My newest Christmas novella is releasing today!
A Match Made at Christmas is a spirited Christmas romance in which, for once, two wrongs do make a right.
A promise is a promise…
Unable to find a husband to her liking in three years, Lady Sophia Constantine is appalled to discover she’s promised to allow her grandmother to choose the gentleman. Balking every step of the way, Sophia is compelled to attend a family Christmas party where the man she’s expected to marry will be revealed. But when Grandmamma is delayed in London, Sophia decides to take matters into her own hands to find a husband of her choosing.
Leonardo, Lord Ashurst, has returned to England after five years of mourning. Ready to begin the search for a new wife, he accepts an invitation to a neighbor’s Christmas party and is introduced to Lady Sophia, for whom he experiences an immediate attraction. With the lady’s betrothal on the brink of being announced, can Leo win her heart by posing as her betrothed or will his deception ruin any chance they have of a happily ever after?
“Lady Sophia, I believe the first set is making. You did promise that one to me, did you not?” His eagerness was gratifying, but as she’d seen it in many gentlemen in the past three years, she could only muster a wan smile and take his arm.
“Yes, it is your set, my lord. I can scarcely wait to see what Mrs. Carson will favor us with.” At least it assuredly was not a waltz.
The music began for “Lady Mary Ramsay,” a lively reel at which Ormonde acquitted himself well. The sets of couples wove in and out as the lead couple became the second couple. During this set, she brushed Lord Ashurst’s arm several times as she and her partner turned, a thrill streaking up her arm each time she did so.
As the country dance wound to a close, Sophia curtsied to her partner and took his arm. “Quite an enjoyable dance, my lord.” She smiled up at him, genuinely pleased with him. “If you would be so kind as to take—”
“I believe I am engaged to you for this next, Lady Sophia.” Ashurst’s silky voice stopped Sophia before she could finish her thought. She turned to find his hand already held out to receive hers, a dangerous look in his eyes that Ormonde would do well to heed.
“Of course, my lord. Lady Sophia.” Ormonde bowed and retreated so quickly Sophia and her new partner were left quite alone on the dance floor.
“Is that how you procure all your dance partners, Lord Ashurst? Intimidation?” She laughed softly into his face. “If so, it seems quite an effective way to deal with unwanted rivals.”
“Only when I’m not using force, my lady.” He grinned, and his green eyes darkened. “I daresay I can manage that tonight as well if you wish some excitement for your amusement.”
Throwing her hand up in mock fear, Sophia matched his level of gaiety. “I believe the evening will prove exciting enough without further theatrics, my lord.” This man was a charming rogue. Such a pity he’d been away the past three Seasons. He would’ve enlivened Almack’s and the endless stream of parties and balls immeasurably.
“Just remember, I am at your service, my lady.” His grin was infectious. It deepened the lines beside his mouth, which gave him the wicked look of a pirate.
“Then dance with me, my lord.” Although striving for a light tone, the voice she managed to summon fell low and husky on her ears.
“My pleasure.” The last word lingered in her ears as Lord Ashurst took her hand and put his other one on her waist and drew her close.
Sophia gasped as her face hovered mere inches from his, their bodies closer than would be proper even for a married couple. “I believe you mean to make this dance scandalous once more, Lord Ashurst. You do recall that I am all but betrothed?”
“I do. Does that make a difference to you?” The green-eyed gaze searched for an answer.
On the tip of her tongue to say “yes,” she surprised herself when a commanding, “No,” emerged instead. This man had her behaving in ways she’d never imagined she would.
“I thought not.” He squeezed her hands together, and they commenced to waltz.
To celebrate this new release, I’m giving away prizes today to people who comment on this blog post. Copies of A Match Made at Christmas, a Cardinal Christmas ornament, and a $10.00 Amazon gift card will be awarded by random drawing.
A Match Made at Christmas is currently available at Amazon and Smashwords.