The Following has appeared in the Teatime Tattler Newssheet:
Scandal in the Old Wing
The rustic seaside town of Fenwick on Sea is not as sleepy as one might think, especially with the travelers stranded by what might truly be called the Storm of the Century.
A Scotsman has arrived at the Queen’s Barque, his well-made coats soaked and his fine boots caked with mud. A tall, handsome specimen of our northern cousins, he claims the status of gentleman. And yet, dear Reader, he arrived with a local woman, with whom he plans to shelter in the inn’s oldest wing–alone!
Is she, in truth, a titled lady, as some say? She goes about in men’s trousers, is said to be not averse to a midnight sail, and often visits the inn with a tub or two in hand! Though on this occasion, it was her companion thus encumbered, so perhaps he truly is a gentleman after all.
“Zounds.” Marielle Plessiers, Comtesse de Fontenay, tossed the newssheet onto the table next to Malcolm Comyn’s breakfast plate and laughed. “You were not careful enough, my lord. I have ruined your sterling reputation.”
“My love, you say?” Her hand cupped his strong jaw. She’d never tire of hearing those words from this worthy young man’s lips. “I must reward you, I think.”
She felt the rumble of his chuckle under her lips. “There,” she said, patting his cheek. “And as to where I obtained this, did you not think Yarmouth’s finest inn, the Blue Boar, would have access to the best London newspapers?”
“I’m not certain I’d call this rag the best.” He scanned the words and leveled a frown at her, one that didn’t conceal the twinkle of humor in his eyes. “Damning it is, but I fear I cannot bring a cause for libel against them. There’s too much truth in the report.”
“Because they are correct that you are a gentleman.”
“Oh, aye, a tall handsome one. And ye know it.”
Oh yes, she did, but she wouldn’t encourage his vanity by agreeing. “And because I am a titled lady who goes about in men’s trousers.”
“And very fetching ye are in them, my love.” He snagged her hand and drew her onto his lap.
“I’ve shamed you terribly, my lord. You’re embarrassed by my company.”
“Never.” His lips found her neck and he nibbled. “‘Tis that first line of description that makes me blush. My coats have survived the soaking, but the boots? Even a lowly farmer wipes his muddy boots at the inn door. Aye, those boots of mine were caked with the stuff. ‘Struth, they’re fair ruined, and what sort of gentleman goes about in raggedy boots?”
The sort that would rescue a lady smuggler from the raging surf; the sort who would carry a tub of illicit spirits for her; the sort who would accompany her home to deal with a villain.
“My sort.” She plucked the newssheet from his hand, tossed it aside, and prepared to reward him again.
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Blurb for Storm & Shelter:
When a storm blows off the North Sea and slams into the village of Fenwick on Sea, the villagers prepare for the inevitable: shipwreck, flood, land slips, and stranded travelers. The Queen’s Barque Inn quickly fills with the injured, the devious, and the lonely—lords, ladies, and simple folk; spies, pirates, and smugglers all trapped together. Intrigue crackles through the village, and passion lights up the hotel.
One storm, eight authors, eight heartwarming novellas.
Blurb for The Comtesse of Midnight:
A Scottish Earl on a quest for the elusive Comtesse de Fontenay rescues a French lady smuggler from the surf during a devastating storm, and takes shelter with her. As the stormy night drags on, he suspects his companion knows the woman he’s seeking, the one who holds the secret to his identity.
Marielle Plessiers may dress like a boy and go out with the local free traders, but she’s really the Comtesse de Fontenay. She trades in spirits, not secrets, but the information she holds will change Malcolm Comyn’s life forever.
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