Tag Archives: #Historical

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.

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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

Never Too Late – Available Now!

My latest short story, the first in the Umbrella Chronicles, is available now via Never Too Late – A Bluestocking Belles Collection, and it is only $.99 for a limited time!

It’s Never Too Late to find love!

Never Too Late 3D Book

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Eight authors and eight different takes on four dramatic elements selected by our readers—an older heroine, a wise man, a Bible, and a compromising situation that isn’t.

Set in a variety of locations around the world over eight centuries, welcome to the romance of the Bluestocking Belles’ 2017 Holiday Anthology and More.

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

George & Dorothea’s Story

by Amy Quinton

The Umbrella Strikes Again: St. Vincent’s downfall (aka betrothal) is assured.

George St. Vincent doesn’t realize it, but his days as a bachelor in good standing are numbered.

He has a fortnight, to be precise—the duration of the Dansbury House party.

For I, Lady Harriett Ross, have committed to parting with several items of sentimental worth should I fail to orchestrate his downfall—er, betrothal—to Miss Dorothea Wythe, who is delightful, brilliant, and interested (or will be).

If I have anything to say about matters, and I always have something to say about matters, they’re both doomed.

Did I say doomed? I mean, destined—to a life filled with love.

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

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Caroline Warfield: The Reluctant Wife

Happy Release Day! Caroline Warfield’s latest release, The Reluctant Wife, is available today!

The Reluctant Wife

When all else fails, love succeeds…

Captain Fred Wheatly’s comfortable life on the fringes of Bengal comes crashing down around him when his mistress dies, leaving him with two children he never expected to have to raise. When he chooses justice over army regulations, he’s forced to resign his position, leaving him with no way to support his unexpected family. He’s already had enough failures in his life. The last thing he needs is an attractive, interfering woman bedeviling his steps, reminding him of his duties.

All widowed Clare Armbruster needs is her brother’s signature on a legal document to be free of her past. After a failed marriage, and still mourning the loss of a child, she’s had it up to her ears with the assumptions she doesn’t know how to take care of herself, that what she needs is a husband, and with a great lout of a captain who can’t figure out what to do with his daughters. If only the frightened little girls didn’t need her help so badly.

Clare has made mistakes in the past. Can she trust Fred now? Can she trust herself? Captain Wheatly isn’t ashamed of his aristocratic heritage, but he doesn’t need his family and they’ve certainly never needed him. But with no more military career and two half-caste daughters to support, Fred must turn once more—as a failure—to the family he failed so often in the past. Can two hearts rise above past failures to forge a future together?

Fred first appeared as a boy in A Dangerous Nativity, along with his brother Rand, who is now a timber baron in upper Canada, and his cousin Charles, a duke who is a powerful government official with interests in places from Philadelphia and Madras to Canton, China.

Visit Caroline’s website for more back story and fun pieces about The Reluctant Wifehttp://www.carolinewarfield.com/bookshelf/reluctant-wife/ or click the button below to purchase on Amazon.

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How to Take Revenge on a Disloyal Scot…

It’s here!  Available now as a stand-a-lone short story on Amazon…to buy or through Kindle Unlimited!

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Love is…

Revenge? Because what else’s a girl supposed to do when she learns the man she loves has found himself a bride?

Probably found himself a bride.

All right according to rumor found himself a bride.

Really, what else could have kept him away for eight solid months? Gambling? He was awful at cards. The Theater? He hated the opera. A political position in Parliament? Ha!

No, No, and hell, No.

Regardless of his excuses, Jamie Ferguson (the Disloyal-er) was not going to get away with throwing over Wilhelmina Rutherford (the Disloyal-ee) for anything or anyone, especially some nameless London tart.

Ergo, revenge and a cunning-nothing-could-possibly-go-wrong-here plan:

  1. Run Him to Ground
  2. Make Him Squirm
  3. Show Him You’re Indifferent
  4. Let Him Brood
  5. Enlist Reinforcements to Your Cause
  6. Show Him What He’s Missing
  7. Tell Him Goodbye

What could possibly go wrong?

*This is a short story and was originally published as part of the Love Is…Winter Romance multi-author charity anthology.

Buy it on Amazon today!

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Featured Book Friday – Virtue’s Lady by Jessica Cale

Today, I’m pleased to feature author Jessica Cale and her latest release, Virtue’s Lady. Virtue’s Lady is Book 2 of her Southwark Saga series.

Isn’t this cover simply gorgeous?! I’ve read this book. In fact, I couldn’t put it down from the moment I ‘cracked the cover’ (of course, I read it on my kindle app, but you know…).

Not even to get some much needed sleep.

Mark Virtue? Yes. Ready for Book 3? Yes. Yes. Love Jessica’s fascinating posts on her website about Restoration England? Yes. Yes. Yes.

Read on for more about Virtue’s Lady:

Virtue’s Lady (The Southwark Saga, Book 2)virtueslady

Author: Jessica Cale
Genre: Historical Romance (Restoration London)
Release Date: April 13, 2015
Publisher: Liquid Silver Books

From toiling for pennies to bare-knuckle boxing, a lady is prepared for every eventuality.

Blurb:
Lady Jane Ramsey is young, beautiful, and ruined.

After being rescued from her kidnapping by a handsome highwayman, she returns home only to find her marriage prospects drastically reduced. Her father expects her to marry the repulsive Lord Lewes, but Jane has other plans. All she can think about is her highwayman, and she is determined to find him again.

Mark Virtue is trying to go straight. After years of robbing coaches and surviving on his wits, he knows it’s time to hang up his pistol and become the carpenter he was trained to be. He busies himself with finding work for his neighbors and improving his corner of Southwark as he tries to forget the girl who haunts his dreams. As a carpenter struggling to stay in work in the aftermath of The Fire, he knows Jane is unfathomably far beyond his reach, and there’s no use wishing for the impossible.

When Jane turns up in Southwark, Mark is furious. She has no way of understanding just how much danger she has put them in by running away. In spite of his growing feelings for her, he knows that Southwark is no place for a lady. Jane must set aside her lessons to learn a new set of rules if she is to make a life for herself in the crime-ridden slum. She will fight for her freedom and her life if that’s what it takes to prove to Mark—and to herself—that there’s more to her than meets the eye.

Excerpt:
She hung up the dress, admiring her handiwork. It was not something she would willingly wear, but she hoped the lady would be pleased with the final result. She heard the front door behind her as she bent to pluck a stray thread from the skirt. “We’ve shut for the day,” she called over her shoulder.

When she heard no response, she turned.

Mark Virtue stood behind the counter, his hand still on the doorknob. His long brown coat hung open over his dusty work clothes, the undyed linen of his shirt straining across his broad chest. That chest, a warm expanse of smooth skin over hard, sculpted muscle, was a work of art. Though she had willed herself to forget him, her hands remembered.

Her lips remembered, too.

She licked them with the tip of her tongue, her mouth gone quite dry.

“I didn’t believe it,” he said, his gaze moving from her shapeless leather shoes to her dirty, gloveless hands. Jane looked down, suddenly aware of her shabby work dress. Compared to the other gowns he had seen her in, it was little more than a rag, really. She had braided her hair over her shoulder to keep it out of her stitching and now she wondered what she must look like to him. She touched the end of her braid self-consciously, a touch of embarrassment coloring her cheeks.

She cursed herself for her embarrassment. She had as much right to be here as anyone, and she was done apologizing to Mark Virtue. She straightened her spine and looked him square in his devastatingly blue eyes.

Her knees may have trembled a bit. She did a good job of hiding it. “Well?”

Mark stepped toward the counter. “I sent you back to your father not a fortnight past.”

She shrugged, borrowing the gesture from Carys. “I didn’t go.”

“I see that.”

He paced around the side of the counter while maintaining what little distance he could in the close quarters of the shop.

Jane stepped back, hiding the toes of her soft leather shoes under the hem of her dress. Her slippers may have been stolen, but she still had her silk stockings. She wore them even now, not that he needed to know that.

He had rather liked them, if she remembered correctly.

She swallowed. “What do you want?”

He raised his eyebrows in surprise. “I’ve come to see the new shop girl everyone’s talking about. You look the part, I’ll give you that. Perhaps a touch more dirt, just here…” He brushed her skirt.

Jane crossed her arms over her chest. “Is that what you think this is? You think I’m pretending?”

“Rather unconvincingly, I’m afraid. All the shapeless dresses in the world couldn’t disguise the fact that you’re a lady. Lowering yourself to wield a needle doesn’t make you one of us.”

Jane clenched her jaw. “I’ve as much right to be here as you do.”

“You have no right,” he insisted. “You can’t play at being poor. This is life to these people. This is my life. You think I ought to stand by while you make a mockery of it by working in a place like this when you can leave anytime you please?”

“I’m not going anywhere,” she nearly shouted. “I told you, Mark, I gave it up. Believe it folly if you will, but it changes nothing. I am never going back.”

Mark looked away. “Give it a fortnight.”

“I beg your pardon?”

“Give it a fortnight,” he repeated. “Work, and struggle, and starve with the rest of us if that is what you think you want. You weren’t made for this world any more than I was made for yours. Sooner or later, you’ll be desperate to go home.”

“I am home,” Jane said through her teeth. “I’m staying here.”

“How long do you suppose you can last alone in a bastard sanctuary with no money and no protection? How do you expect to live?”

“I have a job, in case you were not aware.” She threw out her arms to indicate the shop. “I work day and night, and I have a little apartment with a door that locks. I’ll make do.”

He tilted his head, looking at her curiously. “In two weeks on your own? Maybe you’ve got a protector after all.”

Jane might have been naïve, but she knew exactly what he was implying, and she didn’t like it. She felt the anger rush to her face, unbidden and terrifying in its intensity. She took a deep breath. “Get out.”

“Jane, be reasonable.”

Her face burned. “You’d like me to stand here while you question my virtue? You of all people? You had no trouble dispensing with it when you thought me an actress!”

Mark gave a long sigh. “For that I apologize. I was a fool. I never should have

thought that someone like you…” He motioned toward her helplessly.

“Someone like me? Who might that be? Am I a lady? Am I a seamstress? Am I a whore? You don’t seem to like me as any of these things, so why don’t you tell me, Mark, who I ought to be. What kind of a woman am I?”

He took her wrists in his hands and held them to his chest, the irritation in his face replaced by something that looked a bit like shame. “That’s not what I meant.” He lowered his voice, his face close enough that she could smell the tobacco in his clothes. “Do as you please. It makes no difference to me.”

Jane’s fingers spanned his chest of their own accord, responding to his warmth. “It doesn’t?”

He shook his head, his eyes settling on her lips. “I don’t want you to get hurt,” he confessed.

She resisted the urge to lean into him with some difficulty. “I’ve done fine this far.”

“Have you?” He took her hand, turning her palm upwards to examine the damage: pinpricks, swollen fingertips, the ghosts of calluses forming where she grasped the shears.

She tugged her hand away from him but he didn’t let go. He held her gaze, his eyes searching hers, and she was struck again by their extraordinary color. Deep blue, green, and grey, shifted across his irises in restless, churning waves, the color of a storm on the river. They darkened as he raised her hand to his mouth and kissed the palm, the touch of his lips like a balm on her sore skin.

Jane held her breath, waiting to drown.

He smiled his crooked smile, a touch of condescension in the corners. “If all you wanted was another night, you didn’t have to go to such trouble.”

***

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/25238694-virtue-s-lady

Buy it here:

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Author Bio:
Jessica Cale is a historical romance author and journalist based in North Carolina. Originally from Minnesota, she lived in Wales for several years where she earned a BA in History and an MFA in Creative Writing while climbing castles and photographing mines for history magazines. She kidnapped (“married”) her very own British prince (close enough) and is enjoying her happily ever after with him in a place where no one understands his accent. You can visit her at www.authorjessicacale.com.

Author Links:
Website: http://www.authorjessicacale.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/authorjessicacale
Twitter: @JessicaCale
Google+:  https://plus.google.com/u/0/+JessicaCaleWrites
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Pintrest: http://www.pinterest.com/rainbowcarnage
Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Jessica-Cale/e/B00PVDV9EW/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0
Goodreads Author Page: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/9819997.Jessica_Cale