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Saturday, December 23, 2017

A Historical Christmas Event with Heather Snow


Heather Snow is an award-winning historical romance author with a degree in Chemistry who discovered she much preferred creating chemistry on the page rather than in the lab.

Her books have been published in seven languages around the world and have won numerous awards, including: The Golden Quill, The National Excellence in Romance Fiction Award, The Write Touch Reader's Award and the Book Buyer's Best Top Pick.

She lives in the Midwest with her husband, two rambunctious boys, three insanely huge dogs and two new rescue kittens who are doubtless wondering just what they’ve gotten themselves into.


Happy Holidays to all! I’m thrilled to be here at Ramblings From This Chick’s Historical Christmas Eve. This year, I’ve decided to write about a secret rendezvous at a Christmas Eve ball, featuring the hero and heroine from my new novella, THE VERY DEBONAIR LADY CLAIRE, which is available now in a fabulous Christmas anthology titled DASHING ALL THE WAY with Celeste Bradley, Eva Devon and Elizabeth Essex.

The scene you are about to read happens six years before the events of THE VERY DEBONAIR LADY CLAIRE. I do hope you enjoy it.


MEET ME UNDER THE MISTLETOE

Christmas Eve, 1807

“Are you certain no one saw you?” Claire’s anxious whisper echoed loudly in the darkened hall, reaching his ears before he even cleared the doorway.

Andrew chuckled as he stepped into the shadows. “More certain than I am that you didn’t just alert the entire ballroom to our rendezvous.”

A delightful pink bloomed on Claire’s cheeks, just visible in the moonlight. “I’m sorry. It’s just that I—” Her eyes dipped and her color deepened.

A thrilling mix of desire and guilt swelled in his chest. How he wanted Claire…burned for her. She was the rarest of women, an alluring combination of innocence and intelligence that drew him both body and mind.

But they couldn’t go on like this much longer—stealing moments and kisses, and more, wherever they could find them.

There was nothing for it. He was going to have to be honest with his best friend and tell him that he was in love with his sister.

Andrew reached for Claire’s hand and clasped it firmly in his. She looked up at him then, her cerulean-blue eyes shining with trust and nerves and an eagerness that fired his blood.

“I know,” he murmured, all of the same emotions flowing through him as well. Slipping away from Lord and Lady Danbury’s annual Christmas Eve ball together was risky. Up until now, their assignations had mainly been at her family estate, where Andrew had been a regular fixture since he and her twin brother had become schoolmates. No one had questioned Andrew and Claire’s moments alone at Barton House, least of all Clarence. After all, the three of them had been thick as thieves since they were young.

But if he and Claire were caught alone here…

Andrew squeezed her hand and tugged her through the French doors and out into the night.

Fog curled around the ground, rising up from the grass just enough to give the courtyard an air of fantasy. The walks around the Danburys’ London mansion offered many cozy niches amidst the shrubbery and trees, made even more secluded by the blankets of mist. The perfect place for a spot of wickedness.

Of course, being in the heart of London, the courtyard wasn’t overly large, so they couldn’t go too far—or be too wicked.

Andrew spotted an opening in the hedge, beyond which he knew a bench sat tucked into the shadows. He ducked into the recess and Claire followed, stepping into his arms as if she were born to be there.

As he took her lips in tender kiss, he couldn’t help but think that if they did get caught, would it be so bad?

***

Would kissing Andrew always be like this? This heady sense of being completely overwhelmed and yet being utterly at peace, as if she was precisely where she was meant to be and with the one person she was meant to be with?

Lord, she hoped so.

She shivered with the building desire coursing through her.

Andrew’s lips left hers even as his arms wrapped more tightly around her.

“Are you chilled, dearling?” he asked, his voice ringing with concern. His hands moved briskly over her back and shoulders to warm her.

Chilled? Near him? Ha! A mere glimpse of Andrew’s tousled brown hair and kiss-reddened lips made her burn in places she didn’t yet understand.

Claire shook her head. “Anything but,” she murmured and pulled his mouth back to hers.

She shouldn’t be here, she knew. Society would condemn her for reveling in Andrew’s kisses without the benefit of a betrothal. Imagine what they would think if they knew that she’d reveled in more than that. Oh, he hadn’t yet ruined her, but that had been by virtue of his own self-control, not hers. If she had her way, she’d already be his and feel no shame about it.

Though the words had not yet been spoken, she trusted Andrew. She had no doubt that this passion between them would culminate in a glorious union of hearts and bodies and souls.

Claire pressed her cheek against his as their kiss broke. “L’├║bim t’a,” she whispered near his ear. I love you.

She felt Andrew’s face spread into a bewildered smile. “What?”

But Claire simply tucked her face into the crook of his neck, the soft folds of his cravat cool against her burning cheeks. She couldn’t repeat her confession in English—she wasn’t yet brave enough, and she’d been willing to bet that Andrew didn’t understand Slovak.

“You’ve picked up yet another language, haven’t you?” he marveled.

“Yes,” she replied, glad he hadn’t pressed her about what she’d said. She straightened and pulled back from their embrace with regret. Her internal clock told her she had to return to the ballroom soon, lest she be missed.

“You amaze me, Claire. Who would have thought that when I decided to teach my friend’s sister Latin and Greek on a lark that it would awaken such a voracious talent for linguistics?”

Her lips turned up in a smile of pride. “Yes. Who would have thought?”

That was one of the reasons she loved Andrew so. He’d never made her feel different for the way her mind worked, never told her that the things she wanted to learn weren’t suitable for females. He’d simply accepted her for who she was and taught her.

Andrew pulled her close again, one eyebrow rising with his grin. “Do you know what I’m thinking now?”

Claire groaned, wishing she could lose herself in another of his kisses. “I have to get back. My brother might already be looking for me.”

Andrew’s groan joined hers. He wanted her to stay with him, she knew. How she wished he’d just ask for her hand already. She wasn’t sure why he hadn’t, but she suspected that with Napoleon’s war still raging through the Continent, he worried about being called to serve. As the fourth son of the Marquess of Pembroke, Andrew had left Harrow for the Royal Military College—he’d joked at the time that he’d make an abominable vicar so he might as well become a soldier. Perhaps he feared leaving a wife behind.

But that was a question for another time. She leaned up on her toes and gave him a quick kiss. He wrapped his arms around her and tried to tempt her deeper, but she laughed and pushed out of his embrace.

“I must go,” she admonished, stepping out of his reach. His beautiful lips drooped with such disappointment that she said without thinking, “but if you meet me under the mistletoe at midnight, I promise to make it worth your while.”

Andrew’s moss-green eyes flashed with heat, and Claire felt her cheeks warm in answer. She couldn’t believe she’d said something so brazen, and yet she was glad she had.

He lifted her hand to his lips and pressed a kiss against it. “Midnight under the mistletoe it shall be, then.”

As Claire hurried back into the stuffy ballroom, she found herself already counting the minutes with a giddy anticipation…


Does Andrew meet Claire under the mistletoe at midnight? Find out in THE VERY DEBONAIR LADY CLAIRE, now available in the Christmas anthology DASHING ALL THE WAY.




When Claire Barton’s brother is murdered, she assumes her twin’s place as a code breaker for the War Department in order to flush out his killer. Her ruse works perfectly—until the man who once broke her heart is assigned to be her new spymaster.

The moment their eyes meet, he sees right through her fine gentlemen’s togs to the woman disguised within. But Claire is no longer the foolish girl she once was, and she’s through letting men decide her fate. If he thinks he can stop her from doing what she must, he’s in for a bigger surprise than when he’d realized just who’s wearing the trousers now.

The last thing Lord Andrew Sedgewick expects to find when he’s asked to root out a traitor is the one woman he’s never been able to forget. The worst mistake of his life was walking away from Claire that Christmas six years ago, even if he’d had no choice. Now that he’s found her again, he doesn’t intend to let her go—if they both survive this holiday season.

Purchase: | AmazonB&N | iTunes | Kobo |

Up For Grabs:
  • 1  Winner's choice of Sweet Enemy, Sweet Deception, or Sweet Madness

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  • Choice of print or eBook.
  • Please fill out the Rafflecopter for entry.

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Special thanks to Heather Snow for sponsoring this giveaway.
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6 comments :

  1. I enjoyed reading about Claire and Andrew. Thank you for sharing. Happy Holidays.
    Carol L
    Lucky4750 (at) aol (dot) com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So glad you enjoyed meeting Andrew and Claire! Hope you are having a lovely holiday season!

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  2. Thanks for the chance and Happy Holidays to you!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you! Hope your holidays have been filled with love and laughter!

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  3. Happy Holidays, Heather!

    ReplyDelete