Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

A Historical Christmas Event with Christy Carlyle

Fueled by Pacific Northwest coffee and inspired by multiple viewings of every British costume drama she can get her hands on, Christy Carlyle writes sensual historical romance set in the Victorian era. She loves heroes who struggle against all odds and heroines who are ahead of their time. A former teacher with a degree in history, she finds there's nothing better than being able to combine her love of the past with a die-hard belief in happy endings.

Site | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads |

Juliet Marsden is the younger sister of my heroine, Ophelia, in Rules for a Rogue. Someday, I'd like to give her a happily ever after, and this is how, one snowy Christmas Eve, she meets the man who'll challenge her, entice her, and eventually earn her love.

24 December 1900
Winter house party at Longcross estate, Derbyshire

Juliet Marsden stood at the back of the enormous yellow drawing room and watched as new guests arrived, snowflakes still glinting in their hair and the fresh, brisk smell of winter air bursting into the room with them.

A little shiver of nervous energy rippled through her.

She didn’t know most of the Earl and Countess of Stanhope’s houseguests, and strangers made her nervous. She’d never possessed a knack for making friends easily. People, she’d found, were unpredictable.

Juliet much preferred numbers.

Even now, with mulled wine warming her insides and the scent of dozens of evergreen boughs sweetening the air, she wondered if she should have remained at Rothley Ladies’ College. Her exams were finished, but, unlike many of her classmates, she relished the rigors of study. Mathematics resonated with her as nothing else ever had, and she considered it a blessing to be able undertake research on the topic in a serious manner.

Never mind that her dear Aunt Rose insisted a young lady would have no use for such knowledge once she married.

“Are you all right over here?” Ophelia, her older sister, reached for Juliet’s hand as she made her way across the room to join her husband, Kit. “Why not come and sit with us? The drawing room is filling up, and I suspect we’ll begin playing parlor games once everyone arrives.”

“I’m perfectly well.” A bit over warm, if she was honest. As the crush of visitors grew, she longed for a walk outside in the dusting of snow that had fallen since midafternoon. “I’d rather stay here for now. Gives me an excellent view of everyone.”

“Keeps you from having to speak to anyone, you mean.” Phee winked knowingly.

“That too,” Juliet admitted. Her older sister knew her too well, and, in truth, neither of them had ever expected to be spending their holidays at a grand country estate. But Sophia, Lady Stamford, was Phee’s sister-in-law, and she and her husband Grey welcomed them as family.

“Well, when you wish to sit, you know where to find us.” Phee squeezed Juliet’s hand before releasing her. “We’ll save you a spot.”

As Juliet watched her loving, overprotective sister make her way across the room and snuggle on a settee next to her husband, a hush fell over the room. Laughter and the musical clink of glasses ceased. Whispers rose in their place. Everyone turned their attention toward the threshold, and Juliet eased onto her tiptoes to see past the group of gentlemen in front of her.

A man strode into the room—tall, disheveled, tawny-haired, and undeniably handsome. He cast his gaze around as if looking someone, and then grimaced, apparently seeing no one he recognized.

“Blackbourne.” One gentleman spat, as if referring to the worst scoundrel in England.

“I didn’t think he’d have the gall to show his face in polite society.” A lady gathered with her companion in front of Juliet and assessed the new guest.

“His name suits him, though it should truly be Blackguard.” The woman’s companion replied with such vehemence Juliet wondered if he’d done something to wound her personally.

Whoever he was, Juliet considered him a stroke of good luck. With everyone distracted, she could make her escape.

She slipped along the perimeter of the room and past the man who still held everyone’s attention. There was a library along the main corridor she’d been longing to explore.

“Ah, yes.” She smiled when she stepped into the cool, spacious room, lined from floor to ceiling with innumerable volumes. Was there a section on mathematics? Scrutinizing row after row, she was thrilled to find all of the classical thinkers represented as well as newer mathematicians she admired. She reached for a copy of Boole’s The Laws of Thought at the same moment someone twisted the latch on the library door.

Clutching Boole to her chest, she sprinted for one of the deep bay windows and climbed onto the seat, pulling the crimson drape forward for concealment.

Two heavy footsteps and then the door slid shut again. Juliet tipped her head toward the frost-crusted glass, praying the visitor would come and go quickly.

Instead, the man beelined for a liquor cart tucked between a lumpy chair and a plush settee. Broad shoulders, wrinkled coat, and overlong wavy chestnut hair. For a man who seemed to attract everyone’s notice, it seemed Mr. Blackbourne wished to be alone. And to drink.

Juliet watched him down a finger of amber liquid. Then pour himself another. And another. If he drank himself into a stupor and she was found alone with him…

She edged forward on the cushions. “They’ll serve you all the mulled wine you want in the drawing room.”

He didn’t seem particularly surprised to find her hiding behind the drapery. Just swept his gaze from her head to the tips of her boots and smirked. “And a heaping of derision and whispered condemnation. No, thank you.” He emptied his tumbler. “Why are you here? Shy or an infamous ne’er-do-well like me?”

“Neither. This is a library. I was looking for a book.”

He stared at the volume she clutched to her chest and then approached, brazenly prying the book from her hands. He smiled, a dazzling flash of straight white teeth, punctuated by dimples in each clean-shaven cheek as he examined the spine. “I approve.”

Juliet snatched the book back. “I don’t require your approval, sir. Nor your company.”

“The way out is over there,” he told her when she crossed the room toward a set of terrace doors.

“I want a bit of fresh air. And solitude.” Juliet turned her back on him, but he was an irritatingly impossible man to ignore. Retorts came bubbling to her mind, and she felt his gaze on her like a thing of mass and weight and heat.

“It’s nearly dark. A young lady shouldn’t be venturing out on her own.” He was already at her back, as if she’d invited him to accompany her.

“Nor should she be alone with an infamous ne’er-do-well.” Turning, she found him too close. Close enough for her to see the shadow of bronze stubble on his square jaw and gold sparks in the pale green of his eyes. He smelled of pine and cinnamon and whisky. “Leave me to my own devices, Mr. Blackbourne, and I shall happily leave you to yours.”

He flinched at the use of his name. “You’ve heard the rumors too.”

“I haven’t. I don’t like gossip and try not to listen to it.” But now she was desperately curious. “What awful thing are you supposed to have done?”

For some reason, her question elicited another of his dazzling smiles. A low chuckle followed, as if she’d told an amusing joke or said something witty. “Would you believe me if I said it was all a tragic misunderstanding? A fault of logic, if you like.”

“Perhaps. I find that people are often illogical.”

His eyes lit up as if a fire had ignited inside him. “I like you, Miss Book Lover. Tell me your name.”

Juliet hesitated. He seemed a dangerous man to know, and yet she found herself saying, “Juliet Marsden.”

“Alexander Blackbourne.” He bowed, an elegant sketch of gentlemanly deference before rising to his full height, shoulders back. “Miss Marsden, you needn’t escape into the snow. I’ll go and face the whisperers in the drawing room, and you can follow after you’ve had your fill of Boole’s theories on logic.”

“I want to escape into the snow, or at least feel it crunch under my boots.”

He glanced out the window and then grinned down at her. “May I escort you? They say no one should be alone on Christmas Eve.” His grin faded. “Or so my friends insisted when convincing me to join this blighted house party.”

No. The word was there. One tiny syllable, perched on the edge of her tongue. She’d wanted rid of the man from the moment he’d intruded upon the first private moment she’d had all day. But there was something in his eyes that called to her. Loneliness. Uncertainty. The same strange mix of discomfort and yearning she felt in a crowd. An eagerness to connect, and yet a fear of closeness too.

“Come on, then,” she said as she approached the terrace door.

He reached around to offer her his arm. “Mind your step. The stones could be slippery.”

Awareness jolted through her when she laid a hand on his forearm, and again when he placed his warm hand on top of hers.

“I’ve got you,” he assured when her boot skidded on the ice.

“Isn’t it beautiful?” The whole terrace had been frosted with diamond dust. A perfect, undisturbed layer of fresh snow glittered in the moonlight, and a few tiny flakes tickled her cheeks as they fell. Juliet closed her eyes and smiled up at the sky. The chilly air felt divine against her flushed cheeks.

“Yes.” Blackbourne’s voice had turned husky and low. “Extremely beautiful.”

When Juliet opened her eyes, he was standing in front of her, his head tilted as he watched her.

“Thank you, Juliet Marsden.”

“What did I do?”

“You’ve given me a gift. A memory to cherish.” He reached up to sweep his finger across her cheek where a snowflake had fallen. “Dare I hope that you’ll take a turn with me when the dancing begins?”

Juliet smiled. She too had regretted coming to this house party. But not at this moment. Not tonight. Not with a handsome man watching her with interest and anticipation in his gaze.

When she didn’t immediately answer, he frowned. She reached up to tap her lip, as if she needed to devote as much thought to his question as she would to a complex mathematical formula. Finally, she told him, “You approve of Boole, so that’s a point in your favor.”

“But everyone in that room thinks I’m a rogue,” he said, his voice raw with emotion.

“Even rogues should dare to hope, Mr. Blackbourne.” Juliet held his gaze and smiled again. “Especially on Christmas Eve.”

An Unconventional Wallflower…

Clarissa Ruthven was born to be a proper lady, but she’s never wanted to live up to the expectations her late father set. Determined to use her inheritance to help the less fortunate women of London, she’s devastated to learn that she won’t be inheriting anything until she marries, a fate she has no interest in. Unwilling to let go of her plans, Clary works at Ruthven Publishing for Gabriel Adamson, a man who’s always hated her. She’s always returned the feeling, but as she begins to turn her family’s publishing company upside down, she finds herself unable to forget her handsome boss.

Never Follows the Rules…

Gabriel Adamson believes in order. He certainly doesn’t believe Clary should be sticking her nose in the publishing company, and she definitely has no business invading his every thought. But Gabe soon finds he can’t resist Clary’s sense of freedom or her passionate kisses and he starts to crave everything she’s willing to give him.

Especially When It Comes to Love…

When Gabe’s dark past comes back to haunt him, he’ll do anything to make sure that Clary isn’t hurt…even if it means giving up the only woman he’s ever loved.

Purchase: | Amazon | KindleB&N | iBooks | Kobo |


Up For Grabs:
  • 1 $10 Amazon Gift Card
  • 1 Signed copy of A Study in Scoundrels

To Enter: 
  • Please fill out the Rafflecopter for entry.

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

Good Luck! 

Special thanks to Christy Carlyle for sponsoring this giveaway.
a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. I love that she is trying to help people. Great excerpt! Thanks for the chance to read the book!

    1. Thanks, Mary! Clary is one of my favorite heroines I've ever written, and it was fun because she was a teenager in the first book in the series and then my heroine in the final one. :)

  2. Happy Holidays, Christy! I have a long list of books I want to buy after Christmas and WOO is on it. I can't wait to read it!

    1. I'm so thrilled Woo is on your TBR! Thank you. :) I hope you like it. <3

  3. Sounds wonderful. Thanks for sharing the excerpt.
    Happy Holidays.
    Carol L
    Lucky4750 (at) aol (dot) com

    1. Thanks, Carol, for taking the time to read and comment! Happy Holidays to you too. <3

  4. This sounds so good Christy and I love the bold colors on the cover! This is on my to be read list. Happy Holidays!! Lori

  5. Great! Thanks so much for commenting. I hope you enjoy it. :)