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 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 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.
Last week I began a series of blogs to give you a taste of the stories in this collection, beginning with Carolyn Warfield’s tale. Today’s featured author is Mary Lancaster.
At the age of seven and twenty, Lady Barbara has long accepted her position on the shelf. She is thrilled to put aside her music-teaching in order to help her beautiful young sisters find eligible husbands.
But then, a chance encounter with an unconventional and mysterious young piano tuner has her heart in a spin. When she encounters him again at a York assembly, playing the violin, it seems he has too many names. Can she trust such a man with the family secrets, let alone with her heart? And can she save him from the lethal threat hanging over him?
Oddly, Barbara was conscious of a desire not to return to York. To let her sisters go on without her, just for a few days. But even if Jack wished it, she could not stay here.
So, after tea they said goodbye to Mrs. Weeks. Jack even hugged the housekeeper, which made her cry, and then they walked around to the stables.
“What did you think?” Jack asked casually on the way.
“I think it is a beautiful house which you can make your own. I think you can make it ring with music and fun, and compose to your heart’s content. In between seeing to the land and your tenants. You could have the music and Allbury Court.”
“That is what I have begun to think.” He paused, catching her arm and turning her to face him in the shade of a spreading chestnut tree. A smile played on his lips. With his free hand he tucked a stray strand of hair beneath her bonnet, and brushed his knuckles against her cheek. “Thank you.”
“For what? Telling you what you already know?”
“For making me see what I already know,” he corrected. “Barbara?”
The smile flared and died again. “Nothing. Just this.”
He bent his head and her heart seemed to lurch downward into her suddenly tingling stomach. She could have avoided it, but the truth was, in that moment, she wanted his kiss more than anything in the world.
His lips paused above hers, giving her time to object, perhaps, or maybe just drawing out the anticipation. She parted her lips, raising them to his, and he smiled as he kissed her. A firm, yet tender kiss, slow, exploratory, tasting.
He raised his head, searching her face. “Again?” he whispered.
For answer, she cupped his cheek and took back his mouth and with this longer, deeper kiss, she was lost.
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
Mary Lancaster is a USA Today bestselling author of historical romance and romantic historical fiction. Her first literary love was historical fiction, a genre which she relishes mixing up with romance and adventure in her own writing. Several of her novels feature actual historical characters as diverse as Hungarian revolutionaries, medieval English outlaws, and a family of eternally rebellious royal Scots. But she is probably best known for her light, fun Regency romances.
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, Rue Allyn’s The Butler and the Bluestocking.
You can find the complete list of stories and blurbs on my Desperate Daughter‘s book page.