Wednesday, May 31, 2023

Book Launch: The Lyon and The Lamb: The Lyon's Den Connected World by Elizabeth Keysian


He’s dashed all her hopes. She won’t ask him for help again…
Only the production of an heir can save Lady Araminta Lamb. The problem is that she’s a childless widow who, after an abusive marriage, can’t bear the thought of a man’s touch. But when her desperate attempt to adopt a child is foiled by the powerful Leo Chetwynd, Earl of Aylsham, there’s only one option left to keep her home and her fragile sister safe. She must gamble everything on Mrs. Dove-Lyon’s outrageous matchmaking scheme.

Playing by Society’s rules hasn’t done him any favors. Perhaps it’s time to break those rules…
Leo Chetwynd needs money urgently or his precious orphans will be cast out. A disastrous business venture has cost him all his capital, and there’s nothing left to offer but himself. Marriage to an heiress is the only solution that he and his scapegrace brother can think of, but first, he must go to the Lyon’s Den and prove his skills as a lover. If Leo accepts Mrs. Dove-Lyon’s choice of heiress, sight unseen, the orphanage and the family name will be saved. He can only pray that the chosen heiress isn’t the anonymous veiled widow who has become his enemy.

She’s the last woman on earth he could ever marry…

Purchase Links

Amazon Link

Out May 31, 2023, at a discounted price of $0.99 for a limited time.

Read Free in Kindle Unlimited!

Elizabeth Keysian

Elizabeth Keysian is a USA TODAY bestselling author of heart-pounding Regency romances set mostly in the West of England. She has just completed a series for Dragonblade Publishing called Trysts and Treachery, which is set in the Tudor era. Though primarily a writer of romance, she loves to put a bit of mystery, adventure, and suspense into her stories and refuses to let her characters take themselves too seriously.

Elizabeth likes to write from experience, not easy when her works range from the medieval to the Victorian eras. However, her passion for re-enactment has helped, as have the many years she spent working in museums and British archaeology. If you find some detail in her work you’ve never come across before, you can bet she either dug it up, quite literally, or found it on a museum shelf.

Social Media

Newsletter   Amazon Author Page   Twitter    Facebook   BookBub    Website

Tuesday, May 30, 2023

Book Spotlight and Excerpt: Cold Blows the Wind by Catherine Meyrick


Follow the tour HERE

Hobart Town 1878 – a vibrant town drawing people from every corner of the earth where, with confidence and a flair for storytelling, a person can be whoever he or she wants. Almost.

Ellen Thompson is young, vivacious and unmarried, with a six-month-old baby. Despite her fierce attachment to her family, boisterous and unashamed of their convict origins, Ellen dreams of marriage and disappearing into the ranks of the respectable. Then she meets Harry Woods.

Harry, newly arrived in Hobart Town from Western Australia, has come to help his aging father, ‘the Old Man of the Mountain’ who for more than twenty years has guided climbers on Mount Wellington. Harry sees in Ellen a chance to remake his life.

But, in Hobart Town, the past is never far away, never truly forgotten. When the past collides with Ellen’s dreams, she is forced to confront everything in life a woman fears most.

Based on a period in the lives of the author’s great-great-grandparents, Sarah Ellen Thompson and Henry Watkins Woods, Cold Blows the Wind is not a romance but it is a story of love – a mother’s love for her children, a woman’s love for her family and, those most troublesome loves of all, for the men in her life. It is a story of the enduring strength of the human spirit.


Buy Links:

 Universal Link

 .•*´¨) ¸.•*¨) ( ¸.•´




‘It’s white halfway down the mountain,’ Ellen said, dragging a chair next to Alice who was holding Billy. ‘Come here, Billy, my darling.’ She hauled him onto her lap and smothered him with kisses. The child squirmed but she held him tight, rocking him.

 The rain slashed against the window.

 ‘Where’s Mam?’

 Mary Ann nodded towards their father. ‘Ask him.’

 ‘Dad?’ Ellen said.

 Her father sat puffing on his pipe, staring at the stove.

 She raised her voice. ‘Dad!’

 ‘At Campbell Street, I suppose.’

 Ellen gaped. ‘In the House of Correction?’ She handed Billy back to Alice and moved over in front of her father.

 ‘She met a mate from the old days. She was a barmaid in the Labour in Vain too. I left them sitting in the Rob Roy last night, arms around each other, singing like long-lost sisters.

 ‘You left her there! Anything could have happened to her.’

 ‘It’s only across the road and your mother knows how to look after herself. I called in at the police office on the way to work and she was waiting to go to court. Drunk and incapable.’ He chuckled. ‘It’s a wonder it wasn’t obscene language as well.’

 Ellen stood, hands on her hips. ‘You didn’t go and pay her fine?’

 ‘She hadn’t been to court and I had to get to work.’

 ‘But after work?’

 Her father shrugged and didn’t meet Ellen’s eyes. ‘I forgot.’

 ‘Forgot your wife!’ She clamped her mouth shut on the words she wanted to scream at him. How could he forget the woman he had been married to for over twenty-five years, had eight children with, and buried one? It wasn’t as if they were always rowing—they seemed to enjoy each other’s company still. And, after all that, how could a man forget his wife and leave her to be locked up in the House of Correction? If someone like her father didn’t care enough, what hope did Ellen and her sisters have of finding a man to stick with them through life’s ups and downs?

 She glared at him, breathing through her nose. ‘Well, you had better go and get her now.’

 ‘S’pose I should. But they probably won’t let her out until the morning.’

 ‘You can at least try,’ Ellen said.

 Dad got up off his chair and stuck his hand in his pocket. ‘Here Bessie.’ He tipped a few coins into her hand. ‘Go over to the Rob Roy and get us a couple of bottles. Your mum will be wanting a hair of the dog when she comes home.’

 Ellen looked at her sisters. ‘We need to get this fire burning properly and some tea on. Did anyone think to buy bread?’

 As the front door slammed shut behind their father, a burst of cold air blasted into the room.

 ‘Jane, can you find that old blanket to hang over the door? It might stop some of the draft.’ Ellen rattled in the pantry cupboard. ‘It will be potatoes and bacon for tea tonight. Plenty to go around though.’

She straightened up and folded her arms tight across her bosom for warmth. ‘It must be freezing at the Springs at the moment.’

‘I bet young Mr Woods hasn’t seen snow before,’ Alice said.

‘He’ll see plenty now.’ Mary Ann stood and moved away from the stove as Ellen put wood into the firebox. ‘There wouldn’t be much work for him either. It must be hard in winter up there.’

Ellen thought of the way Harry Woods had smiled as he’d moved off with his party of climbers, the light in his eyes as if he couldn’t help smiling at her. He was a bit older than she was but nowhere near as old as Mam and Dad. He seemed more courteous than the men she knew. Was he the sort to leave his wife in the lock-up overnight? Was he even the sort who would have anything to do with a woman who could end up there?

Catherine Meyrick

 Catherine Meyrick is an Australian writer of romantic historical fiction. She lives in Melbourne but grew up in Ballarat, a large regional city steeped in history. Until recently she worked as a customer service librarian at her local library. She has a Master of Arts in history and is also an obsessive genealogist.

When she is not writing, reading and researching, Catherine enjoys gardening, the cinema and music of all sorts from early music and classical to folk and country & western. And, not least, taking photos of the family cat to post on Instagram.

Social Media Links:

 Website    Twitter   Facebook    Instagram   Pinterest   BookBub   Amazon Author Page   Goodreads


Thursday, May 25, 2023

Book Spotlight: Alternate Endings A Short Story Anthology of Historical What Ifs


Follow the tour HERE

We all know the past is the past, but what if you could change history?

We asked eight historical authors to set aside the facts and rewrite the history they love. The results couldn’t be more tantalizing.

What if Julius Caesar never conquered Gaul?

What if Arthur Tudor lived and his little brother never became King Henry VIII?

What if Abigail Adams persuaded the Continental Congress in 1776 to give women the right to vote and to own property?

Dive in to our collection of eight short stories as we explore the alternate endings of events set in ancient Rome, Britain, the United States, and France.

An anthology of the Historical Writers Forum.

Buy Links:

 This title is available to read on #KindleUnlimited.

Universal Link

 Samantha Wilcoxson

Samantha Wilcoxson is an author of emotive biographical fiction and strives to help readers connect with history's unsung heroes. She also writes nonfiction for Pen & Sword History.

Samantha loves sharing trips to historic places with her family and spending time by the lake with a glass of wine. Her most recent work is Women of the American Revolution, which explores the lives of 18th century women, and she is currently working on a biography of James Alexander Hamilton.


 Sharon Bennett Connolly

Historian Sharon Bennett Connolly is the best-selling author of five non-fiction history books, with a new release coming soon.

A Fellow of the Royal Historical Society, Sharon has studied history academically and just for fun – and has even worked as a tour guide at a castle. She writes the popular history blog, 

Sharon regularly gives talks on women's history; she is a feature writer for All About History magazine and her TV work includes Australian Television's 'Who Do You Think You Are?'


Cathie Dunn

Cathie Dunn writes historical fiction, mystery, and romance. The focus of her historical fiction novels is on strong women through time.

She loves researching for her novels, delving into history books, and visiting castles and historic sites.

Cathie's stories have garnered awards and praise from reviewers and readers for their authentic descriptions of the past.


Karen Heenan

As an only child, Karen Heenan learned early that boredom was the enemy. Shortly after she discovered perpetual motion, and has rarely been seen holding still since.

She lives in Lansdowne, PA, just outside Philadelphia, where she grows much of her own food and makes her own clothes. She is accompanied on her quest for self-sufficiency by a very patient husband and an ever-changing number of cats. 

One constant: she is always writing her next book.


 Salina B Baker

Salina Baker is a multiple award winning author and avid student of Colonial America and the American Revolution. 

Her lifelong passion for history and all things supernatural led her to write historical fantasy. Reading, extensive traveling and graveyard prowling with her husband keep that passion alive. 

Salina lives in Austin, Texas.


Virginia Crow

Virginia Crow is an award-winning Scottish author who grew up in Orkney and now lives in Caithness.

Her favourite genres to write are fantasy and historical fiction, sometimes mixing the two together. Her academic passions are theology and history, her undergraduate degree in the former and her postgraduate degree in the latter, and aspects of these frequently appear within her writings.

When not writing, Virginia is usually to be found teaching music. She believes wholeheartedly in the power of music, especially as a tool of inspiration, and music is often playing when she writes. Her life is governed by two spaniels, Orlando and Jess, and she enjoys exploring the Caithness countryside with these canine sidekicks.

She loves cheese, music, and films, but hates mushrooms.


 Elizabeth K Corbett

Elizabeth K. Corbett is an author, book reviewer, and historian who has recently published a short story, “Marie Thérèse Remembers.” She is currently working on her debut novel, a gothic romance set in Jacksonian America.

When she is not writing, she teaches academic writing, something she is very passionate about. She believes in empowering students to express themselves and speak their truth through writing. Additionally, she is a women’s historian who studies the lives of women in eighteenth and nineteenth century North America. Mostly, she is fascinated by the lives of the lesser known women in history.

A resident of gorgeous coastal New Jersey, she takes inspiration from the local history to write her historical fiction. She is an avid reader who adores tea and coffee.


 Stephanie Churchill

After serving time as a corporate paralegal in Washington, D.C., then staying home to raise her children, Stephanie Churchill stumbled upon writing, a career path she never saw coming.

As a result of writing a long-winded review of the book Lionheart, Stephanie became fast friends with its New York Times best-selling author, Sharon Kay Penman, who uttered the fateful words, “Have you ever thought about writing?” 

Stephanie’s books are filled with action and romance, loyalty and betrayal. Her writing takes on a cadence that is sometimes literary, sometimes genre fiction, relying on deeply-drawn and complex characters while exploring the subtleties of imperfect people living in a gritty, sometimes dark world.

She lives in the Minneapolis area with her husband, two children, and two dogs while trying to survive the murderous intentions of a Minnesota winter.


 Michael Ross

Best-selling author Michael Ross is a lover of history and great stories.

He's a retired software engineer turned author, with three children and five grandchildren, living in Newton, Kansas with his wife of forty years. He was born in Lubbock, Texas, and still loves Texas.

Michael attended Rice University as an undergraduate, and Portland State University for his graduate degree. He has degrees in computer science, software engineering, and German. In his spare time, Michael loves to go fishing, riding horses, and play with his grandchildren, who are currently all under six years old. 


Connect with Historical Writers Forum:

  Twitter   Facebook


Tuesday, May 23, 2023

Spotlight on I. M. Foster, author of Murder on Oak Street


Follow the tour HERE

New York, 1904. After two years as a coroner’s physician for the city of New York, Daniel O'Halleran is more frustrated than ever. What’s the point when the authorities consistently brush aside his findings for the sake of expediency? So when his fiancée leaves him standing at the altar on their wedding day, he takes it as a sign that it's time to move on and eagerly accepts an offer to assist the local coroner in the small Long Island village of Patchogue.

Though the coroner advises him that life on Long Island is far more subdued than that of the city, Daniel hasn’t been there a month when the pretty librarian, Kathleen Brissedon, asks him to look into a two-year-old murder case that took place in the city. Oddly enough, the case she’s referring to was the first one he ever worked on, and the verdict never sat right with him.

Eager for the chance to investigate it anew, Daniel agrees to look into it in his spare time, but when a fresh murder occurs in his own backyard, he can’t shake his gut feeling that the two cases are connected. Can he discover the link before another life is taken, or will murder shake the peaceful South Shore village once again?


 Buy Links:   

 This title is available to read with #KindleUnlimited.

 Universal Link

.•*´¨) ¸.•*¨) ( ¸.•´


While doing research for “Murder on Oak Street,” I discovered the following fun facts:


After scouring local newspapers of the period for murders, I could only find two or three mentioned on the South Shore of Long Island for the eight-year period from 1900 to 1908. Hopefully, my hero will be able to locate a few more in upcoming books.

This isn’t exactly about the book, but I came across this interesting tidbit. English musician Billy Idol lived in Patchogue after his parents emigrated to the United States in 1958.

The first jail in Patchogue, known as the lockup, was nothing fancy. It was a one-room, brick building with a small, barred window. According to legend, local children loved to taunt the inmates and thus expanded their vocabulary as a result of the occupants’ replies. However, their parents probably weren’t too happy with the words they learned.

The Roe Hotel, where my hero will be staying for a while, was owned by Austin Roe III, the grandson of Culper Spy ring legend Austin Roe I. Two more of his grandsons also resided in Patchogue. John ran the cotton/twine mill, and William was a merchant at the Four Corners (the center of town, where Main St. and Ocean Ave. intersect.)

Cycling was very big in 1904. Clubs known as the Wheelman would ride their bicycles out to Patchogue on a Saturday, spend the night at the Roe Hotel, and then pedal the fifty miles back to New York City on Sunday. Not everyone had the energy to make the trek back, however. For those who were too exhausted, the Long Island Railroad had special cars designed to carry bicycles, so their owners could relax on the way home.


 I. M. Foster

I. M. Foster is the pen name author Inez Foster uses to write her South Shore Mystery series, set on Edwardian Long Island. Inez also writes historical romances under the pseudonym Andrea Matthews and has so far published two series in that genre: the Thunder on the Moor series, a time-travel romance set on the 16th century Anglo-Scottish Borders, and the Cross of Ciaran series, which follows the adventures of a fifth century Celt who finds himself in love with a twentieth-century archaeologist.

Inez is a historian and librarian who loves to read and write and search around for her roots, genealogically speaking. She has a BA in History and an MLS in Library Science and enjoys the research almost as much as she does writing the story. In fact, many of her ideas come to her while doing casual research or digging into her family history. Inez is a member of the Long Island Romance Writers, the Historical Novel Society, and Sisters in Crime.

 Social Media Links:

  Website   Twitter    Facebook   Instagram   Bookbub   Amazon Author Page   Goodreads

Monday, May 22, 2023

Spotlight on Lucretia Grindle, author of The Devil’s Glove


Follow the tour HERE

Northern New England, summer, 1688.

Salem started here.

A suspicious death. A rumor of war. Whispers of witchcraft.

Perched on the brink of disaster, Resolve Hammond and her mother, Deliverance, struggle to survive in their isolated coastal village. They're known as healers taught by the local tribes - and suspected of witchcraft by the local villagers.

Their precarious existence becomes even more chaotic when summoned to tend to a poisoned woman. As they uncover a web of dark secrets, rumors of war engulf the village, forcing the Hammonds to choose between loyalty to their native friends or the increasingly terrified settler community.

As Resolve is plagued by strange dreams, she questions everything she thought she knew - about her family, her closest friend, and even herself. If the truth comes to light, the repercussions will be felt far beyond the confines of this small settlement.

Based on meticulous research and inspired by the true story of the fear and suspicion that led to the Salem Witchcraft Trials, THE DEVIL'S GLOVE is a tale of betrayal, loyalty, and the power of secrets. Will Resolve be able to uncover the truth before the town tears itself apart, or will she become the next victim of the village's dark and mysterious past?

Praise for The Devil’s Glove:

“From its opening lines this historical novel from Grindle (Villa Triste) grips with its rare blend of a powerfully evoked past, resonant characters, smart suspense, and prose touched with shivery poetry.”

~ BookLife Reviews Editor’s Pick

 Buy Links:

This title is available to read on #KindleUnlimited.

 Universal Link

.*´¨) ¸.*¨) ( ¸.•´


When I was about four, some work was being done on my grandfather’s farm. The digger uncovered a weird stone structure, and when I asked Grandpa what it was, he said it was the old cesspool. Cesspool was by far the longest and best word I had ever heard. I was very excited by it and loved it so much that when I was given a kitten, I named her Cesspool Kitty. I used to carry her under my arm and announce her when we entered a room. Now I think she may be my alter ego. I imagine her as a gunslinger in a western, banging through those swinging bar doors, saying, “Nobody move. It’s Cesspool Kitty!”

Or my alter ego may just be Listeria Kittens, which is how Google’s autocorrect likes to sign my name.

* Sticking to the cat theme: My mother was the first woman to solo in a mixed large cat act after she ran away and joined the circus. She became the head showgirl at Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Baily and opened Madison Square Garden carrying a leopard over her shoulders and wearing a spangled bikini.

Personally, I prefer dogs.

* And horses. My best friend Darci and I rode 250 miles packing a five-mule train along the Saskatchewan/Montana border chasing the ghost of my great great uncle who married Sitting Bull’s niece, which was a problem because he had a wife and daughter back in Toronto.

* Speaking of marriage, I asked my husband to marry me when I was four. He’s a little older than I am. My parents always gave a pool party on the fourth of July. He was there with his girlfriend, Rhoda, who was wearing a seersucker plaid bikini (no spangles.)  I had a new bathing suit, strictly one piece. It was navy blue, with red and white stripes and gold stars on the shoulders, and I went up to David, who was, and is, very handsome, and said, “David, do you like my new bathing suit?” And he said, “Yes, Lucretia, it’s very nice.” So, I said, “Then, will you marry me?” And he, being English and polite, said, “Yes, of course, I will.” And thirty-four years later, we were married beside that very same swimming pool. So, look out for four years olds.

* And on the theme of handsome men: Two days before graduating from college, I was walking down the street and was so busy watching the most beautiful man I’d ever seen walking along the opposite sidewalk that I ran into a parking meter and smashed both my front teeth. He was so guilty that I had to go to graduation with no teeth that he asked me out. I got tuna fish in my hair, but we’re still friends.

That’s three more facts. Or maybe four. But I majored in Religion, so what can you expect?

Lucretia Grindle

Lucretia Grindle grew up and went to school and university in England and the United States. After a brief career in journalism, she worked for The United States Equestrian Team organizing ‘kids and ponies,’ and for the Canadian Equestrian Team. For ten years, she produced and owned Three Day Event horses that competed at The World Games, The European Games and the Atlanta Olympics. In 1997, she packed a five-mule train across 250 miles of what is now Grasslands National Park on the Saskatchewan/Montana border tracing the history of her mother’s family who descend from both the Sitting Bull Sioux and the first officers of the Canadian Mounties.

Returning to graduate school as a ‘mature student’, Lucretia completed an MA in Biography and Non-Fiction at The University of East Anglia where her work, FIREFLIES, won the Lorna Sage Prize. Specializing in the 19th century Canadian West, the Plains Tribes, and American Indigenous and Women’s History, she is currently finishing her PhD dissertation at The University of Maine.

Lucretia is the author of the psychological thrillers, THE NIGHTSPINNERS, shortlisted for the Steel Dagger Award, and THE FACES of ANGELS, one of BBC Front Row’s six best books of the year, shortlisted for the Edgar Award. Her historical fiction includes, THE VILLA TRISTE, a novel of the Italian Partisans in World War II, a finalist for the Gold Dagger Award, and THE LOST DAUGHTER, a fictionalized account of the Aldo Moro kidnapping. She has been fortunate enough to be awarded fellowships at The Hedgebrook Foundation, The Hawthornden Foundation, The Hambidge Foundation, The American Academy in Paris, and to be the Writer in Residence at The Wallace Stegner Foundation. A television drama based on her research and journey across Grasslands is currently in development. THE DEVIL’S GLOVE and the concluding books of THE SALEM TRILOGY are drawn from her research at The University of Maine where Lucretia is grateful to have been a fellow at the Canadian American Foundation.

She and her husband, David Lutyens, live in Shropshire.

Social Media Links:

 Website   Facebook   LinkedIn   Instagram   Amazon Author Page   Goodreads


Saturday, May 20, 2023

New Release - AnaRose and the Templar's Quest by Mary Ann Bernal


A dangerous expedition. A precious artifact. A race against time.

 Museum curator and expert in antiquities AnaRose Preston accepts the challenge to find one of Christianity’s holy relics concealed in the hilt of a legendary dagger. Traveling throughout contemporary France, she rushes to solve a historical mystery. But members of a secret society stand in her way. AnaRose risks her life to locate the weapon before it falls into the wrong hands.


Amazon Global Link

Universal Link

About the Author

Mary Ann Bernal attended Mercy College, Dobbs Ferry, NY, where she received a degree in Business Administration. Her literary aspirations were ultimately realized when the first book of The Briton and the Dane novels was published in 2009. In addition to writing historical fiction, Mary Ann has also authored a collection of contemporary short stories in the Scribbler Tales series and a science fiction/fantasy novel entitled Planetary Wars Rise of an Empire. Her recent work includes Crusader’s Path, a redemption story set against the backdrop of the First Crusade, Forgiving Nero, a novel of Ancient Rome, and AnaRose and the Templar’s Quest, a historical mystery adventure.

Since Operation Desert Storm, Mary Ann has been a passionate supporter of the United States military, having been involved with letter-writing campaigns and other support programs. She appeared on The Morning Blend television show hosted by KMTV, the CBS television affiliate in Omaha, and was interviewed by the Omaha World-Herald for her volunteer work. She has been a featured author on various reader blogs and promotional sites.

Mary Ann currently resides in Elkhorn, Nebraska.


Website   Publisher   Blog   Amazon Author Site

Tuesday, May 16, 2023

Book Spotlight and Excerpt: Death in Sensible Circumstances: A Sense and Sensibility Mystery by Riana Everly


Follow the tour HERE

A Jane Austen-inspired mystery, set in the world of Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility, being the fourth novel in the Miss Mary Investigates series.

When Mary Bennet befriends Elinor Dashwood, she expects to become part of the young lady’s circle and be introduced to her friends and relations. She does not expect that one of this circle should die, far too young, and in most unfortunate circumstances. Worse, Elinor is secretly in love with one of the suspects, Edward Ferrars, and he is inconveniently engaged to somebody else. When an investigator is called in to assist, Mary is more surprised still.

Alexander Lyons expects to find death and deceit in his line of work, but he does not expect to come face to face with Mary, who hasn’t replied to his letters of late. What is she doing in London? And how is she involved with this sorry business of murder? Still, despite the tension between the two, they make a good team as they seek to unravel the mystery surrounding them.

From the elegant drawing rooms of Mayfair to the reeking slums of St. Giles, the two must use every bit of wit and logic they possess to uncover a killer, all the while, trying to puzzle out the workings of their own hearts.

Join Mary Bennet, Lizzy’s often overlooked sister from Pride and Prejudice, and her intriguing and handsome friend Alexander Lyons, as they are pulled into the world of Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility in this, their latest adventure.



This title is currently available to read on #KindleUnlimited.

  Universal Link

.•*´¨) ¸.•*¨) ( ¸.•´


 “And thus our predicament,” Brandon looked up from the pamphlet on the desk and took his seat once more.

“Yes. We have two questions that require answers. The first: were Robert Ferrars and Lucy Steele really married? We have only her word that they were so, and that this marriage occurred within the last three months, after Mrs. Ferrars died and after Robert inherited her wealth. The second question: Assuming that Miss Steele is, indeed, with child, and assuming the child’s father is Robert, did he know of her condition before he died?”

“I have come to the right man.” Brandon dipped his head in respect.

“I shall do what I can to discover the answers.” Alexander took a moment to make a series of notes on the sheet of paper before him. “I need not impress upon you the import of this last point. I can trust your discretion? I must speak to her before she discovers how key this is to her case. But now I have some questions of my own. Perhaps you will have some information for me.”

“Please.” Brandon waved an open palm in invitation.

“What were Miss Steele’s circumstances before this possible marriage?”

Brandon thought. “She is not wealthy. Her mother is deceased and her father is not a rich man. She and her sister Anne—Nancy—stay with a variety of friends and relations around the country. Most recently they have been visiting a distant relation in Devonshire, a friend of mine by the name of Mrs. Jennings, but whilst in London, they stay with other relations.”

“So, she would not have had a large dowry; Robert would not have gained by this marriage.”

“No, indeed. She would have been the one to benefit.”

“Then it is greatly to her detriment that this marriage—if it occurred—is not documented, for she may lose a great deal.”

Brandon, terse as always, merely nodded.

“I also wish to learn more of the brother, Edward. If Miss Steele’s claim is not upheld, he will regain what he lost by his mother’s actions and will become a wealthy man again.”

“You suspect him of ill-doing?” Brandon looked shocked and his shoulders stiffened under his uniform coat. “I could hardly believe that of Edward Ferrars! A more modest, self-effacing and sincere man I cannot imagine. I have offered him the living at Delaford, for he wishes to take orders. He was beyond grateful and appreciative of the offer, for all that the living will provide only two hundred and fifty a year. Surely such a man would never be involved in anything improper…”

Alexander shrugged. “I mean no disrespect. I merely have questions that I must ask.”

Brandon relaxed. “Yes. Of course.”

“Did the Runners have any concerns about Mr. Robert’s death? There was nothing untoward? They had no suspicions other than theft?”

Another shake of the head. “No. Robert was not circumspect about making his new circumstances known. He was a young man still, and not so wise. He had begun spending freely and, according to people I know, was becoming a regular patron at gaming tables around London. If some footpads were looking for a man to rob, they would not have to look hard to find Robert Ferrars. The Runners were confident the motive was theft. He was found all but naked. Every coin, his watch, everything of value was gone. Even his boots.”

“How did they know who it was?” Another question that had to be asked.

“He was well enough known. As badly beaten as he was, he was not disfigured. I was walking by when the Runners were seeking someone to put a name to him. It was undoubtedly him.”

“I am sorry. That cannot have been easy.”

Brandon seemed to shrink. “No. And I was the unhappy one to tell his—” He stopped. “Oh my God.”

Alexander snapped his head up. “What is it? What is wrong, Colonel?”

“There is something you ought to know. The import of it only occurred to me now.” He took a great breath. “It came as a great shock to us all. Assuming her claims are correct, before she married Mr. Robert Ferrars, Lucy Steele was engaged to Robert’s brother Edward.”


Riana Everly

Riana Everly is an award-winning author of romance, both contemporary and historical, and historical mysteries.

Born in South Africa, she moved to Canada as a child, bringing with her two parents, two younger sisters, and too many books. Yes, they were mysteries. From those early days of The Secret Seven and The Famous Five, she graduated to Nancy Drew, and then to the Grande Dames of classical English whodunnits, including Agatha Christie and Ngaio Marsh. Others followed, and many sleepless nights ensued.

When not matching wits with Miss Marple and Adam Dalgliesh, Riana keeps busy researching those little, but so-important, details for her next fabulous novel.

Trained as a classical musician, Riana has degrees in Music History and Medieval Studies, and enjoys photography, hiking, travelling, learning obscure languages, and experimenting with new recipes. If they include chocolate, all the better.

Social Media Links:

  Website   Facebook    Instagram   BookBub   Amazon Author Page