on November 9th, 2018
It would take the love of a woman he barely knows to make him forget about his painful past.
Julia Hamel always dreamed of a Christmas wedding and hers would be a dream come true if she wasn't marrying a man she'd never met. Traveling across the country as a mail-order bride took a leap of faith, and she's determined to make the best of her new life despite that fact her husband seems to be hiding something. But nothing she does seems to please him and Matthew's distant despite her best intentions. When she meets a mischievous old man and takes his advice on how to make her husband happy, his ideas backfire in the worst possible ways and as Christmas draws closer, Julia begins to think leaving home might have been the worst mistake of her life.
Matthew Bailey never wanted a wife--until he saw Julia. He married her without much thought and hoped her presence would be enough to finally distract him from the fact it was the one time of year he wished he could forget. Painful memories keep him distracted and when the girl who mistook his kindness for a wedding proposal stirs up trouble, Matthew has to decide what he really wants. If its Julia, then he has to bare his soul and confront his past but dredging up those old memories is still painful. Can the love of a woman he knows nothing about be enough to make him want to live again? And will Julia stay once she's seen the worst in him?
Julia is a 38,000 word 'sweet' novella and is FREE in Kindle Unlimited.
Hello! Thanks for having me here on Buried Under Romance. I can’t wait to share Julia, book 2 in the Angel Creek Christmas Brides Series with you but first, let me tell you a little bit about the books.
The Angel Creek Christmas Brides Series starts with five friends at the end of the Civil War. Charleston has been destroyed and most of the eligible bachelors didn’t return from the war so they set out on an adventure as Mail Order Brides to Angel Creek, Montana. Each story is told from a different friend’s POV as they head out west to marry ranchers, lawmen, and doctors.
Charity, book 1 in the series sets the scene as all five friends are now old but their Christmas tradition, as it has been for years now, is to retell the story of how they came to be there, with each story leading into the next. Julia, book 2 in the series, is my heroine, who is the introvert of the group, and the most reluctant to go. All five books are ‘sweet’ romances but since I like my books smoking hot, I wrote about Matt and Julia’s first time and put the link to it at the end of the book. 😉
Keep reading to find out more about this story and to enter my giveaway.
“Can I come in?” Matthew wasn’t sure she heard him, it was so quiet on the other side of the door, but long moments later, her soft reply of, “yes,” told him she had. He turned the doorknob and stepped inside the room to find her by the dresser.
Her hair was down. It was the first time he’d ever seen it not pulled up into that braided knot she kept pinned to the nape of her neck. It fell down her back all the way past her waist, the firelight dancing off the curls as they brushed her hips.
She was half turned toward the door. The gown she wore was sheer enough he could make out the curve of her breasts through the material, their fullness drawing his attention to her nipples which were pebbled in the chilled room.
Her waist was thin, her legs impossibly long and he’d never seen anything so beautiful in his life. She was lovely and he’d lost weeks assuming she wanted time to adjust to being a new bride when all he’d had to do was ask her.
“Is everything all right?”
Her voice brought his eyes up. “Yes … and no.” He took a step further into the room, stopping at the foot of the bed. “I’ve made a mess of things, Julia, and we’ve both suffered because of it.” He inhaled deeply and glanced around the room, stopping when he spotted her trunks along the wall. He nodded toward them and said, “Prudence is the one who sent for you, not me. I only found out about you when your trunks arrived.” He took another step toward her. “I showed up at the church that day to tell you there had been a mistake, that I couldn’t marry you but—I wanted you the moment I saw you. You took my breath away.”
She was quiet for a long while before finally saying, “Then why?” and turning to face him. “Why sleep elsewhere?”
“I wasn’t sure you wanted me here.” He scratched his eyebrow with his thumb. “Honestly … I was scared. Scared of being rejected by you. Scared you’d allow me to stay and I’d do something to frighten you or hurt you.”
She took a few steps away from the dresser and the light from the fire gave him a peek at everything that gown was meant to show him. He looked his fill, his gaze lingering on her breasts before lowering to her small waist, to the flare of her hips and that small, dark triangle at the apex of her thighs.
“Me not coming to you had nothing to do with you, Julia. Don’t ever think it did because I wanted you. I still want you. I’ve felt like a man possessed with the thought of you and I was just waiting for some sort of sign you wanted me in return.” He looked down the line of her body again. “Because truth is, I’d very much like to share a bed with you, but only if it’s what you want as well.”
Her chest was rising quickly with every inhaled breath. He was making her nervous, could see it in the small tremble of her fingers. “It doesn’t have to be now,” he said, taking a step backward toward the door. “Whenever you’re ready.” He turned to leave but stopped when she said, “Don’t go.”
Matthew looked back over his shoulder. She’d taken another step closer to him, her chest still rising and falling rapidly.
“I’d like for you to stay.” Her voice trembled and she brought a shaking hand up to her chest, her gaze darting to the bed and back as her cheeks darkened to a rosy pink.
She’d finally given him that sign he’d been waiting for and he closed the door, slowly crossing the room to where she stood.Her eyes were a bit wide, her lips parted, and he raised his arm, laying his hand to her cheek.
Her skin was as soft as silk under his fingertips. He ran his thumb over her bottom lip and her eyelids closed. His pulse leaped as he brought his other hand up, lightly touching her other cheek, then the column of her neck and collarbone, stopping when he reached the small tie on her gown.
Some flowery scent clung to her skin and he breathed it in deeply as her eyes opened. He hesitated, that small silk ribbon holding her gown closed between his fingers and waited until she gave him a small nod of her head before pulling the string, the bow coming undone. He parted the material, exposing her breasts, his body reacting instantly and he froze, taking several deep breaths to try and calm down.
“Is something wrong?”
He shook his head. “No.” He stared down at her, unsure if she wanted him to touch her or not and got his answer when she grabbed his hand and guided it inside the fabric of her gown.
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