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Thursday, December 5, 2013

A Scandalous Proposition...with Lily Dalton and Giveaway


A Scandalous Proposition on Christmas Eve - Lily Dalton

Lily lives in Texas where she writes looking out over a garden tended by her handsome, big-hearted Tex-Czech husband. She suffers endless (fun and always welcome!) interruptions by her two children. And like many authors, she writes with a cat—or two—wrapped around her legs.

Places to find Lily:
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A Scandalous Proposition on Christmas Eve

Sometimes the best Christmas gifts come wrapped in scandal.

***

She wouldn’t cry, not on Christmas Eve. She wouldn’t.

Too late.

Amelia Woodward pinched a handkerchief from her pocket and held it against her eyes until the flow of tears stopped. Taking a deep breath, she signed her name at the bottom of the letter and stared morosely at the green striped wallpaper of her small room, as she waited for the ink to dry.

She simply had no other choice. The day after Christmas she would resign her governess position and then…then…

Well, she didn’t know what she would do after that. She knew her cousin George and his wife wouldn’t turn her away, though they had made it very clear after her parents’ deaths that blood relation did not necessarily translate into kinship. She would only impose on them a few days. A week perhaps, until she secured another post, and certainly that would not be very long because without a doubt Lord Riven would give her a letter of recommendation. She had only to ask—

Which would require her speaking to him, and looking directly into his warm, dark eyes without flushing or crying, or revealing any trace of the emotions that presently tangled her up inside. At the thought of never seeing him or little Emily again, fresh tears crowded her lashes, but she closed her eyes and shook her head. No more of this foolishness. Her decision had been made and no amount of regret would change her course. Besides, if she had only one last evening to spend with her four year old charge, she would make it a happy memory for them both. She tucked the letter into her pocket.

The sound of a carriage and horses’ hooves arose below her window. She peered down through a thick swirl of snowflakes to see Lord Riven’s town coach, and footmen rushing to assist. As expected, Emily and the viscount had returned from their evening with his lordship’s parents, but the handsome lord had another engagement (quite literally) tonight which required his full attention, one which Emily would not attend. Amelia had so much fun planned for them tonight. She and her charge would hang mistletoe and greenery all about the house, and eat gingerbread and play all the Christmas Eve games she’d played as a little girl, when times were happy…

While across Mayfair, a ballroom full of guests and family would toast the dashing widower, Lord Riven and his new betrothed, Miss Ellincourt, an elegant, pale beauty with an impeccable pedigree and a substantial marriage settlement. Not only that, but she was quite charming and sweet. Even Amelia, in her misery, could not deny that.

His lordship’s voice, deep and resonant, sounded from the drawing room. The footman carried away his coat. She summoned all her composure before entering, passing the housekeeper, Mrs. Harper, on her way out—

Only to find his lordship alone, warming his hands before the fire. Her pulse, which she’d managed to calm just moments before, again leapt to life.

“Good evening, Lord Riven,” she said, forcing brisk efficiency to her voice. “I hope you and Miss Emily passed a wonderful Christmas Eve with your family?”
He turned and in an instant, stunned her with a smile.

His cheeks were deeply flushed from the cold, and his dark hair, tousled. His dark gaze, always so intent and perceptive, swept over her, leaving her breathless.

“Miss Woodward. Why, yes, we did indeed.”

He always made her feel like an important and appreciated part of his household, which only made this moment and the decision she had made, all the more difficult. Behind him, a small table had been set beside the fire, with several covered dishes and crystal glasses for drinking.

“Where is Miss Emily?” she asked. “Gone to pet her puppy, I’m sure. Whatever the case, I see the two of you have supper. I’ll leave you, and return shortly for her. I have all sorts of fun planned for the two of us, so you can go on and enjoy tonight’s very special celebration.”

And the rest of his life, for that matter, with someone else who was not her, a twenty-nine year old, old-maid governess with only two serviceable dresses and a paltry inheritance to her name. Her breath caught in her throat, painful and tight.

“Ah, yes…Emily.” He nodded, crossing his arms at his chest. “My sisters’ families have come for Christmas, resulting in a whole gaggle of children. My mother quite insisted Emily remain as well.” He bit into his lower lip before flashing another smile. “If you could have seen them all, running in circles and screaming like banshees, you would understand why I came directly home.” A laugh rumbled up from his chest, a rich sound she had unwisely come to crave.

So she would spend her Christmas Eve alone, with no distraction of the difficult days to come. She did her best to hide her disappointment with a nod and a smile.

“What fun they will have.”

“Indeed.” He chuckled, but then…the smile dropped from his lips. “Curse my thoughtlessness, I apologize. It is Christmas Eve. I should have sent word as soon as I realized she would not be returning with me so that you could make plans of your own, perhaps with your cousin.”

She stepped backward, toward the door. “I’ll retire early, that’s all. I have a new book that’s been waiting for an evening such as this to be read.” She smiled more broadly, to indicate her excitement over that. “Good night, then. I will leave you to your supper.”

He considered her intently. “Nonsense. Why don’t you…join me?” He lifted a hand toward the table.

The invitation caught her off guard. They had never shared a meal together, not without Miss Emily present and chattering between the two of them. “Thank you for asking, but I know you must be in quite a hurry, being that you still must prepare for your evening with Miss Ellincourt’s family.”

His gaze never wavered from hers. “Those plans have changed. I’ll be staying in tonight, which is just as well because the weather is quickly becoming atrocious, so please, come and sit where it is warm, by the fire.” He lifted the bottle of wine from the table and poured two glasses to half-full. The picture he presented was too comfortable, too perfect. Too inviting. A fantasy in which she couldn’t allow herself to indulge.

“I can’t,” she whispered.

“Why not?” He glanced at her, and lifted the covers from a tray. “Otherwise half shall go to waste.”

She shook her head. “It would be wrong of me to share a meal with you tonight, on Christmas Eve, when I…well I must tell you that I intend to…” The words evaporated on her tongue.

“You intend to what?” He returned the bottle to the table, and looked at her with such absolute concentration, that she felt consumed.

“I…what I must tell you is that—“ Unable to even speak the words, she pulled the envelope from her pocket. “This.”

He approached her, and taking the letter from her hand, silently read.

His gaze lifted to hers, his emotions inscrutable. “You wish to leave us?”

“I’m afraid I must,” she whispered, consumed with misery and desperate to hide the truth of her feelings for him.

“Why?”

Because I’ve fallen in love with you.

“For personal reasons I don’t wish to discuss.”

He glanced to the fire and then back again. “I don’t want you to leave.”

She exhaled. “I understand that Miss Emily has grown attached to me, just as I have to her, but I have no doubt you will find another governess to fill my duties, with no trouble at all.”

He closed his eyes for a moment. “Allow me to explain myself more fully, Miss Woodward.” Amelia did not breathe. Could not breathe, as she waited to hear what he would say. “It didn’t merely slip my mind tonight to inform you that Emily wouldn’t be returning here with me tonight. Indeed, I made arrangements that she would stay behind, because…I wanted to speak to you alone.”

“About Emily?” she asked dazedly. “About her lessons, or--“

“I have feelings for you, Amelia.”

Her gaze snapped up to his.

“Feelings.” She blinked, certain she’d misheard. “For me?”

“Yes, you.” He moved closer, so close she could feel his warmth.



Lady Sophia has long been estranged from her husband, Vane Barwick, the Duke of Claxton, whose rumored list of amorous conquests includes almost every beautiful woman of the ton. Yet a single touch is all it takes to reawaken her furious passion for him. But how can she trust the man who crushed her dreams and took away the one thing she wanted most?

Claxton has never forgiven himself for the youthful mistake that ruined his marriage to Sophia. Now, after nearly a year abroad, the reformed rogue vows to win back the only woman he's ever truly loved. He'll do whatever it takes to prove he can be the honorable husband she deserves-and the passionate lover she desires.

Purchase: | Amazon | Kindle | Barnes & Noble | The Book Depository |

 Check out what's up for grabs.

Up For Grabs:
  • 2 copies of Never Desire a Duke

To Enter: 
  • Please leave a comment or question for Lily.
  • Please fill out the Rafflecopter form.

**Don't forget to enter the grand prize giveaway!


Good Luck! 

Special thanks to Lily Dalton for sponsoring this giveaway.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

54 comments :

  1. I'm intrigued. Can't wait to see what happens.

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  2. I loved the excerpt of Amelia and Lord Riven. Is this a new book coming out? As regards the blurb about Sophia and Vane, this sounds really good, and I'd love to read it.

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    1. Diane, thanks for asking! No, it's not a new book coming out -- I wrote it just for this blog event! (But maybe I can convince my editor!) :) My next book, Never Entice an Earl, releases in April!

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  3. I like the premise of the story. Thank you for the excerpt.

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  4. Looks great! Thanks for the giveaway chance!

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  5. I think this story would make me shed a tear or two, but then I hope it ends with a smile.

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    1. Di, there have been reports of tears from some readers! But good ones!!

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  6. Loved the excerpt! It sounds like an incredible read. I can't wait to read the whole book!

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  7. Oh my, Lily! Whew! I had to drag out my fan while reading this excerpt! I can't wait to find out what Claxton is "up to" with Sophia. :-) Thanks for this post and the chance! jdh2690@gmail.com

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  8. That was short, but oh so sweet!

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  9. I love historical romances, it's my favorite genre!! This one looks amazing, can't wait to read it :)))

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  10. Historical romance is what got me started my reading addiction. Reading the excerpt mmm I could be Lady Sophia ;)

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  11. Lily you are a new author to me. I loved your short story and I want more of it.
    Your book sounds good also. It's on my TBR pile.

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  12. Ooh, I love second chances. Pretty cover too. Very festive.

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  13. Thank you everyone, for taking the time to visit and read, and most especially to comment on A Scandalous Proposition! Can't wait to see who wins the books!!

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  14. Loved the excerpt!! I can't wait to read this. Thanks for the chance.

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  15. I"ve already got Never Desire a Duke and love it! Can't wait for A Scandalous Proposition! Thanks for the excerpt!

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  16. Loved the excerpt. This has been on my TBR for awhile and I'm excited to read it. Seems the perfect book for the holidays.

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  17. Oh, it ended too soon; need more!

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  18. The excerpt is from what book? I would like to purchase it. It sounds amazing and would love to know how Amelia's HEA turns out :)
    I'm also looking forward to reading Claxton's excuse for treating Sophia so badly. Thanks for sharing. I haven't read any of your work but I would love to read and purchase both books.
    Happy Holidays!
    Lori

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    1. Hi there Lori! This is a scene I wrote specially for the Ramblings From This Chick Christmas blog event! I'm so glad you enjoyed. I think it would make a really fun full-length book as well. I also hope you enjoy Never Desire a Duke, and finding out what happens between Sophia and Claxton! You'll have to let me know!

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  19. Hi, Lily! That was an amazing scene between Amelia and Lord Riven!

    Would love to know what book/books are on your bedside right now. ^_^

    Thank you for the chance to win your debut novel!

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    1. If I could upload a picture, I would! I have a stack going! :D Right now I'm reading three books: Shana Galen's IF YOU GIVE A RAKE A RUBY, Sophie Jordan's FOREPLAY, and Stephen King's DR. SLEEP.

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    2. What an eclectic mix! Enjoy~

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  20. I would LOVE to read Amelia and Lord Riven's story. I was on the edge of my seat waiting for what happened next in their story. Please share some day!

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  21. I'm not familiar with your writing, Ms. Dalton, but I loved this short story. I think it'd be a great book! With writing like this, I'm sure your book will be a big success!

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  22. You're a new-to-me author so I must take some time to look over your books. This one sounds really good.

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  23. sounds good! i haven't read your books, but would love to!!

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  24. I loved reading your first book. I can't wait to read this one! Merry Christmas!

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  25. Hi LIly!

    I'm so glad you stopped by Ramblings From This Chick and shared your Christmas story A Scandalous Proposition on Christmas Eve! It made me realize it's time to start reading all the Christmas books that have their own shelf in my bookcase!

    Congratulations on your release of Never Desire a Duke in September and your upcoming release of Never Entice an Earl in April! I'm looking forward to seeing you release many more next year and in all the years to come!

    Your stories will help me fill my friends Christmas stocking full of wonderful books (as well as my secret elf hopefully putting a copy of Never Entice an Earl in my stocking as well!),

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  26. Sounds really good!!
    Thanks for the chance to win and happy holidays!!

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  27. Can't wait to read more about Lady Sophia!

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  28. I already read this book and it is bringing back memories since it has been awhile since I've read it. Fighting for the love that they both have for each other...I love it.

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  29. This looks so good! Lily- Has there ever been anyone in your life who has inspired one of your characters?

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  30. Can't wait to read "A Scandalous Proposition on Christmas Eve." I love Christmas eve romances!
    Thanks, Sharon

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  31. Loved this!
    Thanks so much for the giveaway :)

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  32. Can't wait to see what happens. Looking forward to read this one :)
    Thanks for sharing.

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  33. Thanks for sharing your story. I like the cover on your debut novel.

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  34. Interesting story, i love the story when husband try to win his wife back :)

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  35. Sounds and looks like a very interesting read.

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  36. Is there more to this really short piece about Emily and Lord Riven?

    Never Desire a Duke looks like an amazing read. I love stories where old lovers come back together.

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  37. Oh and you had to leave us with a cliffhanger!!! :D

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  38. I look forward to read this. The dress on the cover is a favorite of mine. Merry Christmas!

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  39. thanks for the giveaway chance!

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  40. Hi, Lily! You are a new author for me. I loved your excerpt! Thanks for the giveaway!

    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

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  41. loved the excerpt.Thanks for the giveaway!

    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

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