All over the U.S. we will be enjoying various kinds of fireworks displays on July 4th.
Fireworks were not unknown during the Georgian/Regency eras, and were used for grand effect in public celebrations in London.
Green Park was readied for a grand fireworks display in 1763 to celebrate the Treaty of Paris, which ended the French and Indian War in North America. Green Park was also used for a national park in 1746 to celebrate the end of the War of Hanoverian. The royal family arranged a great fireworks display and commissioned the composer, Handel, to write music for the Royal Fireworks. A vast Temple of Peace was built in the park to store the fireworks. But early on a stray rocket hit the temple. Three people died and 10,000 fireworks were destroyed in the fire that followed.
Another cause for creating massive fireworks was the long reign of George III. How spectacular these illuminations must have seemed extravagent to people at a time when candlelight was rare and expensive.
When the Napoleonic Wars came to an end, famed rope walker, Madame Saqui, could finally cross the English Channel in 1816 to perform at Vauxhall Gardens for the first time.
‘In the midst of a great burst of fireworks, Bengal lights glimmering faintly in the clouds of smoke, Madame Saqui stands on a rope, sixty feet up, and follows a narrow and difficult path to the end of her journey. Sometimes she is completely hidden from all eyes by the billowing waves, but from the way she walks, so self-assured, one would think an Immortal was walking peacefully towards her celestial home.’
HAPPY BIRTHDAY AMERICA!
To Gamble on an Earl
The Men of Waterloo Series – Book Two
Evan, the Earl of Foxington, had only one mistress, Lady Luck. When she deserted him at the Battle of Hougomont he was left scarred in more ways than one.
Lady Phoebe Collins has loved Foxington since she and her best friend, his sister, dogged his footsteps as children. When she received a request from him for a tryst at a ball, what seemed to be the answer to her dreams turned out to be a nightmare.
Will Foxington be able to overcome the thrill of gambling to earn Phoebe’s trust? Will Phoebe ever learn to feel safe enough to love again?
Lady Phoebe Collins backed into the alcove, stopping when she bumped against the floral wallpaper. She was safely hidden in the shadows, away from the ballroom and its dancing couples. She took the note from her reticule and her heart skipped a beat as she read the words written in a strong hand, “Meet me in the sitting room, two doors beyond the stairs, at half past eleven. —Fox.”
Putting the note back into her reticule, she smiled at the familiar form of address in the signature and moved down the hall to the specified room. Why did Foxington want to meet her? Was he having regrets about what had happened when they’d been snowed in on Christmas Eve? Or was he planning to continue what they’d started on that magical night? His nickname, “The Fox” implied an intimate relationship, and her pulse fluttered again at the thought. She walked down the hall, her mind going over every detail of the night they were trapped together by a snowstorm one year earlier.
Foxington approached offering to escort her home after a dinner party where Ravenstone had surprised everyone by asking Lady Lettice Durham, Foxington’s sister to marry him. The trip home had gone terribly wrong, an unexpected storm piling so much snow on the road that they’d had to unhitch the horses and finish the journey to Elkhorn Hall on horseback.
Foxington had taken her up behind him, and the intimacy of the situation had encompassed them, lingering after they’d arrived and been cared for by the intrepid housekeeper, Mrs. Brown. Food and dry clothing had been provided for everyone, including Foxington’s aunt, who had also been in the carriage as chaperone.
After Foxington’s aunt departed the room, Phoebe walked around the space, picking up pillows from the sofa and fluffing them, only to put one down before picking up another.
“I would say this evening was a success in regards to Lady Lettice and Lord Ravenstone. You accomplished what you set out to do. Your sister is now betrothed, and to a fine gentleman.” Phoebe looked up at Foxington with a smile.
The earl moved swiftly toward Phoebe, reached for the pillow she was holding to her chest, and threw it back onto the sofa before placing one arm around her waist. He cupped her cheek, bent down, and kissed her.
The urgency in his kiss surprised them both, and for a moment she didn’t react. Then, as if giving in to some inner debate her body relaxed against his, she returned the pressure of his lips, and her legs moved against the confines of her gown to arch slightly against him.
He paused slightly, then kissed her once more, gently. He set her back from him with his arms stiff and his breathing ragged.
“Phoebe?” he asked softly, his deep voice thick. With concern, she’d thought.
She stared at him, realizing he was just as shocked as she at their encounter.
“You—you kissed me,” she whispered.
“I certainly did.” A devilish grin quirked at his lips. “And by all accounts you kissed me back. Care for another one?”
From The Author
I have been reading romance novels since the age of fourteen and never turned back. I have my Mom to thank for my interest in romance novels and my Dad for my love of history.
When I am not reading (or writing the stories which dance around in my head) I enjoy the joyful moments with my growing family, the ballet, long walks, travel and romantic movies.
Writing has always been a great passion of mine and I am glad to be doing what I like best. Connecting with readers is a bright spot and always a happy moment for me knowing my books touched someone and they took the time to let me know. Each and every reader is the reason I continue to write Regency Historical romances and you are the ones who keep me at it.
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