The hero of A POTION FOR PASSION, Lawrence, is in league with some low-life characters, including smugglers. Which one of these ran a huge smuggling organisation in southern England in the Georgian era?
a) Claude Duval
b) Moll Cutpurse
c) Isaac Gulliver
C) Isaac Gulliver. He operated throughout Dorset and along the south coast. Born in Wiltshire near where I live!
Okay, next question in my not-too-serious historical quiz. What do you think was the ultimate penalty for smuggling in 1805, the year in which A POTION FOR PASSION is set?
b) The ducking stool
A) hanging. Beheading tended to be for crimes against the state and peers. The ducking stool was used as a punishment for scolds.
Moving away from crime now and into the colourful world of folk medicine…
In A POTION FOR PASSION, Lawrence claims to be able to cure many ailments. What do you think is his (genuinely used) remedy for a bee sting?
a) Get another bee to sting the same spot
b) Thrash the spot with a handful of nettles
c) Apply vinegar to the affected area
C) I learned that when I was being a Tudor stillroom wench!
Next quiz question- how might a quack doctor (not at all like Lawrence in A POTION FOR PASSION!) advise you to deal with a snakebite?
a) Chew alkanet, then spit it into the snake’s open mouth
b) Lie on the ground screaming
c) Get a friend to suck out the poison and hope they don’t die
A) I know it sounds weird, but it’s in a genuine 17th century herbal!
Another quiz question for you. How might a Regency “alternative” physician (which is how I like to think of Lawrence, since mountebank, quack doctor and charlatan are not very kind terms) deal with a burn?
a) Cover it with cobwebs
b) Apply bruised hemlock to the burn
c) Wash the burn in rainwater gathered by moonlight
B) But don’t lick your fingers after you’ve picked it as hemlock is deadly poisonous. In fact, just don’t go near the stuff. Okay?
Penultimate question! In A POTION FOR PASSION, Flora and Lawrence become partners in his travelling medicine show for a while. How would they deal with a man who’d fallen and broken his head?
a) Wrap a silk hair ribbon around the head
b) Give him a decoction of roses in red wine to drink
c) Heat up a cupful of honey and apply gently over the scalp
B) Another charming remedy from Nicholas Culpeper!
Final quiz question- If the healer Lawrence in A POTION FOR PASSION had to tend to a child who had broken their arm when falling out of a tree, what would he suggest?
a) Give the miscreant a taste of the birch switch and tell him not to do it again
b) Wrap a bendy sheet of lead around the arm
c) Mash up some comfrey root and apply it to the arm
C) The folk name for comfrey was “Knitbone”. It is a plant with many healing properties. And flipping difficult to get rid of once you let it get a hold in your garden!
Do you enjoy fun historical quizzes? Should I do more?
If you’ve read A PERILOUS PASSION, you will have encountered the heroine’s young maiden aunt, who dispatched a hefty burglar with a warming pan.
Yes, there’s a lot more to Flora than meets the eye, and in the next book in this series, we discover what happens when she runs into the handsome Dr. Campaign again.
Well, you can find out right now, in A POTION FOR PASSION.
Here’s a wee snippet-
“Oh!” She flipped his notebook shut. “You’re awake. How do you feel?”
“All the better for seeing you,” he replied, in a voice that washed over her like liquid silk. Then he yawned, stretched, winced and gave her a rueful grin which made her heart thump rapidly against her ribs. My goodness, but this man was compelling beyond words! She struggled against the urge to just throw herself at him, and run her hands all over his perfectly proportioned and muscled body.
Then she thought of the notches on the wheel and hauled herself back to sanity.
“I’m sore,” Lawrence said, “but there won’t be any lasting damage, I’m certain. I’m very grateful for your help, Madame Julietta.”
“Hush! You can’t call me by that name here. It’s a part of my past no one must ever know about.”
“Just as no one must ever know you’re sitting unchaperoned in an enclosed wagon with a naked man only feet away? An aroused naked man?”
Flora shot to her feet and uttered several incoherent sounds, blushing furiously. Eventually, she managed to splutter, “You’re just too shocking. Please don’t tease me.”
To which he replied, with a sinfully wicked grin, “You call me shocking? I’m quite justified in being here. You, on the other hand, are not.”
Fancy reading a bit more? Here are some sales points.
This is fantastic news for the discerning reader, which of course you must be, as you’re visiting this blog.
Here’s the story-
When your country’s future is at stake, be careful who you fall in love with…
He’s risking his life to save England from invasion.
She’s young, stunning, secretive, and wants to help.
But is the disgraced daughter of a smuggler the best ally for a spy-catcher? Especially when he can barely keep his hands off her…
If you like steamy romance, heroic action and a Happy Ever After ending, you’ll love this book!
❤️“Lots of laughs mingled with an intriguing story.” Petula
❤️“Absolutely brilliant book.” Gwessie
❤️“A book that I didn’t want to end.” Michelle
Grab your copy NOW while the offer lasts.
I’m offering a mystery Elizabeth Keysian paperback to one lucky US or UK resident!
Just do the quiz below, and let me know your answers by commenting on the pinned post on my Facebook page.
1. Which one of these was a notorious highwayman (inspiring a ruse used by the hero of A Perilous Passion)? Was it-
a) Jack the Ripper,
b) Claud Duval, or
c) Simon Templar?
2. What was the ultimate penalty for smuggling in 1804 (the year in which A Perilous Passion is set)? Was it-
b) the ducking stool, or
3. What was an ice house (where a character from A Perilous Passion is imprisoned) used for in Georgian England? Was it-
a) to give shelter when ice skating in bad weather,
b) a dwelling in the far north of Scotland, or
c) A place to make and store ice?
4. How did real-life smuggler Isaac Gulliver (on whom I based the heroine’s father in A Perilous Passion) evade capture by the Revenue Men? Did he-
a) hide in a barrel at the bottom of the village pond,
b) dress as a woman and hide in a hollow oak tree, or
c) lie in an open coffin pretending to be dead?
5) When was lace (which caused trouble between the hero and heroine of A Perilous Passion) first invented? Was it-
a) the 400s
b) the 1500s, or
c) the 1900s?
You can now order the sequel to A Perilous Passion, A POTION FOR PASSION here!
Firstly- Today I am proud to unveil “Love Rekindled at Christmas- A Regency Anthology”.
This collection of brand new novellas is to raise money for the medical charity Planned Parenthood. Every penny raised in 2018 goes to the charity.
If you pre-order now, you only need to pay the bargain price of only
So, what’s it all about?
Here’s the blurb-
Christmas is a time for rekindling love in five new historical romance novellas.
These couples will be sheltering from blizzards and hiding in wardrobes, reuniting with old flames, stealing mistletoe kisses, and falling in love. Passions are reignited by Snapdragon, a fiery Regency party game, but who will receive the best Christmas present of all—a happy ending? Immerse yourself in the romance, snow-covered landscapes, and blazing hearths of a heart-warming, sensual, Regency Christmas.
This is feel-good reading at its best: happily ever after for you and help for women in need.
Authors: Evelyn Isaacks, Elizabeth Keysian, Diana Lloyd, Eve Pendle, E. Elizabeth Watson
Tropes: second chance, reunion, childhood sweethearts, snowed-in, forced proximity, compromised, scandal, road-trip, makeover, friends-to-lovers.
Heat level: medium (~one love scene per novella)
Length: 28,000 – 40,000 per novella (170,000 total)
Publication: 1 November, self-published
A Midwinter Wager by Elizabeth Keysian
Her viscount’s been stolen…
When her stepsister tricks her noble beau into a fake engagement, Miss Francesca Heathcote tires of playing nice. She’ll even risk ruin to win him back. A game of dare, a wager and a night in a haunted room offer a chance to set him free, but her conniving stepsister has one more ace up her sleeve…
Christmas wore Plaid by E. Elizabeth Watson
When Scarlet Fever forced Emerson Lindt to move to England, her only consolation was Brady MacInnes’s promise of writing—letters that never arrived. When she returns to Scotland years later, Brady is adamant that he never betrayed her. And though poverty plagues Scotland and stretches Brady’s pocketbook, their love for each other flares anew. Can a Christmas miracle and the spirit of giving finally grant them a future together after they were denied marriage so long ago?
A Pineapple in a Pine Tree by Eve Pendle
Five years after breaking Amelia Chilson’s heart, he’s back. Robert Danbury wants the mistletoe kiss Amelia denied him years ago, but nothing more; loving a woman again is an unthinkable risk. Then they’re caught innocently in bed together and Robert has an instant to choose: Amelia’s reputation, their lost love, or his conscience.
Let it Snow by Diana Lloyd
When he stole her first kiss one Christmas, Tobin Everleigh didn’t realize it would be ten years before he got another. Saffron Thomas is determined to forget the kiss and the boy who called it a folly. When fate brings them back together for a holiday celebration a fiery game of Snapdragon gone wrong and a midnight dash through a snowstorm proves their attraction was no game.
A Captain for Christmas by Evelyn Isaacks
Georgiana Throckmorton is eager to return to social life after years of isolation in the north of England. When she’s invited to spend Christmas with an old friend she never expects to be reunited with her first love—Alexander Forrester, who ran away to the sea after he made love to her. Passion reignites once again, but past hurts loom over their second chance at love.
Can’t wait to get your copy at this special price? Just click one of the Amazon links below. More links will follow shortly.
Please share, get your friends to share, and get them to get their friends to share. We’d love to see this charity anthology swoop up the rankings!!!
If you have a Goodreads account, it would be great if you could add the book to your Goodreads To Be Read pile!
Thank you, thank you, thank you. We are sooooo excited about this book !😜🤪!
I’m delighted to announce the winners of my prize giveaways in A Touch of Intrigue’s End of Summer Facebook Party.
Congratulations to Phyllis Lamken, Dawn Wilkinson and Anna Katharine Koehler. I’ll be in touch with you shortly about your prizes. Well done ladies!
Here is a little snippet of my novella from the anthology. It’s called “A Midwinter Wager”, and newsletter subscribers are the first to get a peek.
December 1814, Essex, England
The acrid smell of burning filled her nostrils as flames licked greedily at the bed’s ancient canopy. She thrashed about, struggling to escape and yelled for help but stifling smoke seared her throat. Then someone grabbed her and hauled her from the burning bed.
“Cesca, wake up!”
A familiar voice soothed her, easing the painful thundering of her heart.
The nightmare faded, and Miss Francesca Heathcote opened her eyes to cool, flickering darkness. Not a fire, just a candle, illuminating the concerned features of Philip Fitzmaurice, Viscount Lonsdale.
She sat up, pulling the bedclothes up to her chin, and gazed at him. Then gazed some more.
He should have been laughable, in his borrowed, ill-fitting nightshirt, with his thick, golden hair all tousled, but instead, he looked utterly desirable. As the nightmare receded and Cesca came back to the present, she realized she’d never before seen her friend quite so close to… well, naked.
It struck her with the force of a cavalry charge that Fitz was no longer the boy she’d known, racing across from Beaulieu Manor to show her his new scholar’s gown, or hurtling over fences to impress her when he got his first full-grown horse. He was no longer a fresh-faced youth, graduating with a Classics degree from his Cambridge college, sweetly solemn, and proud.
As she stared at the way his muscles pushed against the soft linen of his nightshirt, her gaze snagged on the patch of darkly curling hair on his chest. The breath fled from her lungs.
“Bad dream?” He settled himself on the edge of her bed. He smelled of fresh soap, and the musk of potent masculinity—and ignited something inside her to which she couldn’t put a name.
“Yes,” she rasped, trying to recall how to breathe. “You know there was a fire when I was little—”
“Of course.” He took her hand. “When you upset a lighted candle in your bed. But why would you dream of that now?”
Truth was, the nightmare recurred when she was anxious. Fitz had ridden over from Beaulieu Manor yesterday to wish the family a merry Christmas and inform them he meant to join the Duke of Wellington in France next year, to help rebuild the monarchy of that stricken country. He’d no idea how long he’d be away. Little wonder she was distressed.
She’d been so terrified at the thought of him being taken away from her, perhaps forever, that she’d sent up a prayer of thanks when a sudden blizzard had forced him to spend the night with her family at Fernley Place. But she’d been too shy to tell him—or show him—that her sisterly affection for him had matured to something much more compelling.
She licked her dry lips. “Fitz, you can’t be in here. It’s highly improper.”
He frowned. “I’m not going until I know you’re no longer frightened. Why didn’t Alicia come in to comfort you? She must have heard you cry out.”
“Oh, she knows I have the occasional nightmare. She doesn’t bother herself about it anymore.” Her stepsister Alicia cared for no one but herself. No, that was uncharitable. She was young and had recently lost her mama—she might improve with time.
Fitz’s eyes met Cesca’s, and he raised an eyebrow but held her gaze. “What are you looking at?” he asked, in a tone that made her stomach flip over.
If only she could tell him how much the sight of him stirred her blood! But these feelings were too new, too unexpected, for her to know what to do about them. “I’m just trying to remember how you look right now,” she said.
“A mess,” he replied, with a rueful grin. “I wasn’t expecting the snow to trap me into spending the night here. Your father’s nightshirt is too tight across the shoulders and chest.”
She shook her head. “You could be thin, fat, rugged, bearded, scarred, or even mustachioed by the time you return for your first furlough. That youthful look will be gone forever after a few months in the army, so I am painting a picture of you in my mind.” She was trying very hard not to make it a picture of Fitz naked, decidedly difficult under the circumstances. That nightshirt outlined every muscle of his torso.
He chuckled. “I don’t plan to change. I mean to make you proud, to impress you with my military prowess. I’m hoping you’ll miss me—I mean, for who I am, not just for my Adonis-like good looks.”
“I’ll miss you of course. I don’t care what you look like really. It’s going to be lonely.”
At this point, it would be flattering if he were to disagree, and say she’d meet many handsome, worthy fellows to keep her entertained in his absence. But he wasn’t one for empty flattery, was he?
“I know,” he said softly, pressing warm fingers against her cheek.
Her breath fluttered. Without thinking what she might reveal, she turned her head and kissed his palm. Immediately, he cupped her face, his gaze searing her skin.
Spellbound, she parted her lips. He was going to kiss her.
Was he going to kiss her?
A door opened nearby, and a shadow flickered across the dim beam of light filtering into her room from the passageway. She pressed her fingers against Fitz’s lips, staring at the doorway and listening intently.
After a moment, she relaxed. “That was close,” she whispered. “What if Alicia had come in and discovered us like this?”
“You’d have been compromised, and I’d have to marry you.”
“Don’t jest. I know you’ve no intention of doing that.”
“How so?” His blue eyes were very dark as he looked at her. “Have I ever said as much?”
Her heart battered at her chest again and she floundered in a welter of confusion. She’d never dared dream Fitz might consider marriage.
He retook her hand, brushing firm lips across her knuckles. “It’s difficult now, I know, as you have your father to look after, and your grieving young stepsister, and I’m off next year, to take up my commission. That’s why I’ve held my feelings in check. But there’ll come a day when nothing need keep us apart. Why should I not marry my closest female friend? Our parents would see great advantage in it, I’m sure. We’d suit, you know. In more ways than you can imagine.”
She blushed. She could imagine more than she cared to admit—her mind was already roving along forbidden paths. What would it be like to be wedded to Fitz? To be bedded by him? How would it feel to run her hands up underneath that nightshirt, to smooth her fingers over his hot, firm flesh?
“I’m going too fast for you—I sense it,” he said.
Wrong. But she didn’t know how to explain her feelings, or how to ask for what she wanted. “Not at all—”
“It’s all right. I won’t make any promises now, not when I’m going to be away for Lord knows how long. I’d rather leave you unmarried and eligible, than widowed and bereft. Assuming you’d be mourning me, of course, if I fell on the field of battle.”
That threw a bucket of cold water on her burgeoning passion. “You know I would. But surely, you’ll be going on a peacetime mission? Oh, Fitz—I do wish I could tell when you’re joking and when you’re not.”
“You usually can.”
“Not about something as important as marriage. Or death.”
“I would never joke about those things,” he said, raising her knuckles to his lips. “And I’m in deadly earnest when I say I’m going to spend the rest of tonight in torment, knowing you’re a-bed just a few doors away, looking so ravishing.”
Damn the man! Had he no idea how alluring he looked right now? Before, she’d loved him as a friend. Now, he was a potential lover and husband. Now, bidding him farewell would hurt more than she could bear.
He released her hand. “You’re cold—I shouldn’t keep you up. Lie back, and I’ll tuck you in.”
“I’m not a baby,” she complained, sliding down in the bed.
“Obviously not,” he said, leaning over her, and pinning her beneath the covers. “You’re a woman, and thus much harder to please. Which is why I’m leaving nothing to chance.”
His hair tumbled forward, brushing against her forehead as he brought his head down to hers. His lips pressed against her mouth.
Oh God, how she longed to hold him! She was desperate to dig her fingers into his hair, grasp his head and increase the pressure of the kiss, but he held her captive, forcing her to play by his rules.
He let out a ragged breath, then increased the pressure, and she felt the moist heat of his tongue as it swept the seam of her lips, tasting her.
She parted her lips, and his tongue darted in, hot and hungry, plundering, exploring.
His body pressed down upon hers in the bed, strong and powerful. But the sheets and counterpane lay between them, a shield against impropriety.
For now, she must be satisfied with just a kiss, even though the heat of it spread through her veins like brandy, igniting pools of lust that made her writhe beneath him. Suddenly he pulled away, breathing hard.
“Forgive me.” He backed away and knelt by the bed, but the hint of triumph on his face belied his words. “I told you we’d suit,” he added.
She’d prefer it if he didn’t think or talk—just kiss her again until she’d had enough. Which would be never.
“Regrettably, I ought to go,” he said, getting to his feet and moving toward the door. She supposed he ought. Though if he were to stay, would anyone know? But just as he was reaching for the doorknob, a floorboard creaked in the passageway beyond.
“Is someone out there?” she hissed. Like Alicia, for instance? Her stepsister loved spying on people.
Holding his candle aloft, he opened the door and looked out. “No, don’t worry.” He turned back to look at her, his face weirdly shadowed as the candle flame guttered in a draught. A frisson of unease skittered up her spine. Then he shot her a smile that scorched away all doubt, then left.
She lay back in the bed, hearing nothing but the pulse of blood in her ears, and the galloping of her heart. Fitz wanted to marry her. Surely this, too, had been a dream, no more real than the flames around the bed.
Then something hit the wall with a thump, followed by the crash of breaking china in the neighboring bedchamber. Alicia’s. She was quite clearly awake, and in a fury. How much had she heard of Cesca’s conversation with Fitz?
Her reaction didn’t bode well.
Want to read more? Then why not pre-order the whole anthology now, while it’s still at 99 cents only?
In the next “Key to Romance newsletter”- another Elizabeth Keysian steal. So remember to open that newsletter the minute it arrives, so you don’t miss out!
I am thrilled to announce I have been part of a wonderful project aimed at raising money for the charity Planned Parenthood. Five historical romance authors (myself, Eve Pendle, E. Elizabeth Watson, Evelyn Isaacks and Diana Lloyd) were given the following brief- write a novella (around 30,000 words in length) set in the Regency era featuring romantic Christmas reunions and the parlour game of “snapdragon”.
And this is what we came up with.
Christmas is a time for rekindling love in five new historical romance novellas. These couples will be sheltering from blizzards and hiding in wardrobes, reuniting with old flames, stealing mistletoe kisses, and falling in love. Passions are reignited by Snapdragon, a fiery Regency party game, but who will receive the best Christmas present of all—a happy ending? Immerse yourself in the romance, snow-covered landscapes, and blazing hearths of a heart-warming, sensual, Regency Christmas.
All proceeds from the sale of this book will go to Planned Parenthood. The authors have worked hard to raise funds for this praiseworthy charity.
A bit about Planned Parenthood
When you get to my age- yes, I’ll admit it, I’m over 50- that’s when many things start to go wrong in your body. Not only do you have the discomforts and embarrassments of menopause but, as a woman, you also have to worry about cervical and breast cancers, urinary tract infections and various other nasties. For men of my age, testicular and prostate cancer are big fears, so access to affordable health care is essential.
As is looking after all aspects of your reproductive health, which is where the charity Planned Parenthood comes in. It’s not all about birth control, pregnancy care and sexually transmitted diseases. It can help both men and women with just about any issue they might have with their reproductive systems. The clinics don’t just offer advice, but educate and raise awareness of such issues before they even get to the stage of needing medical treatment. Check out their website and you’ll see what I mean- https://www.plannedparenthood.org/
You can help Planned Parenthood by buying this anthology. You can help still more by donating, or you can let them help you, with problems you just don’t want to discuss with anyone else, because they’re simply too personal.
The world needs charities like this one, which are not afraid to tackle awkward problems head-on. In my opinion, they need all the support they can get.
Love Rekindled at Christmas
The book will be available for pre-order soon, and I’ll be able to provide more details shortly on each of the five individual novellas. Watch this space! But here’s a hint of mine…
A MIDWINTER WAGER by Elizabeth Keysian- coming soon as part of LOVE REKINDLED AT CHRISTMAS.
James stood by the fireplace, one booted foot resting on the empty fender, his hands clasped behind his back, emphasizing the breadth of his shoulders. Despite the heat of the day, his white neck linen was crisply pristine, his face fresh and smooth, framed by hair recently cut into the fashionable windswept style. With his long legs encased in tight-fitting buckskins and his light blue tailcoat, he looked extremely dashing.
His gaze fastened on her as soon as she entered the room, and he stepped forward to give her a smart bow before brushing a kiss across the back of her hand.
All her bravado melted away.
Emma Hibbert will never trust a good-looking man again-they have nothing to offer but heartbreak and humiliation. So when she rescues a sinfully handsome stranger from an accident, it’s all-out war against the passions he ignites. She can’t afford distractions-she has to hide her past and protect her family. But the stranger Emma saved is Viscount Tidworth, and she soon realises she should have left the stricken aristocrat on the muddy road where she found him. He’s a friend of her new employer, and has the power to ruin everything.
Tidworth blames Emma for wrecking his betrothal plans, and threatens to expose her deception. But when she risks her reputation for him, he vows to make amends to Emma and her family. The mistrustful beauty sees his gratitude as meddling, until a moonlight kiss exposes the viscount’s true feelings.
Then a notice appears in the paper, claiming Emma’s engaged to Charles Keane, Tidworth’s best friend…
The third book in the Wayward in Wessex series will be here very soon! Follow me on Twitter for the Big Announcement!
How about an Elizabethan spy romance? Not quite James Bond with a codpiece, but thrilling all the same!
DANCE OF DECEIT is revealing itself little by little on Wattpad. You can read it for free right HERE.
Mistress Alys is intrigued by the handsome gardener employed by her cousin Kate. Certain there’s more to him than meets the eye, Alys becomes ensnared in a tangle of spying and deceit, until she no longer knows who to trust.
Banished from Queen Elizabeth’s court through the lies of a jealous lady, Sir Christopher Penrose has a lot to prove if he wants his old life back. Can he convince the tragic but alluring Alys of her cousin’s treachery before it’s too late? Or will he be forced to watch the woman he loves sent to the Tower?