Tag Archive | Collette Cameron

Collette Cameron: Heartbreak and Honor

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Scottish Gypsies

Highland Travelers or Black Tinkers

By Collette Cameron

The term gypsy is a misnomer derived from Egyptian, much like the label Indian for Native Americans, and Romany Gypsies are quite different than the Highland Scottish Travellers or Black tinkers as they were known.

Though both groups, as well as at least a half a dozen other nomadic tribes, traveled throughout Scotland, the Roma’s origins trace back to India, whereas the Black Tinkers (in Gaelic-The Ceárdannan or the craftsmen) are mostly a genetic indigenous Scots.

That meant I had to rethink Tasara Faas, my heroine in Heartbreak and Honor.

I’d written a story with a part Roma heroine before, The Viscount’s Vow, but the Highland gypsies were vastly different. Everything from her dress, customs, and speech had to be researched because she’s far more like a Scotswoman than a Romany.

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Some Scottish Highland Traveler families do claim Roma heritage, and their Scottish–Gaelic cant contains Romany or Anglo-Romany words. In fact, some groups call themselves Nackin which is thought to be of Hindi origin.

No surprise there since the various tribes date back at least five hundred years in Scotland. However, the prevalence of the Roma influence is seen more in the Lowland travellers rather than the Highlands.

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The Black Tinkers language is secret and has never been recorded in writing, according to one source. Many hold typical Scottish surnames such as Stewart, Macmillan, MacDonald, and Cameron. They possess a strong belief in the importance of family and purity taboos, much like the Roma travellers.

And much like the European Roma, the Highland Travelers were (are) a maligned segment of population. Stereotyped as thieves, con men, and fortune tellers, stories were broadly circulated that gypsies would kidnap children. In an odd twist, gypsies’ feared abduction themselves. Many disappeared and were thought victims used in medical schools for dissection. Rumors abounded of illegitimate children of the gentry or haute ton, being sold or given to the gypsies as well.

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Highland Travelers were so despised, that during the 17th century, Scottish law ordered them to “quit the realm” or hang. Scottish Travelers toted their goods in carts and pitched bowed tents while the Roma typically lived in vardos, a type of caravan wagon. Some sources also claim the Highland Scottish Travelers used caravans as well.

Today, usage of the terms gypsy or even tinker is considered derogatory.

Though a Scottish Regency Romance, Heartbreak and Honor uses the abduction and persecution elements of the Scottish gypsies to help spread their unique, and often unfortunate, tale.

What unusual elements do you enjoy reading about in a historical romance?

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About Heartbreak and Honor

Highland Heather Romancing a Scot Series, Book 3

Abducted by a band of renegade Scots, Highland gypsy Tasara Faas doesn’t hesitate to blacken her rescuer’s eye when the charming duke attempts to steal a kiss. Afterward, she learns she’s the long-lost heiress Alexandra Atterberry and is expected to take her place among the elite society she’s always disdained.

Lucan, the Duke of Harcourt, promised his gravely ill mother he’d procure a wife by Christmastide, but intrigued by the feisty lass he saved in Scotland, he finds the haut ton ladies lacking. Spying Alexa at a London ball, he impulsively decides to make the knife-wielding gypsy his bride despite her aversion to him and her determination to return to the Highlands.

The adversary responsible for Alexa’s disappearance as a toddler still covets her fortune and joins forces with Harcourt’s arch nemesis. Amidst a series of suspicious misfortunes, Lucan endeavors to win Alexa’s love and expose the conspirators but only succeeds in reaffirming Alexa’s belief that she is inadequate to become his duchess.

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Excerpt

“Duke? What’s a ruddy English duke doing sneaking into a Scottish keep’s chamber?” Tasara flinched. She hadn’t meant to speak aloud.

“Why, rescuing you, of course.”

Did he wink? Cocky fellow, wasn’t he? But then, he was a duke. The attitude came with the title, no doubt present from birth. Probably had his noble bum and snotty nose wiped with the finest linen or silk. Astonishing that he deemed to exert himself enough to muster a sweat. Didn’t nobility have servants do everything for them?

Muted voices and calls echoed from somewhere in the keep.

Attempting to recognize a voice, she tilted her head.

The horrific shrieks and roars of minutes ago had ceased, although an occasional shrill cry yet rang through the stone passageways, raising the hair along her nape.

“Ye be here to rescue us?” Holding Lala’s pudgy hand, György knelt on the bed, his ebony eyes wary and no doubt sprinkled with a dab of excitement too.

In the muted light, Tasara couldn’t be certain. Lads dreamt about adventures of this sort.

“I am, indeed, young sir.” His grace smiled, his teeth gleaming in the half-light. “Whom do I have the pleasure of addressing?”

György shook his sister’s grip loose.

She jammed her thumb in her mouth and toyed with the curls tumbling atop her left shoulder. She stared at the duke, her gaze wide and distrusting.

After scooting from the bed, György gave a handsome bow. “György Faas, Yer Highness, and these be me sisters, Tasara and Lala.”

“It’s Your Grace, György, not Your Highness.”

I think.

Tasara’s attention swung between the duke and her brother. Harcourt probably had been treated like royalty his entire life.

“Grace? Are ye sure, Tasara?” György pulled a silly face and snickered. “That be a lass’s name.”

The duke chuckled again, the rich timbre resonating from his chest. “So it is. Most embarrassing, I’ll admit, but I’m afraid someone started the ridiculous tradition far too long ago for me to change things now. I’m just grateful they didn’t select Chastity or Prudence.”

Aye, me too, Your Chastity.” György clutched his belly in glee and laughed harder. “Dinnae ye have a given name?”

“Indeed, I do. Several as matter of fact. I’m named Rochester after my father, though I prefer to be addressed as Harcourt or Lucan, which is part of my middle name, Lucan-Ashford.”

His agreeableness irked Tasara. No doubt he could charm the fur from a fox and have the creature thanking him for the honor of losing its hide.

About the Author

Collette Cameron copyBestselling, award-winning Historical Romance Author, Collette Cameron, pens Scottish and Regency Romances featuring rogues, rapscallions, rakes, and the intrepid damsels who reform them. Mother to three and self-proclaimed Cadbury chocoholic, she’s crazy about dachshunds, cobalt blue, and makes her home in Oregon with her husband and five mini-dachshunds. You’ll always find animals, quirky—sometimes naughty—humor, and a dash of inspiration in her novels. To learn more about Collette and her books, visit collettecameron.com

Her award-winning Castle Brides Series, Highland Heather Romancing a Scot Series, and Conundrums of the Misses Culpeppers Series, as well as her other books, are all available on Amazon and other major retailers.

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Julie Johnstone, Katherine Bone, Collette Cameron, Jillian Chantal, Samantha Grace, Alanna Lucas, Lauren Smith, Victoria Vane: Once Upon a True Love’s Kiss

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USA Today Best-selling author, Julie Johnstone, joins best-selling, award-winning authors, Katherine Bone, Collette Cameron, Jillian Chantal, Samantha Grace, Alanna Lucas, Lauren Smith, and Victoria Vane in this delightful limited edition, containing eight tantalizing kiss-and-tell stories. Meet dashing, wildly charming rogues, spies, pirates, rakes and their extraordinary, intrepid heroines as they whisk you along on sweet to sizzling romantic romps in these wickedly entertaining historical romances.

After Forever by Julie Johnstone

Lady Julia is hired to turn a rogue into a gentleman and receives lessons in love and desire.

Widowed Lady Julianna Barrows never wants to fall in love again. But when the notorious former boxer Nash Overton hires her to transform him into a gentleman, Julianna quickly becomes the student, learning more about passion than she’s ever known, and more importantly, learning how to love again. 2 1/2 Kisses

The Pirate’s Duchess by Katherine Bone

A duke masquerading as a pirate to “rob from the rich and give to the poor” sheds his darkest-kept secrets to keep from losing the duchess his wife has become.

Duty forces him to take on the pirate code, but honor brings him back.

Prudence, Duchess of Blackmoor, has one desire—to be happy again. After struggling to overcome the horrifying death of her husband, she accepts an earl’s offer of marriage, confident she’s taking a step in the right direction. But demons, refuse to die, and Prudence finds herself caught in an intricate web of deceit that threatens the very foundations of all she holds dear.

Tobias, the Duke of Blackmoor, crosses the line when an assassination attempt on him fails. To restore the reputations of friends under attack by the same villain, and ensure his wife’s safety, he stages his own death, becoming The Black Regent, a notorious pirate bent on brandishing justice, never thinking he’d survive. But to his amazement, he has, and now the darkest-kept secrets are not worth losing the duchess his wife has become. 2 1/2 Kisses

Her Scandalous Wish by Collette Cameron

A marriage offer obligated by duty . . . an acceptance compelled by desperation.

Philomena Pomfrett is resigned to spinsterhood, but to ease her dying brother’s fretting, she reluctantly agrees to attend a London Season with one purpose—to acquire a husband. Stumbling upon her hiding in a secluded garden arbor during a ball, Bradford, Viscount Kingsley doesn’t recognize his first love, yet something about the mysterious woman enthralls him, and he steals a passionate, moonlit kiss.

Caught in the act by Philomena’s brother, Bradford is issued an ultimatum—a duel or marry Philomena. He offers marriage, but even impoverished and with no other decent prospects, she rejects his half-hearted proposal until her brother collapses. Now, Philomena’s faced with marrying a man who deserted her once already. 2 Kisses

Milady and Her Spy by Jillian Chantal

A lady, a spy, a traitor… a battle of wills.

Raised in the country after her mother’s death with only the company of three unruly brothers, Lady Augusta Covington is more proficient at fencing, riding and playing cards than being prim and proper. Myles Cuthbert, a spy in His Majesty’s service on a mission to find and expose a traitor, crosses paths with Lady Augusta when she rides to the aid of her brother, believing him to be injured. With the assignment at risk, Cuthbert agrees to accept the assistance of the troublesome lady eager for intrigue. As they move forward, his sense of obligation to her and the danger involved stir his soul. 1 Kiss

Kissed By a Scottish Rogue by Samantha Grace

Scottish land steward Fergus McTaggert calls a temporary truce with his employer’s companion only to discover their passionate battles have been masking their hidden desires.

His Mother Insists He Needs a Wife.

Fergus McTaggart, Aldmist Fell’s land steward, has no time for wife hunting. Any day his employer’s sisters will be arriving at the Scottish castle for a long overdue reunion. Fergus is determined to make their stay memorable, but all anyone is likely to recall are the loud rows between him and his employer’s cheeky paid companion.

She Insists He Needs a Good Knock to the Head.

Edith Gallagher has been charged with watching over her employer’s youngest sister while the family winters in Scotland, but the stubborn land steward interferes at every turn. Eventually, she and the Scot call a truce for the sisters’ sakes only to discover their passionate battles are masking hidden desires. 2 Kisses

Stolen Kisses From the Viscount by Alanna Lucas

A rake, an heiress, and stolen kisses…this seduction could be his last.

Desperate times call for drastic measures as Miss Aveline Redgrave enters her third season. Fearful of fortune hunters, she attempts to stay clear of Lord Leybourne, a rogue who is not to be trusted. But his seductive smile and enticing kisses awaken a passion that threatens her common sense. No stranger to scandal, Leybourne is determined to save his family from ruin whatever the cost, even marrying an heiress he doesn’t love. But an unexpected desire and need to protect threatens his plans. Will past heartaches and a devastating wager destroy their future or will true love’s kiss triumph? 3 Kisses

Tempted By a Rogue by Lauren Smith

Gemma never planned on falling in love with her childhood sweetheart’s best friend, Jasper, when he returns home, but she can’t resist the naval officer’s brooding charm.

Gemma plans to marry James, her childhood sweetheart. With every letter written between them while he’s been off at sea, their love has grown. Now they will be reunited with his return to England. But the man whose words she’d fallen in love with isn’t James…

Jasper, a gentleman rogue of the first order, is trapped. Talked into a scheme by his friend, he pretended to be James for eleven years while writing to Gemma. He’s promised James he’d break it off. But when he returns home, his secret will come out – and he’ll lose the one woman he can’t live without. 4 Kisses

The Redemption of Julian Price by Victoria Vane

She gave him a chance to bury his past… but the price would be his heart…

Burdened by the past…Orphaned at a young age and left to run wild, at eighteen Julian Price joins the fight against Napoleon in the hope of attaining honor. Devastated when his best friend, Thomas, is killed in battle, Julian returns home burdened with guilt, only to find his wastrel uncle has squandered his inheritance.

Desperate to live her own life… Facing a future of drudgery caring for her aging mother and raising her brother’s children, Henrietta Houghton believes her chance at a real life died with Thomas, the only man who ever wanted her. But Henrietta is still full of dreams. When her wealthy aunt, offers her a gift of ten thousand pounds, Henrietta finally has the chance to choose her own destiny.

Everything has a price…With a fortune at her command, Henrietta offers Julian a marriage of convenience, unaware that she really offers Julian a means of salvation—not just his fortune, but his very soul. 3 Kisses

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A lovely mélange of charming romantic tales by highly acclaimed authors: 4/5 stars

A former boxer determined to raise his and his daughter’s status in life falls in love with his widowed etiquette tutor. A widowed lady’s second marriage ceremony is interrupted by… her dead husband! A young lady promises her ailing brother she will find a husband encounters the beau who deserted her when she was scarred in a fire. Another young lady finds herself embroiled in a dangerous espionage plot with a handsome young spy. A lady’s companion with a tarnished background finds herself drawn to the annoyingly handsome Scottish land steward. A rakish young viscount in need of a wealthy wife to compensate for his late father’s profligacy pursues a young lady determined to avoid fortune hunters. A not-so-young lady who has been exchanging love letters with her childhood sweetheart at sea eagerly awaits his homecoming, but what happens when the man who returns is someone else entirely? With her first love a casualty of war and the prospect of a life of nothing but drudgery, a young lady is offered the opportunity to forge her own destiny… with a man in need of much more than her money.

If you are looking for well-written romantic tales for a pleasant evening’s diversion, you won’t be disappointed by this delightful anthology.

About the Authors

Julie Johnstone is an USA TODAY best-selling author of edgy Regency Romance. She feels she’s living the dream by working with her passion of creating worlds from her imagination. When not writing, she’s chasing her precocious children around, cooking, reading or exercising. Julie loves to hear from her readers.

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Katherine Bone is an Amazon #1 best-selling Historical Romance Author passionate about history since she had the opportunity to travel to various Army bases, castles, battlegrounds, and cathedrals as an Army brat-turned-Officer’s-Wife. Now she lives in the south where she writes about Rogues, Rebels and Rakes, aka Pirates, Lords, Captains, Duty, Honor, and Country and the happily-ever-afters every alpha male and damsel deserve.

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Jillian Chantal is a 2015 RONE Finalist and lives on the beautiful coast of Florida, and even though she loves her little slice of paradise, she’s an Anglophile at heart. Writing in a variety of romance genres makes her happy, but she has a particular fondness for the Georgian/Regency era as it was the age she adored as a teen and as her introduction to the world of happily-ever-afters. Living on the gulf coast also reminds Jillian, daily, that even though she loves the past, she needs the present. Air conditioning is vital for her survival.

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Collette Cameron is an Amazon #1 best-selling and award-winning Historical Romance Author of more than ten Scottish and Regency Romances featuring rogues, rapscallions, rakes, and the intrepid damsels who reform them. Mother to three and self-proclaimed Cadbury chocoholic, she makes her home in Oregon with her husband and five mini-dachshunds. You’ll always find animals, quirky—sometimes naughty—humor, and a dash of inspiration in her novels.

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Samantha Grace is an Amazon best-Selling, RITA-nominated Historical Romance Author who discovered the appeal of a great love story at the age of four, thanks to Disney’s “Robin Hood”. She didn’t care that Robin Hood and Maid Marian were cartoon animals. It was her first happily-ever-after experience, and she wanted the warm fuzzies to go on forever. Now that Samantha is grown, she enjoys creating happy-endings for characters that spring from her imagination. Publisher’s Weekly describes her stories as “fresh and romantic” with subtle humor and charm. Samantha describes romance writing as the best job ever.

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Alanna Lucas is an Amazon best-selling author and grew up in Southern California, but always dreamed of distant lands and bygone eras. From an early age she took interest in art, history, and travel, and enjoys incorporating those diversions into her writing. However, she believes that true love is the greatest source of inspiration and is always an adventure. Alanna makes her home in California where she spends her time writing historical romances, dreaming of her next travel destination, spending time with family, and staying up too late indulging in her favorite past time, reading.

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Lauren Smith is an attorney by day, is an Amazon best-selling, award winning author by night, who pens adventurous and edgy romance stories by the light of her smart phone flashlight app. She’s a native Oklahoman who lives with her three pets: a feisty chinchilla, sophisticated cat, and dapper little schnauzer. She’s won multiple awards in several romance subgenres including being a New England Reader’s Choice Winner, Greater Detroit Bookseller’s Best Award Finalist and a Semi-Finalist for the Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley Award.

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Victoria Vane is an Amazon #1 bestselling author of smart and sexy romance. Her works range from comedic romps to emotionally compelling erotic romance and have received over twenty awards and nominations to include: a 2015 Red Carpet Finalist for Best Contemporary romance (SLOW HAND), 2014 RONE Winner for Best Historical Post Medieval Romance (Treacherous Temptations), and Library Journal Best E-Book romance of 2012 (The Devil DeVere series). Victoria also writes romantic historical fiction as Emery Lee. She currently resides in Palm Coast, Florida with her husband, two sons, a little black dog, and an Arabian horse.

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For the purpose of this anthology, the following ratings apply:

One KissStories will either not have consummated love scenes, or subtly sexy undetailed scenes behind a closed bedroom door. You’re not invited inside. Sorry.

Two KissesStories are more sensual than sweet with some love scenes that are more sensual than graphic. You might blush, but you won’t need a fan.

Three KissesStories are sexier and bolder with more explicit love scenes and the language used to describe them may be more graphic. A fan and a cool beverage might be in order, but you won’t experience everything. *Wink*

Four KissesStories have frequent, graphic love scenes with explicit language. Be prepared to blush and stand in front of the air conditioner, a tall, iced drink in hand. Clothing is optional.

Five KissesStories have frequent graphic, descriptive love scenes and/or contain subject matter some readers may find objectionable. Blushing guaranteed, and you might learn a thing or two or three. But never fear, we won’t tattle if you don’t.

Collette Cameron: Virtue and Valor

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One Lump or Two?

by Collette Cameron

Often, when reading historicals (Over four decades now! Gads!) I’ll read something and not think twice about it.

In this instance, I’m talking about lumps of sugar, you know, as in, Do you want one lump or two in your tea?

For years, I mistakenly assumed it was the British way of referring to sugar cubes, which weren’t patented until 1843 by Jakub Krystof Rad who operated a sugar refinery. According to history, his wife sliced her finger cutting a lump of sugar and complained that sugar should come in a convenient size for a teacup. Being a dutiful husband, he created the nifty little units we take for granted today.

220px-Cukrová_homole_001 copyThe English, however, had to wait until 1875 for the luxury of sugar cubes on their tea trays.

Until the late nineteenth century, sugar was purchased in whitish cone-shaped loaves or pieces hacked from a loaf with a chisel and hammer (Hard stuff-those loaves!).

After a lengthy refining process, the sugar was poured into cone-shaped molds with a small hole in the bottom to let the dark syrup drain out. To whiten the sugar, a solution of dissolved loaf sugar or white clay was repeatedly applied to the large end of the loaf, and as the liquid drained through the sugar, it purged any remaining molasses or dark coloring.

Once tapped from the molds, the sugar was wrapped in blue paper to enhance the whiteness.

The largest loaves (called bastards) were lower grade sugar, and as you can imagine, the smaller loaves were extremely expensive.

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After purchasing whatever quality of sugar the mistress of the household could afford, how did she fill her sugar basin? She couldn’t very well pass around the entire loaf and ask her guest so take a lick! I did read sometimes larger chunks were simply dunked in the tea because they wouldn’t fit into the cup.

Those were dried and used again. I’m truly hoping not by different guests.

The elite ladies of the ton, weren’t about to get their dainty fingers sticky, no indeed. Plucking a lump or two from a china sugar basin with tongs was much preferred.

But, how to get those neat little lumps?

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First, a section of sugar had to be hammered from the loaf, and then nippers—an iron plyer-like tool—were used to lop of a hunk.

That in itself was no easy chore.

The larger cones weighed thirty pounds and measured fourteen inches tall with a three foot base. The higher quality cones used for tea typically weighed between one and three pounds with only a six-inch base and were much more manageable.

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Still, no convenient granulated sugar or cubes for those Regency biscuits or tea!

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Some nippers came on stands so the user could put their weight into nipping off a piece of sugar. Naturally, tidy, uniform lumps were preferred for serving guests, and that chore generally fell to the mistress of the house or a highly trusted servant.

Sugar, like tea, was expensive and both were often kept in locked chests or caddies to which the mistress kept the keys. Some sugar chests had compartments for powdered and granulated sugar.

Just how did the cook come by powdered and granulated sugar? The lumps were pounded or grated to create granulated sugar and a mortar and pestle was used to make powdered sugar.

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Now, don’t you have even more appreciation for those elaborate confections nibbled by callers as they whispered about the latest on dit over a steaming cup of sugar-sweetened tea?

In my new release, Virtue and Valor (Highland Heather Romancing a Scot, Book 2), Isobel enjoys a morning cup of tea.

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About Virtue and Valor (Highland Heather Romancing a Scot Series, Book 2)

Bartholomew Yancy never expected to inherit an English earldom and had no intention of marrying. Now, the Earl of Ramsbury and last in his line, he’s obligated to resign his position as England’s War Secretary, find a wife, and produce an heir. Only one woman holds the least appeal: Isobel Ferguson, an exquisite Scotswoman. Brought to Scotland to mediate between feuding clans, he doggedly woos her.

Disillusioned with men pursuing her for her attractiveness, rather than her unusual intellect, Isobel has all but abandoned any hope of finding a husband in the Highlands. Not only does she believe Yancy no different than her other suitors, he’s a notorious rake. She’s been told he’s practically betrothed. Therefore, his interest in her cannot possibly be honorable, and so she shuns his attentions.

When Isobel is mistakenly abducted by a band of rogue Scots, Yancy risks his life to rescues her. To salvage her compromised reputation, her brother and father insist she marry him. Yancy readily agrees, but Isobel—knowing full well she’s fated for spinsterhood by refusing his offer— won’t be coerced into marriage.

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Excerpt

Pouring a cup of tea, Isobel inhaled the heady scent. She added two lumps of sugar and a dash of milk before stirring the contents.

perf5.000x8.000.inddShe adored the smell of hot tea. The scent reminded her of her childhood. Every morning, Mother had gathered the children around her for a cuddle and enjoyed a cup with them.

Lifting the hand-painted teacup to her lips, Isobel eyed the disgruntled maid stomping about the bedchamber, casting her astringent glances every now and again.

“Suppose this means ye be plannin’ on wallowin’ about in the muck too.” Maura did exaggerate so.

Isobel pointedly focused her attention on the ceiling to keep from rolling her eyes.

“I do not wallow, as you know full well.” She wiggled her free hand at the maid. “My hands and nails shan’t even get dirty.”

“Ladies do not collect rocks and dead things turned to rocks.” Maura harrumphed and trundled her way to the rumpled bed. She shuddered dramatically. “It be unnatural, I tell ye. Creatures turned to stone. They be cursed. The same as Lot’s wife in the Good Book.”

“She was turned into a pillar of salt, not stone.” Isobel suppressed a chuckle and spread jam over a roll.

Humph. Stone. Salt. It makes no matter to me.”

Maura patted the purple and white coverlet into place then adjusted a couple of pillows to her satisfaction. “A curse is a curse—like those Callanish sinners turned to stone for their heathen activities on the Sabbath.”

“Maura, that’s Superstitious drivel. The Callanish Circle was used to track lunar activity.”

Clearly baffled, Maura pursed her lips and squinted at Isobel. “Loony activity?”

Lunar. The path of the moon.” Isobel smiled, pointing with a forefinger and drawing an arc in the air.

“The sinner’s-to-stone business is nonsense. Simply a silly legend spread by the early Kirk of Scotland to discourage rites they didn’t approve of.”

About the Author

Collette Cameron copyBestselling, award-winning author, Collette Cameron, has a Bachelor of Science in Liberal Studies and a Master’s in Teaching. Author of the Castle Brides Series, Highland Heather Romancing a Scot Series, and Conundrums of the Misses Culpepper Series, Collette writes Regency and Scottish historicals and makes her home in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and five mini-dachshunds. Mother to three and a self-proclaimed Cadbury Chocolate chocoholic, Collette loves a good joke, inspirational quotes, flowers, trivia, and all things shabby chic or cobalt blue. You’ll always find dogs, birds, quirky—sometimes naughty—humor, and a dash of inspiration in her novels.

Her motto for life? You can’t have too much chocolate, too many hugs, too many flowers, or too many books. She’s thinking about adding shoes to that list.

Connect with Collette:

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Resources:

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/18/magazine/who-made-that-sugar-cube.html?_r=0

http://www.oldandinteresting.com/sugar-nippers.aspx

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sugarloaf

https://regencyredingote.wordpress.com/2008/11/14/take-your-lumps-sweet-ones/

http://etiquipedia.blogspot.com/2014/04/regency-era-etiquette-and-when-sugar.html

Images courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Collette Cameron: Wagers Gone Awry (Conundrums of the Misses Culpepper, Book 1)

Interview with Heath, Earl of Ravensdale

Wagers Gone Awry

Conundrums of the Misses Culpepper, Book 1

Susana: Tell us about yourself, please.

Heath gives a brief bow. “Thank you for your kind invitation to visit with you at Susana’s Parlour. That’s a lovely blue gown you’re wearing. It reminds me of Brooke’s eyes.”

He settles into an armchair.

“Always a bit awkward, talking about oneself, especially when one has been born into a life of privilege but cannot boast ancestors one is proud of. I don’t suppose you’d be happy with I loathe kidney pie and flowers make me sneeze?”

“Hmph, I thought not.” He crosses his legs and drums his fingers on the chair’s arm.

“I’m the eighth Earl of Ravensdale and have had to leave the comforts of London to travel to a remote dairy farm I won in a wager. Well, at least I thought I won the blasted thing, but it seems I only won a portion of the place.”

He leans forward a bit.

“Have you any idea how smelly a dairy is? And the flies…hoards of the pesky things.” He flicks his hand toward the window. “And this farm is run by a troupe of sassy women. Beautiful women, I might add.”

Susana: So, what do you want to do about it?

Heath chuckles.

“Ah, that’s an age-old question. What do I want? To sell that farm, but if I do, I’ll render the Culpepper misses, not to mention their staff and pets, homeless. Makes me rather a cur, doesn’t it?”

His gaze drops to his lap.

“No, what I really want is Brooke Culpepper, but she cannot abide me, and I doubt an offer of marriage would tempt her. Besides, the Ravensdales up to now, haven’t exactly exemplified fidelity or marital bliss, so I plan on enjoying a few more years of freedom before buckling under the responsibilities of the earldom and acquiring a wife and producing an heir.”

Susana: Ah, so you have a bit of a conundrum yourself, don’t you?

“In a nutshell, yes. As I mentioned before, I need to sell that parcel of green hell so that I can return to London’s civilization.

Heath shakes his head then winces. “And, after Brooke’s over-zealous servant took it upon himself to crack me on my head, I’m under doctor’s orders not to travel until I’ve recovered fully.”

He winks. “He doesn’t know I’m here today. Trust me, having Brooke under the same roof is causing me much more discomfort than my aching head is.”

Susana: You’ve been born into a position of power and privilege. Still, are there any areas of self-doubt or areas you are skilled at?

“Do you know a man or woman alive that doesn’t have some degree of self-doubt?”

Heath gazes into space for a long moment. A small smile quirks his mouth before he shrugs.

“I can barely read, and it’s a secret I’ve kept close to my chest since my youth. I trust you’ll not bandy it about indiscreetly. I also have a terrible sweet tooth. The Culpeppers make the most delicious shortbread biscuits.”

He grins then and taps his temple with his forefinger.

“As for skills, I have quite a memory for numbers, and can recall every card dealt in a game.”

Susana: You’ve shared your self-doubts, but what it is you fear most?

“I fear I’ve lost Brooke because of the wager between us.”

He glances up, his expression troubled.

“She lost, you know, and she should have won. Would have won if outside forces hadn’t interfered.”

He uncrosses his legs and sighs.

“I’m also afraid I’m stuck with this farm, and I detest country life.”

Heath makes a small gesture with his hand. “It’s a childhood thing, the story much too long and boring to tell.”

Susana: Does your story have a happy ending?

Heath grins. “Oh, it has a happy ending, though my author manipulated me mightily. Authors seem to enjoy doing that, pushing us characters around and torturing us a bit.”

His grin slips.

“I did end up keeping the confounded dairy farm, and obtained guardianship of the younger Culpeppers. I’m going to have my hands full with that lot. Speaking of which, I need to discover what mischief they’ve gotten themselves into in my absence.”

Heath stands and bows. “I thank you for having me as your guest. I’d be honored to return anytime.”

About Wagers Gone Awry

UPDATEDWagersGoneAwry_600x900 copyBrooke Culpepper resigned herself to spinsterhood when she turned down the only marriage proposal she’d likely ever receive to care for her family. After her father dies, a distant cousin inherits the estate and becomes their guardian but permits Brooke to act in his stead.

Heath, Earl of Ravensdale is none-too-pleased to discover five young women call the dairy farm he won and intends to sell, their home. Desperate, pauper poor, and with nowhere to go, Brooke proposes a wager. His stakes? The farm. Hers? Her virtue. The land holds no interest for Heath, but Brooke does and he accepts her challenge.

Brooke loses, and her devastation is compounded when the cousin arrives, intending to haul the Culpepper misses off to London. Heath astounds himself and proposes in order to apply for guardianship of the other girls. Does Brooke dare marry the handsome stranger who’d been bent on compromising her? Will Heath regret his impulsive gesture, or will unexpected love flourish?

Win a $25.00 gift card or one of two autographed copies of Wagers Gone Awry.

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Excerpt

“Here are my terms, my lord, and they are not negotiable.” She shut her eyes for a second before snapping them open. She launched her battle plan. “Should I lose, I will accompany you to London as your mistress, but you will allow everyone else to remain here, including the servants. You will bestow generous marriage settlements on the four girls, and arrange for sponsors for their come outs as well as permit Esherton to retain the proceeds from the dairy and farm.”

Heath folded his arms. Came up with that too damn quick for his liking. “Is that all?”

“No.” She scowled and pushed her wayward hair behind her ear again. “Mabry will carry on as overseer, and you will permit me to hire a respectable woman of quality to act as a companion to my sister and cousins, both here and when they are in London. An annual allowance to further the estate’s recovery wouldn’t be amiss either.”

She paused, appearing deep in thought, her brows drawn together. “Oh, and I shall be permitted at least two extended visits to Esherton Green annually.”

Heath should have suspected Brooke wouldn’t acquiesce without a skirmish. He didn’t half mind her terms except keeping the blasted farm stipulation. But if he didn’t have to manage the place, he would concede the point.

“And if you win?” He braced himself for her demands.

Your ballocks fried to a crisp.

“If I win the wager, you sign over to me, free and clear, the lands you won from Sheridan.”

That’s all she wanted? No bulging purse, new wardrobe, household furnishings … or the hundred other things she and the others lacked?

She extended her hand. “Agreed?”

Heath clasped her roughened palm. It fit neatly within his grasp, as if it had been molded to nestle there. “Yes, the instant you win.”

He wouldn’t allow her the victory. They had yet to decide on what game to play, but it mattered not. He didn’t lose at the tables. He might not be able to read worth a damn, but he remembered every playing card dealt.

Across the expanse of deep green, three figures separated from the house and moved toward the barns. Leventhorpe and two of the other Culpepper misses. At this distance, which two he couldn’t discern. “What’s your pleasure?”

“Excuse me?” Her back to the house, Brooke squinted up at him from where she squatted beside the dog, now lying with is feet in the air, eyes closed, enjoying a tummy rub.

“My pleasure?” She almost choked on the words. “Awfully confident you’ll be the vanquisher, aren’t you? Pride goeth before a fall, my lord.”

He chuckled. Never short on pithy remarks, was she? “What game of cards do you prefer?”

Her chagrin transformed to cunningness. A shrewd smile bent her mouth. “I never agreed to a card game.”

About the Author

Collette CameronBestselling, award-winning author, Collette Cameron, has a BS in Liberal Studies and a Master’s in Teaching. Author of the Castle Brides Series. Highland Heather Romancing a Scot Series, and Conundrums of the Misses Culpepper Series, Collette writes Regency and Scottish historicals and makes her home in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and five mini-dachshunds. Mother to three and a self-proclaimed Cadbury Chocolate chocoholic, Collette loves a good joke, inspirational quotes, flowers, trivia, and all things shabby chic and cobalt blue. You’ll always find dogs, birds, quirky—sometimes naughty—humor, and a dash of inspiration in her novels.

Her motto for life? You can’t have too much chocolate, too many hugs, or too many flowers or books. She’s thinking about adding shoes to that list.

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Collette Cameron: Triumph and Treasure

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About Triumph and Treasure 

Book One in the

Highlander Heather Romancing a Scot Series

 A disillusioned Scottish gentlewoman.

Angelina Ellsworth once believed in love—before she discovered her husband of mere hours was a slave-trader and already married. To avoid the scandal and disgrace, she escapes to her aunt and uncle’s, the Duke and Duchess of Waterford. When Angelina learns she is with child, she vows she’ll never trust a man again.

A privileged English lord.

Flynn, Earl of Luxmoore, led an enchanted life until his father committed suicide after losing everything to Waterford in a wager. Stripped of all but his title, Flynn is thrust into the role of marquis as well as provider for his disabled sister and invalid mother. Unable to pay his father’s astronomical gambling loss, Flynn must choose between social or financial ruin.

When the duke suggests he’ll forgive the debt if Flynn marries his niece, Flynn accepts the duke’s proposal. Reluctant to wed a stranger, but willing to do anything to protect her babe and escape the clutches of the madman who still pursues her, Angelina agrees to the union.

Can Flynn and Angelina find happiness and love in a marriage neither wanted, or is the chasm between them insurmountable?

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Excerpt

“My lord, are these some of your blossoms?” Her Grace waved at the flower vases positioned throughout the room. “I’ve heard of your successful venture into breeding these beauties.”

That caught Mrs. Thorne’s attention. Her jewel-green eyes swept the roses. A line formed between her brows, and she mashed her lips together, lowering her gaze to her cup. She took a dainty sip of tea.

Didn’t she care for roses? Or perhaps the tea displeased her. Dolt. He ought to have had coffee served as well, since she preferred the beverage.

“Oh, indeed they are.” Pride rang in Grandmamma’s voice. “See those stunning blooms on the mantle? Have you ever seen roses that particular shade of pink? Why, they appear almost lavender. Makes me think of fresh highland heather on the Scottish moors. And Flynn has a rose that is almost black.”

“Mrs. Thorne, don’t you like roses?” Franny also noticed Mrs. Thorne’s expression.

The Duchess chuckled indulgently. “With a name like Angelina-Rose, of course she does. Tell them of your gardens in Salem. Your mother wrote of your fascination with the flower.”

A becoming flush pinkened Mrs. Thorne’s high cheekbones.

So, she entertained a penchant for roses after all. Precisely the excuse he needed to invite her to tour his conservatories and spirit her away from the watchful eye of the duchess. Franny could accompany them and act as chaperone.

Flynn controlled the satisfied grin threatening to twist his lips. “Did you know the great bard, Shakespeare, professed a fondness for them? He proclaimed, ‘Of all the flowers, methinks the rose is best.’”

Mrs. Thorne nodded, her interest fixed on a painted porcelain vase poised on a side table. “I’m partial to them myself, though I cannot claim such a complicated endeavor as breeding them. I simply tended a few humble plants in our gardens. I don’t believe they numbered in excess of ten in all.”

About the Author

Collette CameronAward winning, multi-published historical romance author, Collette Cameron, has a BS in Liberal Studies and a Master’s in Teaching. A Pacific Northwest Native, Collette’s been most of her life, has three amazing adult children, and five dachshunds. Collette loves a good joke, inspirational quotes, flowers, the beach, trivia, birds, shabby chic, and Cadbury Chocolate. You’ll always find dogs, birds, quirky—sometimes naughty—humor, and a dash of inspiration in her novels.

Her motto for life? You can’t have too much chocolate, too many hugs, or too many flowers.

She’s thinking about adding shoes to that list.

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The Earl’s Enticement: Collette Cameron

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About The Earl’s Enticement

She won’t be tamed.

A fiery, unconventional Scot, Adaira Ferguson wears breeches, swears, and has no more desire to marry than she does to follow society’s dictates of appropriate behavior. She trusts no man with the secret she desperately protects.

He can’t forget.

Haunted by his past, Roark, the Earl of Clarendon, rigidly adheres to propriety, holding himself and those around him to the highest standards, no matter the cost. Betrayed once, he’s guarded and leery of all women.

Mistaking Roark for a known spy, Adaira imprisons him. Infuriated, he vows vengeance. Realizing her error, she’s appalled and releases him, but he’s not satisfied with his freedom. Roark is determined to transform Adaira from an ill-mannered hoyden to a lady of refinement.

He succeeds only to discover, he preferred the free-spirited Scottish lass who first captured his heart.

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Excerpt

Adaira stepped around the mare and ever-so-gently touched the foal. Was the new addition a laddie or lassie? Skimming her hands over the newborn, she bent to take a peek. A colt. The sheen of his coat glistened in the muted light. Other than a white face and leg markings, he was the color of rich Turkish coffee.

“Ooh, you’re magnificent!” she breathed in awe.

“He is, indeed,” rumbled a harmonious baritone.

She whirled around. The Earl of Clarendon leaned across the stall door. His forearms rested on the top edge. He clasped a silver flask loosely in one hand. His shirtsleeves were rolled to his elbows, and he wore no waistcoat or jacket. The top of his shirt was unfastened too.

Just perfect. She wasn’t supposed to be anywhere near the earl, and here he was, in her sanctuary. She ought to be afraid, after his parting words, but she sensed something altogether different.

No, she wouldn’t stare at the crisp dark hair on his forearms or peeking from the collar of his open shirt. Bugger it. She curled her hands into fists against the oddest urge to run her fingers through the curly hair on his chest.

A bolt of unease speared her, though whether from his disquieting presence or her awareness of him as an attractive man, she couldn’t be certain.

Clearing her throat, she asked, “What are you doing here, my lord?”

About Collette Cameron

Collette CameronAward winning, Amazon best-selling, and multi-published historical romance author, Collette Cameron, has a BS in Liberal Studies and a Master’s in Teaching.  A Pacific Northwest Native, Collette’s been married for thirty years, has three amazing adult children, and five dachshunds. Collette loves a good joke, inspirational quotes, flowers, the beach, trivia, birds, shabby chic, and Cadbury Chocolate. You’ll always find dogs, birds, quirky—sometimes naughty—humor, and a dash of inspiration in her novels. Her motto for life? You can’t have too much chocolate, too many hugs, or too many flowers. She’s thinking about adding shoes to that list.

Website     Blue Rose Romance Blog   Twitter   Facebook

 

Susana’s Parlour Got Nominated For a Lighthouse Award…by some Scottish hamsters!

lighthouse award

Shehanne Moore is a hoot. A Scots hoot to boot. (Oh look, I’m a poet!) Her Lady Fury hosted me on Furious Unravelingsand I’ve never had so much fun in my life hobnobbing with pirates in the Caribbean. This writer gig is really the best. I never got to meet pirates when I was a teacher! To find out more about Lady Fury and her own special pirate, Flint, check out The Unraveling of Lady Fury.

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Anyway, Shehanne’s pet hamsters have nominated me for a Lighthouse Award. Isn’t that fabulous! They’re so cute too! Check ’em out here.

The rules:

  • Display the Award Certificate on your blog.
  • Write a post and link back to the blogger that nominated you.
  • Inform your nominees of their award nominations.
  • Share three ways that you like to help others.
  • Nominate as many bloggers as you like.

Three ways I like to help others:

I love to host other authors on my blogs. Susana’s Parlour is for historical romance (mostly Regency) and Susana’s Morning Room is for all sub-genres of romance. I’ve met so many fascinating people, and I hope featuring them and their books helps them find new readers. Information about guest blogging is available in the top menu under Susana Seeks Guest Authors. I also host for Goddess Fish Promotions.

Another thing I enjoy doing is organizing blog tours and hops. After participating in a few very large hops featuring a diverse group of authors, it occurred to me that smaller hops focusing on a single sub-genre—historical—might be more effective.While you still get some folks who are mostly interested in the prize, there seem to be more who are truly interested in discovering new books to read.It’s fun to experiment with new things and discover more about what works and what doesn’t. And I LOVE putting together treasure boxes full of cool stuff for the winner!

Lady P

Lady P

Most of all, I enjoy posting about historical information for the benefit of my readers.That’s why I created Lady P, an eccentric Regency, time-traveling lady who comes to Toledo (and now Florida) to help Susana learn about the “real” Regency. Lady P bears a strong resemblance to my mother, Mrs. Ellis, and I am featuring her in my current WIP, a time travel. Much of what I learn in my own research gets shared here on Susana’s Parlour.

My Nominees

I’m nominating the following bloggers for the Lighthouse Award:

  • Suzi Love
  • Regan’s Romance Reviews (Regan Walker)
  • The Things That Catch My Eye (David William Wilkin)
  • Blue Rose Romance (Collette Cameron)
  • Stories From History (Jane Lark)
  • Regina Jeffers’s Blog
  • Ella Quinn
  • Piper Huguley

Congrats to all the nominees! You deserve it!