Thursday, October 29, 2015

The Reticule Dump by Guest Blogger Alina K. Field

Everyone, please welcome today's guest, Alina K. Field! Thanks so much for visiting today, Alina!

I’m riffing today on a theme my friend, author Collette Cameron, blogs about: the Purse Dump. And, since the heroine of my latest novella, Liliana’s Letter, is a proper Regency lady, she didn’t carry a purse, she carried a reticule, a tiny little bag with about as much capacity as a contemporary evening bag.

What is Liliana carrying in her reticule? 

1. Money, as in coins, mostly pence, and not a lot. For one thing, a lady out walking could quickly find herself in an unsavory neighborhood. London still had no police force, and cutpurses worked the streets. Also, Liliana is putting money aside to bring her brother back to England. She’ll carry a bit more only when she needs to travel into the City to visit her solicitor.

2. Vinaigrette—not that she herself suffers the vapors. Never! And Katie, the heiress she is bringing out into society, has as yet never fainted, but a good hired companion must be prepared.

3. A tiny tin of Rose Lip Salve to ward off chapping from the cold damp weather.

4. A paper of pins. Since some parts of lady’s dresses were literally pinned together, one must always be prepared for a wardrobe failure.

5. Crisp white calling cards. She and Katie are making the social rounds, paying morning calls on old and new acquaintances.

6. A handkerchief—for the occasional weather-related sniffle, not for tears. A lady does not make a spectacle of her emotions; well, except perhaps when her solicitor presents her with a most disappointing letter from her brother.

Oh, all right, her hanky is quite the rumpled mess.

7. That infuriating letter from her brother, crumpled and tear-stained.

What’s not in her reticule? 

House keys—the footman on duty will open the door.

A driver’s license—only the coachman drives, and of course, there was no police force requiring licenses.

An ink pen—the inkpot would leak.

A comb—not enough room, and anyway, her hair is done up and stuffed under a bonnet.

Liliana’s Letter
by Alina K. Field

The Matchmaker

Lord Grigsby wants nothing more than to retreat to his study, but a promise to his long-dead sister has forced him back into society to broker the marriage of his nephew to the heiress whose money can save the young man’s earldom. If only the young lady’s starchy hired companion would move out of the way. 

The Matchbreaker

Hired to launch an heiress’s society debut, seemingly straitlaced spinster Liliana Ashford’s future as a professional chaperone depends on the girl’s successful marriage. But Liliana had her own close encounter with a scoundrel years ago, and she won’t let her charge be forced into marriage to the same kind of rogue, no matter how hard the man’s widowed uncle tries to woo Liliana around to the match.

Secrets and a Scandalous Murder

A shadow from Liliana’s past appears bearing an unfortunate letter she wrote long ago, and then the earl is murdered, evoking the scandal of the season. While she scrambles to make a respectable match for her charge before her own past can be exposed, Grigsby sets about finding his nephew’s killer—and Liliana’s secrets.  

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The woman at Grigsby's side was like a lightning rod expecting a bolt to strike, or like a Fury about to deliver one. This close, scent wafted from her, roses and lemon, he'd guess. Tall, straight, and stiff, underneath her self-possession was a temper ready to unleash. He would bet on it.

Intriguing. He dared to poke her ire. "You clearly don't approve of the match. Do you intend to openly oppose it?"

Her head whipped around, and she glared. "It's not for me to approve or disapprove. Katie—Miss Mercer—will decide."

Passion flashed in her eyes, sending an answering spark through him. She was magnificent—though so very mistaken. "Really? Then her father is more liberal than I expected."

She looked him over more closely. "What do you know of this matter?"

I might ask you the same question. Her tone had been stiff, like the crystallized dome covering bubbling lava. He fixed her with his sternest glare, not entirely surprised at her cheek.

His glower didn't impress her. She lifted her shoulders higher. Stood a little taller, proud, lovely, and filled with indignation.

Quite righteous indignation. He gave into an unmanly sigh, truly weary of his responsibility for Thomas. "I know a good deal, Miss Ashford. I have been negotiating for these nuptials. The arrangement is my doing as much as Mr. Mercer's. Much more than it is my nephew's. He is probably the least culpable, except for his abominable behavior."

She clenched her hands tightly. "I see."

"Thomas's mother was my older sister. I made a promise to her that I would look after him." Her gaze softened, and she bit her lip in a way that made him want to taste the part that she was nipping.

And where had that thought come from?

"And your nephew needs money and an heir."

He nodded. As a woman of the ton, of course she would understand how marriage worked. Marriage wasn’t about love, or the bride’s approval, or a plump lower lip that begged to be kissed.

"He needs money most of all. He has a younger brother in the army who would make a far more dutiful earl."

He covered his mouth with his hand. The words had rolled out, shocking him. He rarely spoke this frankly with any woman.

Very well, he never spoke this frankly with any woman.

She released a soft breath. "And there is the matter of the ore."

His mouth gaped and he quickly closed it. Mr. Mercer had shared that information? Well. "That part of the county is rich with newly discovered veins of iron."

That information brought her up straighter. She looked away, gazing intently at a thick, dark spot of foliage, making him want to pry into that sharp mind.

"I see,” she said. “I believe we should go back in now."

Not yet. He tucked her hand over his arm but did not move. "I had hoped we were not finished talking. I've learned your Christian name is Liliana, but I don't know anything else about you. I don’t know where you're from or anything about your family."

He sensed her bristling, and waited for some reaction, perhaps a slap, verbal, or, with a woman of her passion, even a physical one. Strictly speaking, he was importuning her, and damn if he wasn't enjoying the nerves rippling through her. 

About the Author:
Award-winning author Alina K. Field earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and German literature, but she found her true passion in reading and writing romance. Though her roots are in the Midwest, after six very, very, very cold years in Chicago, she moved to Southern California and hasn’t looked back. She shares a midcentury home with her husband and a blue-eyed cat who conned his way in for dinner one day and decided the food was too good to leave.

She is the author of the 2014 Book Buyer’s Best winner in the novella category, Rosalyn’s Ring, a Regency novella; and the novel-length sequel, a 2015 RONE Award finalist, Bella’s Band, both Soul Mate Publishing releases. 

Visit her at her website, Facebook, Twitter, or Goodreads.


Alanna Lucas said...

Love the post! I think my reticule is overly stuffed ;-)

Natalie Damschroder said...

Thanks for stopping by, Alanna!

I don't carry a purse or reticule or anything! I would have had a hard time back then. But I bet I could have sewn pockets into my dresses or something. LOL

Alina K. Field said...

Natalie! How can you function? I'm like Alanna--my "reticule" can barely be zipped close.

Natalie Damschroder said...

I just hate carrying one! I don't like the encumbrance, and I HATE digging around in something. With a passion. So my keys, card case (instead of a wallet), and phone all go in my pockets. Though I DO have a small bag I carry if I don't have pockets, or don't want the bulges. It gets rare use. :)