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“Holiday Ever After,” a romance short story anthology from LARA!

winter-holidays-romance-from-los-angeles-romance-authors

I’m thrilled that my sensual Regency short story, “Bed of Sweet Surrender,” was chosen to be included in this amazing new collection of contemporary, historical and paranormal holiday romances from LARA – the Los Angeles Romance Authors. All proceeds benefit the chapter, so please download your copy today from the buy links below and find some wonderful new stories (and maybe some “new-to-you” authors, as well!) to get you in the mood…for the holidays, that is!

Amazon.com    B&N.com   Kobo.com   iTunes.Apple.com

EXCERPT from “Bed of Sweet Surrender”:

By the middle of the carol, when the Wise Men came from country far, John wondered where Miss Jennings had disappeared to. Standing at the rear of the group assembled around the pianoforte, he slipped away and went to look for her. His plan to see his fiancée often and convince her of his affections had so far been less than successful.

He paused at the open door to the dining room and found her there, seated alone, with no servant in sight. For once, she looked relaxed, her eyes closed as she put the last bite of a piece of gingerbread in her mouth, then licked the crumbs from her fingertips and sighed in pleasure, savouring the taste. Her honey-blonde hair shone in the candlelight, making her an entrancing sight to behold.

For a moment, he forgot to breathe. “Miss Jennings,” he found his voice at last, even if it came out barely a whisper.

Her blue eyes flew open and she gasped, bolting upright in her chair. “Mr. Ashton, I’m sorry, I—”

“Don’t.” He held up his hand to stall her as he advanced into the room. “You have no reason to apologize. Once we’re married, if you wish to eat gingerbread every day of the year, you may do so.”

She stood then with a sway and clung to the table for support. “I fear the wine has gone straight to my head, sir.” He covered the distance between them in seconds and pulled her against him, afraid she might fall if he did not. She turned her face up to his, looking startled.

Whether it was the two cups of the punch he’d had or simply the opportunity, he would never know, but he would kiss her now or die in the attempt.

 

 

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Christmas traditions in the time of Jane Austen

Regency Christmas dinner complete with pudding

The Regency period of English history was technically only the years 1811-1820, but practically ran the adult life of King George IV, from the late 1700’s through to 1830, and is sometimes referred to today known as the “long Regency.” Christmas in those days was most definitely not the commercial holiday we celebrate today. There was no mad rush to shop for the latest gadgets, no stockings hung by the fire with care, and certainly no white-bearded gentleman with a sleigh and reindeer flying through the night skies.

Attending church service on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day was a must for the English in Regency times, although only a few of the carols we sing now would have been sung in church then as hymns, such as The First Nowell.(Yes, that spelling is the correct one!)

Instead of everyone looking forward to just December 24th or the 25th, a Regency Christmas was a much longer celebration of dancing and dining spread out over the period of ‘Christmastide,’ from Christmas Eve to January 6th, Twelfth Night. (Hence, ‘The Twelve Days of Christmas.’)

Preparations, however, began long before December 24th. ‘Stir-up Sunday,’ the Sunday before Advent, marked the unofficial start to the Christmas Season, so-called because of the traditional church service held that day, but also becoming the day that Christmas puddings and cakes were prepared, in order to allow enough time for them to ‘mature’ (which called for regular doses of brandy!)

Jane AustenChristmas was a time to reflect upon one’s religious faith and to enjoy the companionship of friends and family. Jane Austen mentions Christmas in each of her six major novels. For instance, in Emma, she wrote, “At Christmas everybody invites their friends about them, and people think little of even the worst weather.” In addition, the aristocracy and the landed gentry were expected to entertain their tenants and neighbors and show generosity through charitable acts.

During the four-week period from Advent until Epiphany, the upper classes held balls, parties, dinners and other social events, welcoming both family and friends. Since everyone was usually together, it was also a time for courtships and weddings. Even though there was no Santa Claus, December 6th, St. Nicholas’s Day, was marked by the giving of small gifts. There was no exchange of presents on the 25th itself, but giving ‘Christmas Boxes’ of food and gently-used items of clothing and household goods to servants and to charity was the custom on St. Stephen’s Day, the day after Christmas, now celebrated as ‘Boxing Day.’

Holly, ivy, evergreen and laurel were brought into the house on Christmas Eve, since it was considered unlucky to bring greenery inside before Christmas. These remained in place until the Epiphany on January 6, when they were taken down and often burned to prevent bad luck for the rest of the year. Indoor decorated trees were rare and found only in a few houses of wealthy families with German connections, where they were a long-standing tradition.

Of course, we can’t forget mistletoe, although the custom was more likely practiced below stairs than above. (The requirement of plucking a berry every time a kiss was stolen beneath the bough was already in place, and once the berries were gone, alas, the kissing was over.)

Christmas Day meant Christmas dinner, with the best a family could afford…turkey, goose (the most traditional), mutton, or venison might be served, and for the rich, the table could be laden with all of these at once. A Christmas dinner would not be deemed complete without the aforementioned pudding. The pudding would be doused with even more brandy and then set aflame, a key theatrical aspect of the holiday celebration.

(For the brave of heart among you, or for those who just enjoy setting their food on fire, some traditional holiday pudding recipes can be found at: http://britishfood.about.com/od/christmas/a/xmaspud.htm )

Epiphany on January 6th marked the official end of Christmas festivities. It was yet another feast day to mark the coming of the Magi, and as a result was the traditional day to exchange gifts.

Joseph-Grimaldi_1630699cOne final English Christmas tradition that was present in Jane Austen’s time and is still alive today is the Christmas pantomime. The pantomime usually opened on Boxing Day. Joseph Grimaldi, the famous clown who lived from 1779 to 1837, regularly performed in one at Drury Lane Theatre in London, a theatre often visited by characters in Regency romances.

“You Never Forget Your First Earl,” new Regency romance from Ella Quinn

BLURB:

With her three good friends all recently married, Elizabeth Turley is ready for some husband-hunting of her own. One gentleman in particular sparks her interest. Geoffrey, Earl of Harrington is tall, handsome, and dashing. He’s also just a bit too sure of himself. But Elizabeth has observed enough about the rules of attraction to pique the earl’s attention. Yet once she has it, the discovery of a troubling secret taints her future happiness . . .

Lord Harrington must marry or lose a prestigious position in Brussels, and pretty, well-connected Elizabeth fits his needs admirably. But could it be that he has underestimated his bride? She doesn’t bat an eye in the face of the danger they encounter overseas. She’s strong-willed, intelligent, and more enticing each day—yet also more indifferent to him. Now Geoffrey faces his greatest challenge: to woo and win his own wife, or risk losing her for good . . .

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

EXCERPT:

Once Gavin had accompanied Lord Harrington into the house, her aunt looked at Elizabeth. “Well, what did you think?”

“After his initial stiffness, he was quite charming.” Even if he didn’t kiss her fingers.

“He’s a handsome man,” her aunt mused.

She had studied him as he’d strolled off with Gavin. She had been right. It was clear his tall frame and broad shoulders had no need of padding anywhere. “Yes. His eyes in particular are a beautiful color blue. They almost match the sapphire he wore.” His hair was blond but slightly darker than hers. “I like the way his hair curls.”

“But he is not pretty,” Aunt said. “Not like Byron.”

“No. He is very manly looking. His jaw is firm.” Not able to get the vision of his shoulders and shapely legs out of her mind, Elizabeth fought the urge to sigh. She might be a little too interested in his physical attributes.

“And he was attentive to you,” her aunt prodded.

“Yes, he was very attentive.” Especially when he talked about going abroad. In fact, that was almost the only thing he discussed. He had not asked anything about her likes and dislikes.

“Very well.” Her aunt’s tone was a bit impatient. “He is tall, blond, and handsome. He appears, from his conversation, to be intelligent and well read. He comes from a good family. He will be a marquis someday, and he wishes to be wed.” Aunt Bristow arched a brow. “Tell me. What is it about him that you do not like?”

Her aunt was right. Something about Lord Harrington had struck Elizabeth as . . . off. She pushed is physical looks aside and focused on what was bothering her. Lord knows it wasn’t his appearance. It was not his demeanor as such. It was . . . was he really interested in her? “He wants this position so badly that I believe he will marry any suitable lady just to have it.” She scrunched up her face. “Do you know what I mean?” Her aunt stared at her, clearly not understanding. She’d have to find a different way to put it. “It strikes me that in a way he is like a fortune hunter. He does not care who he weds, so long as he can have what he wants. In the case of a fortune hunter it is the money. In Lord Harrington’s case, it is the position with Sir Charles.” She rubbed the space between her eyes, trying to ease the tension she felt. “I do not wish to be the means to an end.”

Aunt rang the bell on the table next to her. “You do not think he cares if his affections are engaged.”

A footman appeared carrying two glasses and a decanter of claret. After setting it down, he returned to the house.

“I am not even sure if he cares about compatibility.”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

AUTHOR Bio and Links:

USA Today bestselling author Ella Quinn’s studies and other jobs have always been on the serious side. Reading historical romances, especially Regencies, were her escape. Eventually her love of historical novels led her to start writing them.

She is married to her wonderful husband of over thirty years. They have a son and two beautiful granddaughters, and a Portuguese Water Dog. After living in the South Pacific, Central America, North Africa, England and Europe, she and her husband decided to make their dreams come true and are now living on a sailboat. After cruising the Caribbean and North America, she completed a transatlantic crossing from St. Martin to Southern Europe. She’s currently living in Germany, happily writing while her husband is back at work, recovering from retirement.

Website ~ http://www.ellaquinnauthor.com/

Facebook ~ http://www.facebook.com/EllaQuinnAuthor

Twitter ~ http://www.twitter.com/ellaquinnauthor

Blog ~ http://ellaquinnauthor.wordpresscom/

“The Marquis and I” – Regency romance from author Ella Quinn

BLURB:

Trouble is no match for a lady of the extended Worthington family—except when it comes in the form of a most irresistible gentleman . . .

Lady Charlotte Carpenter’s brother-in-law has put an infamous brothel owner out of business—yet it is Charlotte who suffers the consequences. Abducted by thugs and held at an inn, she is plotting her escape when she’s suddenly rescued by a dashing gentleman. Only afterward does she realize she’s seen him before—with two courtesans! Unwilling to tarry with such a man, Charlotte makes her second escape. But it is too late to repair her reputation . . .

A known gossip has spied Charlotte’s movements, and his report is speeding through the rumor mill. Soon, everyone knows that Charlotte spent the night with Constantine, Marquis of Kenilworth. And everyone agrees the only answer is marriage—including Constantine himself, his overjoyed mother—and his mistress! But Charlotte’s abductors aren’t finished with her yet. Now Constantine will do anything to protect the spirited woman he loves and win her heart . . .

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Bestselling author Ella Quinn’s studies and other jobs have always been on the serious side. Reading historical romances, especially Regencies, were her escape. Eventually her love of historical novels led her to start writing them.

After living in the South Pacific, Central America, North Africa, England and Europe, she and her husband decided to make their dreams come true and are now living on a sailboat cruising the Caribbean and North America. Europe is next!

She loves having readers connect with her.

Website: http://www.ellaquinnauthor.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/EllaQuinnAuthor
Twitter http://www.twitter.com/ellaquinnauthor
Blog http://ellaquinnauthor.wordpresscom

The Marquis and I Buy Links:

Amazon: http://amzn.to/2s3Cqbp
Barnes & Noble http://bit.ly/2rI8cKu
Kobo http://bit.ly/2r8Dyet
iTunes http://apple.co/2tT1wZb

“The Unseducible Earl,” Victorian romance from Sheri Humphreys

BLURB:

When an earl who’s given up on love and has settled on an engagement to a darling of society falls for a Crimean War nurse, he must either forsake his love or embroil them all in scandal.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

AUTHOR Bio and Links: 

Sheri Humphreys used to be an Emergency Room nurse, but today applies bandages, splints, and slings to the characters of her Victorian romance novels. She loves to ignore yardwork and housework and read—usually a book every one to three days. Having conjured stories in her mind her entire life, she wondered if she was normal. Then she began putting stories to paper and became a two-time RWA Golden Heart® finalist. She lives with a Jack Russell mix rescue, Lucy, in a small town on the central California coast.

A Hero to Hold received a prized Kirkus Star and was named to Kirkus Reviews’ Best Books of 2016.

website: sherihumphreys.com
facebook: facebook.com/SheriHumphreysAuthor/
twitter: twitter.com/sheri_humphreys

Buy Link:

http://boroughspublishinggroup.com/authors/sheri-humphreys

“Mail Order Love” – short clean western romance series from author Beth Boyden

The Gambler’s Girl

What if your long-distance sweetheart was an up-close disaster?

Ann Forsyth arrives in Texas on a hot summer day. She’s left her troubles far behind, and all she wants is to settle down with Reichard Monroe. He’s handsome, his penmanship is good, and he says he’s everything she’s dreamed of.

But the stories he told and the man she meets have nothing in common.

Ann finds herself relying on strangers and her own wits and character, as she tries to piece together a new life in the west. And when another man catches her eye, she must find her way between duty, self-preservation…

…and hope.

The Minister’s Match

Clara wants nothing more than to start over. Her Aunt Francis and Uncle Lyle have supported her since her parents’ death, but their house is a suffocating environment full of judgment and conflict.

When she begins to correspond with Rev. Holloway, a Texas minister in want of a wife, she knows she’s found her way out. Before long she’s on a train headed West, certain that she can begin a brand new life.

But with her aunt’s angry, condemning voice echoing in her head, Clara finds that it’s not so easy to get a fresh beginning. There are gossipy congregants, well-meaning friends, her sweet new husband, and her own ideals to consider, all pulling her in different directions. She’s about to find out if she can bend far enough to please everyone…or if she’ll shatter under the strain.

The Schoolteacher’s Sweetheart

Marian Yates wants something more out of life–romance, adventure, excitement. She longs to step out of the dull everyday routine of her Texas schoolteacher’s life and fall in love with a stranger.

In Brody Calhoun, she seems to have found her perfect match. He’s tall, dark, and handsome, with a thousand stories from far beyond her tiny hometown. He’s mysterious and unpredictable, exactly like the heroes in Marian’s favorite books.

But Brody is haunted by more than memories. And when his past comes between them, Marian must discover his secrets–or lose the man she loves forever.

 

Buy Links:

The Gambler’s Girl: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01D0TJ0NU

The Minister’s Match: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01M29ACYD

The Schoolteacher’s Sweetheart: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01N1ZZ1RB

 

My review of The Gambler’s Girl:

“The Gambler’s Girl” is a lovely, clean western romance. It’s short and easy to read, with characters you’ll care about and root for. Ann is pretty and sweet, and her handsome hero gallant and swoon-worthy. If you like western romance, you’ll enjoy this one, for sure. 🙂 ~ Kadee

“Trouble Cove,” sweet historical romantic suspense from author Nancy Lindley-Gauthier

Trouble Cove from Nancy 3-9-2017

 

BLURB:

Far from the all the action of World War I, in a charming tourist’s spot on Cape Breton Island, Elizabeth Eames has stumbled into the most wonderful man in the world. She’s landed herself in a world where wealth reigns supreme; where any eligible bachelor would meet her mother’s aspirations. Of course, she’s dead set on the one she’s certain should not be mentioned in her letters home. Actually, there’s a lot she’s not mentioning. Something is not-quite-right at the grand resort Oceanside, but Elizabeth isn’t giving up her one great chance…

 

BUY LINKS:  AMAZON  B&N.com  Wild Rose Press-paperback

 

Nancy Lindley-Gauthier and “Patriot: At Any Cost”

Patriot coverMulti-published author Nancy Lindley-Gauthier stopped by this morning to chat about her delightfully old-fashioned romance set during the turbulent days of World War II. The title is Patriot: At Any Cost, and it’s now available as an e-book and in paperback.

As we here in the States observe Memorial Day, I can’t think of a more fitting tribute to the men and women who fought side-by-side to keep the world safe. As poet John Milton wrote three centuries before the Second World War, “They also serve who only stand and wait.”

Good morning, Nancy, and welcome!

‘Morning. It’s great to be here – I don’t believe I’ve ever been in tea room dedicated to romances before. Love your deco.

Thanks so much. Please take a seat while I make us each a cup. Is there any special flavor you prefer?

At the moment, I love cinnamon tea. Apple cinnamon quite okay, too

Excellent! I do have that. Don’t you just love Keurig machines? While it’s brewing, would you tell me a bit about yourself?

I’m a fan of the historical romance. I adore being swept to a different time, but especially the ’40s. The WWII era had the music (“Don’t Sit Under the Apple Tree…”), the attitudes, the FOOD, for heaven’s sake; it was an amazing time for woman to start coming into their own, and still: everything was home-made!

Let’s talk about real apple cider doughnuts arriving with that tea. Need I go on?

Hmm…I’ll check the pantry, but I don’t get much call for apple cider doughnuts. While I search, though, I’d love to hear more about Patriot At Any Cost. The cover is striking and promises so much adventure. May we read a little of it?

My mother used to say “Wartime is not like any other time.” World War II created a community spirit that brought people together, and perhaps simplified daily life. Here, on the ‘home-front’ of the rocky coast of Maine, we find a young woman who so wants to contribute…but who feels so terribly left behind.  Not only by the times…but by the love of her life, as well.

Here’s a blurb and an excerpt from Patriot At Any Cost:

Blurb:

Lillian wants nothing more than to join the war effort, especially since her childhood sweetheart is headed to war–and promising to write–to her gorgeous adversary, Celia.

Her accidental introduction to injured pilot Callahan sets her on an unexpected path. She joins the Civil Patrol, but suspects the war will hardly be coming to Maine’s quiet shores.

Or, will it?

Excerpt:

Lillian peeked anxiously into the night from behind the safety of her heavy kitchen curtains. A glimmer from the crescent moon gave away the young couple pressed close together at the top of the granite stairway, scarcely inches from the house.

Lill ducked back, away from the window. A roar filled her ears. She could no more hear the strains of big band music wafting from the parlor radio than register the steady crash of waves out on the point. She shut her eyes but could not block the image of the two clasped so tightly together.

There was no denying the truth this time. She did not need to guess at the identity of the couple. She leaned back and forced a slow, deliberate breath. “I cannot believe this.”

Link:  Amazon.com/Patriot at Any Cost

For info on more of Nancy’s other titles, check out her site: http://anothershoestringadventure.weebly.com/

I, and the many talented authors I’ve hosted, would love to hear from you! If you’d like to join in on the discussion and leave us a comment, just click on the title of this (or any other) post or click on the heart to the right of the title, and then scroll down to see the reply box or replies at the bottom of the post. Thanks for stopping by! ~ Kadee