An Earl Beneath the Mistletoe by Louise Allen
Hugo, Earl of Burnham, hates Christmas! Snowbound in widow Emilia Weston’s cozy alehouse, with her young twins, he’s surrounded by festive preparations. Hugo’s cynical heart is in danger of being melted…. How much longer can he avoid the mistletoe?
Twelfth Night Proposal by Lucy Ashford
Leaving London to claim his newly inherited estate, Theo Dalbury finds remote Derbyshire as foreign to him as his feelings for country girl Jenna. Christmas evokes painful memories for him, but Jenna is bringing out his festive spirit…and will give him a yuletide that he’ll never forget!
Christmas at Oakhurst Manor by Joanna Fulford
Vivien Hastings is looking forward to a quiet Christmas at Oakhurst Manor, until she realizes she’ll be sharing it with Max Calderwood. It’s been years since he broke her heart, but one hot glance from his cool gray eyes shows her that she’s just as vulnerable to him as she ever was….
EXCERPT: ’An Earl Beneath the Mistletoe’ by Louise Allen
How do you melt the heart of a cynical man who does not believe in family – or love?
The ground came up to meet him with a force that jarred his tired legs as he slid out of the saddle in front of the front door and he steadied himself with a hand on the pommel while he thudded on the panels with his other fist.
No reply. Damn it, he would break in if he had to and pay for the damage afterwards…
The door swung open spilling light and heat into the rain. Hugo blinked against it, looked down to meet the concerned gaze of the woman holding the door open and said the first thing that came into his head. ‘You are as wet as I am.’
Hell, she’ll think she’s facing a lunatic. But it was true. Wide hazel eyes smiled up at him out of a freckled face that was rosy with damp heat. Brown curls stuck to her forehead and cheeks, her sleeves were rolled up to reveal hands and forearms that dripped water and her wide white apron was soaked and glued to her skirts.
‘But not as cold, I will wager,’ she said with a laugh in her voice, turning to call over her shoulder, ‘Boys! Quickly. Come in,’ she added, ‘Before you drown. You will not be going any further tonight, that is for certain.’
EXCERPT: ‘Twelfth Night Proposal’ by Lucy Ashford
Christmas evokes painful memories for Theo Dalbury but country girl Jenna will give him a Christmas he’ll never forget…
‘You – you are asking me to be your paid mistress?’ She pulled herself away; Theo saw the colour had drained from her face.
‘Jenna,’ he said almost harshly, because his body was fiercely – painfully – aroused. ‘We both want each other – you know that. You would be secure here, you and your mother!’
‘Is it so very obvious?’ she whispered.
‘What on earth do you mean?’
She didn’t answer. She’d already turned, and was hurrying away. ‘Jenna!’ he called. ‘For God’s sake…’
She’d disappeared, up the stairs. Theo cursed. Damn it, she’d enjoyed his kiss all right – she’d melted into him with all the sweetness of a young and eager temptress! Painfully he fought down his arousal. The rich new lord of Northcote Hall had come to pay a Christmastide visit, and she was making the most of it, before he left…
Wrong, Theo. He ground the heel of his palm against his temples. He was utterly and completely in the wrong. Wasn’t it bad enough that he’d tried to seduce her? What possible grounds did he have for putting the blame on her, when it was all his fault in the first place for luring her into trusting him, then lunging at her like some skirt-starved trooper?
EXCERPT: ‘Christmas at Oakhurst Manor’ by Joanna Fulford
It has been years since Max Calderwood broke Vivien Hasting’s heart but she finds herself as vulnerable to him as she ever was…
‘Only you could find entertainment in that sordid little scene.’
‘Entertainment at his expense, not yours.’
‘Really?’ Her chin tilted to a militant angle. ‘I have another theory. I think the whole charade has just been part of the Christmas festivities as far as you’re concerned.’
His amusement faded. ‘No, never that.’
‘Perhaps I should be flattered to know that I can still amuse you.’
With that she turned on heel and headed for the door.
‘That isn’t what I meant. Vivien, wait!’
She flung the door wide and kept going. Half walking half running she reached the side door to the garden, so angry that even the icy air had no power to deter. She was fifty yards along the path before Max eventually caught her up.
‘Vivien, please stop!’
She swung round to face him. ‘What now?’
‘I apologise if I hurt your feelings. That was not my intention, I swear it.’
‘You may not have intended it, Max, but you did all the same.’ The blue gaze locked with his. ‘You’re good at it.’
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