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Magic for Christmas (Diamonds of London #4) by Sandra Sookoo is a Best Books '23 pick #regency #historicalromance #holidayromance #bestbooks #giveaway



Title: Magic for Christmas (Diamonds of London #4)

 

Author: Sandra Sookoo

 

Genre: Regency romance, historical romance, Christmas romance

 

Book Blurb:

 

Anyone can benefit from finding magic for Christmastide; it’s just a matter of believing…

 

Miss Clarissa Folgerton isn’t best pleased. She makes her living as a seamstress due to reduced circumstances, and it matters not that this is her busiest and most profitable time, for she has been summoned to northern Buckinghamshire. A dying earl wishes to see his illegitimate eight-year-old daughter—her niece. Years ago, he’d had an affair with her sister, and though her sister passed, Clarissa needs to see the girl’s future settled. If that means giving her up, she’ll have no choice, for she’s a spinster without means.

 

Colin Haversham—Viscount Lambert—is perhaps weeks away from becoming the new Earl of Biddleton, for his ailing father has summoned him to Biddleton Castle to spend this last Christmastide season together as well as take his apparent half-sister on as his ward. To say nothing of the fact that if he doesn’t wed, he won’t inherit any of the family coin. Annoyed and not wishing to forsake the life he’s already made for himself, what he needs is a false fiancée for the holidays. Above all, he doesn’t wish to be married again. It hurt too much the last time.

 

As the whole Haversham family assembles at the castle, bitterness, anger, and jealousy comes out in the disparate group, but when Colin takes Clarissa aside and offers her a fake engagement with a hefty monetary settlement promised after Twelfth Night, the dynamic shifts. Over the course of the ill-advised holiday get together, the unlikely pair find they have much in common beyond yearning for family, and when romance creeps in, they’ll need to decide if they have the courage to make love a reality despite battered hearts and differences in stations.

 

…and finding a diamond in the rough.

 

Excerpt:

 

She shrugged. “Haven’t you ever felt truly content?”

 

“Yes.” When his wife had been alive, and he’d looked forward to being a father.

 

“Then I hope you discover how to be again. Everyone deserves that, at least.” She lowered her gaze and the dark fan of her lashes against her pale cheeks captured his imagination. “I would like to find such a thing for myself soon, but I fear that at this age, my chances of doing so are slipping away.”

 

His chest tightened, for he refused to be trapped by feeling a comradery or even sympathy with her. “Do you speak of marriage?”

 

“No. I am referring to anything, for I’m embarrassed to admit I’ve never had anything in my life that set my soul on fire, nothing that left me utterly breathless from the wonder of it before.”

 

How incredibly… sad. “It only takes something small to make magic.” Or at least he used to think so.

 

She snorted. “I’m not certain I believe in magic any longer.”

 

“Neither am I.” How could he after what he’d lost in his life? After he was about to lose? Regardless, she had much wisdom. “Did you learn to be wise because of what happened to you and your sister?” Time again she’d earned his respect and he’d barely known her for three days.

 

“I did.” A trace of sadness went through her eyes. “And I had no say in the matter. I was given two choices: take to a couch and cry until I might be rescued, or assess the circumstances and then get to work making a life for Rebecca and I.” She shrugged. “Later, when Beth arrived, it was even more vital, so we sold some of her jewels and our more lovely gowns. It helped, for a time.”

 

Ah, so that was why she dressed as if she were part of the working class. It certainly didn’t suit her. “I didn’t know, but I am constantly astounded whenever I hear parts of your tale. Not many women of the beau monde would have your fortitude.” He took her hand, rubbed the pad of his thumb over her knuckles, felt the trembles that moved through her from the touch. Then he explored further, found the calluses that were a testament to her claim she was a seamstress. The woman had more strength in her little finger than he had in his whole body. “I am truly sorry for what life has given you.”

 

An expression of surprised wonder crossed her face, but he couldn’t figure out why. Had no one ever held her hand? Talked to her as if she mattered? Told her that they were proud of her? “It was not your fault. Merely a fickle fate, who knew I could handle the adversity where perhaps someone else could not.”

 

“I don’t believe fate works quite like that, but it’s interesting to contemplate.” He continued to explore, to caress the inside of her wrist with the pad of his thumb. The satiny skin fascinated him as did the racing of her pulse. “I may not know you well, but I respect you, am proud of you, all the same.”

 

“Oh!” She raised her gaze to his while a faint smile curved her lips, and he stared at her mouth, fascinated. “Thank you. That means so much.” Tears threatened in her voice, and he continued to stroke the thin skin of her inner wrist. “I cannot remember the last time I heard those words. For far too long, there has only been the struggle, there has been me, alone, trying to make sense of the world when there is no hope and keeping on for the sake of Beth.”

 

“You have done a marvelous job, but I know what it feels like to be alone,” he said in a soft voice as he released her hand merely to cup her cheek. “No one should need to feel as though there is no hope.” Then he apparently took leave of his senses, for he threaded his fingers into her hair, gently gripped the back of her head, and then slowly dragged her closer until he fit his lips to hers, and she rested a hand on his chest.

 

The pillowy softness of those two pieces of flesh was both comforting and arousing, and with a barely there groan, he scooted over the sofa cushion, tilting her head in the process so he could better explore. He moved over her mouth with a curiosity he hadn’t felt in years, gliding his lips over hers, nearly becoming intoxicated with the sweet taste of her.

 

When a tiny sound of encouragement escaped her, he was wrenched back to the present moment as hot guilt slammed through his gut. She curled her fingers into the lapel of his tailcoat, uttered a soft cry of protest when he pulled away and put space between them.

 

“I… Forgive the trespass,” he whispered and then scrambled to his feet as confusion swirled through his mind. At no point in the past five years had he felt that indefinable connection with a woman as he had now with this veritable stranger—not even with the mistress he’d fallen in love with. “That wasn’t well done of me.”

 

She peered up at him with shock and a touch of awe in her gaze. “That was…” The delicate tendons of her throat worked with a hard swallow. “… lovely. Thank you.” Then, she smiled, and for the first time since he’d met her, it was genuine and lit her whole face, transformed it from the plain woman of seconds before to a beautiful being who had suddenly found hope. “I’ve never been kissed like that, you see.”

 

And for the moment, he was temporarily befuddled himself.

 

Well, damn.

 

Buy Links (including Goodreads and BookBub):

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


What makes your featured book a must-read?  

 

This Christmas romance has all the tropes and feels, and will make you believe in the magic of Christmas again.

 

Giveaway –

 

Enter to win a $45 Amazon gift card:

 

 

Open Internationally.

 

Runs December 18 – December 31, 2023.

 

Winner will be drawn on January 2, 2024.



Author Biography:

 

Sandra Sookoo is a USA Today bestselling author who firmly believes every person deserves acceptance and a happy ending. That is why her characters are not in the usual style and oftentimes struggle with things out of the norm. She’s written for publication since 2008. Most days you can find her creating scandal and mischief in the Regency-era, serendipity and happenstance in the Victorian era, or historical romantic suspense complete with mystery and intrigue. Reading is a lot like eating chocolates—you can’t just have one book. Give her the chance with one book and you’ll be hooked.

 

When she’s not wearing out computer keyboards or mice, Sandra spends time with her real-life Prince Charming in Central Indiana where she also runs a gourmet cookie business and makes moments count with the man because the key to life is laughter. Inspired to storytelling by Walt Disney since the age of ten, when her soul gets bogged down and her imagination flags, a trip to Walt Disney World is in order. Nothing fills the well and fuels her dreams more than the land of eternal happy endings, hope and love stories.

 

Social Media Links:

 

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Review team on BookSprout for my indie books: https://booksprout.co/reviewer/team/10540/sandra-sookoos-review-team

1件のコメント


N. N. Light
N. N. Light
2023年12月22日

Thank you, Sandra, for sharing your book in our Best Books of '23 Bookish Event!

いいね!
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