Published by LLD Press on October 18th 2016
Purchase: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo
Have Yourself A Very Wicked Christmas!
Six of today’s most popular regency romance authors come together to deliver a holiday anthology full of passion, promise, and scandalous dalliance.
In Heather Boyd’s The Christmas Affair, a lonely shopkeeper offers shelter to a beautiful, not so innocent miss to overcome the bitter memories of Christmases past, but could such a wicked connection ever lead to a happily-ever-after?
A dashing spy with marriage on his mind seeks to rekindle the spark by any means possible with the woman who claimed his heart in Love at First Dance by Barbara Monajem.
A scandalous widow rescues the man of her dreams - but his secrets could destroy their love in Nicola Davidson's Joy to the Earl.
A masquerade ball was no place to be reckless with your innocence, and yet one scorching look at the masked highwayman urges Miss Partridge to do just that in Mistletoe and the Marquess by Wendy Vella.
In Lord Misrule by Donna Cummings, a young widow chooses a handsome rogue to be her first lover, but his regrets from a past Christmas may end their affair before it even commences.
A blue-stocking becomes a courtesan to escape a murderer in The Glittering Prize, an intrigue-filled romance by Beverley Oakley about finding love where it’s least expected.
This is an all-new collection of stand-alone complete works.
This is the last day of this lovely event and today we are featuring excerpts from
Barbara Monajem, Wendy Vella, Heather Boyd.
An Excerpt from Love at First Dance by Barbara Monajem
Setup: As a spy, Sir Colwyn North seduced women by way of erotic dreams. Now, he doesn’t think he can win a woman any other way. He is about to learn otherwise…
Why couldn’t she see his face? Jane’s skin tingled, her entire body vibrated, and she thrashed under those knowing hands, fighting even as she succumbed. “Let me look at you,” she panted. “Let me see!”
“Do you love me?”
“You know I do,” she whispered. “I wouldn’t do this if I didn’t love you. But I must know who you are!”
“I’m your one true love,” he said.
Her true love. That made it entirely right, didn’t it?
“Love me in return, and I shall give you pleasure beyond all imagining.”
She shoved him away. “Not until I see your face!”
“Alas,” he said, his voice receding. “I cannot, until you agree to—”
“No!” She burst into wakefulness, still throbbing.
“Damn.” A tall, dark shape stood near the fireplace. “I beg your pardon, Lady Jane,” he said. “You weren’t supposed to wake.”
Jane sat up on a horrified gasp. The covers were half off; she grabbed them and clutched them to her chest. Her heart drummed wildly. His large form was graceful—strange that even in her fear she should notice that—but his face remained in the shadows.
Jane opened her mouth and closed it again. She should probably scream, but nothing came out. Was she truly awake, or still asleep? She felt awake—but then, these dreams were so vivid, so very real.
“I shall leave you once again to your slumbers.” The intruder backed away.
No! Or rather, yes, he must leave, but not quite yet. “Who are you?” she demanded furiously. “Why are you in my bedchamber?”
“I am an incubus, a purveyor of erotic dreams.” His voice was a velvet caress. Her nether parts thrummed in response.
“What nonsense.” Jane knew she was blushing red as a berry. Fortunately, colors are not visible in the dark. “Come forward. Let me see you!”
He remained where he was. “You did have an erotic dream.” Something about the way he said the word erotic sent golden shivers down her spine and made her toes curl. “Didn’t you?”
“My dreams are none of your business.” She hated the quaver in her voice.
“A pity, because you were having such a good one.” He paused. “Weren’t you?”
Appalled, Jane tried to summon words of denial, but they wouldn’t come.
“I was enjoying it, too,” he said.
How dare he enjoy her…her pleasure. And yet at the thought, her core throbbed even more. “How did you get in here?”
He laughed softly, making her fingers curl as well as her toes. “I’m an incubus. I have my ways.”
How dare he spout such nonsense? She mustn’t allow herself to be so affected by this man. Indignant now, she groped for the tinder box by the bed; she wasn’t blushing anymore, or at least not much, and she had to know his identity. “There’s no such thing as an incubus.”
“Indeed there is. I am living proof.”
“Stop talking nonsense!” she cried, unable to produce a spark. This must be a dream; she could always get a spark in real life. Maybe her fingers were shaking too much.
With a hint of laughter, he added, “I must leave now, but I shall return tomorrow. And tomorrow and tomorrow after that, until you agree to be mine in the flesh, as well as in dreams.” He backed away into the darkness, and with a sharp click, he was gone.
An Excerpt from Mistletoe and Marquess by Wendy Vella
“May I have the pleasure of this dance?”
“I should not,” she said, and then her eyes darted left and right as if looking for someone.
“’Tis only a dance, madam, and as I have already witnessed you doing just that surely you can do so with me. Unless you are to dance with another?” Harry held out his arm.
“No, I am promised to no one else.”
“Excellent,” he said, capturing her hand and placing it on his arm. He walked them through the other guests. She did not protest or dig her feet into the carpet; if she had he would have released her.
“Do I get a say in this?”
“Is there a reason you don’t want to dance with me?” Harry looked into the small holes in her mask. He thought her eyes were brown, or possibly a dark green.
“No, I had just not thought to dance again so soon.”
“Are you ill or injured?”
Her voice was not familiar, so that did nothing to help Harry identify her.
“Then is it me you have no wish to dance with?”
She hesitated and Harry knew his words for the truth.
“Now that would be a tragedy, considering you are the most beautiful woman present, and I wish to hold you in my arms.”
“You surely do not expect me to believe that, sir, considering the beauties who are here this evening?”
“I do because it is the truth,” Harry said, wondering who the hell she was. She was not shy, wasn’t playing coy with him, and he found himself even more intrigued as to her identity.
“I think not, but thank you for the kind words just the same.”
He swung her into his arms as the waltz started. Harry felt a need to be close to this woman, and as he rarely had that urge, it was a disturbing thought.
“Are you usually so forceful when a woman tells you she has no wish to dance, sir?”
“Only when I know she is misleading me.”
“Do you read minds then?”
“I can read yours,” Harry said, closing the small gap between them so he could breathe in her scent. Sweet and alluring, he thought it would stay in his head forever.
“And what am I thinking now?”
“You wish an encounter with a dark stranger.”
Christ, he was flirting! When was the last time he had done that? Phillip would be proud of him.
She sighed, and it was a soft sound, her breath brushing his throat, and stirring his body to life. “It seems my earlier belief in your powers of observation was incorrect, sir, as I vastly prefer fair men.”
Her lips curled into a secretive smile.
“I do believe that hurt me, madam.”
“I am sure you have your fair share of adoring females commenting on your raven locks, sir, that you do not need me to also.”
“Tell me your name?”
“I have no wish to do so.”
Harry’s body felt alive, every inch aware of her. He took her hand in his and rested it on his chest; the other he held, engulfed in his fingers.
“My hand is meant to rest on your shoulder, sir.”
“I like it on my chest.”
“Is this costume in keeping with your personality then?” She tilted her head to the side and looked up at him, their eyes mere inches apart.
“Yes,” he said, because to hell with it. He could be who he wanted this night.
“Are you about to steal something from me?”
Her words were soft, but he heard them.
She laughed again, this one a little unsteady.
“Tell me your name?” Harry asked her once more.
“But I must call you something, surely?”
“Because I want to know everything about you,” Harry said surprising himself. He wasn’t a man who spoke pretty words or stroked egos. In fact, he was known to be ruthless with no romance in his soul, according to his brother.
“And what of you, sir? What shall I call you?”
They were barely moving, eyes locked, hands holding, and Harry wondered if he could keep her right there, tucked against his chest, for the remainder of his days.
What the hell was the matter with him? He didn’t have these kinds of thoughts.
“I shall be your Leander, sweet Hero,” he said.
She laughed, her eyes twinkling through the mask, and he felt himself fall deeper under her spell.
“It is my hope that you do not meet the same watery death, sir.”
“And mine,” he rasped, looking at her mouth. He could never remember feeling such a desperate need to kiss a woman before. To hell with it, they were protected by their disguises, and who would be watching them anyway? He had to taste her. Before she could draw breath, he closed the distance and kissed her.
Greetings regency romance fans. Today’s the day. Six months (and probably more) of hard work has paid off for six hardworking authors. A Very Wicked Christmas Anthology features the very best work from Barbara Monajem, Wendy Vella, Donna Cummings, Nicola Davidson, Beverley Oakley and me. The others have been sharing their excerpts here on the Buried Under Romance Blog this week and now it’s my turn.
An Excerpt from The Christmas Affair by Heather Boyd
Amy hugged her knees, trying to fixate on something pleasant to warm her thoughts away from bitterness.
Her mother would have loved the Cabot’s window display this year. The man, Cabot, had a gift for arranging his goods with such an eye to a woman’s desires that it became so very hard to look away. If only she had the coin for a fur muffler, her hands might never be cold again.
It was also very hard to look away from the very handsome Mr. Cabot when he occasionally stepped out of his shop. He had never noticed her passing him, few did, but there was something so very arresting about the shopkeeper’s face that made her insides tumble over.
It was not fear of him or even shame that she passed unnoticed. She thought perhaps she felt lust for him, which in her line of work was an utterly ridiculous emotion to feel for any man.
Yet she made sure to pass by Mr. Cabot’s bright shop every week just to see if the feelings he stirred had passed. They still had not as of today. Longing for the unattainable man to notice her was a foolish occupation since he was already happily married, but her consideration of his appeal and form kept her mind occupied when her body was entertaining other men.
She shifted a little, disgruntled with her train of thought, and bumped the crate to her left but not enough to move it far. How foolish to think of a married man. Amy had caught a glimpse of Mrs. Cabot a few times. She was lovely and very attractive in her elegant clothes. So very, very good.
A boot scraped over cobblestone nearby. “Who’s there?”
Amy turned her face toward the voice, trembling at the gruff male barking out orders beyond her meager shelter. Had the dangerous man found her or was it the watch?
She made herself very small and hoped that whoever it was might go away. If she was quiet, they might think they had merely heard a rat scampering about the refuse. The boots came closer until she could see a shape through the gaps in her construction. She did not believe she could be seen, but she covered her mouth to quiet her breathing. If she was overlooked and the man went on his way, she might stay undetected until morning when she crept out. She hoped so.
“Show yourself, or I’ll call the watch,” the man demanded.
Amy breathed a sigh of relief. The dangerous man was not the sort to have threatened her with the watch. He would avoid authority as much as she would, perhaps more.
It must be someone else entirely who had discovered her. Still, she could not have that sort of trouble. A night in a cell was bound to end up with her taken advantage of by any number of unsavory characters. Best come forward now so she would be left alone.
“Please don’t call the watch,” she begged.
Amy grasped her weapons and crawled out of her makeshift home on hands and knees then stood swiftly, holding her hands clenched at her sides. She faced the stranger, heart leaping out of her chest in relief the next moment. It was the nice man from the haberdashery—Mr. Cabot himself.
Amy quickly dropped her unnecessary weapons before he noticed and made an effort to shake out her coat. She had to brazen this out so Mr. Cabot would not send her on her way.
“Good evening, Mr. Cabot.” She dipped a curtsy, deciding that even a fallen woman should mind her manners this close to Christmas. “Happy Christmas.”
Thank you so much for reading and I hope you’ll take a closer look.
This book is also available on iTunes.
Winner of the Holt Medallion, Maggie, Daphne du Maurier, Reviewer’s Choice and Epic awards, Barbara Monajem wrote her first story at eight years old about apple tree gnomes. She published a middle-grade fantasy when her children were young, then moved on to paranormal mysteries and Regency romances with intrepid heroines and long-suffering heroes (or vice versa).
Barbara loves to cook, especially soups. There are only two items on her bucket list: to make asparagus pudding (because it’s too weird to resist) and succeed at knitting socks. She may manage the first but doubts she’ll ever accomplish the second. This is not a bid for immortality but merely the dismal truth. She lives near Atlanta, Georgia with an ever-shifting population of relatives, friends, and feline strays.
About Wendy Vella: With 18 books published, best-selling author Wendy Vella’s passion for romance novels has grown stronger with every new release. She has multiple ideas running through her head at all times, and loves writing strong heroes and feisty heroines. Humor is her trademark, and mix that will sensuality and intrigue and you have a book that will keep you turning the page until the end. Wendy writes, contemporary, Regency, and historical paranormal romances.
About Heather Boyd: Bestselling historical author Heather Boyd believes every character she creates deserves their own happily-ever-after, no matter how much trouble she puts them through. With that goal in mind, she writes sizzling regency romance stories that skirt the boundaries of propriety to keep readers enthralled until the wee hours of the morning. Heather has published over thirty stories. She lives north of Sydney, Australia, and does her best to wrangle her testosterone-fueled family (including cat Morpheus) into submission. Connect with her at: