Help us welcome and celebrate today an author I love a lot! Here is Monica Burns and her book…
BOOK BLURB: Sinful words, wicked pleasures and a ghost all add up to
A Bluestocking Christmas with a Dickens of a twist.
As a young man, Simon, Viscount Wycombe learned the painful truth that a tradesman’s daughter is suitable only for liaisons and nothing more. But Ivy Beecham is a far cry from his preconceived notions, and he’s determined to have her. But when she rejects him, it only increases his determination to seduce her into a world of sin and pleasure.
Ivy Beecham knows first-hand that handsome aristocrats like Simon can’t be trusted. But the intellectual scoundrel is hell-bent on making her his mistress, using every means at his seductive disposal. When she refuses to give away her heart on Christmas Eve, a ghostly specter shows her in one night why her surrender can be the greatest gift of all.
MY REVIEW: here.
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Sinful words, wicked pleasures and a ghost all adds up to A Bluestocking Christmas with a Dickens of a twist.
“I want to know why.”
Simon’s voice was like a whip cracking in the air, and Ivy turned away from him. His angry demand didn’t surprise her. She’d known ending their liaison would not please him. She was certain no woman had ever dared to discard him as she was doing now.
His betrayal had only made it easier for her to end things between them. Ivy’s heart clenched painful in her breast at the realization that Simon had no comprehension of how he’d betrayed her. In his arrogance, he’d brought the one person she never wanted to see again into her home. If he’d even bothered to ask, she would have vehemently objected to his intentions when it came to his seeking out her cousin.
Ivy swallowed the bile rising in her throat. She had no one to blame but herself. If she had kept her own counsel, he would never have thought to seek out Caroline. When her cousin had entered the salon a short time ago, the past had rushed up to assault her senses with the sharpness of a kitchen blade.
The constant reminders of her inferiority to the nobility, the rejection by her mother’s family, and the painful humiliation had rushed at her like a wall of water threatening to drown her. Worse than that was the memory of Caroline’s betrayal. Ivy’s hand pressed against the fluttering in her stomach. It only intensified the pain of her heart breaking with each breath she took.
“Damn it to hell, Ivy. Answer me.”
The fierce command made her mouth tighten with resentment. She’d never taken orders well from anyone, least of all a member of the peerage. It was a remnant from the days of her childhood when she’d been treated like a servant. Suppressing her anger, she squared her shoulders and slowly turned to face him. The sight of him made her throat close until it was difficult to breath. A tall, dark angel could not have looked more dangerous.
“What do you want me to say, Simon?” she asked quietly. “I thought I made it perfectly clear. I no longer wish to see you.”
“And I asked you why.”
Again the demand for an explanation. Ivy’s fingers tightened on the swag of material that hugged her hips as she prepared to weather the storm brewing about her. That she was facing his anger with a serenity she didn’t feel amazed her. More importantly, she could tell her calm manner was only increasing his ire. But she wasn’t about to reveal her heart, and the real reason for breaking off their liaison.
“Sometimes there isn’t a reason,” she lied.
“There’s always a reason,” he snarled. “Is it because of my title? I know how highly you think of the peerage.”
“If you’re suggesting our different social standings are of little consequence, might I remind you that you deem me unsuitable for Anthony because you thought I was hoping to catch a nobleman for a husband.” At her bitter accusation, Simon frowned darkly.
“Goddamnit, that was before I knew you,” he exclaimed in a harsh voice.
“Still, it changes nothing, and today only confirms that in my mind.”
“Other than your treatment of Caroline a few moments ago, what does she have to do with this?”
“She means nothing to me.” The lie scraped across her heart. Seeing her cousin enter the salon had only emphasized how much she’d lost since leaving Parkland Manor.
“No? For a commoner, your condescending snub was worthy of even the most elite member of the Marlborough Set.” His words sliced through her, and her skin grew cold as he emphasized the difference in their social status.
“You should never have brought her here.” She instantly regretted the bitterness in her voice as he narrowed his gaze at her.
“I thought it would please you.” His rough explanation made Ivy’s heart skip a beat before she extinguished the brief spark of hope in her breast.
“You were mistaken. But it doesn’t matter. My decision is final. I have no wish to continue our liaison.”
“I don’t believe you,” Simon said with the impatience he always displayed when things weren’t to his liking.
“Believe what you like. I’ve already made plans to go to the country next week.”
It was a half-truth, but it would prevent him from trying to stop her from leaving for Italy the day after tomorrow. If she were to stay in England, he would find her. That she couldn’t risk. Her heart wouldn’t be able to bear it. A flash of what might have been fear flickered in his silver eyes, but she immediately dismissed the possibility as a familiar arrogance swept across his face.
“Change your plans.” The imperious command made her mouth tighten.
As usual, the man refused to take no for an answer. But isn’t that what you want, Ivy. Don’t you want him to fight for you? Don’t you want him to say your social standing is of no consequence to him? The voice in her head taunted her. More importantly, it frightened her because she knew it was precisely what she wanted. But she wanted Simon to do so for the right reason. She wanted more than the passion he felt for her.
“I can’t. The arrangements are already in place.”
“Can’t or won’t.” His clipped response made her swallow hard. He was making this far more difficult than she’d imagine.
“Is there a difference?”
“Yes,” he snarled. “And if you think I’m going to let you go so easily, then you’re mistaken.”
The determination on his face made her heart pound violently in her chest. She needed to find a way to end this conversation. If she didn’t, she wouldn’t be able to prevent herself from throwing herself into his arms and letting her emotions overrule her head. She wouldn’t be able to snap the invisible cord that connected her to him. If he were to break her resolve, she would be as vulnerable as a newborn babe. Her breath hitched at the thought. She didn’t have the strength to risk such a possibility.
“No, Simon. You’re the one who’s mistaken. There’s nothing more to say, and I want you to leave.”
Ivy turned away, afraid her true feelings would show on her face. She couldn’t bear it if he knew the truth. It would give him the power to keep her with him, and that was something she couldn’t afford to do. A second later, Simon’s strong hand gripped her arm as he forced her to face him.
Startled she blinked in surprise as she stared up into his gray eyes. Once more, she saw the odd flash of emotion in his gaze, but it was gone before she could identify it, and angry frustration replaced it. Aware of her perilous condition, Ivy tried to jerk away from him. She didn’t succeed, and flinched at the determination darkening his face.
“That’s where you’re wrong, Ivy. I have a lot more to say. But I don’t intend to use words.”
With a swift tug, Simon pulled her tight against him and covered her mouth with his in a searing kiss. The heat of it stirred her senses into a whirlwind of desire. A strong hand slid up her waist and then over the top of her breasts. She moaned with the need to feel his skin against hers one more time. Just one more moment of passion for her to remember.
Without thinking, she melted into his arms as her body and heart ignored the frantic warnings sounding in her mind. Familiar sensations tingled across her skin as his kiss deepened into the seductive caress that had always sent her pulse skittering wildly. She offered up no protest as he guided her toward the loveseat, his muscular legs pressing into hers. Almost instantly, she was wet with desire, and she ached for him to assuage the need only he could fill.
The cool air brushed against her legs as he pushed her skirt upward over her stockings. A strong hand caressed her thigh, and her body instinctively arched upward. Warm fingers stroked her skin before they dipped into her wetness. Wild and wanton sensations held her hostage. They blinded her to everything but this moment and his touch. Nothing else mattered except for the overwhelming taste, scent, and feel of him.
Shuddering beneath his touch, desire drove her body to thrust up against his hand, while the need for him to complete her burrowed it’s way along every nerve ending in her body. Since the first time he’d touched her, she’d always been eager for his touch. Today was no different except that it would be the last time her heart would ever beat again.
The sobering thought pulled back the curtain of desire blinding her, and she uttered a soft cry of fear. Dear Lord, with just a single touch he’d managed to drive every sane thought from her head. Her hands splayed against his chest to push him away, but he suddenly retreated of his own accord. Bewildered, she watched him rise from the couch to stand over her. For a brief moment, she thought she saw a flash of anguish in his eyes before they became cold, dark silver.
“Perhaps you’re right, Ivy. If this is all we have then there really is nothing more to say, is there. ” With a jerk, he straightened his coat and the steely frost of his gaze bored into hers. “You’ll forgive me if I don’t overstay my welcome, but a mere commoner is the last thing I can stomach at the moment.”
Ice sluiced across her skin at the brutality of his words as she stared up at him in horror. If someone had cut out her heart, the pain in her chest could not have been any worse. One hand pressed against the base of her throat, she struggled to breathe. Something akin to anguished regret furrowed Simon’s brow, and he took a step toward her. Instinctively, she recoiled. With a scowl of what she was certain was contempt, he wheeled about sharply and stalked out of the salon.
Stricken by both his words and departure, Ivy gripped the back of the sofa as she pulled herself upright. Fingernails biting into the dark mahogany trim of the green velvet couch she stumbled to her feet and staggered a few feet toward the salon door.
His name was barely a whisper as she called out to him. Seconds later, the sound of the front door crashing shut reverberated through the room. The reality of her situation slowly forced its way into her mind. With a soft sob she swayed and pressed her hands into the hard arm of the sofa as she fought to remain on her feet. Oh, God, what was she going to do?
She needed to go after him. No. That was impossible. She’d just rejected him. The last thing Simon Carlton, Viscount Wycombe wanted from her was an apology or explanation. An explanation she wasn’t willing to give. And why should she apologize? He was the one who’d resurrected her past, brought Caroline to London. She flinched at the thought as she remembered the sound of his voice when he’d said he done it to please her.
One hand pressed to her brow, she closed her eyes against the thought and tried to push it out of her mind. Had she been wrong? Did he care for her? The memory of his parting words sent a throbbing ache through her body. No. Simon had made it quite clear that he was her better. Desperate for air to ease the tightness in her chest, she sucked in a sharp breath.
Fresh and clean, the scent of the decorated fir tree in the corner of the room drifted across her senses. She looked at the small tree sitting so prettily on the table in the corner of the salon. It provoked a mixture of happy and painful memories. As a little girl, she remembered her father lifting her up on his shoulders to place the star on the top of their Christmas tree. Her mother laughing at them both. All that had changed when her parents’ ship had been lost at sea.
Christmas Eve. For the first time since she was that little girl watching Caroline’s parents shower her cousin with gifts, Ivy had been looking forward to the holiday. It was supposed to be a happy time because this year was going to be different. Simon would be a part of the holiday. But that hope was shattered.
FINISH the first TWO chapters EXCERPT here.
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Her historical book awards include the 2011 RT BookReviews Reviewers Choice Award and the 2012 Gayle Wilson Heart of Excellence Award for Pleasure Me. She is also the recipient of the prestigious paranormal romance award, the 2011 PRISM Best of the Best award for Assassin’s Heart.
From the days when she hid her stories from her sisters to her first completed full-length manuscript, she always believed in her dream despite rejections and setbacks. A workaholic wife and mother, Monica believes it’s possible for the good guy to win if they work hard enough.