A Legend to Love Series: His Duchess at Eventide by Wendy LaCapra

Lovers reunited & a dukedom reclaimed—the Regency meets the Odyssey

Lord Cheverley, son of the Duke of Ithwick, never wanted to go to war, but when he eloped against his father’s wishes, the furious Duke forced him to choose—either take a naval commission, or have his marriage annulled. Devastated physically and emotionally by seven years of war, a shipwreck, and six years in the captivity of a brutal pirate, Cheverley returns to England to find that the courts have declared him dead, and his wife is entertaining suitors. Should he demand his rightful place, disrupting his family’s lives, or should he return to sea, seeking vengeance against the pirate? He sets out to find the answer in disguise.

Penelope once believed in love, but then the man who swept her off her feet deserted her, leaving her and her unborn child utterly alone. Now a widow, she will do anything to protect her son, including enlisting the aid of a mysterious sea captain to uncover the true intentions of her devious suitors. When the captain awakens something in Penelope she thought long dead, she begins to suspect he is no stranger. But, as they peel back the layers of a deadly plot, can this broken family heal their wounds in time to save what really matters?

“You even smell like him, not that I can remember what he smelled like because that would make me sound mad. But your scent makes me confused and hot and longing and I’m fairly certain his did as well, however that could have been the fact we were sixteen and sixteen is entirely too, oh, blast, I can’t, I tell you! I just cannot—”

“Shh,” he soothed. Tentatively, he rested his hand against the small of her back.

“No! Not shh! It’s terrible. A complete muddle.” She splayed her hands against his chest. “I’m still bold and you’re still impossibly hard but you aren’t a toff—and I’m me and you’re not you and I’m—well—I am going mad, aren’t I? That’s the only explanation.”

“Shh,” he repeated, crumbling inside.

“Stop shushing and just—” she grabbed his wounded arm and wrapped it around her waist. Then, she placed her hand on his nape, curled her cheek into his neck and sighed. “There. Now I will shush. This is right.”

This was anything but right. “I’m sorry,” he whispered.

“That helps,” she replied.

“Helps make you feel better?”

“No. It helps to make you, you, not him.” She sighed. “Chev never apologized, you see.”

 

Get a copy of His Duchess at Eventide at your favorite online vendor:


 
 

 

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A Legend to Love: The Duke of Darkness by Cora Lee

His enemies called him the devil.
There were few people in the world the Duke of Rhuddlan could trust, least of all his scheming brother Nicholas. So when a spate of violence is perpetrated against people with a connection to the duke, Rhuddlan knows who is behind it. But how can he end this vicious campaign when Nick is backed by the King’s own son?

Hers call her a temptress.
Olivia Stone wants nothing more than to live quietly in her little cottage, but with a cruel suitor determined to possess her and an income that is steadily diminishing, she’s left with no choice but to appeal to her wealthy cousin–whom she’s never met–for assistance. Will he give it? Or will she be forced to marry a man she fears?

Can they see past the rumors to find true love?
When Rhuddlan knocks on Olivia’s door with a plan to help them both, she’s skeptical but sees no other option. Working together sparks a flame between them neither could have predicted, but when Nick discovers the relationship, he becomes determined to destroy their hope for happiness. Can Rhuddlan finally put an end to his brother’s devastation before someone is killed? Will Olivia still want him when she sees how ruthless he can be?

“You do have one option.”

Olivia straightened, keeping one hand on Artie’s furry head as she faced Mrs. D. “Teverton?”

Mrs. D. didn’t react to the name, but she didn’t have to. It was a discussion they’d had before. Lord Teverton was Olivia’s closest living relative and head of her family, but the only thing she knew about him was that he owned an estate near Liverpool.

“What if he turns me away?”

No one could legally force Olivia to marry Sir George, but if she went to Teverton for help and he refused, her only choice would be between George and slow starvation as the demand for her work continued to decline and her past slowly caught up with her.

“But what if he doesn’t?”

Olivia pressed the heels of her hands to her eyes. What if Teverton was an honorable man who promised to protect her? Did she even have paper to write him a letter and ask?
“What about His Grace?” she said suddenly, dropping her hands to her sides. The breeze picked up, carrying with it the scent of the mint growing a few feet away.

Mrs. D. took a step back. “What about him?”

“Well…he’s here. Teverton is all the way in Liverpool. Or at a different estate completely. And the duke ought to be amenable to my situation—if I am hale and hearty, I can continue paying my rent every quarter.”

Mrs. D. shook her head faintly. “You can’t mean to ask him for help.”

“At least I’ve made his acquaintance,” Olivia replied slowly. “Better the devil you know.”

“Devil is right,” Mrs. D. said, her mouth pulling into a pucker as if she’d eaten something sour. “I know we helped him this afternoon, but that was basic decency. You know what they say about the man.”

Olivia did know. She’d borrowed a battered copy of a story called The Vampyre from a friend in the village the previous week, and had read it aloud to Mrs. D. and Mrs. H. after dinner one evening. They two older ladies had exchanged a knowing look, and it had taken some doing to get Mrs. Hatch to elaborate.

“The Duke of Rhuddlan,” she’d said with a shudder. “Some think he’s like that. A vampire.”

She’d refused to speak of it further, and Olivia had let it drop. But she’d made an inquiry or two when she returned the book a few days later, and Mrs. Hatch wasn’t the only person who thought there was something unholy about His Grace.

Get a copy of The Duke of Darkness from your favorite online vendor at:

 

 

A graduate of the University of Michigan with a major in history, Cora is the 2014 winner of the Royal Ascot contest for best unpublished Regency romance. She went on a twelve year expedition through the blackboard jungle as a high school math teacher before publishing Save the Last Dance for Me, the first book in the Maitland Maidens series.

When she’s not walking Rotten Row at the fashionable hour or attending the entertainments of the Season, you might find her participating in Historical Novel Society and Romance Writers of America events, wading through her towering TBR pile, or eagerly awaiting the next Marvel movie release.

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A Legend to Love: A Gift From A Goddess by Maggi Andersen

This week’s release in the A Legend to Love series is A Gift From a Goddess by Maggi Andersen. Her story is a Regency romantic suspense based on the Myth of Pygmalion and Galatea.

Pygmalion was a Greek sculptor from Cyprus who, disenchanted with women, dedicated himself to his work. He created Galatea, a beautiful statue of a woman, from ivory. As Pygmalion worked on the statue, it became more beautiful to him than any woman that had ever lived or been carved in stone. As he worked with hammer and chisel, he fell deeply in love with his statue. The goddess, Aphrodite, had given life to the statue; whose name was Galatea.

Hebe Fenchurch’s life has been turned upside down after her father became involved in a swindle and killed himself. Shunned by the ton and with her mother struggling to make ends meet, Hebe is forced to seek employment. Told she is unsuited for a governess and lacks the skills of a maid, Hebe finds work as an artist’s model.

Sculptor, Lewis, Lord Chesterton has shut himself away, working on his sculptures after his wife, Laura, left him and was subsequently murdered. Some in Society believe he was behind her death. When Lewis begins a new work titled Aphrodite, Hebe Fenchurch comes to pose for him.

Lewis prides himself on his professionalism. He never sleeps with his models although many in the ton believe he does. He finds himself drawn to Hebe, his work stalls, and he fears he won’t finish the statue of Aphrodite. Must he dismiss Hebe and lose his best model?

After another of Lewis’ models suffers the same fate as his wife Laura, the mystery intensifies and gossip spreads. Hebe is drawn into the fray.

Bow Street have had no success in finding the murderer. Will they strike again?

As Hebe sits for him, Lewis’ employs his skill as a sculptor to fashion the beautiful goddess from a block of marble. It is said that Aphrodite stands for love, beauty, pleasure, and procreation, and she can even mend a broken heart.

Can the goddess’ power be real?

And will Lewis be able to keep the model he’s fallen in love with from suffering the same fate as the others?

Grab your copy of A Gift From A Goddess today!

 

 

 

Multi-published, Amazon best-selling author in Regency and Suspense, Maggi Andersen, fell in love with the Georgian and Regency worlds after reading the books of Georgette Heyer and Victoria Holt. Maggi has raised three children and gained a BA and an MA in Creative Writing. She and her husband live in the beautiful Southern Highlands of Australia.

P.L. Travers lived in the house next door almost 100 years ago. Travers later wrote Mary Poppins and there’s a statue in her honor in the park.

Maggi’s free time is spent enjoying her garden and the local wildlife, reading, and movies. She keeps fit walking and swimming.

Apart from her Regency Series, The Baxendale Sisters and The Spies of Mayfair, and her stand alone historical novels, Maggi writes contemporary romantic suspense, mysteries and young adult novels. She supports the RSPCA.

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A Legend to Love: The Promise of the Bells by Elizabeth Ellen Carter

A Legend to Love: The Promise of the Bells by Elizabeth Ellen Carter

This week’s new release in the A Legend to Love series is based on a legend that’s a bit different: Dick Whittington and his cat.

Most have heard the story of the poor boy who went to London to make his fortune, believing the roads were paved with gold. He found work with a merchant, but the housekeeper was mean to him and he was miserable. Dick found solace in his cat (who was also handy at keeping away rats). One day, the merchant announced he was going to take a trip abroad, and servants were welcome to give him something of value to trade.

Dick gave up his cat – his dearest possession. Again, he was treated poorly – and was about to leave London for good – when he heard the church bells that appeared to be calling him to return, and that he would be Lord Mayor of London three times.

He returned and discovered the merchant also returned with Dick’s fortune. One night, when the merchant was dining with an Eastern king, the dining hall was overrun with rats. The merchant told the king he had a cat who would deal with the rats. The cat did and the king was so delighted that he paid a fortune in gold for the cat.

But there is a twist in the tale – Dick Whittington was an actual historical figure. Richard (Dick) Whittington was actually Lord Mayor of London in the 14th century.

Unlike the legend that grew up from the late 17th century, Whittington was a younger son of a aristocratic family and a successful merchant. He was known for his probity, honesty and charity. He was also a shrewd political operator too. As Lord Mayor of London, he was in charge of great wealth and kept on the good side of both Richard II and Henry IV. He commissioned a great number of public works including sanitation and was also major benefactor of St Thomas’ Hospital, endowing a wing to look after unwed mothers and their babies. No one knows where the cat entered the picture, and there is no evidence that he ever had one but it is now so entwined with the legend that it is impossible to tell the story without it.

 

Young Richard Whiting comes from a poor family but he’s given a golden opportunity – to move to London to further his education. On the way there, he is befriended by Lord Ambrose and his young daughter, Catherine ‘Cat’ Swanston, and Richard and Catherine become sweethearts.

In order to make his fortune, Richard is pulled into a different life but the young couple vow beneath the tolllng bells of the churches of London to always be there for one another.

Years later, now an up and coming barrister, Richard learns that Catherine needs help. Her father is missing, and His Lordship’s business partner refuses to provide any information. It will take Catherine’s bravery and Richard’s legal cunning for there to be a happily ever after…

The Promise of the Bells is a sweet romance. Richard and Catherine are such a lovely couple – and you get to meet Mog, Richard’s Calico cat!

Get your copy today!

 

 

 

A Legend to Love Series: A Wulf in Duke’s Clothing by Renée Reynolds

A Legend to Love Series: A Wulf in Duke’s Clothing by Renée Reynolds

Time to toot my own horn: A Wulf in Duke’s Clothing goes live this week!

I chose the epic of Beowfulf – the tale of the hero of the Geats who came to the aid of Hrothgar, King of the Danes, whose great hall was plagued repeatedly by the monster Grendel. To adapt the story to Regency England, I created and an Earl named Grenfell, and had him plague a a family named Rothgard. Beowulf became the Duke of Conall, which means ‘wolf’ in Gaelic, as his family seat is near the Scottish border. This allowed me a bit of a double-play on words, tying in the old Beowulf to the new Wulf.

Here’s the blurb and a sneak peek!

The Earldom of Rothgard has a long and storied history of strength, wealth, and integrity. But the death of the current matriarch hits everyone hard – most especially the Earl – and he tumbles into a mourning so intense his life becomes lost in a shroud of grief. His eldest daughter, Lady Isobel, steps up to lead the family so her brother can continue at university while her younger sisters experience a childhood of some normalcy.

Finding weaknesses in all Lady Isobel does to protect her family, an unseen enemy seizes an opportunity to launch financial and personal attacks. When treading water in the mess yields not success but rather an overwhelming sense of imminent drowning, she is forced to seek aid from her father’s well-connected friends—the fate of her family depends upon it.

Help arrives in the form of an arrogant, handsome gentleman seemingly suited more for the ballroom than the battlefield. The Duke of Conall, the ‘Wulf of the North,’ is an enigma in bespoke boots and tailored jackets. Yet behind the facade of cultivated ennui and charm beats the heart of a warrior—one who quickly recognizes the enemy tormenting the Rothgard family.

The Duke comes prepared to fight…but did he also come prepared for love?

The entrance of Rothgard Hall, Derbyshire, April 1812

“Turn around, remount your horse, and I shall not shoot you today . . . Sir.”

The pause before the ‘sir’ was deliberate, just short enough to seem polite, but long enough to broadcast the insult. He would have chuckled had he not sensed the sincerity behind the words. His eyes scanned the entrance to the imposing estate, but the clear day and size of the area caused the voice to seemingly come from everywhere and nowhere at the same time. He must have hesitated too long himself as further instructions rang out.

“I had not planned to practice sighting my guns today, but as you are obligingly ignoring my directives, I will take advantage of the opportunity. I should warn you that I am a crack shot and your immobility all but guarantees my aim shall fall true. I have only to decide which part of you needs a ball in it most.”

The owner of the voice remained unseen, but the ominous cocking of a pistol drew his attention to the massive planter on the right side of the landing between the flights of stairs. No shrinking violet, this one, he thought. She had not been hiding, merely tactically placing herself near cover should it be necessary. The lady stood taller than most, had striking dark hair and eyes, and wore a topaz morning dress not in the first stare of fashion, but of high-quality material and extremely well-made. Her found himself taking notice of her skirts and the wisps of hair about her face, gently rippling in the light breeze. She raised one pistol, aiming it dead center at his chest, and returned his attention to where it belonged.

Clearing his throat, the action as foreign to him as the sudden attraction he felt toward this stranger threatening his life, he began his mea culpa.

“My Lady, I believe I should introduce myself before we have cause to regret your actions.” Despite not knowing her identity, he still sensed he spoke to someone of import.

“Save your speech to occupy your thoughts on your journey back down my lane. The only introduction you need concern yourself with is this ball greeting your torso.” An impish smile spread across her face as she raised one brow as if in a cocky salute. “And I assure you, I shall feel no regrets in the matter.”

And with those saucy words and braggadocio, the famously aloof and impassive Duke of Conall thought he might be in love.

Grab your copy of A Wulf in Duke’s Clothing at all online vendors today!

 

 

 

Author Renée Reynolds grew up all over the world in a family whose motto is you can never learn too much, travel too much, or talk too much. She owns an impressive stack of degrees that she ignores to instead write about what she cannot do: go back in time to dance at balls and flirt with lords and scoundrels.

Renée found her happily ever after in Texas, where she resides with her family and a menagerie of pets. They’ve added to the family motto: you can never read too much, too often, or too late at night.

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A Legend to Love: The Lady and Lord Lakewood by Aileen Fish

A Legend to Love: The Lady and Lord Lakewood by Aileen Fish

The Lady and Lord Lakewood

A man on a quest to save the heir of his dearest friend.
A woman in possession of an enchanted weapon.
Can they protect the young duke from those who are out to kill him?

Almost from birth, Vivienne has known that one day she would play an important role involving a family heirloom, a sword called Excalibur. Her Aunt Nimue says she’ll know what to do when the time comes—but she had no idea the man she waited for would be so handsome, so powerful.

Richard, 5th Earl of Lakewood, must save Arthur, the new young Duke of Camelot, from a woman seeking revenge. Killing Uther, Arthur’s father, wasn’t enough; now she’s after Arthur. A series of mysterious clues leads Lakewood to an even more mysterious woman, Lady Avalon. What role does she play in this battle, and what’s this spell she’s cast on Lakewood’s heart? Her distraction might just lead to his death.

June 1818
Near Glastonbury, England

A violent dream held Vivienne, the widowed Viscountess Avalon, deep within its darkness and wouldn’t let her escape. Shadowy figures swarmed around her, threatening and maleficent. Heavy fog kept her from seeing exactly where she was, but some inner sense told her it was the woods near Lake Avalon. The shadows gathered behind her, guiding her—no, forcing her—toward the shore. Her heart pounded in fear of what had taken control of her. She held her breath as if the sound would reveal her location to the enemy.

When she cleared the trees, the fog thinned, allowing her to see a few feet ahead. Still the shadows closed in, and she stepped into the cold water to stay beyond their reach. Hesitantly she inched forward. First her half-boots grew damp, then her hems soaked up the cold water. Vivienne shivered, but a glance over her shoulder showed the shadows still approached. What evil wanted to control her?

Lake Avalon shimmered in a radiating circle in the direction Vivienne felt compelled to go. Tiny waves rippled outward as if a pebble had broken the surface. In the center a face appeared. A kind, gentle face. Her great-aunt Nimue. She remained just below the surface. Vivienne’s heart raced in fear. Was this vision saying her aunt was going to die soon? Vivienne shook her head, pleading, “No, please no.”

Nimue raised her arms and a magnificent sword appeared in her hands. She lifted the weapon above the water but her body and head remained below the surface.

Compelled to reach for the sword, Vivienne hesitated to do so. “What am I to do with this?”

Nimue was silent, not even sharing her thoughts. She simply lifted the sword again, displaying it with both hands like a gift, and motioned for Vivienne to take it.

As soon as Vivienne did, the last of the fog lifted. The shadowy figures vanished and Nimue swam away. A gruff voice called her name from within the trees. Merlin, who some claimed was a magician, stood watching her.

“What am I to do with this?” Vivienne repeated, this time asking him.

The old man with stringy white locks blending into his long, graying beard said, “You will know when the time comes. Since you are having this vision, the time must be soon.”

She hated answers like this. You will know… Would she ever trust her second-sight enough to be confident in what lay ahead?

“You will,” Merlin said, and Nimue’s voice echoed the words in a whisper from the distance.

Looking down at the magnificent weapon, Vivienne marveled at the workmanship. The bronze grip and hilt looked like a little primitive man. The cross guard curled downward on either side creating legs, and the arms of the man curled upward around the head to create a pommel. It even had a face of sorts, and a belt carved into the middle of the body. It was heavy, with the broad blade of an old weapon of battle. Someone had put great pride and love into making it. Given the way the metal shone, it was clear others had polished it and cared for it in the centuries since. Who did it belong to?

And as she studied it, it faded away, leaving her hands empty. She lifted her gaze to Merlin only to find him gone, too. She was alone at the edge of Lake Avalon, her skirt and boots wet but nothing else to show for the odd events.

Then she jolted awake in her bedchamber, snuggled deep under her heavy woolen blankets, barefoot and wearing her nightgown. Moonlight streamed between the draperies on her window, and the castle was silent. Her dream was so vivid she felt certain she’d lived it, yet her nightgown was dry.

Vivienne hated these visions and the period of waiting afterward as she watched for clues to guide her toward the meaning. Aunt Nimue might be able to shed light on the clues, but she couldn’t visit her until daylight. Knowing she’d never get back to sleep, she got up, pulled on her robe and slippers, and went downstairs to make tea. Not having seen her aunt for several months, she’d enjoy a brief visit. Nimue was a font of memories and the history of the village of Avalon, and their family’s part in it. Time spent with her was never dull.

The Lady and Lord Lakewood releases tomorrow, October 2, at all online vendors, but you can pre-order a copy at iTunes today!

 

 

USA Today Bestselling Author Aileen Fish is an avid quilter and auto racing fan who finds there aren’t enough hours in a day/week/lifetime to stay up with her “to do” list. There is always another quilt or story begging to steal away attention from the others. When she has a spare moment she enjoys spending time with her two daughters and their families. Her books include The Bridgethorpe Brides series and the Small Town Sweethearts series.

She also writes steamy romance under the pen-name Ari Thatcher.

Connect with Aileen at her WEBSITE or follow her on

 

 

WOW ~ Word of the Week ~ Black Spy

WOW ~ Word of the Week ~ Black Spy

Last week’s term – Dandy Grey Russet – introduced me to the concept of the Devil’s Nutting Bag. Never heard of it before, needed to know more, so must write post 🙂

Black Spy

The Devil.

According to Plant Lore, Legends, and Lyrics. Myths, Superstitions, and Folk-Lore of the Plant Kingdom by Richard Folkard, the Devil is on the lookout for those who go nutting on a Sunday. Children were warned that to do such meant the Devil, disguised as a gentleman, would hold down the branches for them.

Nutting Party, 1832.

The tradition of a Nutting Day dates back to 1560 Eton, when boys were given a half-holiday to gather nuts, creating the phrase “gone a-nutting.” Consequently, as one might suspect from a tradition associated with young boys, going “a-nutting” soon became a euphemism for sex and seduction, giving rise to its own saying, “a good year for nuts, a good year for babies.”

The 17th Century play Grim, the Collier of Croyden addresses those devil nuts – in both literal and seductive sense – in verse.

Excerpt from Grim, the Collier of Croyden.

After a run-in with the Devil, minds are changed about the seductive pull of going a-nutting.

Excerpt from Grim, The Collier of Croyden.

The worst day of the year to gather nuts is September 14th, according to a letter written by Northamptonshire poet John Clare to his friend, William Hone,  in 1825.

On Holy Rood Day it is faithfully and confidently believed by both old and young that the Devil goes a-nutting on that day and I have heard many people affirm that they once thought it a tale till they ventured to the woods on that day when they smelt such a strong smell of brimstone as nearly stifled them before they could escape out again…

Oh dear.

The safest day to gather nuts is September 21st, when legend has it the Devil was out gathering nuts and ran smack into the Virgin Mary. In his fright, he dropped his bag and fled. The dropped bag of nuts formed a hill in Alcester, Warwickshire, which has henceforth been known as The Devil’s Nightcap.

So not only is the devil busy spitting on blackberries in September, he’s also out tormenting nut gatherers. Fusty Old Scratch.

Folklore is fascinating.