on October 23rd 2018
Purchase: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo
It's Christmas 1817 and the Duke of Danby is matchmaking again!
Spend the holidays in Yorkshire with freshly fallen snow, Yuletide balls and mistletoe kisses.
The Duke's Mistletoe Madness includes:
JERRICA KNIGHT-CATANIA's LORD HALESWORTH'S HAPPY HOLIDAY
ROSE GORDON's I'LL BE YOURS FOR CHRISTMAS
AILEEN FISH's NO MISTLETOE REQUIRED
Lord Halesworth’s Happy Holiday by Jerrica Knight-Catania
Miss Leah Whitton is feeling quite morose as the holidays approach this year. Her sister has flown the coop, now happily wed, and the man Leah’s been pining for since she was a young girl doesn’t even know she’s alive. Not that it would matter. Her mother and sister have always made it quite clear that Leah is lacking in manners and etiquette. Still, if Christmas wishes really did come true, Lord Halesworth is who she would wish for.
Jonathan Yeardley, Earl of Halesworth, may have a wealth of charm and good looks, but he hasn’t a penny to his name. With his estate in shambles, he isn’t quite certain what he’s going to do. But a mysterious invitation to the Duke of Danby’s Yule Ball has him wondering if perhaps his Christmas might be merry after all
Simon clapped him on the back just as a little white ball of fur went racing past them, followed by a pair of frantic young ladies shouting for… Marie Antoinette?
“Stop! Stop, Marie Antoinette!” came the desperate pleas of the taller of the two girls.
The other, much smaller one, had eyes wide as saucers as she passed Jonathan and Simon. “She’s headed for the Serpentine, miss!”
Jonathan watched them chase the pup for a mere moment before springing into action. “You go that way,” he instructed Simon. “Cut her off if you can.”
And he could. Simon was quite possibly the fastest runner he’d ever met. They used to spend hours racing one another at Eton, across the great lawn, to the statue of Henry VI and back, only for Jonathan to be humiliated by his much faster friend.
Jonathan, however, had another tactic that he prayed would work on Her Majesty. He ran after the trio and waited for Simon to send the dog back toward them, which he blessedly did. Once the dog had Jonathan in its sightline, he collapsed to the ground. Never mind he would have to clean these clothes himself when he got home tonight – the dog’s life was worth more than a greatcoat.
A gasp he hadn’t been expecting reached his ears, and one of the ladies – he couldn’t say which one since he was pretending to be dead to lure the dog to him – exclaimed his name.
“Oh, heavens!” she shouted, and then practically threw herself to the ground beside him. “Are you all right, my lord?”
He opened his eyes to set the young woman at ease, though it seemed to startle her, as if he’d just risen up out of a coffin. “I’m just fine, miss,” he said in as tender a tone as he could muster in his out-of-breath state. “Only trying to help you capture your royal fluff ball.”
A hand shot to her mouth. “Oh,” she said. “Well, now I feel ridiculous. But…” A smile spread across her face as she lowered her hand and a wet tongue began to lap at Jonathan’s ear. “I think it worked.”
The dog worked its way toward Jonathan’s eye, at which point he put a stop to the pup’s affectionate kisses and scooped her into his arms. She continued to lap at his chin, which was only slightly better than his eye. When he finally glanced up to the dog’s owner, he was met with a pair of startlingly blue eyes. Eyes he’d seen before.
“Do I know you?” he asked, quite bluntly, and then added, “I mean to say, I believe we’ve met before.”
At this, the young woman broke their eye contact and scrambled to her feet. “Erm, perhaps. I’ve been at practically every soiree since the little season began. You have more than likely seen me…somewhere,” she finished with an awkward half-smile.
“Your reticule, miss,” her maid murmured, coming up beside them and holding the small purse out to the young lady.
“Oh, yes, thank you, Mabel.” Then she turned to Jonathan, and without actually making eye contact, said, “I’m afraid we must be going. Heavens, it’s turned chilly, and look,” she glanced up toward the sky, “I do believe snow is in the offing.”
“Snow?” Jonathan stared at her in disbelief. It wasn’t cold enough for snow, though the temperature had dropped a bit since the sun had gone behind a cloud.
“Well, thank you, my lord.” She dipped into a curtsey, spun on her heel, and then started off toward the park’s exit.
Jonathan, along with Mabel the maid, Simon, and Marie Antoinette stood dumbfounded for a moment, before Jonathan finally gathered his wits about him.
“Miss!” he called, for he hadn’t yet had the pleasure of her name. “Are you not forgetting something?”
They all stared expectantly at her – even the pup – as she whirled around to face them. Her cheeks flamed red when she took notice of the dog still resting in Jonathan’s arms.
“Oh, Marie!” she exclaimed. “How could I forget about you?”
She darted across the space between them and reached out for the little ball of fur, but Jonathan wasn’t ready to relinquish the royal canine. “I believe you owe me something for capturing your dog,” he said. The girl’s eyes grew round at his statement, and Jonathan only then realized how it sounded. “That is to say, may I have the pleasure of your name, miss?”
Her pink lips dropped open and she blinked her long lashes several times over those captivating blue eyes. “Erm, of course, my lord,” she stuttered. “Miss Whitton.”
Jerrica will be giving away an e-copy of Mistletoe Madness to one lucky winner!
Simply tell her the silliest or most unusual pet name you’ve ever heard?