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!