Tag Archive | Téa Cooper

Beaux, Ballrooms, and Battles: Téa Cooper and The Caper Merchant

Truth is Often Stranger Than Fiction

I have to admit to being in two minds about the Beaux, Battles & Ballrooms project when Susana asked me if I would like become involved. Not because I have anything against Regency romances or the Duke of Wellington for that matter. Generally I write Australian historical romances – oz-itoricals as they are sometimes called. This would be very different.

Apart from anything else I didn’t even know if there had been any Australians at the Battle of Waterloo and I wanted a link to Australia. I knew that many Waterloo veterans had settled in Australia after the battle but had any Australians fought at Waterloo?

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Battle of Waterloo

I started digging around and imagine my delight when I discovered that there was one, and only one Australian at the Battle of Waterloo.

His name was Andrew Douglas White. He didn’t become the hero of my story, The Caper Merchant, but I felt it gave me license to involve an Australian.

And so the fictitious Samuel Blue, the hero of The Caper Merchant, was born. He inherited some of the irreverent, larrikin aspects of the Australians I have come to know and love.

But let’s leave fiction for a moment and let me tell you about Andrew because, as always, truth is stranger than fiction!

Andrew Douglas White was born in Sydney Cove in 1793 when the Australian colony was only five years old, the bastard son of a convict mother. His father, John White was chief surgeon on the expedition to establish the convict settlement at Botany Bay. His mother a convict, Rachel Turner, sentenced to seven years transportation for the theft of some clothing. She arrived in Sydney Cove in 1790 and served her sentence as Surgeon White’s housekeeper.

Sydney 1796

Sydney 1796

In 1794 the married John White returned to England but continued to support Rachel and his Australian son. In 1800 Andrew, then aged six and a half, was sent to England to join his father, step-mother and half-siblings.

Andrew was educated in England and joined the Royal Engineers as a second lieutenant in 1812. He went to Flanders in late 1813 as part of the British force and remained there serving as a junior officer on the Royal Engineer Staff at Waterloo. He survived the battle unscathed and returned to England to receive his Waterloo medal in 1816.

But the story doesn’t end there.

In 1823 Andrew returned Sydney and to the mother he could barely remember. The reunion was obviously a successful one, as he gave her his most prized possession, his Waterloo medal. She treasured it until her death.

Needless to say Andrew’s story set my mind racing and I’m currently working on a story called The Great Platypus Hoax—nothing to do with the Battle of Waterloo but it seemed such a shame to waste all the wonderful stories I had unearthed.

And Susana, thank you for your invitation to join in this great project. It’s been a fascinating ride!

Photos: WIKIMEDIA COMMONS

 

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June 18, 1815 was the day Napoleon Bonaparte’s Grande Armée was definitively routed by the ragtag band of soldiers from the Duke of Wellington’s Allied Army in a little Belgian town called Waterloo. The cost in men’s lives was high—22,000 dead or wounded for the Allied Army and 24,000 for the French. But the war with Napoleon that had dragged on for a dozen years was over for good, and the British people once more felt secure on their island shores.

The bicentenary of the famous battle seemed like an excellent opportunity to use that setting for a story, and before we knew it, we had nine authors eager to join in, and on April 1, 2015 our Waterloo-themed anthology was released to the world.

You are all invited to

About The Caper Merchant

The moon in Gemini is a fertile field of dreams, ideas and adventure but when the Dark Lady wanes into solitude and looks to the shadows life can take an unexpected turn.

For Pandora Wellingham the astrological predictions couldn’t be more fortuitous, especially if they enable her to spread her wings and escape the domineering control of her godparents. When Monsieur Cagneaux, caper merchant to the rich and famous, introduces her to the handsome dragoon, she believes her stars have aligned.

Career soldier Samuel Blue has lived much of his life in the shadows embroiled in the cloak and dagger world of ciphers and intelligence. It is during such a mission on behalf of his country that he meets the beautiful Pandora and inadvertently compromises her. But no matter how much he yearns to remain longer to secure the affections of the stargazing girl who has captivated his heart, Samuel has no time to dream of love and happy endings. He has information to deliver that may prove vital in the upcoming confrontation in Belgium.

Samuel’s journey takes him from the ballrooms of Grosvenor Square to the battlefield of Waterloo, with the sinister caper merchant dancing hot on his heels to prevent him from completing his mission. The stakes are high, and now that Pandora is in the picture, they’ve mounted even higher.

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Excerpt

The evening of Thursday, 8th June 1815

Grosvenor Square, London

“Dora, are you touched or simply playing the fool?”

Pan-dora. My name is Pandora.

“I believe you are doing this on purpose. Since your father’s death you have done everything in your power to make my life a misery.” Aunt Audra’s reddened nose disappeared behind a pathetic scrap of lace. “What are we to do?” The peacock feathers attached to her over structured hair wilted in sympathy. “Everyone saw you. It is scandalous, simply scandalous.”

“Just a dance,” Pandora muttered under her breath. A waltz—nothing more than a waltz. It wasn’t as though they were the only couple on the dance floor.

A muted squawk of horror burst from Aunt Audra. “You hadn’t been introduced.”

In actual fact they had, although not in the manner Aunt Audra would have preferred. From all the fuss and commotion it appeared no one knew very much about Captain Samuel Blue other than the obvious. Tall, exceptionally good looking with his loose black curls and startling blue eyes, and from his dress uniform and the easy length of the body inhabiting it, a cavalry officer.

“When I suggested you enter the marriage mart I did not, in my remotest dreams, imagine you would disgrace yourself with the nearest available young man.”

Stifling a yawn, Pandora moved to the window and gazed out onto the terrace and the gardens where couples strolled along arm in arm. The sky, an inky velvet cape, arched above the vista. Soon the moon would rise. The new moon in Gemini. Her moon. A time of promise and rebirth.

Not if Aunt Audra had any say in the matter. “I have no idea what we are going to do.” She wrung her hands performing an admirable impersonation of Lady Macbeth.

Pandora clenched hers and restrained the desire to cover her ears. She knew what she would like to do. Somehow now didn’t seem the best moment to suggest repeating the entire waltz all over again. The dizzying sensation when he’d put his arm around her waist and drawn her to him before sweeping her across the room still made her pulse pound. Distinctly more scintillating than any of the dance lessons she’d received from the odious Monsieur Cagneaux.

With a crack like gunshot the door flew open. “What is all this nonsense?” Her uncle rested his vast bulk against the timber panels, preventing interruption.

Pandora sucked in a steadying breath. No one would be coming to her rescue. An entire battalion would find it difficult to dislodge him.

“I hope, young lady, you are feeling suitably ashamed.”

She swallowed back an honest response and bowed her head. Aunt Audra’s tears were an almost daily occurrence and easily ignored. However her godfather, the esteemed Lord Harold Smotherington, in full flight, commanded her full attention.

“Well?”

She lifted her shoulders and offered a conciliatory smile.

“Don’t you shrug at me, you silly little chit. Whatever possessed you?”

Aunt Audra emitted another strangled sob and dabbed ineffectually with her sodden handkerchief.

“For goodness sake, Audra, pull yourself together. I have made arrangements. Someone must institute recompense.”

Made arrangements? Recompense? What in heaven’s name had happened?

Our Stories

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 anymore after?

About the Author

TeaCoopersmall copyBest-selling Australian author Téa Cooper lives in a stone cottage on one hundred acres of bushland, just outside the time-warp village of Wollombi, New South Wales. Although Téa was born and raised in England the majority of her books, both contemporary and historical, are set in Australia, the country she now calls home. When she isn’t writing Téa can usually be found haunting the local museum or chatting to the locals, who provide her with a never-ending source of inspiration. She is a member of Romance Writers Australia and Hunter Romance Writers and is a 2014 finalist in the Australian Romance Readers Awards for her historical romance, Jazz Baby.

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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

Release Day Party: April 1, 2015, 11 a.m. – 11 p.m. EDT

Rafflecopter: ends April 18

Website: www.beauxballroomsandbattles.com

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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?

Lily’s Leap: Téa Cooper

It’s all about the dress.

My heroines seem to spend most of their time galloping around on horses and getting themselves into all kind of scrapes. Their day-to-day clothes are very much based on those worn by some of the more notorious female characters of Australian history.

Mary Ann Bugg was the sometime wife of one of Australia’s more famous bushrangers, Captain Moonlight. Newspaper reports of the time describe her as looking like a young boy, wearing moleskin trousers, a thick shirt, a monkey jacket, knee length boots and a cabbage tree hat. The type of clothes a stockman of the day wore.

Both my heroines in Lily’s Leap and Matilda’s Freedom are fiercely independent women, born and bred in the Australian bush. Although Lily grew up with many of the privileges of wealth, Matilda is the daughter of convict parents.

Nevertheless, as we all know, at some point every girl needs a party dress.

After a week on the road with a motley crew of bushrangers Lily arrives at her aunt’s house in Sydney and she has to conform. I chose this example from the Powerhouse Museum Collection as “her” dress.

A few years later Matilda borrows it when she arrives in Sydney with only the clothes on her back after her family’s farm has been destroyed by fire.

It’s fun to slip a little bit of reality into a story.

This dress has an interesting history. It belonged to a Sarah Thomas. She brought it with her from England when she arrived in Australia with her husband as a free settler in the late 1830s.

Lily's Dress copy

Women’s day dress, 1840 – 1850 Collection: Powerhouse Museum, Sydney. Photo: Sue Stafford

Sarah Thomas was an interesting individual and obviously (like me) had a preference for checks! She made herself this skirt en route to Australia and wore it until her death in 1878 which, since she had ten children, is pretty amazing! You can find out more about Sarah, her story and her skirt here.

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Check taffeta skirt worn by Sarah Thomas, c. 1839 Collection: Tongarra Museum, Photo: Rebecca Evans

Excerpt from Lily’s Leap

Lily pushed back the blankets and peered around her in horror. The sun streaming in through the fine lawn curtains told her it was long past dawn and the time the horses should have been loaded. She reached her hand out to the pot of tea next to a cup on the bedside table. It was cold to the touch.

Shouting a string of curses she’d picked up from Jem, she scampered from the bed searching for her riding breeches, and failing to find them threw the checked silk taffeta dress over her head and shook her hair back while she fumbled with the mass of intricate buttons. With a pair of slippers clasped in her hands she ran down the stairs barefooted.

‘Good morning, Lily.’

She ignored her aunt’s greeting. Panic laced her chest tighter than the hurriedly fastened buttons of her unaccustomed dress. “The horses. Are we too late? They should have been loaded hours ago.”

And from Matilda’s Freedom

His blood warmed as she approached and he saw the way her breeches hugged the sculpted curves of her thighs.

‘Good morning. I hope I haven’t kept you waiting.’ She turned to greet the horses and threw a smile at him over her shoulder.

The outline of her buttocks as she turned away from him took his breath away. She was not even remotely self-conscious and looked more comfortable now than in the tartan dress she’d worn on the evening they’d first met. Her supple fingers caressed the neck of her bay mare, and the horse whinnied its approval.

Kit understood why.

Note: Matilda is helping celebrate Lily’s release, and for a short time, Matilda’s Freedom is only 99¢ on Amazon!

About Lily’s Leap

From Escape’s Queen of Australian historical romance comes a story about a privileged member of Australian’s squattocracy, a bushranger, and a very special horse.

Born into the rough, but privileged society of the Australian colonial landowners, Lilibeth Dungarven finds herself married, widowed, and, much to her distress, back under her father’s thumb, all before her twenty-first birthday. Determined not to forgo her dream of breeding the perfect racehorse, Lilibeth ignores propriety and sets out to restore the family’s flagging fortunes.

When Captain Tom and his mismatched band of bushrangers stumble across a mob of the best horses they’ve ever seen, and the daughter of the famed Dungarven horse stud, they know their fortunes have changed. Their catch is worth a king’s ransom. All they have to do is hold her for seven days. How hard can it be to control the pampered daughter of a colonial upstart?

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Reviews

Forget work, forget all your responsibilities and slide into this delicious story … a well-written book by a talented writer … since I doubt I’ll be visiting Australia, it was a treat to feel like I was there, herding horses to market across the Australian Outback. The landscape assumes the position of a character in this exciting romance; playing a pivotal role in Lily’s adventure. A fabulous read by a very talented Aussie author … I have no hesitation in HIGHLY recommending Lily’s Leap.”

http://mywrittenromance.com/2014/06/06/lilys-leap-by-tea-cooper-review

https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/946141614?book_show_action=false&page=1

https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/961167774?book_show_action=true&page=1

Excerpt

Hunter Valley, Australia 1848

LilysLeap_TeaCooper small copyLilibeth Dungarven’s cry of pure pleasure soared skywards as the massive black stallion rose to clear the fallen tree, sending the horrors of the last four years scuttling into the dirt of the ancient land.

Clenching her knees against Nero’s heaving flanks she bent low, ducking the overhanging branches framing the bush track, her cheek pressed to the warmth of his muscular neck. When the erratic pounding in her chest settled she drew Nero to a shuddering halt and pushed the damp curls back from her forehead.

A pair of black cockatoos, disturbed by her madcap gallop, shrieked their annoyance and resettled in the whispering casuarina trees. The crack of their beaks as they threw the mangled nuts to the ground filled the silence. Below her the ribbon of sandstone road weaved its way towards Payne’s Crossing and she shielded her eyes from the sun, searching for her mob of horses.

A glint of reflected sunlight drew her eye to a mounted figure in the middle of the road. Despite the hat pulled low shadowing his face, the stockwhip crack of his words registered deep in her belly.

‘Bail up! Guns down and off the horses.’

‘What do you think you…?’ Constricted by the tension in her throat her words petered out. No one would dare steal such a valuable mob of horses. They were branded. Everyone in the colony knew the Dungarven brand. To lose them was unthinkable. Years of breeding — the first pure Dungarven bloodlines. Months proving herself capable of managing the sale and the trip to Sydney. And now a hold up! It would not happen. Not if Lilibeth Dungarven had any say in the matter.

About the Author

TeaCoopersmall copyTéa Cooper lives in a stone cottage on one hundred acres of bushland, just outside the time-warp village of Wollombi, NSW Australia. When she isn’t writing, Téa can be found haunting the local museum or chatting to the locals, who offer a never-ending source of inspiration.

Lily’s Leap is Téa’s second Australian historical romance set in Wollombi. Her first, Matilda’s Freedom is available now.

In October, Jazz Baby, a 1920s rags to riches story set in Sydney will be released and in February 2015, Forgotten Fragrance, Book I of a family saga entitled From the Ocean to the Outback. At the moment she is working on a parallel time-line series called The Adventures of Miss Abigail Wynter. She has also written three contemporary romances.

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Short and Sweet Holiday Treats

If you’re looking for a quick HEA fix for the holiday season, here are some suggestions. Not all are holiday-related and not all are sweet, heat-wise, but all are bargains and great reading!

A Holiday Anthology, Vol. 1 by Rose Anderson

holiday anthologyA Holiday Anthology, Vol. 1 is a  FREE collection of short Christmas stories By Exquisite Quills Authors and Friends. It has been written for adults who love romance stories but is family friendly. Each story is unique and is meant to give a sampling of the writing of that author. From contemporary to historical, the Exquisite Quills authors and friends wish you a happy holiday filled with wonderful books.

  • Christmas Knight by Victoria Adams
  • Star of Wonder by Rose Anderson
  • The Kissing Ball by E. Ayers
  • The Christmas Risk by Beverley Bateman
  • Fallen in Love by Helena Fairfax
  • Snow Job by J.D. Faver
  • Christmas Miracle by Jennifer Garcia
  • Highland Hogmanay by Romy Gemmell
  • Almost Christmas by Vonnie Hughes
  • The Unexpected Christmas Gift by Susan Jaymes
  • Shooting Star Holiday Express by Gemma Juliana
  • The Christmas Gift by Jean Lamb
  • A Faery’s Wish by Jane Leopold Quinn
  • Joyeux Noel by Zanna Mackenzie
  • Gifts to Treasure by Kaye Spencer

Free download on Smashwords.

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A Grosvenor Square Christmas by Shana Galen, Vanessa Kelly, Anna Campbell, and Kate Noble

Four breathtakingly romantic tales of a Regency Christmas from four bestselling romance authors.

Down through the years, enchantment touches a tall gray house in Grosvenor Square. The legend of Lady Winterson’s Christmas ball promises true love and happiness to one lucky couple. Who will feel the magic this winter?

1803 – The Seduction of a Duchess by Shana Galen

Rowena Harcourt, the Duchess of Valère, never forgot the handsome footman who helped her escape the French Revolution. For fourteen years, Gabriel Lamarque has loved Rowena—now at Lady Winterson’s Christmas ball, has fate finally delivered a chance to win her hand?

1818 – One Kiss for Christmas by Vanessa Kelly

Nigel Dash is London’s most reliable gentleman, a reputation he never minded until he fell in love with beautiful Amelia Easton. Unfortunately, Amelia sees Nigel as a dependable friend, not a dashing suitor. At Lady Winterson’s famous Christmas ball, Nigel vows to change Amelia’s mind—by sweeping her off her feet.

1825 – His Christmas Cinderella by Anna Campbell

At the season’s most glittering ball, a girl who has never dared to dream of forever after discovers a Christmas miracle.

1830 – The Last First Kiss by Kate Noble

Susannah Westforth has always loved Sebastian Beckett – but he’s only ever seen her as a friend. When Sebastian takes his Grand Tour, Susannah transforms herself into a woman he’ll notice. Now Sebastian is back, just in time for Lady Winterson’s Christmas ball – but the last thing he expects to see is his little Susie, all grown up…

You’re invited to join the whirling dance at Lady Winterson’s sparkling Christmas ball, where miracles happen and true love shines forever. How can you resist?

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Mischief and Mistletoe by Tanya Anne Crosby

Suspecting he can never be the man Emma Peters wishes him to be, Lucien Morgen, the fifth duke of Willyngham, decides to break off their long-standing engagement… only to discover the innocent fiancé he set aside for years has unexpectedly blossomed into a passionate, irresistible woman.

As the family counts down to Christmas, everyone else seems to realize Lucien and Emma are truly meant to be–except the oblivious couple. With the help of some very mischievous children, Emma and Lucien are about to discover that a little mischief beneath the mistletoe might just open their hearts to love.

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Christmas Roses: Love Blooms in Winter by Mary Jo Putney, Patricia Rice and Susan King

Love Blooms in Winter. Three rare, historical romance novellas by acclaimed writers Patricia Rice, Mary Jo Putney, and Susan King are collected together here for the first time in this exclusive eBook, Christmas Roses. “The Snow Rose”, “The Black Beast of Belleterre”, and “The Kissing Bough” weave tales of the joy of unexpected Love, at a special time of year, Christmas – as only these talented writers can. Discovery in the midst of a clash of clans, hidden desires from an unexpected suitor, and a love once lost and found combine for a truly romantic journey through history. This tantalizing collection of historical romances also includes all-new introductions and recipes to add to the delight of the season.

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The Gladiator’s Girl by Amy Hearst

Rue, a slave girl in an ancient Roman ludus, has been searching for love all her life. Her mistress often gives her to victorious gladiators for pleasure at their school as a reward for competence in the arena.But Rue has only experienced cruelty from men until she meets Ducius,a muscled and handsome gladiator who relishes their love and revives Rue’s wilting spirit. He treats her gently and nurtures her, and Rue begins to believe in the future again.Their relationship grows ever deeper each time they come together. But the shadow of death haunts them whenever Ducius sets foot upon the sands of the arena, and Rue is certain she will never escape the bonds of slavery. They both search for a path to permanent happiness, a path that can only be determined by their master.

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A Winning Streak by Téa Cooper

Will the path of true love incur the wrath of the virgin Goddess Artemis?

Abandoned at birth, Atalante, protege of the goddess Artemis, is forced into an untenable position by her estranged father, the King of Arcadia—renege on her vow of virginity or condemn her suitors to a sacrificial death. The aristocratic courtier, Melanion, cannot believe anyone would be foolish enough to put their life on the line for the dirty little predator whose reputation for speed and cruelty is legendary. That is until he falls under Atalante’s spell.

Consumed by desire and jealousy, Melanion is determined to win Atalante’s hand or die trying. He calls upon Aphrodite to assist him, little realizing that her noisome brat, Eros, has the pair of them in his sights and is determined to inject a little spice into their lives. Spice that will devastate the path of true love and incur the wrath of the virgin Goddess Artemis.

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Kisses, She Wrote: A Christmas Romance by Katharine Ashe

Christmas in town has never been so steamy . . .

Handsome as sin and scandalously rakish, Cam Westfall, the Earl of Bedwyr, is every young lady’s wickedest dream. Shy wallflower Princess Jacqueline of Sensaire knows this better than anyone, because her dreams are full of the breathtaking earl’s kisses. And not only her dreams—her diary, too.

But when Cam discovers the maiden’s not-so-maidenly diary, will her wildest Christmas wishes be fulfilled in its pages . . . or in his arms?

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Her New Year’s Knight by Selene Grace Silver

The holidays are a time for family. So what if Darla doesn’t have one. She’s a trained psychologist and well-versed in all the dangers of inflating the importance of one week of the year. Besides, she has her clients who need her. Unfortunately, one of them seems to have a dangerous obsession for her. She doesn’t need Santa to bring her a family. What she really needs to find under the tree is a strong protector.

This novella runs 110 pages. It contains explicit descriptions of sex. Recommended for mature (17+) readers only.

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All That’s Unspoken by Constance Phillips

After eight years, Hailey is back in Caseville, Michigan. Just months after her mother’s death, her siblings want to put their father in a nursing home and rent out the family farm. If that wasn’t enough, the prospective tenant is Nate, the high school crush she left behind the day after they acted on their mutual attraction.

After high school, Nate Jenkins planned to leave small town behind, but life dealt him a different hand of cards. He’s now back in Caseville, raising his daughter and running his family’s diner. His daughter’s speech disorder has been improved by therapeutic horse riding and if he can lease the old Lambert farm, he can get her a horse of her own. The only thing standing in the way is Hailey, the same woman who left him eight years ago without even saying goodbye.

Can they get over all that’s unspoken between them?

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Council Courtship by Constance Phillips

When Tristan Ipsly becomes eligible to fill a vacated Council seat, he thinks his chances are non-existent. Especially since he is the sole member to a house the fell to the revolution and his contender Edwin Vettore is an elder from a house that adheres to Canon teachings.

If fairykind has a chance at survival, it will come on Tristan’s wings of change. Or so Quinn Vettore believes. But voicing her support for Tristan will anger her grandfather, and he’s the one man who can stand in the way of a courtship between Quinn and Tristan.

Will Edwin successfully keep both Quinn and the position out Tristan’s grasp, or will the Council yield to change?

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Twelfth Night Wager by Regan Walker

THE REDHEADED RAKE
It was a dull day at White’s the day he agreed to the wager: seduce, bed and walk away from the lovely Lady Leisterfield, all by Twelfth Night. But this holiday season, Christopher St. Ives, Viscount Eustace, planned to give himself a gift.

THE VIRTUOUS WIDOW
She was too proper by half—or so was the accusation of her friends, which was why her father had found her a husband. But Lord Leisterfield was now gone a year, and Grace was at last shedding the drab colors of mourning. The house felt empty, more so during the coming Christmastide, and so tonight would begin with a scandalous piece of theater. The play would attract rogues, or so promised her friend the dowager countess. Rogues, indeed. The night would preface the greatest danger—and the greatest happiness—that Grace had ever known.

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The Holly and the Thistle by Regan Walker

A chance meeting at Berry’s wine shop, a misunderstanding and Christmastide all come together to allow the most handsome Scot in London to give Lady Emily Picton the best Christmas gift ever: a marriage not of convenience, but of love.

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Three Timeless Loves by Claire Delacroix, Terri Brisbin, Eliza Knight

Not short, but a great deal, especially if you like Scottish time travels!

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The Christmas Cuckoo by Mary Jo Putney

Major Jack Howard, a weary veteran of the Peninsular Wars, has just returned to England and intends to travel to an unwelcoming family home for Christmas. But when a pompous secretary gives him too many orders, Jack hops on the next stagecoach leaving the London inn, not caring where it’s going. Too much whisky to stave off freezing leaves him sleeping it off in a different inn, and when an attractive young woman asks if he’s Jack Howard, he happily goes home with her.

Despite vile weather, Meg Lambert drives to the local inn to collect her brother’s friend Jack Howard, but since she’s never met the man, she doesn’t realize that she’s brought home the wrong Jack Howard. Jack realizes her mistake when he awakes the next morning with an aching head—but he finds a warmth and welcome with Meg and her family that he’s yearned for all his life. He can’t bring himself to admit that he’s a cuckoo in her nest—but what will happen when Meg’s brother and the right Jack Howard turn up for Christmas???

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A Lass For Christmas by Jane Charles

Lady Madeline Trent had grand plans for her future until she learned her family’s awful secret. When a fall through an icy lake lands her in the arms of a handsome Scot, her future is more unsure than ever.

Lachlan Grant, the Marquess of Brachton, may hold an English title, but he’s a Scot through and through. He’s bound and determined to marry a lass just as Scottish as he is, at least until his fate is altered one snowy night.

A Lass for Christmas is a novella of approximately 27,000 words and the fourth story in the Tenacious Trents series.

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Mistletoe and Magic by Katie Rose

SusanaSays3SUSANA SAYS: A delightful holiday romance: 4/5 stars

Penelope Appleton has an unusual gift—that of seeing visions of the future. Among other things, she foresaw both of her older sisters’ love matches, and then, finally, she sees her own.

When she and Jared Marton clasp eyes on each other at the Christmas Ball, they both know they are destined for each other. Unfortunately, Penelope sees something else as well—a newspaper headline proclaiming Jared’s death on Christmas Eve.

In an attempt to protect her heart from the devastating blow of losing her true love, Penelope determines to avoid Jared. But the smitten attorney doesn’t give up easily. No matter what Penelope contrives to discourage him, he manages to find a way to counteract it. And Penelope finds herself falling for him in spite of herself.

Mistletoe+and+Magic+(Novella)But Penelope’s visions have always come true, so she can’t help becoming more and more anxious as Christmas Eve approaches.

This novella is a sequel to Rose’s “Courting Trouble” and “A Hint of Mischief.” “Mistletoe and Magic” stands by itself, however, which I can verify since I have not read either of the preceding novels.

“Mistletoe and Magic” is a delightful Christmas read that will no doubt spur other readers on to obtain the first two stories and discover how Penelope’s sisters met their matches.

Available

AmazonBarnes & NobleKobo

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Cotillion Christmas Traditions series

cotillionchristmastraditions                    printbook copy2

This series of eight sweet Regency novellas has previously been featured on this blog. These stories are also available in two print volumes: Cotillion Christmas Traditions and Cotillion Christmas Celebrations.

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A Regency Christmas Collection by Hetty St. James

Three Regency Christmas stories available in digital form as well as print and large print. Previously featured on this blog.