov shivered. The blanket wrapped around his head and shoulders chafed his cheek and ears, and the smell of stale seawater wafted up to irritate his nostrils. After a week on the godforsaken island, he had enough of the Mediterranean to last a lifetime. When he returned to Mother Russia in triumph he would forget this place and every rocky horror like it.

More to lay at the feet of Lily Thornton. She will pay when I have her, pay dearly, he thought. She would pay most of all for betraying his agent in Thessaloniki. Now the man’s head hung on a pike and Volkov ran with a price on his head. It would take all his charm and no small amount of deviousness to redeem himself in St. Petersburg.

Hope of redemption and hatred for Lily almost made his temporary discomfort bearable. He paid well to know where she hid herself. Foolish woman. She could not stay in the Seraglio forever. They would discover what she was and put her out. After some time on the streets of Constantinople she might even welcome Volkov’s protection. He would take his pleasure on her as long as he wanted and how. Then— A quick death would not suffice. He entertained himself inventing ever more creative punishments.

Movement caught his eye. He forced his mind onto the light bobbing up the winding path toward his hiding place. Perhaps that worthless tavern keeper brings good news along with his watered wine and disgusting victuals.

Volkov clenched his teeth to stop their chattering. Even in summer the nights were cold. A long impatient wait later lantern light blinded him. “Word has come, Ser, as you wanted,” a disembodied voice said.

“Put that ugateamunited.com/online/ lantern down, you blasted fool, and give me the message.” He grabbed a crumpled piece of foolscap. How many eyes had read this thing? He looked down. All it had was a number. A very large number.

Volkov began to laugh. He laughed until he convulsed with it. Rais Hamidou must think I am Midas. Let him think it.

“Where is he?” he demanded out loud.”

“His anchorage is nearby,’ the tavern keeper said, eyes shifting to one side.

“Yes, yes, secret coves and that nonsense. Tell him I agree. Go quickly.”

The man scurried out. Volkov had sent the last of his money with his offer to the Barbary corsair. Let him think there is more. After he gets me safely inside Constantinople and we take Lily, I will deal with him.

Thessaloniki_overview_Cousinery

Vue générale de Thessalonique, 1831 by E. Cousinéry

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How far will he go to protect her? How far will she run from her fears?DANGEROUS WEAKNESS2 (5)

If women were as easily managed as the affairs of state—or the recalcitrant Ottoman Empire—Richard Hayden, Marquess of Glenaire, would be a happier man. As it was the creatures—one woman in particular—made hash of his well-laid plans and bedeviled him on all sides.

Lily Thornton came home from Saint Petersburg in pursuit of marriage. She wants a husband and a partner, not an overbearing, managing man. She may be “the least likely candidate to be Marchioness of Glenaire,” but her problems are her own to fix, even if those problems include both a Russian villain and an interfering Ottoman official.

Given enough facts, Richard can fix anything. But protecting that impossible woman is proving to be almost as hard as protecting his heart, especially when Lily’s problems bring her dangerously close to an Ottoman revolution. As Lily’s personal problems entangle with Richard’s professional ones, and she pits her will against his, he chases her across the pirate-infested Mediterranean. Will she discover surrender isn’t defeat? It might even have its own sweet reward.

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Carol Roddy - Author

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Welcome to Amy Rose’s Parlour… Vikki Vaught-McCombie, Historical Romance Author

Fellow Secret Cravings Publishing author, Vikki Vaught-McCombie is visiting my parlour today to talk about her new historical romance release Lady Overton’s Perilous Journey and to share a fascinating piece of background history related to her story. Vikki also shares an excerpt of the first-meet between the heroine Anissa, the Marchioness of Overton and the dashing hero, Captain Alex Hawks.

Welcome and take it away, Vikki…

I want to thank Amy Rose for having me on her blog. I’m very exciting about my new release, Lady Overton’s Perilous LadyOvertonsPerilousJourney_fullresJourney. This is the first book in my Honorable Rogue series. The story is set in early 19th century England & America, and I loved delving into a bit of American history for my novel. I’d like to discuss some of the fascinating research I did for my book.

I originally set this story in 1809, but after further research I discovered Thomas Jefferson convinced the U.S. congress to pass the Embargo Act of 1807, which stopped foreign trade. While Jefferson did not want to involve the U.S. in the conflict between France and England, he needed to put financial sanctions in place that could possibly hurt these countries economically. This act devastated the U.S. economy. American ships literally remained in port rotting in the harbors. Illegal trade became the only means of getting goods from foreign shores. Many of the items needed by Americans were brought in through Canada and prices sky-rocketed.

Here is some background history that led up to the embargo. Britain and France resumed their war in 1803, causing relations to become strained between any countries deciding to remain neutral. In 1806, France passed a law against trading with neutral countries, and since America did not take sides in the conflict between the two countries, the French began plundering U.S. ships. In 1807, Britain passed a bill prohibiting trade between France and neutral countries. The British began waylaying American vessels and demanded that the ships pull into their ports before they were allowed to trade with other countries.

The British also started boarding American vessels and began seizing sailors they deemed were deserters from the Royal British Navy. This infuriated the U.S. and thousands of American sailors were unlawfully impressed into the British Navy, leaving destitute families behind.

During the last sixteen days of Jefferson’s presidency, a bill was passed replacing the Embargo Act with the Non-Intercourse Act of 1809. While this act opened up trade again, it did not allow trade with Britain. Since my story has my heroine fleeing England on an American vessel, I needed to move it to a different year, prior to the escalating issues between the two countries. Since 1802 was the only year that England and France were not at war for more than twenty years, I decided to place my story in that year.

This was by no means the only research I did for Lady Overton’s Perilous Journey, but was certainly the most important. While this is a novel of fiction, I wanted to ensure that the happenings within the story were possible.

I hope you’ll enjoy the romance between Alex and Anissa as much as I enjoyed writing their love story. Happy reading!

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Excerpt

She cuddled her sleeping child close as she scanned the overcrowded common area. Her insides churned as she wove her way through the crowded tables, the chairs filled with dirty, unsavory-looking men. The strong smell of sweat mingled with ale threatened to turn her stomach and had her breathing through her mouth.

Anissa approached the man the stable boy had described. “Sir, are you Captain Hawks?”

He turned around, and in a drawling voice, he answered, “Well, darlin’, that’s my name.” He swept his tri-corn hat from his head, stood and bowed. “Captain Alex Hawks, at your service. What can I do for you?”

Anissa gazed up into the blackest eyes she had ever seen and wanted to fall into them. Mesmerized, she blinked as a shiver ran across her shoulders. This was not the time to notice this man’s ciprobuyonline.org eyes, no matter how compelling they were. Now was the time to use her charms to convince him to take her on his ship.

“My name is—” she quickly searched for a name, not wanting to give him her identity, “—Mrs. Carlson. I would like to pay for passage on your ship. I understand you are leaving for America this morning.” Then, thinking of a city she had heard of in America, she added, “I need to go to Boston, where some of my family lives. Would you be able to help me?”

Captain Hawks gave her an appraising stare, which unnerved her. This man was intimidating, to say the least. “I’m not going to Boston. And, I don’t normally take on passengers. I’m headed to Baltimore, and it’s a far piece from Boston, darlin’.”

“Please take me. I have to leave for America as soon as possible.” Anissa had to convince him to allow her passage. “And as far as your destination is concerned, I’m sure once I am in America, I shall be able to travel to Boston from there.”

“Darlin’, do you even know where Baltimore is and how far it is from Boston?”

Anissa wished he would quit calling her darling. It was quite presumptuous of him, and she did not appreciate it at all. Of course, she did not want to anger him, so she kept her feelings to herself. “Well, no, not really. How far is it?”

“It’s over four hundred miles,” Captain Hawks explained, as if he were speaking to a child, which further irritated her, tugging at her frazzled nerves. “You would be better served if you found a passenger ship going there. I have an associate who should be arriving in a few days, and his ship is going to Boston. He also takes passengers. I’m sure he would be happy to take you on board.”

Oh, dear, why did I say Boston? Please, Lord, let me convince him to take me.

Every hour brought her closer to the chance of discovery. She could not afford to wait for another ship. She needed to get as far away from Lord Howard as possible, immediately.

“Captain, I do not have a few days to wait. My uncle is dreadfully ill. He may only have a few months to live, so I need to leave right away. Please allow me to travel on your ship.” She looked up at him, willing a few tears into her eyes, praying to gain his sympathy.

Captain Hawks sighed and rolled his obsidian eyes toward the ceiling. “I know I’m going to regret this. All right, darlin’, if it’s that important, I’ll take you. I hope you realize how uncomfortable this voyage will be for you and the child. The cabin you will be in barely has room to turn around in. Are you sure you don’t want to reconsider?”

“We shall be fine, regardless of the conditions.”

He shook his head, sending her heart to the floor.

Oh, Lord, please don’t let him change his mind.

What shall I do if he has?

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When her son’s life is threatened, Anissa, Marchioness of Overton, seeks refuge by sailing to America. BeforeLadyOvertonsPerilousJourney_fullres the ship reaches the high seas, sparks fly between her and Captain Alex Hawks. Although the young widow may be lonely, and afraid, she cannot risk the diversion a romantic entanglement could bring, no matter how much she wants to lose herself in the captain’s embrace.  

The Captain vows to protect the young Lord Overton, but can offer no assurance that the marchioness will leave his ship with her virtue intact. Alex is drawn to Anissa’s beauty and courage, as a hummingbird is to the nectar of a flower. How long can he fight a losing battle before he surrenders and makes her his own? 

Will Alex be able to keep this remarkable woman and her child safe? Will his passion for Anissa be enough or will their differences keep them apart?

 

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