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Monday, December 1, 2014

A Secret Rendezvous...with Anna Campbell and Giveaway


A secret rendezvous on Christmas Eve - Anna Campbell

ANNA CAMPBELL has written nine multi award-winning historical romances for Grand Central Publishing and Avon HarperCollins and her work is published in sixteen languages. Anna is currently engaged in writing the "Sons of Sin" series, which started in 2012 with SEVEN NIGHTS IN A ROGUE’S BED. Look out for A SCOUNDREL BY MOONLIGHT in April 2015. Anna lives on the beautiful east coast of Australia where she writes full-time.

Find Anna at:
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Thanks, Dani, for inviting me to play here again this year. I always have such fun with your Christmas event. This year, I’m writing a secret rendezvous on Christmas Eve. It seemed like a perfect opportunity to unite two star-crossed lovers.

***

Boroughford House, Yorkshire, Christmas Eve, 1823

Anthea’s breath formed a cloud in front of her face as she crossed the icy fields toward the isolated copse where Etienne said he’d wait for her. The short day came to an end, but it was still light enough to find her way. Behind her, she heard the scratchy sound of violins as the orchestra her papa had brought from London rehearsed. Luckily there was no snow, so she didn’t have to worry about leaving tracks.

The instant she slipped behind the thick hedge of holly, she saw him, waiting just as he said he would. Tall, dark, elegant in a way so distinctly un-English. A few yards off, his black horse nosed at the sparse brown grass.

His sensual mouth curled into a smile of welcome. “Mon amour, you got away.”

“I’m supposed to be resting before I dress for the ball.” The ball where her engagement to the Duke of Salford would be announced. The ball that would end her brief, poignant flirtation with this handsome foreigner. “I haven’t got long.”

He came forward with that smooth stride that had first attracted her notice back in the autumn when she’d met him at a house party in Wiltshire. His hands closed hard around hers. His touch was cold—he’d clearly waited too long on this freezing afternoon—but it flooded her with warmth. “Long enough to say goodbye.”

Desperately she stared up into his face, imprinting every vivid feature on her memory forever. The olive skin; the black, slashing eyebrows; the high slanted cheekbones; the long Gallic nose; the rich coffee brown of his eyes. “You knew this was coming.”

His grip tightened. “I am grateful I could offer you a few months of discreet excitement before you take up your real life.”

The faint bitterness in his voice made her wince. His accent thickened when he was moved, and right now he sounded more French than she’d ever heard him.
“This match will make my father a power in England.”

“And it will make you unhappy, ma belle.”

“I’m…I’m resigned to it,” she said and knew that he recognized the lie. Of course it was a lie. This parting tore her to shreds.

“I too have tried to be resigned to it,” he said in a low voice. “From the first, I knew how much you were willing to give me. But it’s not enough.”

She stiffened and tried to pull away, but his hands firmed to ruthlessness. “I could never give you more than a few kisses, Etienne.”

Kisses that had turned her blood to flame and made her cry into her pillow every night because while she played at this flirtation, she was promised to another.

“You think I want to make you my mistress, Anthea?”

“I think you would have if I’d been willing.” And heaven forgive her, there had been times when only his honor had saved her from surrendering the chastity that a woman owed to her bridegroom. Right now, sinful creature she was, she was sorry that she hadn’t succumbed. A few kisses seemed a paltry memory to hold into the cold, cold future that awaited her with His Grace, the duke.

“Your father would never accept me as your husband.”

“No,” she said, grief weighing her heart. “Even if he didn’t have Salford in his sights, he’d never give me to a Frenchman. Since my brother’s death at Waterloo, he loathes the very name of France.”

“And I’m not nobly born.”

“No.” Etienne’s family was rich, probably richer than her own, but the money came from silk factories in Lyon. Her father had always been puffed up with pride that the Boroughs had been lords in this corner of Yorkshire since the Norman Conquest.

“There is strong desire between us.”

“Yes.” This was their last meeting. What was the point of prevaricating?

Etienne released her, but she didn’t move away. Very gently, he placed his hands on either side of her face, holding her still as if he meant to kiss her. She hoped he would, even as her heart mourned that it was the last time.

“When I look into your eyes, I see…more.”

She’d tried to be clever and sophisticated with her secret swain, but it had done her no good. She’d fallen in love the moment she’d seen him and that love had only deepened in the months since. Her smile trembled and tears pricked her eyes. Still she raised her chin and spoke in a steady voice. “I love you, Etienne.”

His expression changed, turned intense, almost frightening. Still she didn’t retreat. “Ma chérie…”

He bent his head and kissed her with a passion he’d never unleashed before. Only now when he didn’t hold back did she realize how careful he’d always been with her. On a sigh, she arched into his body and curled her arms around his neck. Heat sizzled through her and ignited the cold evening to fire.

When he raised his head, she was breathless and her heart thundered with excitement mixed with sorrow. She yearned for a lifetime of his passion, not these stolen moments of farewell.

“I have to go,” she whispered. Darkness encroached, although she could still see his expression in the fading light. It was time to surrender futile dreams and embark upon the rest of her life. She turned to leave.

“No.” He caught her hand. “This isn’t right.”

She didn’t look at him. She was too close to tears. “It has to be.”

“Come away with me, Anthea.”

She stopped, trembling, and slowly faced him. “We can’t.”

His jaw squared with determination. “Yes, we can. If we go now, we’ll be in France tomorrow. We can be married at my home in Lyon.”

“Married?”

“Yes, of course.” From somewhere he summoned a smile and her heart made a great swoop of fear and joy. “You must know I love you.”

She shook her head, disbelief warring with an astonishing spurt of hope. “You never said.”

He was still smiling. “Neither did you. Until now.”

“There will be a dreadful scandal. My father will disown me.”

He shrugged. “Whereas my father will adore you. Will you run away with me, my lovely darling?”

She had seconds to decide. If she was returning to the house, she needed to do it now. Even then, her maid would wonder where she’d disappeared to on such an important night for the family’s prestige. If she was going with Etienne, every mile they put between them and Boroughford House before her elopement was discovered would increase their chances of escape.

“Anthea, don’t break my heart,” he said softly.

Security and duty and the obedient girl she’d been until she’d met a handsome Frenchman demanded that she deny him. The love that surged in her heart insisted that she take up the glorious challenge this man offered her.

Emotion jammed her throat and she took a couple of attempts to find her voice. Still her answer emerged with a husky edge. “Your heart is safe with me, my darling. Let’s go.”

Delight lit his face to brilliance. “You do me too much honor, my lady.” He raised her hand to his lips for a fervent kiss, then caught her by the waist and flung her into the saddle. He leaped up behind her and curved one arm strong and sure around her waist. “Allons-y.”

As they galloped away through the cold winter night, the sweet strains of a waltz faded to silence behind them.



No good deed goes unpunished…

To save her hen-witted sister from scandal, Philippa Sanders ventures into a rake’s bedroom – and into his power. Now her reputation hangs by a thread and only a hurried marriage can rescue her. Is the Earl of Erskine the heartless libertine the world believes? Or will Philippa discover unexpected honor in a man notorious for his wild ways?

Blair Hume, the dissolute Earl of Erskine, has had his eye on the intriguing Miss Sanders since he arrived at this deadly dull house party. Now a reckless act delivers this beguiling woman into his hands as a delightful Christmas gift. Is fate offering him a fleeting Yuletide diversion? Or will this Christmas Eve encounter spark a passion that lasts a lifetime?


Purchase: | Amazon | B&N | Kobo |

 Check out what's up for grabs.


Up For Grabs:
  • 3 eBook copies of Her Christmas Earl: A Regency Novella

To Enter: 
  • Please leave a comment or question for Anna.
  • Please leave your email address along with your comment.

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


Good Luck! 

Special thanks to Anna Campbell for sponsoring this giveaway.

76 comments :

  1. Hi Anna and Dani - Anna, I loved your short story! It's very romantic and very seasonal. I also loved HER CHRISTMAS EARL - charming and passionate. I have already bought it, so no need to put me in the draw for a copy. The people who win are in for a treat!

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    1. Kandy, thanks so much for swinging by. I'm so looking forward to reading your A DIAMOND IN HER STOCKING - saving it for my Christmas break so I can wallow. And how lovely that you liked the story - and Earl! Thank you so much.

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  2. savannahblaize@gmail.comDecember 1, 2014 at 4:37 AM

    Hi Anna and Dani, How exciting. Thanks for the chance.
    Your story is fabulous Anna. Christmas is fast approaching. I hope you both have a Merry one. :)

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    1. Thanks for swinging by, Savannah. And for saying you enjoyed the story! Happy Christmas to you!

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  3. Hi, Dani! Hi, Anna! Season's greetings to you both.

    Anna, ma belle, what an exciting short story — I loved it! And I adored your Christmas Earl. Congratulations on its release.

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    1. Vanessa, thanks so much for saying that about Earl. I adored your THIS IS YOUR AFTERLIFE even more! So glad you liked the short story!

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  4. Hello Anna and Dani! Thank you for the wonderful story. Anna, you suck me in everytime into your world. I'd love to see a longer story of Anthea and Etienne's adventures. Perhaps something to look forward to next year? Happy Holidays! We're off to a great start.

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    1. Pollie, you never know - Her Christmas Earl owes its existence to this blog. I did the opening scene at this very event in 2012 and I always wanted to find out what happened next. Now I know! Thanks so much for saying you enjoy the stories - that means a lot. Happy Holidays!

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  5. Historical Christmas romances are my favorite to read. I love how different their traditions are compared to today''s world. Thanks. suegaluska (at) yahoo (dot) com

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    1. Hi Sue! Yeah, there's something special about a historical Christmas story, isn't there? Especially a Regency one - Christmas was much more low key in the Regency and a lot of our traditions originate in the Victorian era.

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  6. Ah, how sweet, I love the line about his heart being safe with her. For whatever reason, I find Christmas in HR stories even more romantic than just an every day HR. Maybe its the candles, trees, feasting etc. Nice little vignette.

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    1. Thanks so much, Sophia! I really enjoyed writing this - Dani always sets such interesting challenges in this event. I think you're so right about historical Christmas stories being da biz!

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  7. Love the story. It is great!

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    1. Thanks so much, May. I enjoyed writing it.

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  8. Merry Christmas Anna! Love the sound of this novella. Gotta love those dull house parties!

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    1. Karen, dull house parties seem to have featured in a few of my novels lately. I'm currently doing a Sons of Sin one and there's a DHP in that too! Thanks for checking out the story - glad you enjoyed!

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  9. How lovely & entrancing! Can they have their own story please?

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    1. Thanks, Linda. I always find visiting this blog inspirational!

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  10. I love all your stories, Anna!

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  11. I love a mysterious foreigner! Great story.

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    1. Jessica, I haven't done a French hero before - it was fun! Thanks for saying you enjoyed the story.

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  12. congrats to Anna on the new release! THis sounds awesome :) What is the one thing that you have to have/do while writing? Thanks for sharing!

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    1. Erin, thanks for checking out the blog - and for saying you like the sound of Earl. I mainline cups of (hot) tea when I'm writing. I should buy shares in Liptons!

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  13. Anna, what a terrific little snippet. So enticing! You must have had fun writing it.

    Congratulations too on the release of Earl! It's a corker of a story. Just the thing for a pre-Christmas treat.

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    1. Thanks so much for swinging by, Annie, and for checking out the short. Glad you enjoyed! Thanks for saying too that you really enjoyed Earl. It was such a fun one to write.

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  14. Hey Anna, I've got my copy of Her Christmas Earl tucked into my computer ready to read - I was thinking of a Boxing Day treat ... if I can wait that long! Which is going to be hard because of the great excerpt on your website and now this tantalising extra! You're such a temptress... I might have to make myself a cuppa and curl up for a read now... it is December after all. Just the right time for a Christmas romance!

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    1. Hey, Sharon, thanks for picking up Earl. I hope you enjoy it! Because it's a novella, it won't take long - I say pick it up now! I find novellas are exactly the right length for this time of year. Nice to get your romance kick in a hurry!

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  15. Hi, Anna and Dani! Happy Holidays to you! I love your books, Anna!

    kscathyATyahooDOTcom

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    1. Thanks so much, Cathy! Happy Holidays right back atcha!

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  16. This short story was sweet!! Thanks, Anna! Her Christmas Earl was such a wonderful story as well! I was glad to find out it owes it's existence to this wonderful blog! No need to enter me in the giveaway! I have my own copy :)

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    1. Thanks so much for those kind words about Earl, Nelle! I have much to thank Dani for!

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  17. so sweet :)
    gamistress66-at-aol-dot-com

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    1. Thanks, Gamistress! So glad you enjoyed it!

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  18. Love your short story. Any chance of it turning into a full novel (or at least novella?)

    Merry Christmas!

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    1. Glenda, thanks for saying you enjoyed it. Never say never!

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  19. Thanks for the little glimpse of these two! I hope they make it without getting caught!

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    1. Me too, Gretchen! A honeymoon in Paris sounds pretty good to me!

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  20. Christmas stories are so nice to read. There's always that sentiment that anything is possible. Have a nice Christmas.
    penfield716(AT)yahoo(DOT)com

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    1. Kim, so true. It's a time for hope and happy endings. Happy Christmas to you too!

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  21. book looks interesting. i haven't read any of your work as yet

    parisfan_ca@yahoo.com

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  22. What a lovely story, it was so sweet! I look forward to reading Her Christmas Earl. :D

    Barbed1951 at aol dot com

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    1. Hi Barb! Thanks for saying you enjoyed the scene - always like playing with the theme Dani gives me each year. Hope you have fun with my earl!

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  23. Anna, I love all of your stories that I have read, and it looks like 2 more are headed to my TBR pile! Thank you for the hours of enjoyable reading your books have given me, and Merry Christmas!

    emmasmom69 AT gmail DOT com

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    1. Kai, thank you so much! What a lovely thing to say. Merry Christmas to you too! Hope you have fun with my Earl!

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  24. Thanks so much for the excerpt. Know this book will be as good as your others. Was sorry to see you leave the Romance Dish. I will be looking forward to your return visits.
    Enjoy your warm Christmas.
    library pat AT com cast DOT net

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    1. Thanks, Pat. Actually this isn't really an excerpt - it's more a lick and a promise! I was so sorry to leave the Dish (one more post to go) but I need to freshen up my reading a bit, I think. The door's always open so I may be back! Thank you for all the support this year. It's always lovely to see you!

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  25. Nice scene

    bn100candg at hotmail dot com

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  26. Hi, Anna! I love Christmas stories. I am so happy for you and your new story! Hugs.
    -Deb
    debhins@gmail.com

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    1. Thanks so much, Deb! I hope you have a wonderful Christmas!

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  28. loved the teaser!

    dholcomb1 (at) aol (dot) com

    Denise

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    1. Thanks, Denise. At this stage, it's not exactly a teaser, but it was fun to write the scene.

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  29. Oh, this sounds like a perfect holiday novella. What a great treat!

    brookeb811 at gmail dot com

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    1. Thanks so much, Brooke. It's actually inspired by the book I'm writing on now which includes an elopement. Clearly I have elopements on the brain - maybe I'm going to run away with Santa Claus!

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  31. Thanks for the cute story! sharlenewegner@hotmail.com

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    1. Thanks for swinging by, Sharlene. Glad you enjoyed!

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  33. Ma chérie! how romantic! Anna, you always know what to say. Is it a wonder you are one of my favorite romance authors? Thanks for the lovely scene =D

    annaoj (dot) mortes (at) gmail (dot ) com

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    1. Why, thank you! You clearly live up to your name, Ms Awesome! :-) So glad you enjoyed the scene. I enjoyed writing it.

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  34. I loved the short story, very romantic. Thanks for the chance and Happy Holidays!
    jen.frederick@yahoo.com

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    1. My pelasure, Jen. Thanks for saying you enjoyed it. Happy Holidays to you too!

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  35. I'm coming late to this Christmas Event! Wah! But...better late than never. I adore this Christmas historical blog tour. Last year was my first...I didn't realize it happened every year. How exciting a prospect I have to enjoy and look forward to! And of course, Anna, your book would be on the list of authors. But of course! One of my auto-buy authors, you are. :-) Thanks much for the post. jdh2690@gmail.com

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    1. Thanks so much, Janice! I love this blog tour for Christmas - Dani really creates the most interesting events. I look forward to hearing what she's going to offer me as a theme every year.

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  36. What a nice short story, I am impatiently looking forward to A Scoundrel by Moonlight.

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    1. Thanks so much! Only a few months until Scoundrel. Love that purple cover.

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  37. I love this short story! I really enjoy reading these every year.

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    1. jmcgaugh (at) semo (dot) edu

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    2. Thanks, Janie! I love writing them every year - Dani always gives us such interesting themes to pick up on.

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  38. Love your book covers! Merry Christmas,
    Lvsgund at gmail.com

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  39. That's so cute! I always love the stories you write Anna! adria(.)rose_03 at yahoo(.)com

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