Tea with Mary

Mary was a daughter of the navy, raised aboard ship by her admiral father and a succession of nurses. She had learned her company manners from the gentlemen’s sons who vied to sit at her father’s table, and had them polished almost to breaking point during her one London Season.

Since then, she’d become wife to her own captain, and in her own world of naval wives, she knew precisely how to behave. She had even — her husband being grandson to an earl — become comfortable with those aristocrats she counted as family, counting among her close friends the wife of the current earl.

But having afternoon tea tête–à–tête with a duchess was outside of her experience. She had met the Duchess of Haverford at various entertainments in London. Her Grace’s sister had been mother to the current earl, so they had even attended some of the same family events. But she would never dare to presume on such a distant acquaintance were the circumstances not — what they were.

Summoned in response to a note asking Her Grace for an audience, she had expected to be seen as a petitioner, with perhaps a secretary on hand to make notes. Instead, she had been shown to a private sitting room, where two chairs waited in a sunny window overlooking a garden, the great lady herself occupying one.

“Mrs Alexander Redepenning, ma’am,” the butler announced, and the duchess rose to greet her.

Mary took the hand offered, and curtseyed. “Thank you for agreeing to see me, Your Grace.”

“But of course. You are family, my dear, and I always have time for family.”

“It is in that hope I have come, Your Grace.”

Shrewd hazel eyes examined her, then the duchess seated herself again, saying decidedly, “Then be seated, Mary — I may call you ‘Mary’, may I not? Tell me how you have your tea, and then tell me what I may do to help you with whatever distresses you.”

Mary obeyed, and was very soon sipping tea with lemon from a cup of delicate china.

“Well, Mary?” the duchess prompted.

“It is a long story, ma’am. It concerns Susan, my sister-in-law, her daughter Amelia, and my son James. I am not sure where to begin.”

“At the beginning, my dear,” Her Grace suggested.

Mary Redepenning is the heroine of Gingerbread Bride, a Christmas novella written for the Bluestocking Belles holiday box set in 2015. Gingerbread Bride is free this month as part of a promotion with 149 other novellas and novellas.

This scene, though, takes place some twelve years later, when Mary’s 11 year old son and her 16 year old niece go missing, and her sister-in-law Susan disappears in pursuit. These events won’t happen until The Realm of Silence, which will be book three of The Golden Redepenning series.

The Duchess of Haverford appears in many of my books, first helping her nephew with his love affair in Farewell to Kindness. She also aided and abetted the not-quite-hero, her son, in A Baron for Becky. Most recently, she has been the hostess of the Christmas house party in the Bluestocking Belles box set Holly and Hopeful Hearts, which is also on special for December, at only 99c.

You can read the first two chapters of Gingerbride Bride here.

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Welcome to the Belles Holiday Wassailing Tour

Dr Wren

Mrs Wren

Mrs Wren

Dr and Mrs Wren are delighted to welcome the wassailing party to this progressive Regency dinner.

We have something of a houseful at the moment. Many of the young students that Dr Wren tutors have stayed over in Oxford for our Christmas party, those of our children who live close enough have come home for to celebrate the holiday, bringing their own children, and we have other guests, too, including Mrs Wren’s niece, Mary Pritchard, the two men who are courting her, and the girl who is chasing after one of the men.

This should make the party very entertaining! Come in, join us in a Christmas Carol, catch the person of your choice under the kissing bough, and enjoy the food and drink.

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To win a print copy of Farewell to Kindness, with a bookplate signed by all the Belles, plus assorted Belles swag, comment below with an answer to the question. I’ll draw one commenter at random, and prizewinners will be announced at the end of the progressive dinner.

How many novellas are in the Bluestocking Belles’ holiday box set?

SeparatorMary Pritchard, her suitors, and Dr and Mrs Wren, are characters in Gingerbread Bride, a novella in Mistletoe, Marriage, and Mayhem

Mary Pritchard

Rick Redepenning

Rick Redepenning

Stranded ashore by injury, naval lieutenant Rick Redepenning rescues Mary Pritchard when she runs into villains. Familiar territory. He has been rescuing his admiral’s daughter since they were both children. The child has become a lovely woman, but she seems oblivious to his interest. Can Rick catch his runaway bride in time for Christmas?

 

Mary Pritchard is cast on the perilous shoals of London Society by her admiral father’s death. Her loathsome cousin thinks to win her hand and fortune. Mary runs. She has other aunts, and won’t settle for a loveless marriage in place of her dreams. But the hero of those dreams, her girlhood rescuer, couldn’t be interested. Could he?

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“Mary, my love,” Mrs Wren says, bring out the wassail. The carolers will be thirsty after that wonderful song.”

“Of course, Aunt Theo.” But Lieutenant Redepenning is before Mary to the bowl. “Here, Miss Pritchard, let me carry that. It is heavy. You bring the cups.”

“I can carry the bowl for Miss Pritchard,” says Viscount Bosville, puffing out his chest.

Mary frowns at them both. “You carry the bowl,” she says to Lieutenant Redepenning, and then hands the cups to Bosville. “There. You carry the cups.” With a cheeky grin, she walks off and leaves them glaring at one another.

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How to Make Fireside Wassail VIDEO. An Easy and Tasty Christmas Drink Recipe

SeparatorExcerpt from Gingerbread Bride

She was everywhere, always busy, always in company. More of the Wren offspring arrived, with spouses and children, all delighted to meet Mary, the cousin whose letters from far-flung places had enlivened their lives for many years. She was in demand in the kitchen, where she was making and icing gingerbread shapes for the party supper. She was involved in the last of the decorating.

He gave up, and decided to move his baggage to the inn where he was booked for the night.

“Rick? Are you leaving?” Mary. She stopped in the parlor doorway.

“I’ll be back for the party, Mary, but I’ll leave from the inn in the morning. My father expects me in London tomorrow night. Mary? Will you walk into Oxford with me?”

Just then, Mrs. Wren and two of her daughters came down the stairs.

“Mary, dear, would you help with the kissing bough in the garden? Lieutenant Redepenning, you’re off to the inn? What time do you expect to be back, dear?”

Rick gave some kind of an answer, watching Mary slip away from him again, carried off by her cousins.

Tonight. At some point tonight, he would find her alone, if he had to carry her off into a dark corner of the garden across the dead bodies of all her relatives.

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soup tureen“Another cup of wassail?” Dr Wren asks, beaming.

“Now, Husband,” says Mrs Wren, “they have many more stops to go before the end of the dinner, and wassail at each house, I have not a doubt.” She looks straight at you as she says, “We are serving soup in the dining room as the first course of this meal you have embarked upon. Please, come and join us in a bowl.”

Dr Wren winks. “Not precisely in the bowl, you understand. It would be a little cramped.”

Regency white soup

Recipe from: John Farley’s London Art of Cooking (1783)

Put a knuckle of veal into six quarts of water, with a large fowl, and a pound of lean bacon, half a pound of rice, two anchovies, a few pepper corns, a bundle of sweet herbs*, two or three onions, and three or four heads of celery cut in slices**. Stew them all together, till the soup be as strong as you would have it+, and then strain it through a hair sieve into a clean earthen pot. Having let it stand all night, the next day take off the scum, and pour it clean off into a tossing-pan. Put in half a pound of Jordan almonds beat fine, boil it a little, and run it through a lawn [fine cloth] sieve. Then put in a pint of cream, and the yolk of an egg, and send it up hot.

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

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“Perhaps a little mug of posset to keep the chill from their bones before the next stop?” Dr Wren suggests to Mrs Wren, who relents now that our stomachs are well lined with soup.

“Mary, my love, fetch the posset, if you will.”

Mary is heard to mutter as she leaves the room, “If Viscount Bosville has not consumed the lot.”

But she returns a few moments later carrying mugs and a ladle, and followed by Rick Redepenning with a large cauldron from which fragrant smells are wafting.

“Here,” says Rick cheerfully. “This will keep you warm on your way.”

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My Lord of Carlisle’s Posset

kenelm digby

Sir Kenelm Digby

Recipe from: the posthumously published book, The Closet of the Eminently Learned Kenelm Digby Knight (London: 1670) (Please see link for an in-depth discussion of the recipe)

Take a pottle of Cream, and boil in it a little whole Cinnamon, and three or four flakes of Mace. To this proportion of Cream put in eighteen yolks of eggs, and eight of the whites; a pint of Sack; beat your eggs very well, and then mingle them with your Sack. Put in three quarters of a pound of Sugar into the Wine and Eggs, with a Nutmeg grated, and a little beaten Cinnamon; set the Bason on the fire with the Wine and Eggs, and let it be hot. Then put in the Cream boiling from the fire, pour it on high, but stir it not; cover it with a dish, and when it is settlede, strew on the top a little fine Sugar mingled with three grains of Ambergreece, and one grain of Musk, and serve it up.

SeparatorBox-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

Amazon | Smashwords | Amazon UK | Amazon Australia | Amazon Canada | Barnes & Noble | iTunes | Kobo

Donate to the Malala Fund

SeparatorThis is only the first stop in the Belles’ holiday wassailing blog tour, 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. Keep checking back, and I will add the links to the stops as they become available.

christmas

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

 

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Runaway brides hit the runway

As I type this, midnight 31 October was 14 hours ago where I am. And as the globe spins and midnight reaches other places around the world, the Bluestocking Belles first box set, Mistletoe, Marriage, and Mayhem is reaching those who have preordered it. Thirteen hundred are on Kindles, iPads, and other devices as we speak.

To celebrate we are having a launch party from 4 to 9 US EST tomorrow.  Join us to visit with the authors, win prizes and have fun. And as well as the prizes at the launch party, we have more!

Be sure to enter for a chance at the Christmas Party Box. (See Rafflecopter, below. It’s open until later in November, but the prize is amazing, so give yourself enough time to rack up the maximum number of entries!)

The Book

Mistletoe, 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.***Print

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?

The Ultimate Escape, by Susana Ellis

Abandoned on his wedding day, Oliver must choose between losing his bride forever or crossing over two hundred years to find her and win her back.

Under the Mistletoe, by Sherry Ewing

Margaret Templeton will settle for Captain Morledge’s hand in marriage, until she sees the man she once loved. Who will win her heart at the Christmas party of her would-be betrothed?

’Tis Her Season, by Mariana Gabrielle

Charlotte Amberly returns a Christmas gift from her intended—the ring—then hares off to London to take husband-hunting into her own hands. Will she let herself be caught?

Gingerbread Bride, by Jude Knight

Traveling with her father’s fleet has not prepared Mary Pritchard for London. When she strikes out on her own, she finds adventure, trouble, and her girlhood hero, riding once more to her rescue.

A Dangerous Nativity, by Caroline Warfield

With Christmas coming, can the Earl of Chadbourn repair his widowed sister’s damaged estate, and far more damaged family? Dare he hope for love in the bargain?

Joy to the World, by Nicole Zoltack

Eliza Berkeley discovers she is marrying the wrong man—on her wedding day. When the real duke turns up instead, will her chance at marital bliss be spoiled?

Here are my hero and heroine, from Gingerbread Bride

5-36 MMM mary meme 5-36 MMM rick meme

Buy links

Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/1122610733
iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/id1036941053
Kobo: https://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/mistletoe-marriage-and-mayhem-a-bluestocking-belles-collection

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B014OI7M54/
Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B014OI7M54
Amazon Australia: http://www.amazon.com.au/gp/product/B014OI7M54
Amazon Germany: http://www.amazon.de/gp/product/B014OI7M54
Amazon France: http://www.amazon.fr/gp/product/B014OI7M54
Amazon Japan: http://www.amazon.co.jp/gp/product/B014OI7M54
Amazon Spain: http://www.amazon.es/gp/product/B014OI7M54
Amazon Italy: http://www.amazon.it/gp/product/B014OI7M54
Amazon Netherlands: http://www.amazon.nl/gp/product/B014OI7M54
Amazon Canada: http://www.amazon.ca/gp/product/B014OI7M54
Amazon Brussels: http://www.amazon.com.br/gp/product/B014OI7M54
Amazon Mexico: http://www.amazon.com.mx/gp/product/B014OI7M54
Amazon India: http://www.amazon.in/gp/product/B014OI7M54

AFTER RELEASE
Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/573400
CreateSpace (in print): https://www.createspace.com/5711740

And don’t forget the Rafflecopter

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/06ff3b7016/

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Journeys on WIP Wednesday

tea in gardenJourneys are a feature of my Gingerbread Bride novella in the Bluestocking Belles Christmas box set (Mistletoe, Marriage, and Mayhem). But—as you’d expect when our theme is runaway brides—journeys appear in the other novellas, too. Launch is this weekend, so this is my last chance to call it a work in progress!

Before now, I’ve posted excerpts where Rick first sees Mary walking through a field after her coach breaks a wheel, and where Mary and her maid are trapped in a runaway chaise, so here is a bit from a somewhat tamer part of Mary’s travels. Please feel free to post ten lines or so (I went for ‘or so’!) from your own work in progress, and don’t forget to share!

By the time they stopped for a bite to eat in the early afternoon, Rick’s pallor had increased alarmingly, and he’d been clenching the front of the bench for more than an hour, his knuckles white with the force of his grip.

He managed a slow, awkward descent from the carriage and twisted his mouth into a shadow of his usual jaunty grin when he caught Mary’s concerned frown.

“I’m feeling a bit battered, Mary, but no harm done.”

Mary felt a bit battered herself. The carriage was not called a bounder for nothing.

“Let us take our meal in the garden, so we can stroll a little,” she suggested, “unless… should you be sitting down, Rick? Or lying even? We could enquire  about a room.”

“A walk would be just the thing,” Rick assured her.

Mary sent Polly off to order sustenance. “We will eat in the garden, Polly. I can see tables under the trees. Order for three. You’ll eat with us.”

Rick opened the gate from the inn-yard to the garden, and Mary went through it on his arm, trying to support him as much as she could without being obvious.

Another guest was before them, sitting at one of the tables and staring disconsolately at the small, dirty pond that adorned one corner.

“What is the matter?” Rick asked. Mary realized she had halted and was clutching his arm in a death grip. She willed herself to relax.

 

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Rejected lovers gossip: Part two

Lady Bosville has been rescued from boredom. The Stanton musicale is a dismal affair, but when she slips out to sample some more of the rather lovely afternoon tea, she encounters her dear friend Lady Montagu. And Cordelia has been able to relate the inside story on the gossip of the moment; the scandalously sudden betrothal of one of society’s most notable rakes.

To read that gossip, see the first half of this post on Amy Rose Bennett’s blog.

Or read on for some more Regency gossip.

*****************

frederic-soulacroix-french-b-1825_tete-tete_698x1024Enid was following her own thoughts, and was decidedly disgruntled. “It is a nuisance having to treat them as family. Mary is so common. (Her father, you know. Not at all the thing. Her mother married down.) And now Rick’s decidedly gorgeous brothers are all married too. So unfair. And last time I hinted, just hinted, Cordelia, I swear, that I could provide some comfort to poor Rick when Mary was off on something to do with one of her ridiculous charities—why, he was quite rude!”

“The devil!” exclaims Cordelia. “How anyone could remain contented with the same partner year in, year out, I will never fathom.”

“Indeed! So boring. The years before George and Frederick were born were the longest of my life. One has to do one’s duty, of course,” Enid added. Her friend was as aware as the rest of the ton that George, Enid’s older son, not only bore no resemblance to Bosville, but had the signature blue eyes so common in the Redepenning family. And even Enid was not certain which younger son of a duke was her daughter Charlotte’s progenitor.

“Of course,” Cordelia agrees. Cordelia is blessedly unencumbered by offspring, having married an elderly Baron, and having been careful in her later amours. “Enid,” she says in a quiet voice, “It suddenly occurs to me that perhaps it wasn’t only Rick Redepenning that you formed a tendre for. Did you and George…”

Enid can feel her face grow red. Had Cordelia just realised? The late Lord Chirbury had been charming and insistent. And an earl! Given Bosville’s neglect of his new bride, she was totally justified, but she would certainly not make that argument, even to Cordelia.

“Why Cordelia, as if I would, when I had not even given Bosville a son!” She studies her fingernails with rapt attention. “Not that it would matter if I had. Bosville has never even noticed George’s eyes. I named Bosville’s eldest son and heir for the King, of course.” She peeps up through her lashes at her friend to see whether Cordelia will accept this lie.

Cordelia quirks an eyebrow in skepticism but refrains from further comment. Enid changes the subject, hastily. “I saw you dance with Captain Morledge, Cordelia. How you dared!”

Cordelia shrugs. “The rumours about him taking his wife’s life are just that, rumours. Besides, it ’twas only a dance, Enid. I’m certainly not in the market for a husband.” She smiles. “I just can’t resist the invitation of a military man.”

Enid sighs. “He does look very fine in his uniform. Tell me, Cordelia, does he look fine out of it?”

Cordelia smirks. “Not as fine as Lord Arlington. Now there’s a rare specimen of a man who would be worth pursuing, wife or no.” She sighs. “I would perhaps consider marriage again if there were attractive enough options available. But it seems even dukes make poor husbands these days.” When Enid gives her a quizzical look, she adds in a low voice, “You must have heard about the late Duke of Murnane’s exploits, surely. What his poor wife has had to endure.” She shudders for effect.

Enid nods, her eyes avid. “Why, I heard that he…” she lowers her voice, though they were the only people in the room, “failed to pay his gambling vowels! Can you imagine! I heard it from Jeremy Smithson himself. The poor, dear man is owed hundreds of pounds.”

“I did my best to comfort him, of course.” Without leaving the slimy toad alone with her jewel box. He was an inventive and interesting lover, but a card sharp, a thief and—or so she understood, not that she would try such a thing—an opium pusher, like all the Smithson men.

“I’m sure you did,” replied Cordelia. “You know, Enid, I sometimes I wonder if men like Sir Jeremy and the duke aren’t at least a trifle responsible for the plight of some of our own. Take the Duchess of Murnane for example. One would think she’d be happier now that her brute of a husband has left this world, but no. It’s terribly sad to see her brought so low.” When Enid’s eyes light up, she whispers, “She’s much too fond of laudanum…”

It has never occurred to Enid to worry about the plight of other women, and she does not see any point in doing so now. “I do not see the appeal of laudanum,” she muses. “One feels so out of control, and remembers little of what has happened. Of course, while Murnane was alive, his wife had a reason to absent herself. But now! She is a widow, Cordelia, and doesn’t have to answer to any man. And she is wasting her time stuck out there in the countryside where Murnane put her. I do not understand it.”

“Neither do I,” says Cordelia with a grimace. “Perhaps we should try to take her under our wing so to speak when next she ventures into Town. There’s nothing quite like the thrill of a dalliance to dispel one’s ennui.”

“Indeed,” Enid agrees. “And thank goodness there is little chance of these ridiculous ‘love matches’ ever becoming fashionable!”

afternoonteaCordelia smiles widely. “Yes, bored husbands and rakes will always be my cup of tea.” She casts a glance at her own discarded cup, now cold and pulls a face before turning her attention back to Enid. “I have an invitation to Lord and Lady Beacham’s soiree tomorrow evening. I think I might go in search of more appealing fare there. Something a bit stronger and more full-bodied.” Her smile turns sly. “I’m sure you know what I mean. Perhaps I shall see you there…”

Enid smiles into her own empty cup. “I have an engagement at Lady Uriana’s. I am fairly certain that Wyndale will be there. He and Lady Uriana…” she flaps one hand, knowing that Cordelia will know have heard the same gossip. “The Duke is said to be very… athletic in certain ways.”

Cordelia sighs. “Yes, I believe that to be true. But furthering an acquaintance with His Grace this Yultide season is not to be I am afraid. Rumour has it that he has decamped to the country and has married also. In haste and to one of the Berekely chits. I almost fell off my chair when I heard the news.”

“No, it is not true,” Enid said with authority. “I have it from Lady Uriana herself that the Berkeley girl was marrying an imposter. Uriana says that Stephen will have caught the criminal by now, and will be returning to town immediately. She expects him back in her bed by tomorrow night, though we shall see about that.”

“Heavens. How scandalous,” exclaims Cordelia. “And how impressive is Stephen? If he is at Lord and Lady Beacham’s soiree tomorrow, Lady Uriana might not be the only lady seeking him out.”

Enid’s smile stretches. “Let me just say that Arlington is not the only available rare specimen. What need we care for the Rick Redepennings of the world and their ugly wives when the ton has such banquets of delight as Stephen Huntingdon, Duke of Wyndale, and Jasper Hargreaves, Earl of Arlington? Let us arrange to meet at the soiree and see who can persuade one of them to, er, ‘examine the paintings’, so to speak.”

Cordelia’s amusement seems out of proportion to the joke. There is a story there, Enid is sure. “An excellent plan, my dear friend,” Cordelia says. “It might be the season for marriages, but where there is mistletoe, there is also going to be all sorts of mischief. I’m sure you and I will be able to make plenty.”

**************************

Box setBuy your copy of Mistletoe, Marriage, and Mayhem to find out:

  • 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.

Most of the other characters Enid and Cordelia gossip about in this piece are also in the box set. Read about:

  • the Stantons in The Ultimate Escape
  • Captain Morledge and the Beachams in Under the Mistletoe
  • Jeremy Smithson in ‘Tis Her Season
  • the Duchess of Murnane in A Dangerous Nativity
  • the Duke of Wyndale (with mention of Lady Uriana) in Joy to the World.

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

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The plot twist on WIP Wednesday

ginger-root-gingerbreadI’m at the point in my current WIP (The Prisoners of Wyvern Castle) where something needs to happen to stop the story from ending too soon. You know that moment? A complication. A change of plan. A misunderstanding. A new discovery. A missed opportunity or one taken.

So this week, I’m inviting you to share up to nine lines from a spot in your story where things change. Here’s mine, from Gingerbread Bride, my novella in the Bluestocking Belles’ box set Mistletoe, Marriage, and Mayhem. My heroine, Mary, is baking gingerbread for a local wedding, while trying to avoid the attentions of the father of the bride.

She inclined her head, the barest minimum politeness required.

“Have you come to collect your daughter’s baking, sir?”

“No, no. Ruthie will do that herself. She’s just out there in the kitchen with your good aunts. What have you there, eh?” He came around the table to her side. As Mary moved backward to avoid him, her head struck the shelf behind her, upending a canister that struck her a glancing blow as it fell. Mary staggered, and was momentarily grateful for Mr. Owens’ steadying hands.

Until she heard the gasp from behind him.

Until she opened her eyes to see both aunts, her cousin, and Ruth Owens standing in the doorway, their mouths identical O’s of shock.

 

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Strange happenings in Hyde Park

Today on the blog, we have something special: a stand-alone short story with two characters from the Bluestocking Belles’ holiday box set, Mistletoe, Marriage, and Mayhem. My character Mary meets Susana Ellis’s character Lady Pendleton. The post below tells the scene from the point of view of Mary, the heroine of Gingerbread Bride. Go to Susana’s Parlour to read the same story from the point of view of Lady Pendleton, mother of Julia Tate who is the heroine of The Ultimate Escape.

Pissarro_Hyde_Park

Continue reading

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Villains on WIP Wednesday

Turning awayThis week, I’m focusing on villains. On the Teatime Tattler at the weekend, I’m doing a purpose-written duo of vignettes from the point-of-view of my Gingerbread Bride villain from the Bluestocking Belles’ box set, Mistletoe, Marriage, and Mayhem. I’m also writing a cross-blog post with my Belle colleague Amy Rose Bennett (to be published later in the month) with the Gingerbread Bride villainess.

So I’m inviting you all to post an excerpt of around nine sentences showcasing your villain. Here’s Viscount Bosville, in an extract from Gingerbread Bride.

“Watch where you are going, Ma—Cousin Mary? Good God, it is. What are you doing in this godforsaken place?”

Lord Bosville. Of all the people Mary imagined meeting, he was the last she’d expect to find this far from London. “Cousin,” she replied, giving him a frosty nod. They had parted on unfriendly terms, after he had tried to kiss her and she had, as her father had taught her, punched him in a vulnerable part of his anatomy.

Bosville rearranged his face into a friendly smile that did not reach his eyes. “I do apologize for my language, Cousin Mary. I was startled. How nice to see you. Mother will be delighted to hear you are well. She has been so worried.”

What nonsense. Mary suppressed a snort. Worried to have lost Mary’s money, perhaps.

“If you will excuse me, Cousin, my maid and I are tired.”

But Viscount Bosville turned and accompanied them up the stairs, insisting he would see them safely to their rooms.

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Love hurts on WIP Wednesday

7c8133e975bcIn three more weeks, my novella Gingerbread Bride will be released as part of the Mistletoe, Marriage, & Mayhem box set from the Bluestocking Belles. So that makes it a work in progress still, does it not? Wending its way towards launch?

So for the next four Wednesdays, expect to see excerpts from this novella. And please show me yours! I’d love to read them. (Don’t forget to share the post so other people can find our pieces too.)

So this week, I’m sharing the moment when my heroine accepts that she is still in love with her girlhood hero. (You might wish to share your hero’s moment of revelation, or even admission of attraction if love isn’t on the table.) My heroine is thinking of all the reasons she is not content:

First, she missed the sea. She had lived her entire life within the sight, smell, and sound of it, until she first came to London, and as each day passed, she yearned for it more and more. The sea was home, and this land-locked valley, however pretty, was not.

Second, no matter how sharply she spoke to herself, she could not stop thinking about Rick Redepenning. She couldn’t possibly miss a man she had spent less than a day with in the past five years. She was merely worried about his injury, that was all, that he might not be taking care, might not be healing. No matter what excuses she made, she was well aware she was in danger of once again falling in love with Rick the Rogue—if, in fact, she’d ever fallen out of love.

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Parties on WIP Wednesday

mistletoeI’ve been celebrating some milestones this week: my blog birthday, the ninth month of Candle’s Christmas Chair, and the half-birthday of the Bluestocking Belles.

So I thought for this week’s work-in-progress Wednesday, the theme could be celebrations, parties, or events. Do you have a ball scene? A wedding? A fair? A birthday party? A banquet? Post seven to ten lines, and don’t forget to share!

Mine is from the Christmas party towards the end of Gingerbread Bride in the box set Mistletoe, Marriage, and Mayhem, currently on prelease from the Bluestocking Belles.

The kissing boughs had all been hung, making it perilous to traverse the house and garden. By the time the party started Mary had been kissed at least twenty times, all polite salutes on the cheek.

The party spilled all over the house and beyond: carols around the pianoforte in one of the parlors, silly games in another, a continual feast in the dining room, and dancing outside in the crisp night air. Mary managed to avoid being alone with Rick until almost the end of the evening, when he cornered her in a temporarily deserted parlor, most of the party out on the dance lawn in the garden.

“Mary.” There it was again. Her name, hummed in that beautiful voice of his, sounding like music. She turned her face upwards, tipping her cheek within easy reach, but he curved his neck as he bent, so his lips touched hers.

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