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Sunday, December 10, 2017

A Historical Christmas Event with Erica Monroe

USA Today Bestselling Author Erica Monroe writes dark, suspenseful historical romance with an emphasis on social issues and women’s rights. She was a finalist in the published historical category for the prestigious Daphne du Maurier Award for Excellence in Romantic Suspense, and her books have been recommended reads at Fresh Fiction, Smexy Books, SBTB, and All About Romance. When not writing, she is a chronic TV watcher, sci-fi junkie, and comic book fanatic. She lives in the suburbs of North Carolina with her husband, two dogs, and a cat. Visit Erica online at and sign up for her new release newsletter at:

I’m thrilled to be part of Ramblings From This Chick’s Historical Christmas Event. Last year, I wrote about the first Christmas together for Abigail and Michael from BEAUTY AND THE RAKE, when they were surrounded with their family and friends. This year, I’ve written a different kind of first Christmas, for Mina and Charlie, who fled London (and the life they’d always known) in STEALING THE ROGUE’S HEART. The fifth book in the Rookery Rogues, THE LADY REBELS, will also touch on the gang war that Charlie and Mina’s love affair set in motion—it’s available for preorder at Kobo, iBooks, Barnes and Noble, and will be at Amazon closer to the May 29, 2018 release date.

December 24, 1833

Deal, England

Charlie Thatcher, erstwhile child pickpocket and member of the infamous Chapman Street Thieving Gang, had come a bloody long way from his roots in the stews of the East End.

Once, Charlie had thought family meant the people he was beholden to—those he shared blood with, like the brutal old drunk he called Father, or his brothers-in-arms in the gang. He owed them, or so they claimed: Father for birthing him, and the gang for taking him off the streets. Family was brutal and violent at its worst, and frankly unimpressive at its best. Families fought and bled for their patriarch, with no questions asked.

He’d thought the promises he made as a starving, scared kid would bind him for life. That his loyalties had already been sold, and he had no way out.

He’d thought he wasn’t worthy of love—not from the one woman he’d always wanted, but knew he couldn’t have. Even if he’d deserved her.

He’d been wrong.

And God, he’d never been so devastatingly, deliriously happy to be wrong. Being married to Mina made every day like a holiday, because he got to wake up next to her and go to bed with her tucked against his side. Every dream he’d ever had of how his life would turn out couldn’t compare to the life he had now.

He stood back from the doorway of the small white cottage on the Deal shoreline, surveying his handiwork. When they’d moved in a few months prior, the house had been in a bad state of disrepair. Their first night had been spent shivering in bed together, for the windows were cracked. The roof needed re-patching, as they’d quickly discovered when the season’s first storm brought buckets of rainwater inside. There were a hundred smaller issues; some he’d fixed, and some he’d pushed off until they had the funds and time. Though Mina’s brothers Joaquin and Cyrus had gifted them a substantial sum before they’d escaped London, they didn’t want to dip into that cash any more than they had to. Charlie had a job now at the neighborhood public house, bartending like he’d done at the Three Boars back in Ratcliffe, but without the fights and vitriol that so characterized his time in Chapman.

He’d repainted the shutters black, and the door to match, because Mina had said that the shoreline would make the black gleam vibrantly. He hadn’t cared at the time—never really had an opinion on color and fashion, things Mina managed effortlessly—but now, standing back a few feet with his hand shading his brow from the sun, he had to admit the little house looked good.

Like home.

The first real home he’d ever had, shared with the only person who’d ever loved and accepted him absolutely, questionable past be damned.

He walked back up to the house. Tweaked the red bows he’d tied onto the flower boxes in the windows, so that each one was centered with the ends of the bows plump and perfect. Fiddled with the evergreen boughs he’d hung over the door; checked the two nails he’d hung them with to make sure they’d stay up.

Then he dropped down on the stoop, elbows on his folded knees, chin resting in his hands, and waited.

A quarter of an hour passed with him like that, listening to the roar of the waves, checking his pocket watch every few seconds. Finally, finally, he saw Mina making her way down the path, her basket full with goods from the local market.

He couldn’t wait for her to walk up to the house. He was too giddy—like a kid—
eager to start the holiday he’d never given a fig about before. So he trotted off after her, meeting her with a grin that probably stretched the width of his face.

“Well, you certainly look happy,” Mina said, brows arching and skeptical smile twisting those kiss-worthy lips of hers.

“Why wouldn’t I be happy? I’m married to you.” He took the basket from her, then looped his free arm in hers.

“You know, whenever my brothers smiled like that, it meant trouble was coming and they didn’t want me to find out.” Mina’s brothers were in charge of the King of Spades, a rival gang to Chapman. “With you, it’s nice to see someone smiling and not wonder what they’re hiding.”

He winked at her. “This is probably not the best time for my surprise then.”

They crested the hill, their cottage on the beach visible now. Mina slowed to a stop, her eyes widening and her jaw dropping. Charlie’s heart squeezed. The time spent decorating was definitely well-spent, to see her so happy.

“Charlie!” She exclaimed, clapping her hands in delight. “It’s beautiful! When did you have time to do all of this?”

“When I told Jill what I wanted to do, she let me off early.” He loved working at the tavern—his bosses, Rod and Jill Bruner, were kind, genuine people, the likes of which Charlie had never really known before. They adored Mina, and had made it their mission to make the Thatchers feel like part of their family.


There it was again. Charlie pulled Mina to him, placing a kiss on the crown of her head. He’d learned in the last year what family really meant. It wasn’t about obligations or fealty, but instead, about love.

“Happy Christmas, Mina,” he said. “I love you.”

“Happy Christmas, Charlie.” She leaned her head against his chest, grinning up at him. “I love you too. And you’re not the only one with a surprise.”

He drew back from her, giving her a quizzical look. “I’m not?”

“No. I wanted to wait until I was absolutely sure before I told you.” Mina’s smile matched his own, but there was something else there. Uncertainty? He couldn’t be sure.

He squeezed her arm reassuringly. “You can tell me anything. You know that.”

“We are going to have a child,” she said, all in one big breath. “I am increasing.”

“Oh, Minnie!” He dropped the basket on the steps, sweeping her up in his arms, twirling her around in his excitement. “This is wonderful, wonderful news!”

Then he realized he didn’t know the slightest about babies, or women who were with child, and he promptly set her back down on the ground, lest he hurt her. “Ahem. I mean—”

“That this is the best of holidays,” Mina finished for him, all doubt gone from her face.

He didn’t have a lot to compare to, but he figured nothing could get better than this. He had Mina, he had a home, and soon, he’d have another member of their family. “The very, very best.”

Scoundrels, thieves and rebels inhabit the rookeries--where the women are fierce and the men are dangerous.


Beautiful, innocent Mina Mason has led a sheltered life as the sister to the most notorious crime lord in England. Her family's wealth and expectations keep her in a gilded cage, never able to act on her true desires. Like kissing -- and engaging in far more scandalous behavior with--Charlie Thatcher, her childhood best friend. As a member of a rival gang, Charlie is distinctly off-limits.


Charlie Thatcher has known since he was a boy where his loyalties should lie: with the Chapman Street Thieves, who saved him from a brutal death in the dark alleys of the Ratcliffe rookery. As a bartender for the Three Boars public house, he protects his fellow brothers with his mind and his fists. But when one of those members threatens Mina's safety, Charlie's primal, protective instincts are triggered--and his defense of her puts them both in danger.



Stealing the Rogue's Heart is a dark, gritty, and sexy romantic suspense set in pre-Victorian working class London. While it is book four in the Rookery Rogues series, it can be read as a stand-alone historical romance novella.

Purchase: | Amazon | B&N | iTunes | Kobo |


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  1. Thank you for this post. A great excerpt. I look forward to reading it. I definitely have to read the series. Happy Holidays.
    Carol L
    Lucky4750 (at) aol (dot) com