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Friday, December 22, 2017

A Historical Christmas Event with Janna MacGregor

Janna MacGregor was born and raised in the bootheel of Missouri. She credits her darling mom for introducing her to the happily-ever-after world of romance novels. Janna writes stories where compelling and powerful heroines meet and fall in love with their equally matched heroes. She is the mother of triplets and lives in Kansas City with her very own dashing rogue, and two smug, but not surprisingly, perfect pugs. She loves to hear from readers. 

Every year, Miss Avalon Marchant’s brother, Lord Simon Marchant and his wife, Lady Corinne Marchant, host a huge Christmas Eve party for their houseguests at the viscount’s ancestral estate. When Ava sees the man of her dreams kiss another woman under the mistletoe, she’s convinced this is the worst holiday ever. But, with a little bit of holiday magic, perhaps her worst day turns into a dream come true. 

Red Ribbons and Rogues

Ordinarily, the smells of mulled wine and evergreens made Miss Avalon Marchant happy—not just happy—but ecstatic for her favorite time of the year. The scents combined into an enchantment that surely brought forth all sorts of Christmas magic. She only hoped that miracles were a byproduct of some of that elusive magic.

She desperately needed one tonight.

Cocooned in the library with a beloved book, she gritted her teeth. She’d tried five times to read the same page, but merrymaking sounds from the crowded salon down the hall interrupted her peace. Earlier, she’d entered the room where festive couples danced, flirted, and when they thought no one was looking, stole kisses from each other. Ostentatious displays of mistletoe decorated with bright ribbon and ivy hung from every available doorway, window latch, and staircase landing.

All this revelry was enough to convince Ava that a Christmas faery had landed in their midst and had cast a spell over everyone except her. Taking a sip of her family’s famous—not to mention—delicious mulled wine, Ava peeked at the library door wishing for a little holiday miracle to come her way—her very own Christmas beau to walk right into the room.

A year ago, she’d thought it inevitable that she’d have such a man.

Someone who would take her skating at the pond at twilight.

Someone who would keep a handy sprig of mistletoe in his pocket for yuletide kisses under the staircase.

Someone who would seek her hand in marriage.

That someone, namely Julian deLisle, the Earl of Winterford, hadn’t spared a glance Ava’s way when he’d entered her home this evening for the holidays. Accompanied by a beautiful woman who reminded Ava of a regal ice queen, Julian had immediately swept the woman into his arms right under the mistletoe that guarded the entry door.

Ava had waited all day for his arrival. At the sight of Julian and the woman in an embrace, anger, hotter than a blacksmith’s fire, had blasted through her. She’d vowed not to subject herself to the torture of watching Julian kiss another woman. The only safe course was to find a refuge. Some place she could collect her composure.

The library, her favorite place in the house, always had provided succor when she needed it. She and Julian had shared their first kiss in this very room last Christmas. Ava had thought this holiday…well, what she thought was foolish if she believed Julian would declare his intentions this Christmas.

The smell of the library’s evergreen boughs did little to calm Ava’s ire. Her mind refused to quiet. Right now, the cad was probably holding court under the mistletoe with every available female attending the family’s annual Christmas Eve party.

A dull ache throbbed in her chest. She’d tried to blame her suffering on the extra serving of fruitcake she’d had after dinner, but deep down she couldn’t deny the truth. It was Julian.

Ava straightened her shoulders and forced her attention back to her book. Always a tad willful, she decided to push her unhappiness aside like long-forgotten toys of Christmas past. She’d not let that bounder’s behavior have any further effect on her.

The library door swept open, and the happy sounds from the party rushed in like meddlesome busybodies. Without looking up from her book, she let out an exasperated sigh. “The room is occupied.”

Surely, the intruder would see and hear they were not welcome.

“Could you squeeze in another?” a man whispered.

Ava’s feigned attention to her book snapped at Julian’s husky-dark voice.

The wretched rogue took command of the room like a formally dressed pirate—tall, dark, and dangerously handsome. Her perfidious eyes traveled the length of his body from his perfectly shined boots to his immaculate evening coat. The elegant tailoring of his clothes emphasized his perfect physique. His black hair glistened in the candlelight making her fingers itch to tangle in the long locks.

She made the mistake of glancing at Julian’s face. His enchanting blue eyes twinkled with delight. Her bravado immediately deflated, and her resolve melted.

“Go away, Julian,” she whispered. “I want to be alone.”

 Her mind screamed “liar,” as she pursed her lips to keep from asking him to join her.

“I can’t. I have an assignation planned this evening.” A wicked smile tugged at his lips. “In this very room.”

She could only stare at his boldness. In this very room, they’d shared kisses last Christmas, but the kiss they’d shared during the late autumn was tantamount to a proposal. Had she mistaken his affections? With an unladylike gasp, she drew a deep breath. It would be her luck that Julian—of all the people in the kingdom—would pick her hideaway to meet a woman.

“When?” Ava asked. What she really wanted to know was with whom, but she’d not lose her dignity by asking.

“Shortly. However, I’m glad you’re here. I have something for you.” He pulled a small package wrapped in plain paper and tied with a red ribbon. “This evening, I’ve given a token of the season to all the ladies present. I kept yours for last.”

With as much grace as she could muster, Ava stood. “What is it?”

Julian closed the distance between them, then handed her the gift. “Open it, and find out.”

She untied the ribbon and slipped the paper free. Inside was a small book hardly bigger than the palm of her hand. When she opened the first page, there was a small painting of a blazing yule log in a fireplace. The image so lifelike, she could almost feel the heat radiating from the fire.

She peered up at his face and wished she hadn’t. His eyes flashed with excitement, another reminder of how devastatingly handsome he was. “It’s beautiful. Did you paint it yourself?”

He nodded. “Turn the page.”

A vase with an arrangement of red roses, holly, and ivy was the subject of the second painting. Her favorite flower and greeneries combined. “Oh, Julian,” she whispered. “You’re very talented.”

The words were sorely inadequate to describe his work. Each piece of art displayed his amazing ability to capture something so ordinary in life and turn it into something breathtaking. Unsurprisingly, each page revealed his wonderful passion for life. A passion she wanted to share. An unwanted rush of tears blurred her eyesight. She willed them away with a blink. “I don’t have a gift for you.”

“Maybe you’ll have one for me later,” Julian whispered as he smiled again. “Go to the next one.”

The next few pages depicted a sleigh with horses bedecked in bright festive ribbons and bells, followed by a gathering of carolers outside on a snowy night. The next was a cornucopia of holiday delights—a plum pudding, mincemeat pies, and roasted chestnuts. Page after page contained miniature paintings and sketches of her favorite things at Christmastide—snow on a moonlit night, perfect icicles lined in a neat row, a church sanctuary decorated throughout with evergreens, two pairs of skates hanging from a barn hook, and a tabletop teeming with the recipe ingredients for her family’s mulled wine and two mugs.

“These are my favorite things at Christmas.” Carefully, she trailed her fingers around the corners of the book. “This must have taken you months to paint and draw. Did you do this for every woman here?” she asked incredulously.

“Your book took me about six months to create. Go to the last page, and I think you’ll have the answer to your question.”

Ava nodded without looking at him. If he smiled again, she’d make a fool of herself with her wayward tears. She had to remember he had “an assignation” later on in this very room. She knew she shouldn’t, but her curiosity always got the better of her. Before she turned the page, she had to know whom he was meeting—even if it broke her heart.

“Are you meeting the woman you brought to the party?” Her voice trembled, betraying her misery. With tears in her eyes, Ava stared at the book fearful to look anywhere else. It was stupid to have spoken the words aloud, and secretly, she hoped for both their sakes he didn’t answer.

“Is that why you’re angry with me?” Gently, he tugged her chin upward. “Look at me, Ava.”

She blinked once for fortitude, then forced her gaze to his.

“The woman I brought to the party is my widowed cousin, Isabelle. This is the first year she’s by herself at Christmas. I asked your brother if I could bring her. I wanted to come to you sooner, but I needed to introduce Isabelle to everyone before I left her alone. No, I’m not meeting her here.”

One renegade tear fell. “I’m so foolish.”

“No. You aren’t.” Gently, he pressed his lips against hers, then drew back. “You are a brilliant and beautiful woman. Now, turn the page.”

With trembling fingers, she managed to flip to the last page. There was no sketching, but two words, Marry me?

Her gaze flew to his. The uncertainty in his eyes was something she’d never seen.

“That’s the gift I want for Christmas. Will you marry me?”

For a moment, his words robbed her ability to speak. Julian was proof that Christmas miracles were real.

“Yes, I’ll marry you.” Her tears, laughter, and utter joy combined into a maelstrom she couldn’t control, and she didn’t care. Without hesitating, she launched herself into his arms. “I love you.”

Julian kissed her with a tender passion that made her knees weak. He held her tight as if he’d never let her go.

She definitely would never let him go.

“Now, you know the identity of the woman I was meeting here for my assignation.” Gently, he kissed the tender spot right below her ear. “The love of my life.”

He would do anything to protect her. Even marry her…

The son of a cold-hearted duke, Nicholas St. Mauer isn’t one to involve himself in society…or open his own heart to anyone. But driven by honor, the reclusive Earl of Somerton feels obliged to keep a watchful eye on Lady Emma Cavensham. She possesses a penchant for passions unbecoming a woman that finds Nick in constant peril of losing his well-structured solitude. She even dared kiss Nick once—an utterly unladylike, and delightful, lapse…

Emma can’t deny the appeal of the earl’s attention, and occasional affection, but she has no need for a man. There are worse fates than spinsterhood, as Emma knows too well. She still mourns the loss of her dear friend Lena, and is determined to prove Lena’s husband responsible for her death before he lures another innocent woman into a brutal marriage. But as Emma pursues her prey, a compromising moment upends all her plans. Now, with gossip swirling and her reputation in tatters, Nick may be the only man brave enough to join in Emma’s cause. . .and fight for her heart.

The Bride Who Got Lucky is a sweeping Regency romance from Janna MacGregor in her Cavensham Heiresses series.

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

Check out the Spy in the Ton series:

Up For Grabs:
  • 1 Signed copy of The Bride Who Got Lucky

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

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

Good Luck! 

Special thanks to Janna MacGregor for sponsoring this giveaway.
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  1. Thank you so much for having me here today. This is always one of my favorite features during the holiday season. I gobble up these holiday stories. We're in the final stretch of the holiday season, and I can't wait! Hope you all are relaxing with family and friends. I hope you enjoy Ava and Julian's story! XO, Janna

  2. Sounds like a great book, loved the excerpt! Thank you for the chance! Happy Holidays!

    1. Hi Mary! Thank you for the kind words. Glad you liked the scene. I hope you and yours have a fabulous holiday season, also! Best, Janna

  3. Janna,
    Always happy for the chance to win one of your books!♡

    1. Hi Lynne! Thank you so much for stopping by! I'm keeping my fingers crossed! XO

  4. I'm so emotional this Holiday season. :) In a good way. I loved Julian and Ava's story. Filled with happy emotions. Thank you for sharing it with us. Happy Holidays !
    Carol Luciano
    Lucky4750 (at) aol (dot) com

    1. Hi Carol! Thank you so much for stopping by! I'm delighted you enjoyed Ava and Julian's story. It was a fun one to write. BTW-You've made my day. Hope you and yours have a lovely holiday season, too! XO

  5. Happy Holidays, Janna! I look forward to reading, BRIDE. I'm having a rough time this year and reading is my favorite way to escape. Especially Historical Romance. I can leave my troubles behind and go to Europe. :-)

    1. Hi MelK! Thank you so much for stopping by! I hope you get a chance to read The Bride Who Got Lucky! Historical romance is always a comfort read for me, too! I hope 2018 is a wonderful year for you. Happy holidays to you and yours! Good luck! XO, Janna

  6. Happy Holidays and thank you for the chance in the giveaway :)

    1. Hi Debra, thank you so much! Happy holidays to you, too! Good luck! XO, Janna

  7. Merry Christmas, Janna! Such a cute short story! Thank you! I'm not entering since I've already got a print copy of The Bride Who Got Lucky!

    1. Hi Glenda! Thank you so much! This is the first time I've ever written a short story, and I wasn't certain how it would turn out. I so appreciate the kind words! I'm so glad you have a copy of The Bride Who Got Lucky! I just love Emma and Somerton's story! Happy holidays to you and yours! XO, Janna

  8. Hi Janna, Wow, I loved the excerpt, just like I loved your book, The Bad Luck Bride. You really do have some gorgeous book covers, I'm keeping my fingers crossed. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

    1. Hi Diane! Thank you so much for stopping by! It means a ton to me that you liked the excerpt, plus that you loved The Bad Luck Bride. Alex and Claire are near and dear to my heart! LOL! Good luck in the giveaway, and I hope you and yours have a lovely holiday season. XO, Janna