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Ella Quinn: When a Marquis Chooses a Bride (The Worthingtons, Book 2)

I’m so glad to be back visiting Susana and all of you!

I’m here today to tell you about When a Marquis Chooses a Bride, Book #2 in The Worthingtons.

For those of you who read Three Weeks to Wed, the first book in the series, you might recall Charlotte bemoaning that her dearest friend, Dotty Stern could not come out with her. In typical Worthington fashion they figured out a way to give Dotty her Season, and that’s when the fun begins.

Note: Ella is giving a signed copy of When a Marquis Chooses a Bride to one random commenter.

About When a Marquis Chooses a Bride

Thanks to their large extended family and unconventional courtship, The Worthingtons have seen their share of scandal and excitement. But nothing has prepared them for this… 

When a Marquis Chooses a Bride copy

The Dowager Lady Worthington isn’t quite sure what to make of country-girl Dorothea Stern. As the granddaughter of the Duke of Bristol, Dotty is schooled in the ways and means of the nobility. But her sharp wit and outspoken nature has everyone in a tizzy. Especially their cousin, Dominic, the Marquis of Merton.

Prematurely stuffy, Dom was raised by his cheerless uncle to be wary of a host of things, including innovation, waltzing, and most perilous of all: true love. Still, there’s something about Dotty, beyond her beauty, that Dom cannot resist. But the odds are against him if he intends to win her as his bride. Will he choose loyalty to his family—or risk everything for the one woman he believes is his perfect match…

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Excerpt

Early afternoon sun poured through the windows of the large airy schoolroom in Stern Manor. The space was filled with bookcases, four desks, two sofas, and sundry toys.

Miss Dorothea Stern sat on the larger of the much-used sofas, threading a strand of rose silk through her embroidery needle. She had one more Damask rose to complete before the slippers she was making for her mother were completed.

But no matter how hard she tried, she could not escape the fact that the neighborhood was sadly flat now that her best friend, Lady Charlotte Carpenter, was gone. For years, they had planned to come out together, just as they had done everything else since they were in leading strings.

In the meantime, there was a great deal to keep Dotty busy. Since her mother’s accident, she had taken up Mama’s duties. Dotty enjoyed visiting their tenants, talking to the children and their mothers, and finding ways to help them.

“Dotty,” her six-year-old sister, Martha, whined, “Scruffy won’t stay still.”

Scruffy, a three-legged dog Dotty had saved from a hunter’s trap, was resisting Martha’s efforts to tie a ribbon on him. “Sweetie, boys don’t like frills. Put it on your doll instead.”

Fifteen-year-old Henrietta glanced up from the book she was reading. “She took it off the doll.”

“Henny,” Dotty asked, “aren’t you supposed to be practicing your harp?”

Her sister stuck her tongue out. “No, I’m supposed to be reading Ovid in Greek.”

Their father, Sir Henry, was a classical scholar and had been a rector before his older brother’s death a few years ago. Much to Henny’s dismay, he had decided to teach all the children Latin and Greek.

Dotty took in the book her sister held. The marble cover was a trademark of the Minerva Press novels. “That is not Ovid.”

Puffing out a breath of air, Henny rolled her eyes. “Aren’t ladies supposed to be fashionably stupid?”

“No, they are supposed to appear stupid,” Dotty replied tartly. “Which is completely ridiculous. I refuse to marry a gentleman who thinks women should not have brains.”

“If that’s the case, you may become a spinster,” Henny shot back.

“Lord Worthington likes that Grace is clever.” Dotty resisted a smug smile. “I’m sure there must be other gentlemen who believe as he does.”

Charlotte’s older sister, Grace, was now the Countess of Worthington. She had taken all five of the younger children with her to London for Charlotte’s come out. Shortly after arriving in Town, Grace had met and fallen in love with Mattheus, Earl of Worthington. They had wed three weeks later.

Not long ago, Grace and her new husband had returned to Stanwood Hall for a few days so that Lord Worthington, who was now guardian to her brothers and sisters, as well as his own sisters, could inspect the property.

Before Henny could retort, the door opened. “Miss”—Dotty’s maid, Polly, glanced around the room, her gaze settling on Dotty—“Her ladyship asked me to come fetch you.”

Dotty pulled the thread through, secured the needle, and set the slipper down. “Is she all right?”

“Oh yes, miss.” Polly bounced from foot to foot. “She got a letter from London and sent for you straightaway.”

Dotty hurried to the door. “I hope everything is all right.” There was nothing wonderful in receiving a letter from London. Practically everyone they knew was in Town for the Season. Mama and Dotty should have been there as well, yet the day before their planned departure her mother slipped and broke her leg.

“No, miss,” the maid said as she hurried after her. “Her ladyship was smiling.”

“Well, I suppose the sooner I get to her, the sooner I shall find out what she wants.” A minute later, she knocked on the door to her mother’s parlor and entered. “Mama, what is it?”

Waving a sheet of paper in her hand, her mother smiled broadly. “Unexpected and wonderful news. You shall have your Season after all!”

Dotty’s jaw dropped. She snapped it shut and made her way over to a chair next to her mother. “I don’t understand. I thought Grandmamma Bristol couldn’t sponsor me because of Aunt Mary’s confinement.”

This”—Mama waved the letter through the air again—“is from Grace.”

About the Author

Ella QuinnBestselling author Ella Quinn’s studies and other jobs have always been on the serious side. Reading historical romances, especially Regencies, were her escape. Eventually her love of historical novels led her to start writing them. She has just finished her first series, The Marriage Game, and her new series, The Worthingtons began in April 2016.

She is married to her wonderful husband of over thirty years. They have a son, two granddaughters, and a dog. After living in the South Pacific, Central America, North Africa, England and Europe, she and her husband decided to make their dreams come true and are now living on a sailboat cruising the Caribbean and North America.

She loves having readers connect with her.

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Heather Boyd: Miss Merton’s Last Hope (Giveaway)

Interview with Heather Boyd

Susana: Tell us about yourself.

MEDIA KIT Author ImageHeather: Greetings. I’m a regency historical romance author, indie published, and sole female in a testosterone fueled household. (Even the cat is male) I love old books, old furniture and houses and research — regency era of course.

Susana: Do you ever wish you were someone else? Who?

Heather: No. I’m pretty comfortable with myself and my life. Of course I still wish for that big lottery win, the ability to clone myself when overworked, and a years worth of coffee and chocolate in perpetuity – much like everyone else I expect.

Susana: Do you have any phobias?

Heather: Spiders and snakes, which is stupid considering I live in Australia where you can’t step out your front door without being attacked by one. Just kidding. They wait until the second step before they land on you with evil intentions.

Susana: Have you ever had an imaginary friend?

Heather: All my friends are imaginary. I’m a writer. LOL I spend so much time with my characters they become very real to me.

Susana: Take us through a typical writing day for you.

Heather: I work at my writing career full time so after I gently guide the family out the door to school and work I usually grab a coffee and settle in to write as many words as I can before midday. After lunch, words are often much slower to come by but I persist until I finish the chapter or scene I’m working on. After that I answer emails, read industry related blogs. I’m self-published so there is always something new to discover and talk about with friends. Late afternoon is spent with my family. I don’t like to write my stories late at night. I find it hard to switch off and go to sleep because my characters keep talking. Somewhere in there I’m also on Facebook or Twitter or my posting updates on website. If I’m preparing for a new release I work weekends.

Susana: How would you describe the characters in your books?

Heather: Sexy, sometimes damaged, occasionally dangerous but always willing to connect with others and take a chance they’ll find love.

About Miss Merton’s Last Hope

Book Three, Miss Mayhem Series

MMLH_DC200Over the years, Melanie Merton has used every trick and ruse to repel overeager gentlemen callers without ever revealing the real reason she won’t say yes to an offer of marriage. When neighbor Walter George jumps to her defense against slurs cast by suitor number twelve, he also pries into her past—uncovering the circumstances around a tragic loss in her childhood and her aversion to being touched by anyone. But even protective Walter must be kept at a distance for his own good, because despite a growing attraction between them, Melanie must deny him too.

Unlike other men his age in Brighton, Walter George hadn’t considered Melanie Merton for a wife because he was convinced he’d never have a chance to impress his haughty neighbor. But that was before he understood her better, before he uncovered why she kept friends and suitors alike at bay. The right husband could restore the woman he sees into some semblance of the fun-loving child of his memory, but would Walter stand a chance or become just another unlucky suitor?

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Excerpt

“Why do you think I invite you along to dine with us so often?” Valentine slapped Walter’s shoulder. “You seem to be the only man within three miles who hasn’t the least bit of interest in Melanie romantically. I am always assured Melanie has an enjoyable evening in your company.”

Walter was surprised by that claim. He had always assumed his presence made little impression on her mood. He could have stood on his head, for all the notice she took of him. “Who else is on the guest list?”

“Mr. Hartwood and his wife have consented to come.”

“I know them well, but they are an unusual choice as Julia’s first dinner guests.”

“The choice was my sister’s suggestion, actually,” Valentine confessed. “She thought a series of small, informal dinners would strike the right note to win back goodwill. Plus it’s an opportunity to casually promote the shop to someone with funds to spare.”

“Clever thinking.” Despite the frost in her manner, her choosiness about finding a husband, Melanie was well regarded by the older set of their town. She had certainly been of help in improving Valentine and Julia’s standing in society of late. “As good a place to expend the effort as any I can think of.”

“She is determined that Julia make a good impression.”

His mind jerked back to Melanie Merton and her refused suitors. Why did she not want a husband of her own yet? As far as he could tell, she rebuffed all romantic overtures. Had any of those fellows ever stood a chance to win her affections? Had any of them kissed her?

She could probably use a good kiss to loosen her corset strings. Walter imagined…

“Why are you pursing your lips?” Valentine asked suddenly.

“What?” He quickly adopted a thoughtful expression. “Oh, just thinking an idea through. There’s a factory in Portslade I heard about. Could be a good investment.”

Valentine stopped and stared at him. “How do you have money to spare for another investment already? I swear, everything you touch must turn to gold.”

“Not quite.” He grinned. “I am still eating off porcelain dinnerware.”

Valentine questioned him about the property while Walter scolded himself silently. It was a very bad idea to turn his mind to Melanie Merton, a woman who had hurt his sister so very badly in the past. Despite the friendly façade he affected before others, he was still extremely annoyed with her.

So tell me what is the sweetest thing someone has done for you? I’d like to offer an ecopy of Miss George’s Second Chance to two random commenters.

About the Author

Bestselling historical author Heather Boyd believes every character she creates deserves their own happily-ever-after, no matter how much trouble she puts them through. With that goal in mind, she writes sizzling regency romance stories that skirt the boundaries of propriety to keep readers enthralled until the wee hours of the morning. Heather has published over twenty novels and shorter works. Catch her latest news http://www.heather-boyd.com. She lives north of Sydney, Australia, and does her best to wrangle her testosterone-fuelled family (including cat Morpheus) into submission.

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A Celebration of Waterloo: Wellington’s Exploring Officers

All the business of war and indeed all the business of life, is to endeavor to find out what you don’t know by what you do: that’s what I call ‘guessing what was on the other side of the hill.’

Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington

 The Business of Spying

Up until the early 19th century, spying was considered an odious and ungentlemanly occupation and few officers would agree to do it.

But by the time the 19th century rolled around, with the spreading of Napoleon’s empire on the continent, General Brownrigg, the Quartermaster-General of the British Army, went to the Commander-in-Chief, Frederick, the Duke of York, to propose that army develop a unit called the Depot of Military Intelligence, and it was done. The problem was—nobody wanted to do it.

Wellington’s Exploring Officers

peninsular war map

When General Wellesley arrived in Portugal, he couldn’t find an accurate map of the country and had to write to his brother-in-law to send him one. Realizing that his lack of information about the movements of the enemy, as well as the terrain and countryside, Wellington established a corps of “Exploring Officers.”

Exploring officers had to be fine horsemen, skilled linguists, and able to express themselves in sketching and writing in the most concise terms. With the assistance of local inhabitants, they would map the countryside four miles to the inch. That done, they would move behind enemy lines, learn troop movements and strategic information, and return to disclose this information to Wellington.

Sir John Waters

Sir John Waters of the Royal Scots

John Waters of the Royal Scots was known as a wily and capable man behind enemy lines. However, he was caught by the French and given up for dead by his regiment. When a man dies, his personal possessions are generally auctioned off to his comrades, but Wellington forbade this, saying that “Waters should be back and would want his things.” And he was right. Waters did come back and supposedly did want his things back.

Most exploring officers wore their uniforms, since soldiers caught behind enemy lines out of uniform was immediately shot as a spy. John Grant was one of the few who went in disguise. He became very friendly with the Portuguese people and adopted their local dress, much to the horror of his fellow officers. After the war, instead of being lauded for their risk-taking, these courageous men were shunned by their former regiments as “gadabouts” who were not really engaged in the business of war.

Colquhoun Grant

From Wikipedia:

Colquhoun Grant, Gentleman Spy

Colquhoun Grant, Gentleman Spy

The youngest of eight brothers in a family from the Scots aristocracy, Grant was commissioned into the 11th Foot in 1795. In 1809 he was posted to the Iberian Peninsula under the command of Arthur Wellesley, who in 1810 appointed him to his personal staff as an exploring officer in the Peninsula Corps of Guides, a special reconnaissance unit who spoke the local languages.

Grant was captured by French forces on 16 April 1812. As he was in uniform he was treated as an officer and gentleman by his captors, who offered him parole, which Grant accepted. Grant was invited to dine with Marshal Marmont who hoped to find out more about Wellington, and who was angered by Grant’s reticence. Marmont had good reason to remain suspicious of Grant, as the latter managed to send and receive secret messages while in captivity.

marmont

Auguste de Marmont

Marmont sent Grant to Paris for interrogation. It is clear from Marmont’s correspondence that he had no intention of exchanging Grant for a prisoner of equal rank among the British, as was the custom of the time, considering him to be a spy. Grant, on seeing a copy of Marmont’s letter, decided that it invalidated his agreement to parole and left him free to escape.

Grant was able to avoid recapture by passing himself off as an American officer, and spent some weeks at liberty in the streets and salons of Paris, sending intelligence reports to Wellington. He then escaped to England, rejoining Wellington in early 1814. Promoted to lieutenant-colonel he was appointed commanding officer of the Corps of Guides and Head of Intelligence for the Peninsular Army.

During the Hundred Days Campaign, Grant was working as intelligence officer in France when Wellington put him in charge of his own intelligence operations. Grant sent in a steady stream of reports regarding the build-up of French troops along the border and returned to Brussels in time to take part in the Battle of Waterloo on 18 June.

Lost and Found Lady

Rupert Ellsworth, the hero in story in the Beaux, Ballrooms, and Battles anthology, is an exploring officer in Wellington’s army in 1812 when he decides to disguise himself as a French soldier following the Battle of Salamanca. Unfortunately, he’s not the greatest horseman and falls off the untrained French horse and hits his head on a rock. Fortunately he is discovered soon after by Catalina, a local girl, who takes it upon herself to nurse him back to health. One thing leads to another and it isn’t long before the pair fall in love. But Catalina is not a whore and Rupert has promised his father to marry a “suitable English girl,” so the future for them looks grim. Between one thing and another, the two are separated… to be reunited several years later in Belgium just as another war is brewing. Circumstances for both of them have drastically changed, and Rupert is bound for the battlefield. Will there be a future for them or is it too late?

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Beaux, Ballrooms, and Battles

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Jillian Chantal: Jeremiah’s Charge

Emmaline Rothesay has her eye on Jeremiah Denby as a potential suitor. When Captain Denby experiences a life-altering incident during the course of events surrounding the Battle of Waterloo, it throws a damper on Emmaline’s plans.

Téa Cooper: The Caper Merchant

The moon in Gemini is a fertile field of dreams, ideas and adventure and Pandora Wellingham is more than ready to spread her wings. When Monsieur Cagneaux, caper merchant to the rich and famous, introduces her to the handsome dragoon she believes her stars have aligned.

Susana Ellis: Lost and Found Lady

Catalina and Rupert fell in love in Spain in the aftermath of a battle, only to be separated by circumstances. Years later, they find each other again, just as another battle is brewing, but is it too late?

Aileen Fish: Captain Lumley’s Angel

Charged with the duty of keeping his friend’s widow safe, Captain Sam Lumley watches over Ellen Staverton as she recovers from her loss, growing fonder of her as each month passes. When Ellen takes a position as a companion, Sam must confront his feelings before she’s completely gone from his life.

Victoria Hinshaw: Folie Bleue

On the night of the 30th Anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo, Aimée, Lady Prescott, reminisces about meeting her husband in Bruxelles on the eve of the fighting. She had avoided the dashing scarlet-clad British officers, but she could not resist the tempting smile and spellbinding charm of Captain Robert Prescott of the 16th Light Dragoons who—dangerously to Aimée—wore blue.

Heather King: Copenhagen’s Last Charge

When Meg Lacy finds herself riding through the streets of Brussels only hours after the Battle of Waterloo, romance is the last thing on her mind, especially with surly Lieutenant James Cooper. However, their bickering uncovers a strange empathy—until, that is, the lieutenant makes a grave error of judgment that jeopardizes their budding friendship…

Christa Paige: One Last Kiss

The moment Colin held Beatrice in his arms he wanted one last kiss to take with him into battle and an uncertain future. Despite the threat of a soldier’s death, he must survive, for he promises to return to her because one kiss from Beatrice would never be enough.

Sophia Strathmore: A Soldier Lay Dying

Amelia and Anne Evans find themselves orphaned when their father, General Evans, dies. With no other options available, Amelia accepts the deathbed proposal of Oliver Brighton, Earl of Montford, a long time family friend. When Lord Montford recovers from his battle wounds, can the two find lasting love?

David W. Wilkin: Not a Close Run Thing at All

Years, a decade. And now, Robert had come back into her life. Shortly before battle was to bring together more than three hundred thousand soldiers. They had but moments after all those years, and now, would they have any more after?