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.
I’m continuing a series of blogs to give you a taste of the stories in this collection, today featuring Rue Allyn’s story.
The Butler and the Bluestocking
The last thing Bess expects to find at their borrowed townhouse in York is a stranger claiming to be a butler. She has every reason to disbelieve him, but her family is in desperate need, so she squelches common sense and offers him a job on the spot. Pray heaven, she won’t regret her decision.
On arriving in York to visit his godmother, the honorable Malcolm K. Marr did not expect to find her house locked and empty. Nor did he expect to have to break in to the house to find shelter. Least of all did he expect to be awakened at mid-day after the break in to find a woman with the bearing of an Egyptian goddess demanding to know what he was doing in her house.
“Unhand her, you cur.”
Bess ceased her struggles.
Mrs. Crewe had arrived, and from the clatter of footsteps, she had the watch with her.
“Of course.” He set Bess away from him, but his gaze never left her face.
Bess shifted to take in the entire scene. Yes, there stood Mrs. Crewe, a fire poker in her raised hand. Behind her framed in the doorway, stood two watchmen, one just arriving behind and to the right of the other.
“Cor Bill, who’s the toff?” queried the newest arrival. “And who’s the lady toff with him?”
“I dunno, Jim. He could be the butler for all I know. When Mrs. St. Aubyn sent word she was leaving, she said nothing about if her servants would stay or not.”
The remarks drew her attention and the stranger’s.
Bess managed to stifle into a snicker the irresistible urge to laugh.
The stranger’s tawny eyes gleamed, and all his teeth showed.
No doubt about it. Those strong white teeth prove he is smiling.
“Who are you, and why are you here?” demanded Mrs. Crewe.
The stranger looked a question at Bess.
Bess turned to her housekeeper and the curious faces of the watchmen behind her. “Mrs. Crewe, I believe we’ve had a misunderstanding. Would you be so kind as to show the watchmen out?”
“Indeed, Mrs. Crewe. Here are vails for their trouble.” The supposed butler stepped forward, coins in hand to give to the housekeeper, who gave the stranger a narrow-eyed look.
“Are you certain, my lady?”
Bess nodded. “Quite.”
The stranger, his hand still outstretched, looked back over his shoulder at her, that smile doing very odd things to her stomach.
“There is no danger here.” Bess assured her housekeeper and the watch. Why she now believed the stranger represented no hazard to her or her family, she could not have said. The important thing was to get the watch out of the house before anything else could happen.
“Hmpfh,” uttered Mrs. Crewe. In taking the coins, she was forced to lower the poker, but she did not release it. “I’ll be back instantly, my lady.” With that she turned and ushered the watchmen before her toward the front of the house.
“I think you’d best explain yourself, Mr. . . .” She wondered what concoction of bouncers the man might create to explain his presence here. One thing she knew for certain, he was no butler.
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, Rue Allyn, learned story telling at her grandfather’s knee. (Well it was really more like on his knee—I was two.) She’s been weaving her own tales ever since. She has worked as an instructor, mother, sailor, clerk, sales associate, and painter, along with a variety of other types of employment. She has lived and traveled in places all over the globe from Keflavik Iceland (I did not care much for the long nights of winter.) and Fairbanks Alaska to Panama City and the streets of London England to a large number of places in between. Now that her two sons have left the nest, Rue and her husband of more than four decades (Try living with the same person for more than forty years—that’s a true adventure.) have retired and moved south. When not writing, enjoying the nearby beach or working jigsaw puzzles, Rue travels the world and surfs the internet in search of background material and inspiration for her next heart melting romance. She loves to hear from readers, and you may contact her at Rue@RueAllyn.com. She can’t wait to hear from you.
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, Elizabeth Ellen Carter’s The Four-to-One Fancy.
You can find the complete list of stories and blurbs on my Desperate Daughter‘s book page.