It's release day! Now that the Christmas season is in full swing, it's time for those warm, cozy Christmas reads. Love for Christmas
, at 18,000 words, is the perfect length for a quick read. And, just to stir your interest here's the blurb and a quick excerpt.
’Tis the season—for love.
Falling in love at first sight—with another man’s wife—was hell for Phillip Houghton. Never mind that he knew Julianna’s husband to be a thoroughly unsavory man, the ring on her finger meant she was off limits.
Even after the man’s untimely death, Phillip put even more distance between them, leaving the country to give her time to heal. Three years later he is back, and determined that nothing will let her slip through his fingers. Not even his status as a second son.
To all outward appearances, Julianna is content with her life as a widow with two small children. On the inside, the scars of her husband’s abuse feed her general distrust of men. Phillip makes her painfully aware of how lonely her life truly is, but why marry again when she has all the family, and security, she needs?
Yet as Phillip wins over her parents and children, she finds herself drawn to him. Dare she trust her mind—and her heart—for a second chance with forever written all over him?
Never underestimate a man who is willing to deal with a two-year-old in tantrum mode.
Uncle Arthur was not alone and Julianna felt a moment’s apprehension when he entered and introduced his companion. Once that wore off and she mentally acquitted her aunt and uncle of matchmaking, she had to discipline herself not to stare.
Phillip Houghton’s tall, broad-shouldered frame dwarfed the small parlor. His wine-red hair was combed carefully back from a wide, smooth forehead above dark eyes that—had she imagined it?—turned warm as they were introduced. Full lips stretched into a heart-stopping smile and she had to school herself not to blush as they brushed across the back of her hand, sending a rush of awareness throughout her body and doubling her heart rate.
“I realize that I’m a bit late, but please accept my condolences, my lady, on the loss of your husband.” His smooth, rich voice sent a pleasurable shiver down her spine.
Surprise held her immobile for a moment, then she responded in kind. “And, mine likewise, on the loss of your sister.” She paused when he seemed unresponsive. “It was about the same time, wasn’t it?”
She remembered that both had died three years past, around the same time.
Mr. Houghton stiffened, but replied, “Yes, it was. Thank you.”
Her aunt and uncle watched the by-play between them, seemingly surprised by such specific knowledge of each other’s families. It was not out of the ordinary. The ton was such a small, tight-knit society that very little happened to one of its members that didn’t eventually become known to the rest. Her aunt and uncle did not move within the ton’s circle, happy to remain within the academia of Oxford.
“Come and sit, Phillip,” her aunt said, snapping her out of the haze she was floating in. “It’s good to see you again.”
He smiled as he turned to her aunt. “Ah, Madam, you grow lovelier every year.”
She chuckled in response. “And you are still a rascal.”
The four sat as Mary brought in a fresh pot of tea and two more cups.
“How fares your brother in America?”
Phillip accepted a cup from Aunt Celeste as he answered her question. “He is well and enjoying his new home. He has married and his wife is quite charming. They should have a new addition to their little family by now.”
“You didn’t stay to meet your new niece or nephew?” Julianna asked.
He shook his head. “No. I had the distinct impression I was in the way, and I wanted to return to England before the end of the year.” He paused and Julianna thought she saw a glimpse of sadness in his eyes before he continued. “It was a long enough way to travel to be the bearer of sad news so I stayed with them for three entire months before returning. Still, I was glad I made the trip. America is an interesting country.”
Glancing up at the clock, she noticed the time and excused herself to wash and change for dinner. As she climbed the staircase, her thoughts strayed back to Phillip.
Her best friend Corinna was his youngest sister, yet Julianna had never met him. Had she even noticed him before? She didn’t think so. He would have been difficult to forget. Even now, her heart was still racing at the warmth she’d felt when his eyes touched her. No one had ever affected her like that. Not even Vincent, and she had once imagined herself in love with him.
I've already bought my copy. Do you have yours yet?
B & N
I'll post another excerpt either this afternoon or tomorrow.
Labels: Love for Christmas, Release Day, Samhain, Short Story, Victorian