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Sunday, December 15, 2013

A Drunken Escapade...with Christie Kelley and Giveaway

A Drunken Escapade on Christmas Eve - Christie Kelley

Award winning author, Christie Kelley was born and raised in upstate New York. After seventeen years working for financial institutions in software development, she started writing her first book. She currently writes regency historicals for Kensington. Christie now lives in Maryland with her two sons.

Places to find Christie:
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Christmas Eve Jaunt

I thought it would be fun to if two proper ladies had to retrieve a brother and a cousin on Christmas Eve after discovering they were too drunk to make their way home. I hope you enjoy it!


Sarah Whitby pulled back the heavy velvet curtain and stared out into the cold night. A white blanket of snow covered the drive now and it seemed to be coming down even harder. “Where the bloody hell are you, Stephen?”

Her brother was late for the annual Christmas Eve supper. Mother was furious and Papa was now brooding in his study. Turning away from the window, she picked up her shawl and walked to the fireplace where small fire warmed the large room.

A knock sounded on the front door. “Finally,” Sarah whispered as she walked toward the door.

The butler opened the door allowing a gust of wind into the front hall. “Miss Lane, you must come in right this moment,” Harmon said. “What are you about traveling in this weather?”

“Thank you, Harmon.” Abigail Lane brushed the white powder off her shoulders as she looked past the butler. “Thank goodness you are here, Sarah. I need your help.”

Sarah rushed to her friend’s side. “What is wrong?”

“My cousin and your brother.”

Sarah frowned. “I don’t understand.”

“I just received word that they are well into their cups in the village. We must go rescue them.”

Sarah wasn’t certain either man would wish to be rescued tonight. If they were drinking, it was in either merriment or sorrow. “I am sure they are quite fine.”

“No, they are not fine or well or content. They are drunk. They need to be returned home so they can celebrate the holiday with their families.”

“Then why don’t we send a footman to retrieve them?” The last thing she wanted to do was drag her brother home in a drunken state. He would probably be sick on her. And she’d only met Abby’s cousin once many years ago. Although, his reputation was known throughout town as a rake of the first order. He even left a poor young lady with her reputation in tatters just this spring.

“Neither man will come home if a footman attempts to bring them back. But they will listen to us.”

Sarah doubted that but Abby would never stop until Sarah agreed to accompany her. In fact, the stubborn woman would most likely attempt to go alone if Sarah didn’t go too. “All right. Did you bring the sleigh?”

“Yes. Now hurry.”

Sarah dashed upstairs for her boots, heavy cloak, and muff. She lifted the hood over her head before heading back downstairs. Hopefully, she would return before her mother even noticed she’d left.

“Do not tell my mother where I went,” Sarah directed Harmon. “Tell her I went to my room. I shall return with Stephen as quickly as possible.”

“Yes, miss,” Harmon said before adding, “Would you like a footman to accompany you?”

“We are only off to Long Melford, not London,” she replied with a shake of her head. The dear man was overly protective of her.

“Very well, miss.” He leaned in closer. “But you’d best be back in less than two hours or I will send a contingent of footmen after you.”

“Yes, Harmon.”

“Come along, Sarah,” Abby said with impatience lining her voice.

Sarah followed Abby out to the awaiting sleigh. Her friend climbed in and took the reins from a footman. Sarah took the seat next to Abby just as she shook the reins for the horses to depart.

“How exactly do you propose we get the men out of the tavern?” Sarah asked. “It would be highly improper for us to even enter such a place.”

“They are at the Bull Inn. I am quite certain even ladies can enter an inn,” Abby replied.

Sarah went silent but noticed the snow was coming down so heavy she could barely see. Thankfully, they were in the village quickly and brought the sleigh around to the front of the inn. A young boy ran outside and grabbed the reins from Abby.

“I’ll take good care of the horses, miss,” he said.

“We shall only be a few minutes, lad,” Abby stated as she stormed toward the front door of the inn.

Sarah glanced up at the old Tudor building. She’d been past this inn many times in her life but had never stepped foot inside. Right now, she just wanted to be inside and out of the cold and snow. Following Abby, Sarah still wondered how they were supposed to convince two men deep in their cups to leave the warm inn and ride home in the cold with them.

Abby pointed to toward a back room. “I’m certain they are in there where all the noise is emanating from.”

“We must hurry, Abby. Harmon will truly send footmen out after us if we do not arrive home soon.”

“Oh come along,” Abby said with a frown.

They walked the long corridor to the back room where families were dining. Sarah quickly spotted her brother with another man in the corner of the room laughing at some comment. Anger spread through her when she saw Stephen in such a state. Without another thought, she strode toward them.

“So this is where you decide to spend Christmas Eve, some disgusting tavern instead of with your family in our beautiful home.” Sarah placed her hands on her hips as if to demonstrate just how mad she was with them.

Both Stephen and Abby’s cousin burst out laughing.

“This is the sister I should marry?” The blonde man said before laughing again. He took a long draught of an amber liquid. “I don’t she is going to agree to that.”

Marry? Him? A man she barely even knew. “You are quite correct on that account, sir.”

The man slowly rose to his feet and then bowed over her hand. “Phillip Lane, at your service, madam.”

Sarah yanked her gloved hand out of his tight grip. A slight tingle shot up her arm from the brief contact. “And we are supposed to marry?”

“Your brother’s thought, not mine.”

“With your reputation I am surprised you didn’t wish to ruin me first,” she retorted.

His blue eyes widened. “Oh?”

Sarah rolled her eyes. “Everyone has heard of what happened at the Haversham ball in May.”

“I am not discussing that with you,” he said roughly. “Whitby, it’s time we were off.”

“Afraid to face the truth,” Sarah taunted him.

“Hardly,” he said. “The truth is not something that would interest you. Women like you only care for the scandal.”

For the first time, she heard a slight slur to his words as if the drink had finally taken its toll. Stephen slowly rose to his feet and then grabbed for the table to steady himself. Sarah knew she had to get her brother home. “Abby, help Stephen.”

“And I suppose you will have to assist me, then?”

His breath warmed her ear. He smelled of whisky and cigars but not as if he’d overindulged. How did he get so close to her? “I believe you can handle yourself.”

He laughed softly. “I often do.”

She turned back to look at him. “Oh?” She had no idea what he was talking about but thought she should know. His smile did strange things to her heartbeat. Suddenly, she could scarcely catch her breath.

They walked down the corridor, Stephen leaning on Abby for support, while Lane meandered behind them all. Finally, Sarah stopped and looked behind her. “Are you coming or not?”

“I am.”

As they reached the door, a blast of cold air slapped them in the face. More snow had fallen while they had wasted time inside the inn. Snow crunched under their boots as they made their way to the sleigh. Sarah hit a patch of ice and started to fall only to be caught by a pair of strong arms.

“You need to be careful where you step,” Lane said softy as he righted.

This man did mad things to her sense when he was near. And how did a man so deep in his cups react so quickly?

“I shall drive us home,” Stephen said gallantly as he swayed slightly toward Abby.

“You’re too damn drunk,” Lane said then flushed. “Pardon me, ladies. I will take the reins.”

“Neither of you sodden fools will drive,” Sarah commented. “Abby did a fine job of getting us here and I assure you she can return us home.”

“You two can sit in the back,” Abby added.

“No,” Sarah exclaimed. “Stephen must sit up front or he will be sick all over the back of the sleigh.”

Abby sighed and shook her head. “Foolish men.”

“I couldn’t agree more,” Sarah muttered.

“No we’re not,” Lane said with a slight slur. “We just do not understand a woman’s idea that every member of a family must travel miles in the snow just to enjoy a holiday supper.”

“Do be quiet,” Sarah said with a frown. “Men love to complain about how women push them into attending family functions and then they relax and enjoy every minute of it.”

Sarah climbed into the back of the sleigh and then realized if Abby drove and Stephen needed to be in front, then Lane would be in the back with her. The thought sent a torrent of emotions through her. She couldn’t deny the man was handsome with his blond locks and green eyes, but he was a known rake. She didn’t need that in her life.

Lane scrambled into the sleigh, falling to the floor before managing to right himself into the seat. His knees knocked into hers. “Sorry,” he mumbled.
Once everyone was seated, Abby flicked the reins and they were off. Stephen and Abby chatted quietly while Lane slid a glance at her. “It was all Miss Landsdowne’s fault,” he whispered and looked away.


“At the Haversham ball. She thought to seduce me into marriage by having her mother walk in on us. That is why I refused to marry her. I will not be forced into marriage with a woman I cannot trust.”

Sarah nodded. “I understand. She, of course, is ruined now, though.”

“As she should be,” he said roughly.

“Why did she do it?”

He turned and stared at her. “You don’t know?”

She shrugged.

“I am my uncle’s heir apparent.”

“Viscount Landon is your uncle, I should have realized that.” She went silent still wondering what would make a young lady ruin herself over the chance to be a viscountess. It made no sense to her.

“So, now I suppose you are ready to accept me as your husband like your brother proposed?”

Sarah laughed softly. “Hardly. A title doesn’t make a man.”

He tilted his head and smiled softly. “I suppose it doesn’t.” He removed a small flask from his jacket and handed it to her. “Drink. You’re lips are turning blue.”

She sipped the liquid and then coughed. “What is that?”

“Whisky.” He then put his lips where hers had just been and tilted his head back to drink. Sarah couldn’t help but watch and wonder what his lips would feel like against hers.

“Here,” he said, “you hold the flask and drink more if you need. I am suddenly unable to keep my eyes open.” Without another word, his placed his head on her lap and closed his eyes.

“How much did you drink tonight?”

He chuckled softly. “I only two glasses.”

Sarah shook her head as she realized he had played her the fool. But instead of demanding he remove his head from her lap, she wrapped the blanket around his shoulders, enjoying the warmth and impropriety of this Christmas Eve. Years later, she would tell her grandchildren about the first time she meet their grandfather and how he fell asleep on her.

Only His Passion. . .

With his estate near bankruptcy, Simon Blakesworth, Earl of Hartsfield already has a perilous secret to keep. Still, when he finds Mia Featherstone badly beaten, he doesn't hesitate to shelter her in his home. . .and offer marriage to protect the lovely healer from her attacker. But Mia is concealing a danger this honorable earl never imagined--and can't resist. . .

Can Save Her Love. . .

Mia's valuable discovery on Simon's land saved her patients' lives. Now the only way she can help the man she's always loved save his home is to secretly find the rest of a cache of hidden artifacts. But their passion is making it impossible for Mia to ever walk away--even from a love that may not survive the truth. . .

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 Check out what's up for grabs.

Up For Grabs:
  • 1 eBook copy of Enticing the Earl

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  1. Not a good impression in their 1st meeting but I'd love to know how it goes from there :)

    1. Thanks, Linda. Now I want to write the rest of the story!

  2. Lovely book cover and interesting description of the story.

  3. Great excerpt :)
    Thanks for the giveaway!

    1. Thanks. It's just a short scene but not from Enticing the Earl. Something new I may start working on.

  4. What a terrific excerpt!

    Love the book!

  5. Cute story, wish it were longer. Book sounds great and I can't wait to read it. Thanks

    1. Thanks, Sheryl. After writing that little short story, I now want to write more of it. Maybe I will!

  6. Enjoyed reading this excerpt. Would love to read the entire book.

    1. Thanks, Karen. I'll work on that :)

  7. This is my favorite type of book. Have you always wanted to write in this genre.

    1. I've always want and have written historical romance. I love the genre!

  8. What a sweet story! Thanks for sharing :)

  9. Sounds like another good one from a talented author. Can't wait to read.

  10. Thank you for the book excerpt! Thank you for sharing!

    1. Thanks for stopping by, Sandra!

  11. Replies
    1. Thanks, Jena. It's one of my favorite covers.

  12. I loved the short story.
    Christie what's your favorite thing to do at Christmas time?

    1. Thanks, Lori. I love the holidays. Even as I'm writing this, I have eggnog cookies in the oven. I don't think I have one favorite thing. I love decorating, baking, shopping, wrapping and watching my boys open their gifts.

  13. OH! I really want to know the whole love story now between Sarah & Phillip. This was a wonderful short story!

  14. Hehe, I loved the excerpt now I'm really curious what's going to happen next. This is definitely on my TBR. Thanks for the giveaway.

    1. Thanks, Steph. I hope you enjoy it!

  15. I know I have your books in my TBR list. I just haven't gotten to it because of school. For a fact, when I'm on winter break I can start on it. I love the excerpt

    1. What? School is an excuse! I totally understand, Sandy. I hope you enjoy it when you have the time.

  16. That was a fun story; I'd love to read how they get to their HEA.

  17. I hope you do write the rest of the story Christie! That was cute and fun!

  18. Sarah sounds like a strong and wonderful character, thank you so much for sharing.

    1. You're welcome, Lily. Thanks for stopping by!

  19. Christie, I noted from a prior comment and your reply that this delightful excerpt was not part of the Enticing the Earl but may be part of a not-yet-written story. I surely hope so, as the excerpt was wonderful and piques my interest! Thanks for the post and your writing, Christie.

  20. Hi Christie! What made you want to write about an Earl vs. all the other ranks in English society??

  21. Hi Christie! For some reason, I've missed reading your books! I will have to remedy that after reading the short story (which I hope you continue) and the excerpt. Your books sound great, I will be putting them on the wish list. Thanks for the giveaway.

  22. Hi Christie!

    I loved your Christmas story! I do think it's only fair that since Sarah met her match because Abby made her go with her to "rescue" Sarah's brother that when Sarah marries Lane that Abby should fall in love with Sarah's brother Stephen after all she's the one that made him sit in the front of the sleigh with her!

    I love all your books but adored Bewitching the Duke when I read it last December and can't believe I missed picking up a copy of Enticing the Earl when it was released in October! Now I can't wait for Christmas because my husband (who is NOT a "shopper" always gives me an Amazon gift card in my stocking!

    Hopefully next year we'll be able to find out if Abby does indeed meet her match (hopefully it will be Stephen!) and also have her happily ever after!

  23. Great story, I hope you're able to write more, I'd love to read it. :D

  24. Squeal!!!! That was amazing!! I love a meeting where the hero and heroine bantered and such. So much love and tension!

  25. Great first meeting. Thanks for the story.

  26. I wish this were a book. Loved the scene...humorous and charming!

  27. What a great story to tell the grandkids. I love the line, "A title doesn't make the man." It's so true!

  28. Thanks for the story. Have a nice Christmas.

  29. The excerpt sounds awesome and I'm looking forward to reading this book. Thanks for sharing. Happy Holidays :)

  30. Interesting description of the story, looking forward to read it.
    Thanks for sharing :)

  31. Love the excerpt!
    Thanks for the chance to win!
    Happy Holidays!

  32. Great story! Lane sounds like a cutie!

  33. thanks for the giveaway chance!

  34. Interesting excerpt. I do think you should pursue that story. Thanks for the giveaway!

  35. Hi! Thank you for the giveaway. Merry Christmas!

  36. I just got my first eReader - now I can read this book! Merry Christmas!

  37. Thanks for the giveaway!

    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!