USA Today bestseller Ashlyn Macnamara writes Regency with a dash of wit and a hint of wicked. She also writes fantasy romances she considers fairy tales of the grown-up sort. She lives in the wilds of suburbia outside Montreal with her husband and a loudmouth cat. Though her fiction is rooted in the past, Ashlyn can be found in such newfangled places as her website, Twitter, and Facebook.
Hello, readers. I hope you’re getting your shopping done and goodies made for the upcoming holidays. I’m here today to share a scene from my Christmas novella “One Magic Season,” which appears in the anthology All I Want for Christmas Is a Duke.
“One Magic Season” is a story of second chances, snow, and perhaps a little Christmas magic. Stranded by the storm over Christmas, Patience Markham and the Duke of Kingsbury must now confront their buried feelings for each other. Since neither had planned to spend the holidays where they currently are, they have decided to do a little quick and dirty decoration to make the day a little more festive.
Bright red berries dotted curling green leaves, their color in defiance of the surrounding wintry grays and whites. From the basket she carried over her arm, she produced a pair of secateurs and snipped off a few branches. Then she turned from her task to contemplate him.
The corners of her mouth stretched with humor. “It’s a good thing I brought my basket, else we’d have to make crowns of holly and carry them home on our heads.”
He shook off his misgivings. “Would you have me decked out like Father Christmas?”
“Or the Lord of Misrule.” Her impish smile widened into a promise of sin and pleasure.
“I’ll give you misrule.”
He gave in to temptation and reached for her, his hands grasping her by the waist. Her basket swung from her arm, its contents threatening to spill onto the frozen ground.
She responded with a yelp that turned into a throaty laugh as he pulled her closer. The cold had brought out a becoming bloom of pink across her cheeks. He dipped his head, but the instant before their lips touched, a great quantity of something cold and wet slipped down the back of his neck.
With a roar, he sprang back. The lump of snow only slipped farther down his spine. “Good God, woman. I’d expect someone as well bred and quiet as you to play fair.”
She laughed again, and despite the cold dousing, the sound spiked straight to his groin. “Goodness, what do you think I did? I cannot control the wind or even the trees if they decide to drop their weight of snow.”
“I call the timing of the action rather suspect.”
“Think what you will, I had nothing to do with that. This, on the other hand…” Quick as lightning, she scooped up a handful of snow and lobbed it at him. It splattered across his chest.
“If that’s the way you wish to play it, I shall demand satisfaction.” He bent and prepared his own weapon.
As the projectile left his hand, she ducked before coming back to stand with her own handful of snow and a wicked glint in her eye. “Satisfaction, is it?”
The battle was on, snowballs flying fast and furious. Like a pair of children, they pelted each other, Lady Worthington’s shrieks breaking the silence of the woods. By the third time she got him in the face, he was forced to admit that this woman, one whom he’d thought perfectly well brought up and even on the quiet side, possessed not only a surprisingly forceful arm but also a deadly aim.
Right. He was going to have to change tactics if he expected to emerge from this encounter with his pride intact. Though the action meant eating more snow, he worked his way closer, defending against her onslaught all the while. When he was near enough, he lunged, pinioning her arms.
“Now who’s not playing fair?” Her eyes were bright, her cheeks red, her mouth lush and inviting.
“Didn’t Cervantes have something to say about that?” He caught his breath and pulled her nearer. “Love and war are all one. It is lawful to use sleights and stratagems to attain the wished end.”
She gaped for a moment before pulling her lower lip between her teeth. “And which is this?”
Up For Grabs:Four popular romance novelists come together to bring readers delightful tales of Christmas Magic and the dukes that make us swoon… The holidays are a time for dining, dancing, and of course—dukes! Celebrate the Christmas season with this enchanting collection of historical romances featuring the most eligible bachelors of the ton…
The Duke and Duchess Trap by Valerie BowmanA childish prank may have reunited the Duke of Hollingsworth with his estranged wife, but only the magic of Christmas will show this couple ‘tis the season of second chances…
Sophie and the Duke by Tiffany ClareSophie Kinsley planned to remain a wallflower at the Duke of Helmsworth’s ball. Yet when a dance with him leads to a stolen kiss, will the duke be willing to let her go? Or will Sophie’s Christmas wish be granted at last?The Duke’s Christmas Wish by Vivienne LorretTo the Duke of Vale, science solves everything—even marriage. When the impulsive Ivy Sutherland makes him question all of his data, he realizes that he’s overlooked a vital component in his search for the perfect match: love.One Magic Season by Ashlyn MacnamaraPatience Markham never forgot the fateful dance she had with the future Duke of Kingsbury. But when a twist of fate brings them together for Christmas Eve, will the stars finally align in their favor?
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