Eve Silver: Dark Prince

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About Dark Prince

Innkeeper’s daughter Jane Heatherington is sold into indentured servitude to cover her father’s debts, sold to Aidan Warrick, a man whose handsome face and form mock the rumors that skulk in his shadow, rumors that paint him a smuggler, a pirate…and worse.

On the rainswept Cornish coast, Aidan’s business is carried out in the darkest hours of moonless nights, his secrets are many, and death follows in his wake. Isolated and alone, Jane’s only companion is the man she dare not trust, the man who looks at her with heated desire that she both fears and craves.

As she finds herself ensnared in the twisted schemes carried out within the walls of Aidan’s looming estate, Jane must decide if Aidan Warrick is the dark prince of her dreams or a monster preying on the innocent…

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Excerpt

Leaning close, he stared down at her, eyes glittering in the meager lamplight. She could smell his hair, his clothes, his skin, rain-washed, a whisper of citrus, and underlying that the tantalizing hint of a scent that was his alone. Her chest felt tight, constricted by some unseen band.

2014HistoricalCoversDespite her innocence she recognized the sharp twist of yearning in the pit of her belly for what it was: her own accursed longing for this man. This terrible, beautiful man.

He recognized it as well. His awareness was there, in the darkening of his eyes, the deepening of his breathing. She caught her lower lip between her teeth, her own breath coming in short, sharp gasps.

Pulse beating a wild rhythm, mind screaming that she must retreat, must flee from his dishonorable intent, she sat where she was, mesmerized by the heat she read in the mercurial depths of his eyes. Oh, dear heaven! What was wrong with her that a tiny secret corner of her soul reveled in his obvious desire, even as fear made her galloping heart nearly burst from her breast?

She opened her mouth to demand that he unhand her, that he remove himself immediately, that he—

He kissed her. His mouth slanted across hers, his tongue tasting the edge of her lips, her teeth, and beyond. She smelled spiced wine, tasted it.

Only in her secret dreams had she ever thought to be kissed, and never had she imagined such a lush and shameless claiming.

The taste of him, cloves and wine and man.

The room spun away until there was nothing but Aidan, kissing her until she forgot to hate him, forgot all but the thrust of his tongue, the feel of his mouth, the wicked heat that poured through her like molten honey.

About the Author

AuthorPic copyNational bestselling author Eve Silver has been praised for her “edgy, steamy, action-packed” books, darkly sexy heroes and take-charge heroines. Her work has garnered starred reviews from Publishers Weekly, Library Journal, Quill and Quire, two RT Book Reviews Reviewers’ Choice Awards, Library Journal’s Best Genre Fiction Award, and has been nominated for the Romance Writers of America® RITA® Award. Rush, her first book for teens was listed as a 2013 American Bookseller’s Association Best Book for Children and a Canadian Children’s Book Centre Best Books for Kids and Teens. Eve lives with her husband, two sons, an energetic Airedale terrier and an exuberant border collie/shepherd.

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The Dover Road: Blackheath and Dartford

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The following post is the fourteenth of a series based on information obtained from a fascinating book Susana recently obtained for research purposes. Coaching Days & Coaching Ways by W. Outram Tristram, first published in 1888, is replete with commentary about travel and roads and social history told in an entertaining manner, along with a great many fabulous illustrations. A great find for anyone seriously interested in English history!

Note: Comment to enter the contest for Susana’s September Giveaway, a lovely necklace from London’s National Gallery (see photo at right).

Blackheath: Dark-Colored Heathland

The area of Blackheath is about seven miles from London Bridge. Originally the name of an open space for public meetings of the ancient hundred of Blackheath, this name was also given to the Victorian suburb that was developed later in the 19th century. While this area was certainly used for burial pits for the victims of the Black Death in the 14th century, it was only one of many used for such a purpose in London and was not the source of the name. Blackheath comes from Old English, “dark-colored heathland,” undoubtedly referring to the color of the soil.

Besides a queen devoted to junketings [Queen Caroline, who lived at Montague House], a letter-writing father, bent on directing his son to the deuce [Lord Chesterfield], and a great warrior [Major General James Wolfe, conqueror of Quebec], rebellion has in the good old days…raised its head on this celebrated spot; and it raised its head in the person of Wat Tyler, who was here in 1381 at the head of one hundred thousand other heads (which was wise of him seeing that he had previously cracked a poll-tax collector’s head at Dartford, after drinking too much ale, I suppose, at the celebrated Bull Inn). Another rebel was here, at Blackheath 1497. Lord Audley to wit, who went through the somewhat aimless exercise of bringing troops all the way from Cornwall, pitching their tents, and immediately afterwards suffering defeat at the hands of Henry the Seventh.

Montague House, residence of Queen Caroline

Montague House, residence of Queen Caroline

The Predecessor of Rotten Row?

For this celebrated spot occupied in the annals of England much the same sort of position apparently as Rotten Row occupies in the annals of contemporary fashion. It was the place where kings and ministers met casually on their way to or from London, and babbled of the weather, the price of corn, the latest hanging, the odds on the next bear-fight, the state of the unemployed, or any other kindred subject which might suggest itself to medieval brains, in an open space, where it was not too windy.

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Henry the Fifth a Spoilsport?

On his return to London, “The Victor of Agincourt” was greeted here by “the mayor and five hundred citizens of London. The mayor and aldermen had prepared an elaborate reception, with wine and scarlet and gold robes and all the trappings. But Henry “nipped all the worthy mayor’s preparations in the bud,” refusing to accept the praise and thanks that should go to God.

A pious decision, but one which must have been extremely unsatisfactory to town councillors who had launched forth in the way of dress and decorations, and to the thousands of Londoners who had flocked out to Blackheath to see the show.

Henry V: not in a proper mood to be fêted

Henry V: not in a proper mood to be fêted

Henry the Eighth: A Guilty Conscience?

It was here on Blackheath that the already muchly married king publicly received his fourth wife, with all due decency and decorum, having already made up his royal mind to put her away privately. For Henry on this occasion did not play fair; and though he pretended to Anne of Cleves herself that it was at this meeting on Blackheath that he had first seen here—in saying so, he said that which was not; for he had already privately inspected her at the Crown Inn at Rochester. It was on this occasion it may be remembered that the bluff Tudor gave way to a regrettable license of speech at first sight of the goods the gods had provided for him, and said many things unfit for publication; which shocked the onlookers, and made Cromwell put his hands to his head to feel if it was still in his shoulders.

Alas, Cromwell, as the advocate for this marriage, paid for his folly with his head. Anne of Cleves, however,

was content to forego the dubious joys of married life for the possession of the several manors in Kent and Sussex that her grateful late lord bestowed upon her. The number of these manors exceeds belief, and at the same time gracefully gauges Henry’s conception of the magnitude of the matrimonial peril past. Indeed, it seems to me that…whenever he had nothing villainous on hand, and was disinclined for tennis, he gave Anne of Cleves a manor or two simply to while away the time.

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The Manor Gatehouse is all that is left of the manor Henry VIII presented to Anne of Cleves as “one of the first manors granted to this little-married but much-dowered lady.”

Charles II’s Triumphant Procession

…it was in 1660 no doubt that the grandest of its historical pageants was to be seen: when the long reaction against Puritanism had suddenly triumphed, and all England went mad on a May morning at the Restoration of her exiled king; when through sixty-one miles as it were of conduits running wine, triumphal arches, gabled streets hung with tapestry—through battalions of citizens in various bands, some arrayed in coats of black velvet with gold chains, some in military suits of cloth of gold or silver—Charles, who had slept at Rochester the night before, rode on to Blackheath between his brothers, the Dukes of York and Gloucester.

Charles II riding into London

Charles II riding into London

Sir Walter Scott, in his novel Woodstock (1826), paints a picture of Charles catching a glimpse of the characters of the novel in the crowd and making a point to dismount, prevent the aged Sir Henry Lee from rising, and ask for his blessing, after which, “his very faithful servant, having seen the desire of his eyes, was gathered to his fathers.”Quite a poignant scene, but could not have happened in real life since Sir Henry had passed away fifty years earlier. Don’t you just love historical fiction?

Charles Dickens: “veritable genius of the road”

His memory burns by the way—as all but the wicked man who has not read Pickwick and David Copperfield will remember—and indeed A Tale of Two Cities. For in the second chapter of that wonderful book the very spirit of the Dover Road in George the Third’s time is caught as if by magic.

A Tale of Two Cities: read Chapter Two here: http://www.online-literature.com/dickens/twocities/2/

Who does not remember these things? Who has not read them again and again? I declare that I think this second chapter of A Tale of Two Cities a picture of the old coaching days more perfect than any that has been painted. Every detail is there in three pages.

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George IV Insulted at the Bull Inn

In 1822

…while the great Fourth George was majestically reposing in his royal post-chaise in front of the old archway he experienced an unpleasant surprise. A very ungentlemanly man named Calligan, a working currier who ought to have known better, suddenly projected his head into the carriage window, and observed in a voice of thunder, “You’re a murderer!” an historical allusion to the king’s late treatment of Queen Caroline, which made the royal widower “sit up”. Upon which a bystander named Morris knocked the personal currier down,and the window of the post-chaise was pulled up, and the post-boy told to drive on as quickly as possible.

The Royal Victoria and Bull Inn (formerly the Bull Inn)

The Royal Victoria and Bull Hotel (formerly the Bull Inn)

The Dover Road: “Rich crowds of historical figures”

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The following post is the thirteenth of a series based on information obtained from a fascinating book Susana recently obtained for research purposes. Coaching Days & Coaching Ways by W. Outram Tristram, first published in 1888, is replete with commentary about travel and roads and social history told in an entertaining manner, along with a great many fabulous illustrations. A great find for anyone seriously interested in English history!

Note: Comment to enter the contest for Susana’s September Giveaway, a lovely necklace from London’s National Gallery (see photo at right).

“Rich crowds of historical figures”

One can almost imagine Mr. Tristram trembling with anticipation to relate to us the countless numbers of historical personages who passed along this timeworn route—so many that he skips over the Romans and barely mentions the pilgrims on their way to Canterbury. In fact, he admits

And here I may perhaps remark with advantage—to myself (in case it may appear that I am on a history bent rather than on coaching)—that the purely coaching record of the Dover Road is a thing only to be touched on briefly. For in point of fact it is “thin”, as dramatic critics would say, in the extreme.

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Deptford: Elizabeth I, Christopher Marlowe, Sayes Court

In 1581 Elizabeth I traveled along a turnpike that ran from New Cross to Deptford to board Drake’s ship, the Golden Hind, that circumnavigated the globe. Apparently it was later

converted into a sort of dining-house for London visitors; in which case all I can say is that I hope that they recollected in what sort of sanctuary of heroism they were dining, and drank the health reverently of the great man who made English commerce possible, and so, indirectly, enabled them to pay the bill.

Replica of the Golden Hind

Replica of the Golden Hind

It was in Deptford that “the greatest perhaps of our Elizabethan dramatists was killed here in a tavern brawl.” Our author goes on about Christopher Marlowe‘s birth at Canterbury and insinuates that “the greatest of our poets is unrepresented in our pedantic Pantheon,” that other lesser poets were honored with slabs of marble while he only with an unmarked grave in the churchyard at St. Nicholas’s Church in Deptford. As to that, I feel I must add that had he not died at the age of thirty (under circumstances that are murky at best), his achievements might have been unequalled even by Shakespeare or Cervantes. And that a memorial window in Poets’ Corner at Westminster Abbey was laid in for him in 2002, which must have given great gratification to all Marlowe devotees.

Memorial window to Christopher Marlowe, Poets' Corner, Westminst

Sayes Court, known for its exquisite gardens, was the setting for “some of the most brilliant scenes in Kenilworth” by Sir Walter Scott. Kenilworth is the story of a secret marriage between Robert Dudley, 1st Earl of Leicester and Amy Robsart. Click here to download this classic for free on your Kindle.

Set in 1575,

the tragic series of events begins when Amy flees her father and her betrothed, Tressilian, to marry the Earl. Amy passionately loves her husband, and the Earl loves her in return, but he is driven by ambition. He is courting the favour of Queen Elizabeth I, and only by keeping his marriage to Amy secret can he hope to rise to the height of power that he desires. At the end of the book, the queen finally discovers the truth, to the shame of the Earl. But the disclosure has come too late, for Amy has been murdered by the Earl’s even more ambitious steward, Varney. (Wikipedia)

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Sayes Court

Tristram remarks:

I confess that it does me good when in the course of these disjounted rambles along the great roads of England I can find some spot haunted by the, to me, charmed figures which throng the pages of the Waverley Novels. Hitherto I have not reaped much of a harvest of joy in this direction it must be confessed; but Deptford has given me my first opportunity; and the Dover Road, a little further on, will give me my second; with which remark I think I may leave Deptford altogether, lamenting that all that can be seen of Sayes Court is now a parish workhouse, which stands on its site; and marvelling at the imperial relaxation of Peter the Great who stayed here in 1698 (at the Court, not at the workhouse), and who was wont to unbend a mind wearied with shipbuilding, by being driven through the world-famous hedges of the garden in a wheelbarrow.

A Kindred Spirit

It occurs to me that Mr. Tristram, in the above paragraph, has captured for me the essence of my fascination for this book. While I’m always interested in how people lived—and that includes travel—in the past, it’s not the listings of coaches and their travel times that holds my interest, anymore than it’s the grandeur and magnificence of stately homes that draws me to England year after year. It’s the history—the people who traveled there, lived there, had experiences there that catches my imagination. Standing on the same ground where countless others stood so many years ago, I feel privileged to be a part of it. There’s a sense of continuity of life, of gratitude for events and people that made it possible for me to live in relative safety, and sorrow that so much of what could have been learned from the past continues to be replayed again and again in the modern world.

History has so much to teach. If only people would listen to its wisdom!

The Brighton Road: “The Most Nearly Perfect, and Certainly the Most Fashionable of All”

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The following post is the twelfth of a series based on information obtained from a fascinating book Susana recently obtained for research purposes. Coaching Days & Coaching Ways by W. Outram Tristram, first published in 1888, is chock full of commentary about travel and roads and social history told in an entertaining manner, along with a great many fabulous illustrations. A great find for anyone seriously interested in English history!

The Brighton Road, Mr. Tristram suggests, might be called the “Regent’s Road,” since it was the Prince who, once he determined the health benefits of the seaside city, saw to it that the road was made passable.

For before the Pavilion was, Brighton was about as easy to get at as the Cranmere Pool in the middle of Dartmoor, the moon, the North Pole, the special exits in case of fire at our principal theatres, or anything else on earth totally inaccessible.

It was in 1750 when Brighton was nothing but a small fishing village that Doctor Richard Russell visited and proclaimed that sea water was beneficial to health, which began the exodus of wealthy hypochondriacs to seaside resorts. At that time, however, our author suggests that oxen were required to cope with the deep ruts. “People got into coaches to go to Brighton and only got out of them when they were overturned.”

All these horrors of the Brighton Road the much abused George the Fourth did away, with a sweep as it were of his fat, bejewelled and august hand! He built the Pavilion, and people from all parts of the country came straightway to see it and him… the crowds soon found…that if they were to come to Brighton, and to court, they had better have some decent road to come upon. And from this simple bringing home of a plain truth came into existence the Brighton Road—“perhaps the most nearly perfect, and certainly the most fashionable of all.”

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Brighton Pavilion

Cuckfield Park, Cuckfield, West Sussex

This sixteenth century manor is known for its ghost, said to be that of Anne Sergison, who, already afflicted with a somewhat combative nature, had to fight a long and sordid court battle to get it. It came to light after her brother’s death that the thirteen-year-old girl assumed to be his daughter was actually a “supposititious” (don’t you just love that word?) child imposed on him by his wife. No one knows what happened to the girl and her mother, but Anne’s ghost has been spotted in the corridors and the avenue leading to the house, and some say she particularly attended her granddaughter’s wedding in 1890. No rest for the wicked, so they say.

Cuckfield Park was the inspiration for William Harrison Ainsworth’s novel Rookwood.

Cuckfield Park

Cuckfield Park

The Dorset Arms, East Grinstead

All distinguished travellers on the Brighton Road pulled up as a matter of course at the Dorset Arms. Amongst those whose names have been handed down as habitual visitors, was Lord Liverpool, who always stayed at the Dorset Arms when on his way to visit the Harcourt seat near Buxted… Another constant guest was Lord Seymour, who died, I believe, in 1837—mean, I am sorry to say…and yet not mean either one way, for if he didn’t eat and drink much, he possessed a passion for illumination which must have produced some respectable items in the bill—thirty wax candles or more burning in his bedroom all night. Spencer Perceval too (the Prime Minister remarkable for great ability and for having been shot in the lobby of the House of Commons in 1812 by John Bellingham) must have been a familiar figure at the Dorset Arms, for the house from which he was married in 1790 to Miss Jane Wilson stands just at the bottom of the Dorset Arms’ garden.

The Dorset Arms

The Dorset Arms

The Clayton Arms, formerly the White Hart and currently the White Hart Barn, Godstone Green

It is said the that in 1815 the Regent, the Tsar of Russia, and many royal visitors stayed at the inn on their way to Blindley Heath, to be present at the fight for the championship of England…Blindley Heath was one of the most popular and celebrated of prize-fighting rendezvous.

“The Fancy were all upon the alert soon after breakfast” (I quote from Boxiana’s description of the Grand Pugilistic combat between Randall and Martin, at Crawley Down, thirty miles from London, on Tuesday, May 4, 1819 “on the Monday to ascertain the seat of action; and as soon as the important whisper had gone forth, that Crawley Down was likely to be the place, the toddlers were off in a twinkling… Between the hours of two and three o’clock in the afternoon upwards of a hundred gigs were counted passing through Croydon… Long before eight o’clock in the evening every bed belonging to the inns and public houses in Godstone, East Grinstead, Reigate, Bletchingley, &c., were doubly and some trebly occupied.”

“Those persons whose blunt enabled them to procure beds, could not obtain any sleep, for carriages of every description were passing through the above towns all night… The brilliants also left Brighton and Worthing at about the same period, and thus were the roads thronged in every direction… It is supposed if the carriages had all been placed in one line they would have reached from London to Crawley. The amateurs were of the highest distinction, and several noblemen and foreigners of rank were upon the ground.”

The White Hart Barn, now the village hall of Godstone Green

The White Hart Barn, now the village hall of Godstone Green

Regent and emperor putting up at a wayside inn to witness a fight for the championship!…The noblemen and foreigners of rank crowding round the twenty-four foot ring! What can give us a better idea of the Brighton Road in its prime than these facts? What paint more vividly what I call its “Regency flavour”, its slang, its coarseness, its virility—in a word, its “Corinthianism”?

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The Portsmouth Road: Royal Road or Road of Assassination?

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The following post is the eleventh of a series based on information obtained from a fascinating book Susana recently obtained for research purposes. Coaching Days & Coaching Ways by W. Outram Tristram, first published in 1888, is chock full of commentary about travel and roads and social history told in an entertaining manner, along with a great many fabulous illustrations. A great find for anyone seriously interested in English history!

The Portsmouth Road has been described to me by one having authority as the Royal Road: and certainly kings and queens have passed up and down it, eaten and drunken in the Royal Rooms, still to be seen in some of the old inns; snored in the Royal Beds (also in places to be seen, but not slept in), and dreamed of ruts of bogs, and blasted heaths and impassable morasses, and all the sundry and other mild discomforts which our ancestors, whether kings or cobblers, had to put up with; or those among them at all events who travelled when the weather was rainy, and there were no real roads to travel upon.

To me however the Portsmouth Road—so called Royal—presents itself in a less august guise; so much so that if I were asked to give it a name whereby it might be especially distinguished, I should be inclined, I think, to call it the Road of Assassination. And it will be found to have claim to the title.

The Unknown Sailor

The Portsmouth Road after Godalming and Milford consisted of a “gravelly road” for five miles up Hindhead Hill that led them directly to a “silent memorial of murder,” a gravestone reminder

of a barbarous murder committed on the spot on the person of an unknown sailor (who lies buried in Thursley Churchyard, a few miles off); and airs also with some satisfaction the feeling then very prevalent (before Scotland Yard was), that murderers are a class who invariably fall into the hands of justice. We are perhaps not so credulous as this nowadays; but we put our trust in a large detective force when our throats have been cut, and hope for the best. The local police of 1786 however could have given many of our shining lights a lesson, it seems to me; for on the very afternoon of September the 4th in that year (which was the date of the murder) they apprehended three men named Lonegon, Casey, and Marshall, twelve miles further down the road…engaged in the unwise exercise of selling the murdered man’s clothes. For this, and previous indiscretions, they were presently hanged in chains on the top of Hindhead as a warning…

The ill-fated sailor, walking from London to rejoin his ship in Portsmouth, met up with three other sailors in Thursley and treated them to food and drinks before setting off again in their company. His reward was to be murdered and decapitated and thrown into a valley, where he was promptly discovered and the alarm raised. His murderers were apprehended that same day at the Sun Inn in Rake, rather unwisely selling off their victim’s clothing.

220px-Unknown_Sailors_GraveIn memory of

A generous but unfortunate Sailor

Who was barbarously murder’d on Hindhead

On September 24th 1786

By three Villains

After he had liberally treated them

And promised them his farther assistance

On the road to Portsmouth.

The Murders by the Smugglers

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All through the last century, then, it seems the country from Portsmouth…was infested by gangs of smugglers.

From time to time, after some unusually audacious outbreak against custom-house laws had taken place, violent reprisals were made; but on the whole the revenue officers seem to have had decidedly the worst of it, and the smugglers enjoyed an enviable immunity from the retribution of justice. The climax to this condition of affairs came on the 6th and 7th of October, 1747, when a gang of some sixty of these desperadoes assembled secretly in Charlton Forest; made a suddenly raid on Poole; broke open the custom, where a large quantity of tea which had been seized from one of their confederates, was lodged, and made off with the booty, without encountering any resistance from the surprised authorites.

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Ye Smugglers breaking open ye King’s Custom House at Poole

The cocky smugglers made a “riotous procession” retreating with their booty, and one of them, a man named Diamond, recognized Daniel Chater, a shoemaker, in the crowd and threw him a bag of tea. The same Diamond was taken into custody at Chichester, and Chater, having been promised a reward, was persuaded to accompany a custom house officer, William Galley, to Chichester for the purpose of identifying said Diamond.

The pair made the unfortunate decision to stay at the White Hart, where the landlady, “friendly of course to smugglers and highwaymen”, suspecting that they meant harm to her friends, sent for seven of them to intervene. Galley and Chater “were prevailed upon with force to stay and drink more rum” and when unconscious, the letter Galley was carrying detailing their errand was intercepted, and the criminals debated whether or not to murder them. Two of the smugglers’ wives who had joined the party urged them to “Hang the dogs, for they came here to hang us.”

This view of the case seems to have in an instant turned men into monsters. A devilish fury possessed the whole company. Jackson rushed into the room where Chater and Galley were sleeping. He leaped upon the bed and awakened them by spurring them on the forehead. He flogged them about the head with a horsewhip till their faces poured with blood. Then they were taken out to the back yard, and both of them tied on to one horse, their four legs tied together, and these four legs tied under the horse’s belly.

They had not got a hundred yards from the house when Jackson, in one of those sudden accesses of fiendishness continually characteristic of the whole affair, and which seemed a veritable possession of the devil himself, yelled out—“Whip them! Cut them! Slash them! Damn them!” and in an instant the whole gang’s devilish fury was wreaked on their bound and helpless enemies.

Near Rake Hill, Galley fell off the horse and was presumed to be dead, so they buried him in a foxhole in Harting Coombe. When he was found, however, his hands were covering his eyes, presumably to protect them from the dirt, so he was, in effect, buried alive.

Chater did not find so fortunate a release from his torments. He was kept for over two days chained by the leg in an outhouse of the Red Lion at Rake, “in the most deplorable condition that man was ever in; his mind full of horrors, and his body all over pain and anguish with the blows and scourges they had given him.” All this while the smugglers were calmly debating as to how they should finally make an end of him. At length a decision was come to. Subjected all the way to treatment which I cannot describe, he was taken back to the same Harris Well where it had been originally proposed to murder Galley; and after an unsuccessful attempt at hanging him there, he was thrown down it, and an end put at last to his awful sufferings by heaving stones being thrown on top of him.

The heinousness of the crime demanded swift justice, and the gang was hanged at Chichester on 18th January 1749, except for one, who died of fright the night before the execution.

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The unfortunate William Galley put by the Smugglers into the Ground … before he was quite Dead

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Mr Galley and Mr Chater put by ye Smugglers on one Horse near Rowland Castle

The Assassination of the Duke of Buckingham

After all this, a simple assassination may strike you as a mere church picnic. But it was at the Spotted Dog Inn in 1628 that James I’s favorite (and some say lover) was assassinated by a discontented half-pay officer who had been turned down for promotion.

buckingham

It remains for me to remark that the journey of Felton to London, where he was hanged, drawn, and quartered at Tyburn, was accomplished amidst scenes of extraordinary and many-sided excitement; and coming, as it does, before a similarly mournful expedition over the same ground on the part of the Duke of Monmouth, seems to me to cast a characteristic gloom over the annals of a road—not remarkable for coaching anecdotes or coaching records—which has been called Royal, and rightly perhaps enough,—but which has yet witnessed, so far as its historical side is concerned, and so far as my knowledge goes, gloomier and more tragic scenes than any other of the great thoroughfares out of London.

These days we have organized police forces and all sorts of high-tech devices and forensic methods to apprehend and prosecute criminals…and yet crime seems to be everywhere, even such horrific murders as described here. Are today’s criminals smarter, do you think, or were more crimes undetected back then?

Comment and enter to win Susana’s September Giveaway, a lovely necklace from London’s National Gallery (see photo at right).

Heather Hiestand: The Kidnapped Bride

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Heather will be awarding a $20 gift card to Amazon or Barnes & Noble (winner’s choice) to a randomly drawn winner via Rafflecopter during the tour. Click here for the Rafflecopter. Click the banner above to follow the tour and increase your chances of winning. Blog comments count as entries to win Susana’s September Giveaway, a lovely necklace from London’s National Gallery (see photo at right).

About The Kidnapped Bride

Pursuing this elusive heiress will be the ultimate temptation…

Lady Elizabeth Shield is used to saving herself from trouble. And even if dashing private inquiry agent Dougal Alexander just rescued her from white slavers, she’s definitely not returning to her stifling aristocratic life and unsuitable suitors. Not when there are other women in danger—and a secret promise to keep in Edinburgh. But outwitting Dougal’s tactics to return her to London and her family will be easier than staying away from his intoxicating kisses…

He’s a baron’s second son accustomed to making his own way and uncovering the truth. Now Dougal must keep Lady Elizabeth close for her own protection, but her spirited wiles are proving scandalously irresistible. His most difficult case yet will be showing her that he’s everything she truly desires—and that love is the greatest of adventures…

“Before I realized it, the unusually strong and well-developed characters of The Kidnapped Bride had sneaked up on me and captured my full attention. This is one of the best shorter books I have ever read.” –Delle Jacobs, author of Lady Wicked

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Excerpt

“Ye are going to do as you are told,” Dougal said. “You have lived one misadventure after another since running away, and that is at an end. I’m taking you back tae your brothers so they can decide what to do with you.”

Cover_The Kidnapped Bride copy“My life is none of your business.”

He took her upper arm. “I’ve been paid very well to make it my business, Lady Elizabeth. And home is where you’re going.”

She attempted to wrench her arm away, but his grip was too strong. “Let go of me, you beast.”

He gripped her tighter in response. “My lady hoyden, you will obey. There is no other alternative.”

She swayed in closer to him, unable to resist his grip, then fixed her gaze on him. Something in his eyes softened. Just as he must have thought she’d given into him, she stomped on his foot, hard.

“Ow,” she cried, as the pain from stomping on hard leather reverberated up her unprotected foot.

He glanced down. “It’s no use attempting tae hurt a man wearing shoes when you haven’t any yourself.”

She was still too much of a lady to swear, but she opened her mouth to give him the tongue-lashing he deserved.

Instead of letting her speak, he grinned at her, then kissed her full on the mouth.

About the Author

Heather Hiestand photo copyHeather Hiestand was born in Illinois, but her family migrated west before she started school. Since then she has claimed Washington State as home, except for a few years in California. She wrote her first story at age seven and went on to major in creative writing at the University of Washington. Her first published fiction was a mystery short story, but since then it has been all about the many flavors of romance. Heather’s first published romance short story was set in the Victorian period, and she continues to return, fascinated by the rapid changes of the nineteenth century. The author of many novels, novellas, and short stories, she has achieved best-seller status at Amazon and Barnes and Noble. With her husband and son, she makes her home in a small town and supposedly works out of her tiny office, though she mostly writes in her easy chair in the living room.

For more information, visit Heather’s website. Heather loves to hear from readers! Her email is heather@heatherhiestand.com.

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Wareeze Woodson: An Enduring Love

Blog commenters qualify to enter to win Susana’s September Giveaway, a lovely necklace from London’s National Gallery (see photo at right). Don’t forget to include your email address!

Interview with Wareeze Woodson

Susana: Tell us about your writing journey and what it took to get published.

Wareeze: I’ve been an avid reader for years and have always rearranged the ending of the story to suit myself, especially if it didn’t end in the proper manner. Only happy ever-after endings are allowed, and even those do not always end as I would like.

Years ago, I forgot how many, I attended a seminar on writing. We were encouraged to submit a few pages for the agents to review. When my turn arrived to talk to an agent, he told me I was too fat and unattractive to continue writing. He suggested I give up. In his opinion, it was a waste of my time as I’d never make it.

That was certainly discouraging, but after attending writing classes and growing much older, I joined the group Romance Writers of America. One would say, I am a glutton for punishment and stubborn to boot. I joined a critique group in my local chapter of RWA and polished my craft. I met a publisher at The Lone Star convention who decided to take a chance on me. Now I’m a published author. A long and sometimes very hard journey, but I made it.

6376129 copySusana: What inspired you to write An Enduring Love?

Wareeze: A neighbor lost her husband during the war, but he returned. Instead of going their separate ways, they worked to build a life together again. I admire that effort.

Susana: What’s the most interesting fact/tidbit you learned while researching your book?

Wareeze: Most of us realize how few rights women had in the 1800s, but tons of readers still expect the heroine to act as women do today. Fat chance! A husband had total rights of ownership of the children, crudely put, but true. He could forbid his wife the privilege of even seeing her children if he decided to do so. When a woman married, even a wealthy woman, every dime became her husband’s. He could spend it on anything he so desired, even gamble it away and deny her a new gown at his whim. A family could arrange a trust fund for her children, but her wealth passed from her father’s or brother’s hands to her husband.

Susana: What do you like most about your hero?

Wareeze: I admire a man who does the honorable thing regardless of the cost to himself. Rhys thought his wife was dead, and he moved on. He struggled to find his love for her again, a man of strength and conviction.

Susana: What do you like most about your heroine?

Wareeze: I admire her ability to live through the pain of rejection with pride and dignity. She made the very best of a bad situation.

Susana: What are you working on next?

Wareeze: A Lady’s Vanishing Choices is my work in progress, my 4th period romance set in the Regency era.

This one is a romantic thriller, complete with a serial killer/spy all rolled into one. Taking the gig without her uncle’s permission, she views a man burying a body. In her haste to escape, she nearly runs over the hero. He’s trying to find a traitor, and her family is under suspicion. Is she innocence, a mere dupe, or is she involved? Can he save her or should he even try? Will she let him?

About An Enduring Love

Born and raised in Latvia, Rebecca Balodis marries Rhys Sudduth, an English diplomat. Shortly thereafter, he is summoned home to attend his father’s deathbed. Rebecca cannot accompany him at the time and becomes trapped in the turmoil plaguing her country. He is informed she died in the upheaval.

Final-An-Enduring-Love-(med) copyNearly four years later, she escapes and arrives in London with their son in tow. Arriving in the middle of his sister’s ball is very awkward, especially since Rhys plans to announce his betrothal to a young debutante later in the evening.

Trouble, tangled in suspense and danger, follow her from Latvia. Can this pair ever find or even recognize an enduring love? Is it worth keeping?

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Excerpt

The gangplank of the Dragon’s Stirr had been lowered ready for Latvian passengers to board. The creak of the ropes tying the vessel to the dock rasped Rebecca’s nerves, reminding her that soon Rhys would sail back to England without her. Devastated by the thought of such a loss and at such a time, she swallowed hard. How can I bear to let him leave me behind?

Standing on the dock in the mid-day sun, she tried to hold back her sobs and for a moment, she feared her knees might give way beneath her. She clinched her jaw, trying to hold steady and caught the lapels of Rhys’s finely tailored jacket with trembling fingers. A rising ocean breeze stirred his dark hair and swirled her skirts about her ankles as he placed his hand over hers.

When Rebecca gazed into Rhys’ deep blue eyes, Gorgi Weister’s words intruded. Sudduth is almost believable when he claims undying devotion. I admire his talent. Her chest burned with apprehension and she gulped a deep breath. What if Weister is correct? Does Rhys wish to abandon me as Weister implied?  

Weister’s sly innuendoes and the sound of his mocking laughter circled in her mind, but she pushed such negative views aside. Guilt for allowing a moment of doubt to fester filled her with shame, but that too, she brushed aside. Ne! I refuse to believe Rhys would desert me. Although we have only been married a few months his love is strong and will endure forever, as will mine. Nevertheless, doubt crawled into her head, impossible to completely deny. Still, why would a government official such as Gorgi Weister attempt to stir trouble with lies? It made no sense!

About the Author

I am a native of Texas and still live in this great state. I married my high school sweetheart, years and years ago. We raised four children and have eight grandchildren, and grandchildren are Grand. At the moment, all my children and my grandchildren live within seventy miles of our home, lots of visits. My husband and I still love each other after all these years the stuff romance is made of, Happy Ever After!

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Regency Dressmakers and Their Fabrics

By Wareeze Woodson

Dressmakers, historically known as mantua-makers or a modiste fashioned custom garments for her clientele. Sewing everything by hand took several hours of labor, and the more elaborate the gown, the higher the price. Many times these women sewed well into the night to finish a gown for a special client. A modiste or dressmaker sewed a fine seam. A straight stitch is hard to make, but the best dressmaker’s of the day sewed twelve straight stitches in an inch of fabric. What an artist!

Fabric, available and most often used during the Regency period, were varied. Silk, satin, wool, velvet and cotton each had its place in the construction of a garment. Satin weaves, twill weaves, and plain weaves are the three basic types of weaving by which the majority of woven products are formed.

Some of the names of these fabrics in the finished state are as follows:

Silk, the most favored for the soft feel and the easily draping properties of the fabric, was much in demand. Satin and velvet were woven from silk. The differences rest with the weave of the threads.

Satin was much in demand as well. There are several types of satin made in different ways. Satin is usually a warp-faced weaving technique in which warp yarns are “floated” over weft yarns, although there are also weft-faced satins.

Baronet or baronette has a cotton back and a silk front, similar to georgette.

Charmeuse is a lightweight, draping satin-weave fabric with a dull reverse.

Double faced satin is woven with a glossy surface on both sides. It is possible for both sides to have a different pattern, albeit using the same colors.

Duchess satin is a particularly luxurious, heavy, stiff satin.

Faconne is jacquard woven satin.

Farmer’s satin or Venetian cloth is made from mercerised cotton.

Gattar is satin made with a silk warp and a cotton weft.

Messaline is lightweight and loosely woven.

Georgette is a sheer, lightweight, dull-finished crape fabric named after the early 20th century French dressmaker Georgette de la Plante. Originally made from silk, georgette is made with highly twisted yarns. Its characteristic crinkly surface is created by alternating S- and Z-twist yarns in both warp and weft. Georgette is made in solid colors and prints and is used for blouses, dresses, evening gowns, and trimmings.

Crêpe or crape is a silk or wool fabric with a distinctively crisp, crimped appearance.

Cambric or batiste, one of the finest and most dense kinds of cloth is a lightweight plain-weave fabric woven in greige, then bleached, piece-dyed and often glazed or calendered. Initially, in the 19th century, it was made of linen, then cotton. Cambric is used for linens, shirtings, handkerchieves and as fabric for lace and needlework. Cambric was originally a kind of fine white plain-weave linen cloth made at or near Cambrai. White linen cambric was used to fashion fine shirts, underwear, shirt frills, cravats, collars and cuffs, handkerchiefs, and infant wear.

Nainsook is a fine, soft muslin fabric. (cotton)

Lawn cloth or lawn is a plain weave textile, originally of linen but now chiefly cotton. Lawn is designed using fine, high count yarns, which results in a silky, untextured feel. The fabric is made using either combed or carded yarns. When lawn is made using combed yarns, with a soft feel and slight luster, it is known as “nainsook”. The term lawn is also used in the textile industry to refer to a type of starched crisp finish given to a cloth product. The finish can be applied to a variety of fine fabrics, prints or plain

Lawn is a lightweight, sheer cloth, crisper than voile but not as crisp as organdy. Lawn is known for its semi-transparency, which can range from gauzy or sheer to an almost opaque effect, known as lining or utility lawn. The finish used on lawn ranges from soft to semi-crisp to crisp, but the fabric is never completely stiff. Lawn can be white, or may be dyed or printed.

Batiste is a fine cloth made from cotton or wool or a blend, and the softest of the lightweight opaque fabrics.

Kerseymere is a fine woolen cloth with a fancy twill weave.

Trims used for decoration: Ruffle, frill, or furbelow is a strip of fabric, lace or ribbon tightly gathered or pleated on one edge to add as trim to a garment or bedding and such.

The term flounce is a particular type of fabric manipulation that creates a similar look but with less bulk than a ruffle. A flounce is created by cutting a curved strip of fabric and applying the inner or shorter edge to the garment. The depth of the curve as well as the width of the fabric determines the depth of the flounce. A godet is a circle wedge that can be inserted into a flounce to further deepen the outer floating wave without adding additional bulk at the point of attachment to the body of the garment, such as at the hemline, collar or sleeve.

Fringe is an ornamental textile trim applied to an edge of an item, such as drapery, a flag, epaulettes, or decorative tassel.

French bead edgings, worked muslin jaconet, embroidery, knotted ribbons and pearl rosettes were also used to enhance a creation.

Terms for apparel: Gowns, day dresses, walking-dresses were all dresses and includes a ball-gowns, riding apparel along with travel garments.

A pelisse was a short cape, shawls and cloaks, many fur-lined were worn to protect the wearer from a chill in the air or on occasion to display a new purchase.

A caraco was a jacket like bodice worn with a petticoat and had sleeves to the elbow, a popular style.

Panniers were side hoops worn under the petticoat with a caraco.

A redingote was a gown with a tight bodice and long sleeves with a collar much like a man’s jacket. The petticoat formed the front of the gown with an overskirt to match the bodice.

Gloves, some short to above the wrist and some covered the elbow, were always worn in public or gathering outside the home.

Hats and bonnets of every description were also worn for any outing. Dressmakers often made hats as well.