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Thursday, December 6, 2012

A Wardrobe Malfunction...with Theresa Romain and Giveaway

A Wardrobe Malfunction on Christmas Eve - Theresa Romain

Historical romance author Theresa Romain pursued an impractical education that allowed her to read everything she could get her hands on. She then worked for universities and libraries, where she got to read even more. Eventually she started writing, too. Her historical romance debut, SEASON FOR TEMPTATION, was published in October 2011. The sequel, SEASON FOR SURRENDER, will be published in October 2012.
Places to find Theresa:


Danielle and Rita, thanks so much for inviting me to join this Christmas event!

The theme of my story is “A Wardrobe Malfunction on Christmas Eve.” During the Regency, the word “wardrobe” could mean a large piece of furniture in which clothes were stored, as well as the clothes themselves. So I couldn’t resist a little wordplay! There are a few different kinds of wardrobe malfunction in this story (and yes, the word “malfunction” was in use during the Regency—isn’t language fun?).

Of Malfunctions and Mulled Wine
by Theresa Romain

No member of Lord Winter’s family was excused from playing Sardines on Christmas Eve.

Not the baron’s infant granddaughter, who hid amidst blankets in her mother’s arms. Not his lordship’s elderly mother, the dowager baroness, whose arthritis led her to seek hiding places that could accommodate a wheeled chair. And certainly not Tobias Winter, the baron’s second son and the only one of the seven Winter siblings as yet unmarried.

Not that Tobias expected to be excused. At the age of thirty-two, he’d had decades to soak up his family’s Christmas traditions, which ranged from the usual—plum pudding and roast goose on the glorious day—to the eccentric. Such as the Christmas Eve game of Sardines, that energetic variation of hide-and-seek in which everyone who found the first hider crammed into his hiding place.

Every Christmas, Tobias dutifully visited the parental estate, bearing gifts along with patience. He knew he would be lectured on his sadly persistent bachelorhood, though he regarded such lectures as he did the inevitable game of Sardines: something to be got through to please his parents, then forgotten as soon as Christmas was over and he could return to his stables in Kent. As a youth, he’d been delighted when he finally developed enough shoulder muscle to keep a fractious colt in line, and the training of horses had occupied him ever since.

Though that shoulder muscle wasn’t doing him any favors now, as he shifted inside the narrow confines of a mahogany wardrobe. Tinned like a sardine, he was. In a hurry to avoid his shrieking pursuers, he had darted into the nearest unused spare room and stuffed himself into the only bit of furniture large enough to hold a grown man. At first it had seemed quite a good hiding place, empty of linens and lacking the sharp smell of camphor. Though how anyone was to squeeze in here with him—

“Aha.” The wardrobe door had been wrenched open; rosy sunset-light revealed a slender brunette.

Who promptly clambered into the wardrobe with Tobias and yanked the door shut upon them. “Budge over, please.”

Under other circumstances, it would have been most improper for her to be pressed so tightly against his chest. As it was, though—

“I can’t. Sorry; wish I could give you a bit more room.” That second part was a lie, for this young woman smelled delicious, of cinnamon or some other Christmassy scent. Whoever she might be, it was no hardship to have her pressed against him.

“Mr. Winter.” The woman’s voice sounded amused. “How is anyone else to fit in here with us?”

“I did wonder the same, Miss—”

“St. John. Helen St. John.” She gave a soft laugh. “We were introduced last night. I’m your sister Clara’s friend, come to visit for the holiday.”

“I—are you certain we met?”

“Quite certain. You were introduced to me with a wink and a nudge as the only unmarried Winter sibling.”

“That sounds about right,” Tobias muttered. “Miss St. John, I apologize for not recalling. I can’t think where my attention was.”

“I can. It was in Kent. You were talking about your horses with your father, so it really wasn’t a good time for our introduction. I’m not at all offended that you don’t remember me.” She shifted against Tobias’s chest. “Tight quarters; I beg your pardon.”

“Oh, I’m not offended either.” Decidedly not. Definitely not. “It’s only a game. Sardines, I mean. You must make yourself comfortable.”

“Hmm.” With a rustle of fabric, she managed to put a bit more space between them. “So. You are a horse-trainer?”

“Ever since I finished my schooling. I’ve a gentleman’s education, but I’m happiest when I spend my days outdoors. Preparing horses for their own employment, whether turf or traces or saddle.”

Though he couldn’t see her face, her voice was all feigned surprise. “You mean you’re not usually to be found shut up in a wardrobe?”

“Difficult though it may be to believe, no. I play Sardines to please my relatives—of which, as you have probably realized, there seem to be an infinite number.”

“Ah, the number seems just right to me. I’m the only one left in my family. It’s nice to have a bit of ruckus around one at Christmas.”

“You shall have that aplenty.” He swayed closer again, breathing in that seductive-sweet scent of festive spices.

Fortunately, he came to his senses before he tried to nibble her up. “Ah—it’s getting rather close in here, isn’t it?” Tugging at his cravat, he banged his elbow against the wardrobe door. Then it brushed a soft curve that might have been Miss St. John’s breast. “Do forgive me.”

“All part of the game.” She echoed his earlier words, sounding amused. “Though I’m surprised no one else has found us yet. I thought a few of your sisters were right behind me.”

“Now that you mention it, I haven’t heard any sounds of pursuit for a few minutes.”

“Is your family given to pranks?”

“You are wondering if they’ve left us here to fossilize while they drink mulled wine and giggle at the fireside?”

“Well, yes.”

He thought about this. “It’s entirely possible.”

“I wouldn’t say no to some mulled wine myself.” Another tantalizing rustle of fabric as Miss St. John—Helen—shifted. There was something about being shut up in a wardrobe with a woman that made a fellow think of her in a familiar way.

“You shall have it, then,” Tobias said. “There’s no sense in waiting longer, since the game’s likely ended.” He pressed at the wardrobe door.

Nothing. He pressed harder. Gave it a shove with his shoulder.

Helen cleared her throat. “Are we stuck?”

“The door seems”—Tobias gritted his teeth and shoved again with his shoulder—“to be malfunctioning. I suppose there is no latch on the inside.”

“Oh, dear.” Helen laughed. “How did we get ourselves into this mess? Well, I’ve a pin that might help.”

Tobias assumed she meant a hairpin; but no, another rustle of fabric, and a pile of skirts found their way against him.

“Sorry about that,” Helen said. “It’s a pin from my mother; I keep it in my garter. I probably shouldn’t have said that, but this could be a matter of life and death. And more significantly, mulled wine.”

“Indeed.” Tobias plucked at his cravat, unwinding the starched cloth. “I have a cravat-pin; maybe if we set the pins together in the latch, it can be forced open.”

“Since the alternative is no mulled wine, we must try it.” In the darkness, Helen found his fingers and pressed a brooch into them. It was warm; warm from resting against her thigh.

Tobias’s mouth went dry.

“Wish me luck,” he muttered, fumbling for the latch, hands full of bulky pins. Somehow, he got their barbs into the stubborn block of the latch. “Ready?”

“Quite ready.” Helen turned, facing him chest to chest.

“Let us shove it together. On the count of three?”

“All right. One. Two. Thr—”

He couldn’t help himself: he dropped a kiss on her lips, stopping her speech. Such soft lips, wicked and sweet under his. Being trapped with her inside furniture was the luckiest accident ever to befall him.

“Mmm.” Her hands rose to twine in his hair; the kiss deepened.

Until: Thud. “Ouch!” She had hit her elbow on the door; he had smacked his head against the top of the wardrobe. The blow jostled sense into him.

“I’m sorry,” he said. “Well—no, I’m not. But I probably ought to be.”

“Why?”

Before he could answer that tantalizing question, the wardrobe door rattled and popped open.

Blinking against the red glow of sunset, Tobias turned to see who had freed them.

There stood Lord Winter. Lady Winter. And Tobias’s sister Clara. All with smug smiles on their faces.

“A bit of a wardrobe issue?” Lord Winter’s voice was all mild curiosity.

Tobias looked at Helen. Seeing her for the first time, she was—well, lovely. Dark hair, impish brows, and a beautiful full mouth, the lips slightly parted from kisses or surprise.

She also had her skirts up around her thighs. And his cravat was undone.

Their eyes met. “It’s not what you think,” they both said at once.

And then laughed, because of course that wasn’t true. His hair had to be rumpled from her touch, and if his mouth looked anything like hers, it was quite clear that their wardrobe issue hadn’t confined itself to the furniture.

“What do you suppose I think?” asked Lord Winter.

“I know what I think,” said Clara. “I think we should have shut Tobias into the wardrobe long ago. He and Helen will surely have to be married now.”

“Nothing of the sort,” said Lady Winter. “This is a private party; who is to know? They surely cannot be blamed if they get stuck inside the furniture.”

“Not for that,” said Tobias. “No, do not blame us for that.” He caught Helen’s eye again and grinned. “But for something else? Maybe.”

She turned a lovely shade of pink and shook out her skirts. “Mr. Winter, it was a pleasure being caught in the wardrobe with you.”

He handed her the brooch that had been in her garter; seed pearls set in the shape of a flower. “Miss St. John, I hope this game of Sardines was only the beginning.”

“I think,” she said, “that it was.”

Lord Winter cleared his throat loudly. “Well. Very nice. Shall we join the others now? They’re having mulled wine. Delicious.”

And off he went, wife in tow, Clara—protesting—dragged along. Tobias shot one fond backward glance at the wardrobe, now open and empty. Then he took Helen’s hand in his, and they followed his family to the Christmas Eve celebration. Together.


HONOR AMONG ROGUES

Alexander Edgware, Lord Xavier, has quite a reputation—for daring, wagering, and wickedness in all its delightful forms. But the wager before him is hardly his preferred sport: Xavier must persuade a proper young lady to attend his famously naughty Christmas house party—and stay the full, ruinous two weeks. Worse, the lady is Louisa Oliver, a doe-eyed bookworm Xavier finds quite charming. Yet to refuse the challenge is impossible—he will simply have to appoint himself Miss Oliver’s protector…

MISCHIEF AMONG MISSES

Louisa knows her chance for a husband has passed. But she has no desire to retire into spinsterhood without enjoying a few grand adventures first. When Lord Xavier’s invitation arrives, Louisa is more intrigued than insulted. And once inside the rogues’ gallery, she just may have a thing or two to teach her gentlemen friends about daring…

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    98 comments :

    1. Great story! Love Regency romance!

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    2. Sweet story Theresa :) Season for Surrender is patiently waiting on the TBR queue, sadly I haven't had much spare time for reading lately. I'm planning a reading fest over the Christmas hols to catch up. :D

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      1. Thanks for adding SEASON FOR SURRENDER to your TBR, Beebs! I've gotten behind on reading lately too. "More reading time" is high on my Christmas list.

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    3. Great story! Love Regency romance!

      parisfan_ca@yahoo.com

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    4. Hi Theresa,

      Always love your cover book :)

      The blurb sounds intrigue ;D

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      1. Eli, I love the covers too. My publisher does such a beautiful job with them.

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    5. Lovely story. I enjoy reading your books and was happy when Lousia story came out.

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      1. Ora, thanks for reading! I was so glad to have the chance to tell Louisa's story. She's a book-lover after all our hearts.

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    6. That was a lovely short. I love reading Regency romances.

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    7. Ah, Theresa! You've done it again! I love the humor you put into your novels. To me, that is simply what makes a good love story. If a hero and heroine cannot laugh together and have fun, how can they really be suited for one another? I love it and cannot wait to read this one.

      I've read about a lot of different games played in the Regency times during the Christmas season, but have never heard of sardines. Sounds like fun! Snap is one game I'm not sure if I'm brave enough to play. It's the one where raisins are in a bowl with lighted brandy. Players take turns grabbing a raisin from the bowl of flames. Shudder! Would you be brave enough to play it?

      Thanks for sharing this terrific excerpt. Now I'm left with a big grin on my face! :-)

      Connie Fischer
      conniecape@aol.com

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      1. Connie, thanks for your kind words. I do love writing characters that can laugh together.

        Those Regency Christmas games sound a little too rough for me. I'm not sure I'd want to cram into a hiding place as in a game of Sardines (though I guess if a guy like Tobias Winter is playing too, it's ok). :) And the other game you mention--I've seen it called Snapdragon--no thanks! I'm a butterfingers and would probably wind up burning my whole hand. Ouch.

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    8. Hi, everyone--thanks for stopping by! And Danielle, thanks to you and Rita for setting up this series. I love to stop by every day and read the scenes; it's like having a Christmas treat all month. :)

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    9. Great story! I love the first book and looking forward to the second book!

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    10. Thanks for the lovely story. Season for Surrender - I like description of the story. Thanks for the giveaway.

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      1. Olga, thank you for stopping by. Hope you enjoy Season for Surrender!

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    11. I loved the excerpt about Tobias and Helen. I've had SEason For Surrender on my tbr list, but haven't had much time to read lately. But hoping the holidays free up some time to enjoy the read. I especially love stories about lovely, overlooked bookworms who decide to finally live it up and have grand adventures :).

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      1. SharonD, thanks! I wish I had more time to read too. Hope you can fit in Season for Surrender during the holidays--it's a holiday romance, and yes, there are definitely some bookworm-adventures. :)

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    12. I really enjoyed reading this. One of my favorite Christmas traditions is reading Christmas romances in the weeks preceding Christmas.

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      1. Thanks, Cheryl. What a great tradition! Do you try to find new titles every year, or do you like to reread favorites?

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    13. That excerpt was quiet amusing :D thank you. and swoon worthy cover as well, very elegant! Love Christmas romance novels!

      Thank you for the giveaway, happy holidays!

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    14. Theresa, what fun! Love your piece - how funny we both basically took wardrobe with the same meaning. Great minds think alike, clearly!

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      1. Anna, that made me grin! We writers can't resist a little wordplay. And I do think you're on to something: Christmas is a great time of year for trapping characters in cozy, hidden places...

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    15. Hi Theresa! I loved your excerpt OF MALFUNCTIONS AND MULLED WINE. I really enjoy reading Christmas romances. I love your books, and have been wanting to read SEASON FOR SURRENDER.

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      1. Cathy, that's so nice to hear! Thanks, I hope you enjoy Season for Surrender.

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    16. New discovery for me but hum lovely, thank you a lot for sharing this small story ^^ it really made me want to try your books

      thank you a lot for opening your giveaway to international too!!

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      1. Miki--woot! Glad this little story caught your eye. :)

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    17. Thanks for the excerpt and the chance to win!! Sounds really good!

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      1. Natasha, this is actually a stand-alone story. But there are lots of Christmassy bits (and even a few, ahem, wardrobe malfunctions) in Season for Surrender too. :)

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    18. Playing Sardines seems like a great way to find a wife/husband.
      bituin76 at hotmail dot com

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      1. JanD, I wouldn't be surprised if that was a big part of the fun...

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    19. First, I loved the title and second, this had me smiling the entire time I read it. What a hoot to be found with your skirts up around your thighs and both all mussed from their kiss. All these shorts that the authors are posting are really making me wish they were full out books. They've all been so good! I'm thinking I'd like to play Sardines. Especially being stuck somewhere with a handsome fellah. ;)

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      1. Leah, some of these Regency games might be due for a revival, huh? I'm not much of a hide-and-seeker, but as you say, it all depends on the company. :) Glad you enjoyed the story!

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    20. I love holiday stories, especially a romance. This sounds great, can't wait to read it. Thanks

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      1. Sheryl, thanks for stopping by. I love holiday romances too. Isn't this a fun series that Danielle and Rita are running?

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    21. I enjoyed the scene; it was fun!

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    22. Love the scene, and your books! Thanks for the giveaway!

      BrittanyG@gmail.com

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    23. Thank you for the wonderful malfunction. :) I haven't read your latest release. It's definitely on my TBR list. I always love your holiday releases. Romance + the Holidays is wonderful.

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      1. Landra, thank you! So glad you enjoyed the malfunction. :)

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    24. Theresa, Loved your Wardrobe Malfunction :) I hope there is more ? Please. lol
      Count me in for Season For Surrender. Loved that blurb as well.
      Carol L
      Lucky4750 (at) aol (dot) com

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      1. Carol, thanks! This is a stand-alone story, but there's lots more holiday goodness in Season for Surrender.

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    25. I really liked the excerpt! Historical is the first genre I read when I started reading romance novels. I don't think there was too much of a choice waaayyy back then. I've broadened my horizons with expanding into other genres, but find myself coming back to historical time again. Must be something about it. How did you get started writing in the historical genre?
      luvfuzzzeeefaces at yahoo dot com

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      1. Julianne, historical is my first and greatest romance love too. I started writing it because I loved that kind of story and wanted to try telling my own. I was always an English/history buff, so I guess I was preparing to write a book even before I realized it!

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    26. Oh Tobias~ You had to be so charmingly sweet. I so totally enjoyed that short story Theresa, thank you so much for sharing.

      kp_kazamei(at)yahoo(dot)com

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      1. kipha, thank you! I'm so glad you enjoyed getting stuck in a wardrobe with Tobias.

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    27. I loved the S.S. of the wardrobe malfunction. Very cute.
      Lorimeehan1@aol.com

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      1. Lori, both Anna Campbell and I made the same wardrobe joke--how funny is that? I guess there's something about Christmas that makes us want to shut people into a closet together. ;)

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    28. I loved Season for Temptation and can't wait to read Season for Surrender. I adore holiday romances, so I thank you for yours.

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      1. Yay, thanks so much for finding my books, Ann! Glad you enjoyed my debut; I hope Season for Surrender works for you too.

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    29. This sounds like a lovely regency read...thanks for sharing!
      ivegotmail8889(at)yahoo(dot)com

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    30. OMG!!! I am so introducing Sardines at a party. What a fun, fun game.

      amandavmartin@bellsouth.net

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      1. AuburnGirl--ha! Please let me know how that goes over. You might start a Regency-party fad!

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    31. sounds a great book, theresa...
      i love reding historical romance..
      thx u for thw chance :)

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      1. Nurmawati, hope you find lots of great historical romances to read this holiday season. :)

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    32. a lot of my friends say that this is the enjoyable book, can't wait to prove it myself

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      1. Nice! Glad your friends are enjoying it, Lilian; I hope you like it too.

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    33. This left me wanting more. Will have to find the time to read your books!!

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    34. i just love holiday themed books..

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      1. Sienny, me too. Every year, I start pulling them off my shelves as soon as Thanksgiving is past.

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    35. Hi Teresa!

      I not only loved the excerpt but I want to know when we'll be able to read "the rest of the story" of Helen and Tobias! After all being the mother of two sons who waited until my sons were over 32 I'm sure poor Lady Winter is anxious to see him married! I do realize that he has 5 younger siblings but after all I'm sure she doesn' want them waiting to marry and put foolish ideas in their heads as well!

      I loved reading Season for Temptation and Season for Surrender is already a must read for me and realize that Season for Indiscretion will be coming out next year but am hoping your new series coming out next Fall means we'll soon also be reading more about the Winter siblings!

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      1. Jeanne, I'm so glad you've enjoyed my books! I actually made the Winters up for this event--but they've been so fun, I'll try to find a way to tell more of their stories in the future.

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    36. Theresa, I hope all your other readers beg you for more of the Winters as well! My husband Dad was one of 15 children and the stories he could tell! My husband was always disappointed that we only had 2 sons so to make up for it their friends were at our house all the time!

      To us there's nothing more fun than having a housefull of children! Fortunately we have 5 grandhildren so far - hoping but not hopefull for more. Guess will have to wait for great-grandchildren in abundance!

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      1. One of 15?!? Wow, I bet something like being trapped in a wardrobe was just business as usual. My dad is one of 8, so I love those big family Christmases too.

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    37. This is a great author. I am really lucky to have a copy of this book but I still wanted to show my support. :)

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      1. Danielle, hi! Very kind of you to drop by. :D

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    38. This would be a nice holiday read.

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    39. Love the story Theresa, Looking forward to reading Season for Surrender!

      joylynne66(at)hotmail(dot)com

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    40. I Love Regency romance and i sure i will love your book to Theresa. I like your cover book, all was beautiful. Looking forward to reading Season for Surrender!

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      1. Filia, aren't those beautiful covers? I think my publisher does a fantastic job with them. :)

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    41. Language & word play is fun. I mean, the word 'malfunction' immediately caught my attention & then I read on.

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      1. Mary, you can thank our hostesses for that one! Danielle and Rita came up with all these daily themes--so much fun. :)

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    42. That was a sweet story and I do enjoy a family opening the eyes of a clueless son.

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      1. Maureen, glad you enjoyed the story! Being locked up with a pretty young lady does tend to enlighten a clueless guy, huh??

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    43. I love it when the lady teaches the 'gentleman' a thing or two! Sounds like great fun!

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      1. Di, I like that kind of story too. Gotta love those smart heroines!

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    44. What a cute story. Although I hate it when my family MAKES me join in game night!

      Thanks so much!

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    45. Ha! Yes, mandatory games aren't as fun as...well, the non-mandatory kind. :) Glad you enjoyed the story!

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    46. What a wonderful mini story!! Hoping to see more of these two in the future!

      Love your books and hope you have a wonderful Christmas.

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      1. Thank you--and a merry Christmas to you too. :) I had fun writing about the Winters, so they might turn up again in future!

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    47. Oh what a wonderful short story! I love a heroine with a little pluck to her! I love your style of writing, and can't wait to read more! Thank you, and have a Merry Christmas!
      smoofrog @gmail dot com

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      1. Tonda, thanks! I'm glad you enjoyed the story. I like heroines with a little pluck to them too. :) Merry Christmas!

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    48. I have not read your new book but have put it on my Christmas list, so if Santa is willing so am I. Ha,ha.

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      1. Well, then I hope Santa's willing. :) Thank you for stopping by!

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    49. I have not read any of your books but I have put you on my Christmas list. So if Santa is willing I am able.

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    50. Love historical romance, thanks for the chance.
      magic5905 at embarqmail dot com

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    51. Hi Theresa! I have several of your books and I love them! I can't wait to read your next one. Merry Christmas!

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