Fire & Frost Blog Hop: Madame Quinton

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What do we have here?

Madame Quinton fingered the cards beneath her hand as she watched the two women enter her booth. They were young, clearly of quality, and eager to absorb the sights surrounding them: colorful and exotic scarves, rugs, and lanterns turned the interior into a foreign oasis amidst a sea of ice and snow and humanity.

One of the ladies appeared apt to giggle, taking in the décor with the unfettered joy of a child with a bag of sweets. The other dark-haired woman appeared more reserved, skeptical.

A challenge…

Madame Quinton figuratively rubbed her hands together, then cleared her throat and deepened her voice. “I see a believer and a skeptic before me.”

The more boisterous of the two tugged on her friend’s arm, guiding her friend to the table, her eyes wide, then said, “My friend,” she nodded to the skeptic, “Miss Synclaire, would like a reading.”

Miss Synclaire didn’t scowl, but gazed unflinchingly at the madame, a challenge the madame was all too happy to accept. Madame Quinton dipped her head, pulled a quartz crystal from its salt bath, and proceeded to cleanse her deck. “Have a seat, Miss Synclaire.”

Miss Synclaire sat while her friend settled 2 pence upon the table, the posted fee inscribed on an elaborate sign at the entrance of the booth. “Thank you, Theo.”

Madame Quinton locked eyes with the lovely young woman before her, Miss Synclaire, while her hands shuffled the cards by rote. “You are not a believer, I take it?”

Miss Synclaire lifted her chin. “I believe in having control over my future.”

Madame Quinton smiled. “Aah, but the Tarot does not predict the future. These cards are but a tool. A way to focus your mind…to reveal the truth of what you already know.”

Miss Synclaire relaxed a touch, but only a touch. “I’ve read about people using the cards for prediction…”

“Aaah, some spreads do suggest what may happen should you remain on the path you trod, but we still make our own choices, yes? Our paths can change should we choose.”

Miss Synclaire nodded.

“Now, close your eyes and think of your question.”

Miss Synclaire hesitated, but closed her eyes. “Question?”

Madame waved her hand. “Every woman I know has some question or other on their mind. Questions of love, fortune, future… What is your most burning question? Ask yourself, fix it in your mind. When you have it, open your eyes.”

Miss Synclaire opened her eyes almost immediately, and Madame Quinton smiled once more. “Aah. A woman who knows what she wants. Excellent.”

The madame slid the deck towards Miss Synclaire. “Now, cut the deck, three times while thinking of your question. There is no wrong order. Listen to your womanly instinct.”

Miss Synclaire looked to the cards before her and began, her movements decisive. Confident.

This woman was not the usual debutante. Interesting.

When finished, Miss Synclaire slid the deck forward with a confident smile.

Madame Quinton dipped her head, taking another moment to observe the woman’s posture, her hands, her clothing. These things said as much as her cultured tone could ever reveal. The madame smiled. “I see a woman who is practical, confident, and of middling means. Not extravagantly wealthy, but resourceful. Your question would not be about love or fortune. No… You seek a question about…yourself.”

Miss Synclaire dipped her chin. “Impressive.”

Madame laid out three cards, face down, and as she did, said, “You. Your current path. Your potential.” Here, the madame paused, noting Miss Synclaire’s lingering look on the final card.”

Perhaps, there was the touch of the romantic in Miss Synclaire after all.Strength

Madame flipped over the first card. “You.” Strength. “Hmmm…,” The friend nearly bounced in her slippers. “This card suggests you have great courage and conviction. Determination. You wouldn’t, perhaps, be somewhat outspoken for a lady of gentle breeding?”

The friend’s mouth dropped indicating that Madame Quinton’s assessment was astute.

Miss Synclaire squared her shoulders. “Any one of my acquaintances would certainly appreciate such a characterization. One might be easily convinced that you are telling me things I want to hear…”

Madame dipped her head. “Perhaps, but then the things we want to hear say very much about who we are, yes?”

The EmperorMadame flipped the second card. “Your current path. The Emperor.” The friend, Theo, sucked in an audible gasp. “Reversed.” She’d obviously been to a reading once before. “Interesting…” The madame intentionally drug out each syllable of the word before continuing. “If you are not careful, your passionate convictions, though correct and strong and true, could lead to excessive control, domination.”

Miss Synclaire lifted her chin. Defiance all but oozing from her. “Remember, child, these paths are not set in stone. We make our own choices in life, yes? Domination can be a plus in our world.”

Miss Synclaire nodded. “I very much wish to be in control of my own future.”

Madame Quinton’s hand hovered over the last card. Miss Synclaire remained composed, while her friend nearly burst with anticipation.

Madame flipped the last card while saying. “Your potential.”Lovers

The Lovers.

Miss Synclaire turned red, while her friend squealed with delight. “The lovers signal harmony, trust, optimism—”

Just then a tall, large figure dressed all in black, leaned inside. “Ladies, is everything all right?”

Miss Synclaire, for the first time, spun in her chair, emotion in her every movement, her hand clutched to her neck. The blush of her skin even more brilliant than before. And she said one and only one word, barely a whisper, but filled with so much meaning. “Chester—”

It seemed Miss Synclaire might be curious about love after all…

Don’t Forget:

  • Leave a comment here to be entered to win a copy of one of my novels.
  • Visit all five booths in the 1814 Frost Faire Blog Hop to win prizes at each one.
  • Comment on this post, each of the other four, and the page on the Belles’ website to go into the drawing for the main prize in the blog hop, a $50 US Amazon card.

AMY BLOG THANK YOU

First Kiss Friday with guest Amy Quinton

I’m so pleased to share Emma and John’s kiss on Sherry Ewing’s First Kiss Friday blog…

Sherry Ewing

It’s First Kiss Friday and it’s always a great day when I can introduce one of my fellow Bluestocking Belles. Please help me welcome Amy Quinton who will be sharing the first kiss scene from her novellaThe Umbrella Chronicles:John and Emma’s Storyin our upcoming box set Valentines From Bath. Happy reading and enjoy!

Excerpt:

In this scene, our hero, Dr. John Edward Hartwell, has caught a flash of light from outside as he meanders through the first-floor drawing room. He strolls over to the window and watches with disbelieving eyes as a person dances beneath the stars around the open flames of a fire, with what appears to be an umbrella in her hand. Alone. Then, suddenly his mystery woman reaches over and throws something on the fire.

A few moments later, John finds himself beneath the stars, standing just outside the circle of light, no more…

View original post 1,012 more words

Valentines from Bath: Regency Love Stories for Valentine’s Day!

The Bluestocking Belles Present:

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Valentines from Bath – Regency love stories for Valentine’s Day!

Available for pre-order for only .99 – available February 9th, 2019!

In five original stories, Jessica Cale, Sherry Ewing, Jude Knight, Amy Quinton, and Caroline Warfield bring you Valentines From Bath…

The Master of Ceremonies announces a great ball to be held on Valentine’s Day in the Upper Assembly Rooms of Bath.

Ladies of the highest rank—and some who wish they were—scheme, prepare, and compete to make best use of the opportunity.

Dukes, earls, tradesmen, and the occasional charlatan are alert to the possibilities as the event draws nigh.

But anything can happen in the magic of music and candlelight as couples dance, flirt, and open themselves to romantic possibilities. Problems and conflict may just fade away at a Valentine’s Day Ball.

25% of all our sales will be donated to the Malala Fund! You can go here: https://www.malala.org/ for more information on the Malala Fund.

The Umbrella Chronicles

John and Emma’s story

By Amy Quinton

A serious-minded, scientific man of learning seeks a complex and chaotic practitioner of all things superstitious who will upend his well-ordered life.

The Umbrella Strikes Again! Another Bachelor Has Fallen!

England, 1815…

Dr. John Edward Hartwell needs assistance, though not quite the kind of help he might think. True, he is well-organized, tidy, and pathologically set in his ways—a more serious-minded man one might never find.

But in his ways, I have determined, lies misery.

Enter Miss Annie Merryweather—a woman who is as lovely as she is chaotic. She is the perfect candidate to compliment our man of numbers and logical focus, bringing sunshine and superstition to redirect him away from a future of certain wretchedness.

Oh, aye, I said superstition.

And now that she has been categorically convinced that they are destined to be together—the signs, you see—no one can stand in her way, for she is as tenacious and optimistic as she is beautiful.

And none can resist her smile.

If I have anything to say about matters, and I always have something to say about matters, the signs will point the way.

They already have.

Lady Harriett Ross,

Self-proclaimed Motley Meddler * Mistress of Destiny * Wielder of the Infamous Umbrella

I’m just an old woman with opinions. On everything.

 

 

The Magic Ring – Bluestocking Belles’ Follow Your Star Home Blog Hop

Happy Holidays, everyone!

Welcome to my stop in the Bluestocking Belles’ Follow Your Star Home blog hop. Read on for a free short story about one of the many travels of the magic ring — the same ring that appears in all of the stories in Follow Your Star Home, our 2018 Holiday anthology — and comment for an entry in our holiday prize. Then, go to our blog hop page for links to the other Belles’ stories and for more information about our giveaway.

The blog hop is running for a fortnight, so keep checking back frequently to see if a new story has been posted.

Signature

7 January 1815

Dearest Rebecca,

I hope all is well with you. I have the most exciting news to share. I have found the Lost Ring of Frigg! I am enclosing it as a gift for you, for I fear you could use its power far more than I.

Use it well and with all my heart.

-Emma Merryweather
Bloomfield Park
Bath, England

The letter above left Bloomfield Park the very afternoon of the 7th of January and bore witness to a somewhat incredible, though small in the grand scheme of things, series of events on its journey north before arriving at its final destination: Scotland.

Here is one of those stories:

Day One…

He was running terribly late.

George Torchwood scooped up the outgoing post from the silver salver in the front hall of Bloomfield Park and darted down the hall, across the kitchen, and out the rear servant’s entrance, headed for the stables. Lady Ross had specifically instructed him to deliver the pile of letters to the post office in Bath before the last mail coach departed. He only had thirty minutes; this was going to be close.

The stablemaster met him at the grand doors to Bloomfield Park’s magnificent stables, reins in hand and guiding a beautiful black mare, all saddled and ready. The burly man rubbed a hand down her muzzle. “She’s the fastest we have to hand at the moment, George.”

George reached for the saddle horn, his bag of mail slung over one shoulder, slid his foot into the stirrup, and hoisted himself onto the mare. Once settled, he patted the horse’s neck affectionately. “Aye, I’ve ridden Andromeda before; she’ll do.”

Ten minutes later, George was half way to Bath and making adequate time when a loud crack sounded, echoing loudly through the air. He turned in time to see a sizable limb falling from the sky towards him.

Then, nothing.

Day Two…

She was the most beautiful thing he’d ever seen and vaguely familiar.

George blinked his bleary eyes and tried to focus on the angelic face hovering above him. On instinct, he attempted to sit up, but the woman laid a gentle yet firm hand on his shoulder. “Easy now. Ye’ve taken a nasty tumble.”

He settled back into the soft pillows beneath him and felt a feint stab of discomfort. He reached up to touch his forehead, only distantly noting the strange added weight on his hand. He lightly probed his face and winced when he touched a goose-egg-sized lump at his hairline.

The woman pulled his hand away. “Oh, you. Leave it be.”

He smiled at her concern and the strength behind her command. He cleared his throat and blurted out, “Name’s George.”

Smooth, George. Quite, smooth.

She blushed slightly and dipped her head. “Moira.”

“Moira…” he repeated, his voice laced with awe. And then she smiled, and he suddenly remembered why she’d seemed vaguely familiar. He’d seen her at a village fair last summer, where he’d been helping his sister sell her hand-made embroidered linens. They’d never had a chance to speak, and he’d been largely disappointed when he’d finally managed to break away and couldn’t find her. She could have been from anywhere; he himself hadn’t been local. “I remember you…at the fair…near Oxford?”

Her face brightened. “Yes, that’s it.” She had a nice laugh. She dipped her head as if offering him a curtsey. “It’s nice to finally meet you.”

“Indeed.” Finally!

He glanced away, to hide just how large a grin he wore, and realized she still held both his hands in hers. He noted her absently rubbing her thumbs over his knuckles. He quite liked her touch. He liked her touch quite a bit, indeed. Her skin was so warm, so soft.

Once again, they shared shy smiles, then glanced away. This time, he felt a slight blush rise in his own cheeks.

It was then that he fully noted the abnormal weight on his hand, for he wore a man’s ring, gold with a star engraved on the top. “What is this?” he asked, his eyes darting toward the ring in question.

Moira followed his gaze. “I don’t know. You were wearing it when I found you.”

“That’s impossible.” He’d never seen it before. Besides, that ring was probably worth more than he made in a year, perhaps more. “It’s not mine.”

For a moment, they both stared at it, equally confused.

“That is strange.” She met his eyes. “Do you remember what happened?”

He made to put a hand to his brow, and she squeezed his hands to stop him.

“Thanks.” That would have bloody well hurt. “Um. There was a loud crack, then I spun about in my saddle in time to see a large tree branch falling towards me, but not enough time to dodge it. Then, nothing.” Once again, he tried to run his hands through his hair, and once again, she held on tight. Apparently, he performed the gesture more often than he realized.

She frowned; her forehead wrinkled adorably. “There wasn’t a branch nearby where we found you.”

That was strange. “My horse?”

She nodded. “Tethered in the lean-to ‘round back.”

“Oh God, my bag of letters? What day is it?” He tried to sit.

“Shhh… they’re over there.” She gestured towards a corner of the room where his bag lay. “And it’s the 8th of January.”

This time he had to bite his tongue as he successfully pulled his hand free and ran it down his face. Right over his injury. But never mind that. “Oh, no, Lady Ross wanted those letters to the post office yesterday; she’ll be cross.”

Moira shook her head. “Lady Ross will understand. She may be opinionated, but she’s a generous sort.”

“You know her?”

Moira laughed and shrugged. “Who doesn’t? She’s infamous…and a neighbor.”

“Still—” George once again attempted to sit. “I must go. I must…”

Moira stayed him with a hand to his chest. “It’ll keep, George. You’ll be dizzy with that nasty bump; give it a day. There’s nothing in that bag worth risking further injury for, I’m sure.” She gently pulled back a lock of his hair that had fallen over his eye.

Aye. Maybe, she was right.

That night, as he settled down to sleep, he removed the strange star-ring and placed it on the table by the bed. He smiled as he drifted off, more than pleased to have found his mystery woman from the fair; she was as wonderful as he’d imagined she’d be.

And in the morning, neither one of them remembered the mysterious ring, nor noticed that it was gone; it’s job complete.

Where did it go, you ask? Well, that is a story for another day.

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FYSH Quinton Blurb

Holiday Anthologies Galore

victorian-christmas

The winter holidays are upon us, and I couldn’t be more excited. Cooler weather here in the USA has me wanting to curl up with a good Holiday Historical Romance.

And it just so happens that the USA Today HEA blog has a collection of holiday historical romances for you to consider, including the latest from yours truly and the Bluestocking Belles…

Some of my favorite authors are here to bring you warmth and joy in the form of a great romance. Check it out!

https://bit.ly/2z9T7o9

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New Release – Follow Your Star Home

It’s here! Woot!

Follow Your Star Home, A Bluestocking Belles Holiday Collection is available now…

Divided sweethearts seek love and forgiveness in this collection of eight seasonal novellas…

FYSH 400 x 640

Forged for lovers and lost souls…

The Viking star ring is said to bring lovers together, no matter how far, no matter how hard.

In eight stories covering more than a thousand years, our heroes and heroines put this legend to the test. Watch the star work its magic, as prodigals return home in the season of goodwill, uncertain of their welcome.

25% of all our sales will be donated to the Malala Fund!

Amazon * iBooks * Nook * Kobo

 

 

You can help us celebrate!

We’re having a virtual party on Facebook today to celebrate our release!  Games and Prizes and All Sorts of  Shenanigans are sure to ensue…

Stop on by for a chance to win one of three grand prizes, enter one of the many individual author prizes, or just chat with the Belles and their guests:

https://www.facebook.com/events/1908064995954512/

 

I hope to see you there!  Signature

FYSH Quinton Blurb

Historical Romance Author – Romance * Sexy * Historical * Love * Magic

Amy Quinton

Historical Romance Author - Romance * Sexy * Historical * Love * Magic

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writer of queer historical romance

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