The weeks are whizzing by until the release day for Desperate Daughters, a Bluestocking Belles Collection with Friends.
This collection of novellas by nine Regency romance authors is a perfect opportunity to sample some new-to-you storytellers. The stories are set around a central premise, a family of all daughters, left destitute by their late father, the Earl of Seahaven.
Here’s the blurb
Love Against the Odds
The Earl of Seahaven desperately wanted a son and heir but died leaving nine daughters and a fifth wife. Cruelly turned out by the new earl, they live hand-to-mouth in a small cottage.
The young dowager Countess’s one regret is that she cannot give Seahaven’s dear girls a chance at happiness.
When a cousin offers the use of her townhouse in York during the season, the Countess rallies her stepdaughters.
They will pool their resources so that the youngest marriageable daughters might make successful matches, thereby saving them all.
So they start their adventures in York, amid a whirl of balls, lectures, and al fresco picnics. Is it possible each of them might find love by the time the York horse races bring the season to a close?
It’s not just daughters finding romance…
Not everyone who finds love in this collection is a daughter. It was great fun to see the earl’s young widow find her own happily-ever-after. And my heroine, Lady Twisden, is a widowed great-aunt who learns that following her passion for painting doesn’t mean sacrificing love.
Today I begin a series of blogs to give you a taste of the stories in this collection, beginning with Carolyn Warfield’s tale.
Lady Dorothea’s Curate
Doro Bigglesworth works at a hotel, and she’s proud of what she does. Besides, her family—the ten unmarried daughters of the late earl of Seahaven—needs her income. She has no use for her title and less for the scorn and pity of society.
Scarred by the death of a boy, Ben Clarke dedicated his life to helping others. Delighted with Doro’s help at his mission, he doesn’t bother with the courtesy title due the son of a viscount.
Separated before either could mention titles to the other, they are stunned when they are formally introduced in a ballroom in York.
Explanations are needed. Quickly.
Hired assembly rooms have no garden but they do, apparently, have a terrace overlooking the square below. Or so Doro—Lady Dorothea—told him when he demanded to know. She seemed to know the place well. Can this night get any stranger? Ben doubted it.
Halfway across the room, she let go of his arm, and he had to skip to catch up with her as she reached the door. He grabbed her hand, half fearing she meant to bolt.
The terrace wasn’t large, but neither was it crowded. A few people mingled near the railing. A couple engaged in intimate familiarity in the corner to the far left of the glass doors, shadowed rather less than they obviously hoped by the gloom.
When Doro stopped in the middle, Ben, who still had her by the hand, dragged her to the similarly darkened corner to the right. It provided inadequate privacy, but it would have to do.
One hard yank on her arm swung Doro into the corner, around his front, to a hard stop against his chest. His other arm anchored her fast against his body and his mouth came down on hers. No tender salute this. Passion driven by anger and frustrated desire drove him. He plundered. He invaded. He…
He felt like a cad, but he didn’t care. Besides, she kissed him back, clinging to his shoulders like she might drown if she let go. When the need to breathe forced him to pull back a fraction of an inch, Doro closed the distance and kissed him again. That’s when he realized she was crying.
“Enough.” He held both her arms and set her a bit away. Not so far that she could run off. Just enough to reassemble his scattered wits. “Do you want to explain to me what happened here?”
“You kissed me. Rather thoroughly.”
Shame over her tears warred with delight at her passionate response. “Not that! Who are you, and what game are you playing?” he demanded gently wiping the tears from her cheeks.
“Lower your voice.” She hissed at him in the gloom. “I’ll answer your questions, but keep your voice down.” Apparently satisfied that he wasn’t going to shout her deception to the rooftops, she went on. “I am Doro Bigglesworth, Lady Dorothea Bigglesworth. In Harrogate the title didn’t seem to matter.”
“This isn’t Harrogate; it is York. Why the deception?”
She snorted. No ladylike cringing for his Doro. “You know what society thinks of those of us who are forced to work for a living. I didn’t lie to you about our situation. We needed my wages at the Hampton. My father was indeed the Earl of Seahaven, but when he died, we were left with nothing; Patience struggles to support the children. All of us had to scramble to help. If word got out here, it would ruin everything, destroy my sisters’ chances.”
“So, you’re deceiving all of York instead, so the Seahaven Diamonds can latch on to some wealthy fool and enrich all of you.
Desperate Daughters is available for Pre-order for only 99 cents: https://books2read.com/u/bMwL17
Hurry! The price goes up after the book’s May 17, 2022 launch day.
About the author
Award winning author of historical romance usually set in the Regency and Victorian eras, Caroline Warfield reckons she is on at least her third act, happily working in an office surrounded by windows where she lets her characters lead her to adventures in England and the far-flung corners of the world. She nudges them to explore the riskiest territory of all, the human heart, because love is worth the risk.
What critics are saying:
A Marvelous Group of Authors
In addition to Belles authors, Caroline Warfield, Jude Knight, Rue Allyn, and Sherry Ewing, the collection features stories by Mary Lancaster, Elizabeth Ellen Carter, Meara Platt, Ella Quinn, and, of course, me!
I’ll be back soon for an excerpt from the next featured story, Mary Lancaster’s Concerto.
You can find the complete list of stories and blurbs on my Desperate Daughter‘s book page.