The Earl From Christmas Past
Gabriel, Lord Lockhart, is shocked by the woman his childhood friend has become. Distant and aloof, Maddie’s beguiling beauty remains, but she is nothing like the mouthy hellion he remembers. That is until the day he finds her on a dirty street in one of the seediest areas in London, championing children.
He soon realizes how wrong he’s been about her, and that his long-buried feelings for her have reignited into something even more powerful. Now all he has to do is keep her safe!
Miss Madeline Spencer loathes society, but has promised her parents she will behave so she can keep her freedom. Everything is going to plan until Gabe stomps back into her life. He uncovers her secret, and demands she stop taking risks. She soon realizes that the gentle boy she once loved is now a passionate man with an iron will. But she can’t allow him to deter her from what must be done. Even if it means she can’t be with the man she loves.
The excerpt below is when Gabe comes to the realization that the girl he once knew is still very much a part of Maddie. She’d just been hiding it well!
She bit him.
“Your hand was cold.”
“How? It’s in my glove.” Gabe shook his hand hard to stop the sting of pain.
“Look.” She exhaled slowly through her teeth. “We don’t like each other anymore, so I think it best you forget about anything you have seen, and we can carry on with our lives, avoiding each other.”
“You think I can simply walk away and leave you here? Carry on with my day as if this has not occurred?” Gabe couldn’t believe she thought him capable of that.
“Of course you can,” she scoffed. “Is it not your belief I have changed beyond recognition also? After all, your attitude toward me has been dismissive from that night we met at the ball.”
“Because of your attitude,” Gabe said with a calm he was far from feeling.
Her brows drew together. “My attitude? What about yours?”
“What about me? I simply greeted my old childhood friend,” Gabe said. “You treated me like a stranger. Giggled inanely, then said some ridiculous, extremely feather-brained things. I could not leave fast enough.”
He watched as she drew in a large breath, then released it slowly before speaking.
“You said, ‘it seems you have changed a great deal, Madeline,’ in a tone that suggested it was not for the better.” She gritted out the words. “You could not even see I was nervous at meeting you again after so long. The man who once…. Well, never mind. The point is I was nervous, overawed at my first ball, and feeling like I was about to cast up my accounts on your polished evening shoes.”
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About Wendy Vella:
Wendy Vella is a bestselling author of contemporary and historical romances that have sold more than a million copies worldwide. Join her mailing list at wendyvella.com/subscribe for free reads, extra scenes and reader goodies.
Known for compelling and uplifting stories laced with witty humor, sensuality and intrigue, Wendy has hit the bestseller ranks many times with reader favorites, the Langley Sister series, Lords of Night Street series, Sinclair & Raven series, and contemporary small-town series’ Lake Howling and Ryker Falls.
An incurable romantic, Wendy found writing romance a natural fit. When her children were small, she would find writing time in the early hours of the morning, sitting quietly with her grandfather’s old typewriter while the family slept. These works, however, she says, will never see the light of day! Wendy joined Romance Writers of New Zealand and started honing her craft, and after years of contests and conferences, she was finally ready to publish her first book in 2013.
Born and raised in a rural area in the North Island of New Zealand, she shares her life with one adorable husband, two delightful adult children and their partners, four delicious grandchildren, and too many cantankerous farm animals.
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