Saturday, December 21, 2019

A Historical Christmas Event with Minerva Spencer

Minerva Spencer has been a criminal prosecutor, college history teacher, and B&B operator. What it doesn't tell you is she also worked as a dock worker, ice cream manufacturer, reader for the blind, motel maid, and bounty hunter.

Okay, so the part about being a bounty hunter is a lie.

Minerva does, however, know how to hypnotize a Dungeness crab, sew her own Regency Era clothing, knit a frog hat, juggle, rebuild a 1959 American Rambler, and gain control of Asia (and hold on to it) in the game of RISK.

Minerva also writes under the name S.M. LaViolette

Her next book is: THE MUSIC OF LOVE is Book 1 in The Academy of Love Series, which will debut December 31, 2020.

The scene below takes place right after my heroine, Oona Parker, has been wrongfully fired from her job as shop girl. Oona used to be a governess in a peer’s house, which is where she met the hero—Justin Taylor—a decade earlier. Juss was a groom at the time and is now a very wealthy man in a position to offer Oona a job.

A Second Chance for Love

“I’m s-sorry?” Oona said.

“You heard me.”

Oona stared at him and he stared back. She had heard him. She opened her mouth to ask, but couldn’t seem to manage the words.

She could tell by his relaxed posture that he was contented to watch her in silence and that the only way he’d give her any further information was if she scraped up the courage to ask.

So she swallowed convulsively and then said, “W-what kind of position?”

The right side of his mouth pulled up slowly. “The position of mistress—my mistress.”


The shock and horror and disbelief on her face was amusing, even if it wasn’t very flattering toward Juss. Of course her body language said something else, entirely. He’d seen the same reaction in women times beyond counting. Not women of his class, but women of hers.

Gentlewomen who were both attracted and repelled by his physicality; women who saw him as a ‘bit of rough,’ a prospect they found physically—if not mentally—arousing.

Justin let her squirm just a moment longer before saying, “Don’t worry, Miss Parker, I don’t mean you’d really need to become my mistress, I just need you to assume the title for a week.”

Juss wondered if it was possible for a human jaw to come unhinged and had just begun to think she’d never speak to him again—about anything—when she said, “How much?”

“I beg your pardon?” he asked, even though he knew exactly what she meant. He just wanted to hear her say it again.

“How much will you pay me and for how long?” The words had icicles on them.

“Seven hundred pounds for seven days.”

Her gasp cut through the cold air of the carriage. “A hundred pounds a day,” she whispered hoarsely.

Juss didn’t think it was a question so he didn’t answer. Instead he watched her from beneath lowered lids, amused that she didn’t seem to notice or care that she was showing her hand so clearly. Oh yes, she would take this position, there was no doubt about it.

Her lips were parted and her eyes were wide, her breathing shallow and rapid. Juss knew he should feel bad about the offer he’d just made because he was positive she couldn’t afford to refuse it. The truth was that, as amusing as it would be to have her company, he didn’t really need her to make the venture—one he’d been contemplating for a full decade—fulfilling. But providence, it seemed, had dropped her into his lap. Who was he to reject such a gift?

Besides, the trip North was long and tedious and he’d enjoy toying with that prim reserve of hers and seeing what was beneath it. He’d also enjoy learning just how she’d fallen off her pedestal of virtue. In sum, he’d just enjoy having her company for a week.

“Seven hundred pounds for seven days,” she said again, as if the words were some kind of talisman. She cut him a nervous glance. “And you say I just need to assume the title of mistress?” Her eyes flickered over his person in a way that made his breath catch. His cock was certainly interesting in what she was saying, but the notion of paying any woman—and that included whores—was repugnant to him.

If Juss wanted her, she’d come to him freely.

“I’ll secure adjoining rooms at the posting inns and we’ll certainly have our own rooms at the house where we are going. So, no,” he gave her a half-smile, “warming my bed is not part of your mistressly duty.”

He saw relief on her heart-shaped face, but there was something else, too—regret? Or was that merely arrogant, wishful thinking? Likely the latter.

But then her brow furrowed. “I don’t understand. Why would you need me to pretend to be your mistress? Surely you can secure a real one?”

He smiled. “You needn’t concern yourself with my reasons, Miss Parker.”

Her eyes narrowed and he knew she wanted to give him a blistering set-down. But she wanted the money more. “Starting when?”

“I’m leaving the day after tomorrow.”


“You sound like a hen, Miss Parker.”

Her green eyes, which made emeralds appear dull by comparison, widened and she opened her mouth—no doubt to scold or snap at him—but then she closed it, her forehead furrowing.

“Go on,” he said. “Ask everything you can think of right now.”

“That means we will be gone over Christmas?”


She swallowed, her expression almost. . . tragic. In Justin’s experience only one thing made a woman look so forlorn: a lover.

“Did you have plans for the holiday, Miss Parker?”

She took a deep breath and then let it out slowly. “Nothing that can’t be changed.”

Juss frowned, his curiosity roused more than was good for him—nor the woman across from him.

He’d just decided to give it free rein when she said, “My clothing.” She gestured to her person, as if Juss might not know what clothing was. “I’m not prepared for a country hou—”

“I’ll pay for clothing that would be appropriate for my mistress.”

“Appropriate clothing,” she repeated the words carefully, her cheeks flushing darkly.

Juss wanted to laugh; just what the hell was she imagining in that beautiful head of hers? Clearly something scandalous—as if he were planning to dress her in a fig leaf, or less. Juss bit back a smile. Well, he had no intention of enlightening her. At least not right now.

“Yes, appropriate.” he confirmed in a deliberately silky tone. “I will purchase clothing for your body that pleases me.” She jolted at the word ‘body’ and it was all he could do not to laugh. Whatever act of debauchery she’d engaged in to lose her governessing job, it must have been on the tame side if the mere discussion of garments could make her so anxious Juss smiled; this was a perk he’d not expected.

You’re a bad, bad man Justin Taylor.

Oh yes, he was. But then he’d always known that. Miss Parker had probably suspected he was bad all along, and now she knew for certain.

“How will you find clothing in such a short time?” she asked.

“You let me worry about that.”

“You would want to go shopping—”

“If you agree to my offer we will turn around and go right now.”

She licked her lips, the unintentionally sensual gesture causing him to stiffen. “I assume you need an answer quickly?”
He smiled.

“Very well, I accept your offer.” She said the words so swiftly they all ran together. “But I shall want half the money in advance.”

Juss could hold his laughter in check no longer: this was going to be the best damned Christmas he’d ever had.

Justin Taylor hasn’t seen Oona Parker for a decade, but he’s never forgotten her. How could he ever forgive or forget the woman who ruined his life? Surely the gods of vengeance have placed her in his path for a reason?

Oona can hardly reconcile the wealthy, successful businessman standing before her with the handsome but poor young groom she once knew. Juss Taylor might look different, but he still exerts the same dangerous pull over her thoughts and body as he ever did.

When Oona loses her job it’s Juss who steps in and offers her a position that will last only seven days but pay enough to support Oona and her young daughter for years. All she has to do is accompany Juss to a house party and pretend to be his mistress.

It all sounds so simple.

So why does Oona believe feel there’s more to Juss’s offer than what she can see on the surface?

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  1. I loved that excerpt and now, of course,I want to read the rest of the story! lol Thank you so much for the chance, Minerva. Merry Christmas to you and yours xo

    1. Thank you Carole! So glad to *see* you again. Merry Christmas to you, too!

  2. I enjoyed this. thanks for the sharing!

  3. Awesome book to get into the christmas spirit.

  4. Looking forward to reading The Highland pride series! Thank you

  5. Thanks for sharing the great excerpt. Merry Christmas!

    1. Thanks for taking the time to read my stuff, Booklady!

  6. What a wonderful excerpt! :) I love it!

  7. Replies
    1. Hahahaha! I love the bad boys--it's so much fun to get them on their knees!

  8. That was awesome. Now, I definitely want to read their story. Thank you so much Minerva. I'll be looking forward to read this. Happy Holidays to you & your family.
    Carol Luciano
    Lucky4750 at aol dot com

  9. thanks for the excerpt. Merry christmas
    clarksuzannah (at) gmail (dot) com

  10. Love the excerpt! Can’t wait to read what reasons Oona had for getting fired and Juss’s reason for asking her to be his mistress.

  11. Why do I have a feeling that it is going to be Juss falling hard? LOL

  12. This comment has been removed by the author.

  13. This book is definitely on my TBR list!

  14. Oona is a very interesting name, how do you come up with names for your characters?