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Tuesday, December 3, 2019

A Historical Christmas Event with Anna Campbell


I’m an Aussie historical romance writer. So far I've published 10 full-length novels for Avon and Grand Central and 22 books under my own steam. My books have also been translated into 20 languages. I'm currently working on a series featuring roguish Highland heroes, called the Lairds Most Likely. The Laird's Willful Lass and The Laird's Christmas Kiss are now out. Look out for The Laird's Lost Lady and The Laird's English Bride in 2019! I live by the sea in Australia and I love to hear from readers.



We’re having a hot and rather disastrous start to summer here in Australia so I’m thinking fondly of a cold Northern Hemisphere winter. And what better way to start a story than to have a dangerous stranger dropping into my capable heroine’s well organized life and disrupting her Christmas? I hope you enjoy this short vignette that I think could perhaps be the start of a new Christmas story sometime in the future. What do you think?


Yardley Woods, Shropshire, 24th December 1818

Snow, snow, snow. Everywhere she looked, she saw snow.

The weather had delivered a frosty and very cold Christmas Eve. At this rate, they wouldn’t manage to get out of the house and down to the village church for the midnight service.

Harriet Briars wrapped her arms around herself and shivered, although she was muffled up in a wool scarf and a thick coat. The dreadful weather had kept her cooped up inside all day with her sister and aunt, and she’d been desperate for a breath of fresh air.

She gave a short huff of amusement and watched her breath turn misty. Yes, one could definitely describe this air as fresh. It had cleared her head, but half an hour out in the freezing late afternoon made her think longingly of a pot of chocolate and a plate of hot scones back in Yardley Hall’s cozy library.

She turned back toward home. Around her the trees were bare and silent, and the sky lowered gray and heavy, promising more snow to come. A smooth carpet of white surrounded her as far as she could see.

Except…

She frowned and stopped midstep. Something dark and large lay humped on the woodland floor, something that didn’t look like a fallen branch or a rock.

What on earth?

Was it an animal? Or was it a log after all?

Curiously she turned off the path and using her stout staff, she made her way with difficulty across to the object. Although she soon realized it wasn’t an object at all. It was someone collapsed in the snow. She struggled to hurry, but the thick snow made progress difficult. By the time she reached the man, she was panting and sticky in her heavy clothes, despite the temperature.

“Are you all right, sir?” she called out when she was still a good ten feet away from him. If he was alive, she had to get him into the warm. An ill or injured man out in these conditions wouldn’t last very long at all.

When there was no response, fear colder than the air around her iced her veins. The nearest doctor was in Shrewsbury, a dozen miles away, even if they weren’t stranded with the weather. And what if the man was dead? For pity’s sake, what was she to do with a dead stranger the day before Christmas? And what in heaven’s name was he doing here? The Yardley estate occupied an isolated valley well away from any major roads or towns. Anyone who came here had business here. Nobody stumbled over her home by accident.

Goodness, was it someone she knew? She approached the man, grateful that the snow was firmer here, and fell to her knees at his side.

“Sir?”

Again there was no answer. He was lying flat on his face. A voluminous black greatcoat spread around him and good quality leather boots covered the feet sprawled across the white ground. He was bareheaded, and in possession of a disheveled mass of coal-black curls. His high-crowned hat lay tumbled a few feet from one outstretched gloved hand. She turned her head and saw drag marks in the snow. More concerning, blood stains marked the signs of his progress.

“Sir? My name is Harriet Briars. I live at the hall.” She spoke loudly and slowly, hoping to pierce his faint. She took off her glove and curved her hand around the nape of his neck under his collar. He felt dangerously chilled, but she didn’t think he was dead. “Can I offer some assistance?”

Still no response.

Sighing, she leaned forward and battled to turn him onto his back. He was a big man, and once she saw his face, she realized he was a handsome one, too. And not old. She’d guess no more than thirty. A sullen trickle of blood marked his temple, although given the amount of blood he’d shed reaching this particular tree, he’d been bleeding for quite a while.

“Sir? I need to get you back to the house or you’ll freeze to death.”

She tapped his lean cheeks with her hands to try and bring him back to alertness, although it was possible she was doing more damage to his head wound. But she needed him to move. She couldn’t carry him, and by the time she came back with help, he’d surely have succumbed to the cold.

He was definitely alive. She could see his chest moving. And there was a trace of color in that haughty face with its ferocious black eyebrows and slashing cheekbones and aquiline nose.

“Sir? Please speak to me.” She tapped him a little harder, then gasped with surprise when emerald green eyes flickered open and regarded her with blazing fury from between thick black eyelashes.

“What the devil are you doing, woman?” he snapped in the unmistakable tones of the upper classes.

Harriet sat back and glared back at him, even as relief rushed through her veins like the spring melt down the Severn. “Why, I’m trying to save your life, my good man. And under the circumstances, a spot of graciousness wouldn’t go astray.”




She’s found the man for her, but he has no plans to stay on her island. Perhaps it’s time to try a little sabotage!

Scotland. 1725. The moment she sees handsome Dougal Drummond, Kirsty Macbain tumbles headlong into love. A chance storm a few days before Christmas has blown the gallant Highlander off-course to her father’s isle of Askaval, but once he’s repaired his boat, Dougal is determined to continue on his way. His bright blue eyes are firmly fixed on valiant deeds and a distant horizon. What does he care for a smart-mouthed, independent lassie who forms no part of his plans for his future?

Kirsty is convinced that if only she can keep Dougal on Askaval, he’ll see how perfect they are together. With his boat out of action, he’s trapped in her company. Some surreptitious midnight destruction with a drill and a hammer might help true love to win out. On the other hand, if Dougal discovers what she’s been up to, there will be the devil to pay.

Will this madcap Christmas deliver Kirsty’s heart’s desire – or will her scheming see Dougal sailing away to a life without her?

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Up For Grabs:
  • 3 Kindle copies of The Highlander's Christmas Quest

To Enter:
  • Please leave a comment along with your email address

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


Good Luck! 

Special thanks to Anna Campbell for sponsoring this giveaway.

52 comments :

  1. I cannot wait to read it! Thanks for the chance!
    angelaDOTguilhermeATgmailDOTcom

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  2. What a fun discovery out in the snow! Now sure what I would have done in that situation!

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    Replies
    1. Thanks, Sue. I really can see this being the start of a Christmas novella.

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  3. Love Anna Campbell's stories. Thank you for this giveaway chance. Good luck to everyone.
    Carol Luciano

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  4. What's better than a Christmas story set in the highlands? Not much...
    journeybound2010(at)gmail(dot)com

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    Replies
    1. Jen, we've had record temperatures for the last few months. The idea of lots of snow really does appeal!

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  5. Festive through the ages, nice.
    pores(at)live.com

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  6. You have hooked me with this vignette. I sure hope you finish the story one day. :-)

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    Replies
    1. Cheryl, by the time I'd finished writing it, I was determined to turn it into a story. I want to see what happens myself!

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  7. These sound like some fantastic reads and I love Anna's books. Who doesn't love some Highlander books.

    quiltlady110 at gmail dot com

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    Replies
    1. So agree with you about the Highlanders, QL! Thanks for swinging by.

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  8. Ooh, I love this new one. Her riposte at the end is just right. I do hope you write it. Please don't put me in the draw for your Highlander. I've already read and loved it!

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    Replies
    1. Annie, so glad you liked the excerpt. I actually think I might turn this into a Christmas story! Thanks for the kind words about my latest Highlander.

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  9. I would be so thrilled if I won. Thank you

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  10. what book is the excert from? I would like to get it.

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    Replies
    1. Dragonladee, so glad you enjoyed the vignette. Thank you. The brief for the blog is to write something new so at the moment, that's all there is of this particular story. I think it has legs, though, so look out for it as a future Christmas story!

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  11. Not sure how I missed this one! Added to my list!

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    Replies
    1. Patti, the brief was to write something new for Dani's blog. So at the moment, this is all that exists of this particular story. I do, however, hope to write the rest!

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  12. looks interesting
    bn100candg at hotmail dot com

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  13. This excerpt is just begging for its own story!
    Fantzypantz2@aol.com

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  14. She's a brave one! lindalou (at) cfl (dot) rr (dot) com

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    Replies
    1. Linda, it's funny, sometimes characters come onto the page fully formed and Harriet was one of those!

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  15. Why can't I ever find a handsome man like that in the snow??? lol
    carole_57@hotmail.com

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    Replies
    1. Carole, clearly you don't spend enough time out in the snow! Snicker!

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  16. what a fun and delightful snippet.

    denise

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  17. I enjoyed the excerpt. thanks for sharing.
    vipersweb (at) gmail dot com

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  18. Thanks for the chance. ilovetoreadbooks1@outlook.com

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  19. Sounds intriguing - would love a chance to read this. Thanks.

    sandyhaber@yahoo.com

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    Replies
    1. Sandy, definitely have plans to write it for the end of next year. So keep an ear out.

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  20. Oh you need to write this one Anna!! With any luck you guys will get a significant amount of rain down there soon! glendamartillotti at gmail.com

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    Replies
    1. Glenda, we've just had a return of heatwave conditions and the fires are stirring all over the place again. Sigh. Thank you for your good wishes. From your lips to God's ear!

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  21. What a great vignette! I'd love to read more. Thanks for sharing.
    bhometchko(at)hotmail(dot)com

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    Replies
    1. BookLady, thanks so much for saying you enjoyed the scene! It was fun to write. Good luck in the draw.

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  22. Love the cover! Can’t wait to read.
    Kari_angeles@yahoo.com

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  23. Merry Christmas! thanks for the chance
    clarksuzannah at gmail (dot) com

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    Replies
    1. My pleasure, Suzannah. Merry Christmas to you too!

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  24. Looking forward to reading The Highlander's Christmas Quest! Thank you
    isisthe12th(at)gmail(dot)com

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  25. I love Historical Highland stories! jepeb (at) verizon DOT net

    ReplyDelete
  26. dragonladee1005@yahoo.com. Love your books. Thank you

    ReplyDelete