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Scandal Beneath the Stars by @1AnnaStClaire is a Christmas in July pick #holidayromance #giveaway

Title: Scandal Beneath the Stars

Author: Anna St. Claire

Genre: Historical Romance

Book Blurb:

The thought of spending Christmas at Danby Castle with her matchmaking great-uncle filled Lady Tabitha Storm’s heart with dread. She would love a match, of course, with the handsome horseman she’d spied in Hyde Park throughout the last season. Unfortunately, she doesn’t even know the gentleman’s name. But settling for anyone else is the last thing she’d ever do. Andrew Delaney, Viscount Straffan was determined to eat, drink and be merry surrounded by family and friends in Ireland, but when The Duke of Danby dangled the one thing he coveted among all others, he had no choice but to travel to Yorkshire for Christmas. Before Danby will agree to the deal, he required one final task. Thankfully, it involved the beauty Andrew had spied strolling in Hyde Park. Would Andrew gain more this holiday than he ever dreamed, or would his Irish heritage stand in his way?


Slade Mason, the Earl of Drake, sat in a secluded corner of the tavern, his back to the wall and a floppy grey felt hat covering his eyes. It had been a long voyage, and he was tired. His ship had pulled in at the same time several others had landed. The night was busy, even for a Friday. It was packed with at least a dozen or more sailors, all with coin in their pockets, and having just arrived after long voyages, and with those wishing to fleece those pockets. The room, was lit only by three candelabras, spaced out and attached to the walls. Stale ale and vomit permeated his senses. In the corner opposite him, a card game was going on loudly, and the buxom barmaid warmed the lap of the man currently holding the lead. He had noticed she occasionally moved, and he wondered if she was part of the bet.

Three of his men surrounded the tavern, watching in case of a trap. In his business, it was best to keep watch. While Slade and his partners tried to do things above board, occasionally, they would accept shipments they had not planned, like the French brandy they had recently added to their cargo. While he stayed out of the crosshairs of the revenuers, one could never be too certain word had not leaked. The missive had emphasized the importance of their meeting but had given no other information. Not only that, but the man that sent it had known when Slade would arrive in the Port of London.

His trade business with India was no secret, except for the occasional shipments of French cognac and brandy. His company had done well. Both he and his partner, Viscount Thomas Latham, were spares and had not been groomed to inherit. So, they sought their fortunes through the establishment of an alternative trading company to the East India Company. Maintaining fair pricing and providing the Indian people with the respect they deserved, unlike their competitors, had aided their company with substantial growth.

Slade sipped his ale contemplatively, looking up when a short rotund, bespeckled man wearing a black coat and tan breeches opened the door and looked around. After a moment, the man focused on the back corner where Slade sat. His eyes locked with Slade’s, and he gave a nod as he made his way to Slade’s table.

“Good afternoon, my lord,” the man said, sounding winded as he slid into the seat.

“I am afraid you have me at a disadvantage.” Slade grinned sardonically. This man knew too much about him to be a total stranger. He looked familiar, but it had been years since he had been home for any proper visit beyond that of his family. And the last visit had not gone well. He had argued with his brother, who had wanted him to give up the sea, take more responsibility for the family properties, and get married.

“I apologize, my lord.” The man reached into his pocket and withdrew a sealed letter. “I work for your father’s solicitor, Mr. Thorne. My name is Mr. Albert C. Wortle. Our firm has been trying to get word to you for almost a sennight that your father has passed.” He slid the missive toward Slade.

Slade felt as if he had been gut-punched. His last words with his father had been cross. His father had heard about his occasional added cargo and had demanded he abandon those ventures. He had wanted him to come home and settle down here in England—hoping he would find something or someone in London that could challenge him. Marriage. His father had had unentailed properties that he wanted Slade to manage. The duke wanted his boy with him and safe from threats of revenuers and others, jealous of his successes.

Slade had not wanted a made-up job. He did not need one. He enjoyed the life he had built for himself while making his fortune. Yes, there was the occasional skirmish from those working with the East India Company, but there was plenty of trade to spread around.

“My family . . .” He looked up, his eyes watering.

“No, my lord. Your brother was badly injured in a carriage accident that killed your father. It happened last week. Your family needs you to return—quickly.”

The man looked down. “Your father and brother were together. Lord Hertford was lucky not to have perished in the accident, but his injuries are grave. When they found the carriage, it had fallen down an embankment and had lodged on an outgrowth of rocks and branches. It was by the grace of God that they could retrieve your father’s body and your brother from the carriage before losing it to the lake below.”

He had not been prepared for the avalanche of feeling that hit him between the eyes.

Buy Links (including Goodreads and BookBub):

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What I love most about the holiday season:

Mostly... I love the element of surprise and giving. So Christmas morning is very special to me. I love to watch the faces of everyone opening their gifts. (Often, I’m in awe also, since I purchase much of Christmas in August and September and, without my list, don’t recall what I wrapped in some of the packages.). I love the trees and the decorations, and as much as I hate to take them down, five weeks is about my limit for enduring the clutter. :). And I love the family time.

Why is your featured book a must-read to get you in the holiday mood?

Christmas is all about family, love and surprise, and nothing stokes my holiday mood better than a good story about love coming alive at Christmas time. The magic of love springs eternal when my hero and heroine fall for each other and work to find their way to each other in Scandal Beneath the Stars. The story culminates in a special Christmas wedding, which tugs on the heartstrings as their almost magical love touches all the characters in Scandal Beneath the Stars!

Giveaway –

One lucky reader will win a $75 Amazon (US) gift card.

Open internationally. You must have a valid Amazon US or Amazon Canada account to win.

Runs July 1 – 31

Drawing will be held on August 1.

Author Biography:

Anna St. Claire is a big believer that nothing is impossible if you believe in yourself. She sprinkles her stories with laughter, romance, mystery and lots of possibilities, adhering to the belief that goodness and love will win the day.

Anna is both an avid reader author of American and British historical romance. She and her husband live in Charlotte, North Carolina with their two dogs and often, their two beautiful granddaughters, who live nearby. Daughter, sister, wife, mother, and Mimi—all life roles that Anna St. Claire relishes and feels blessed to still enjoy. And she loves her pets – dogs and cats alike, and often inserts them into her books as secondary characters.

Anna relocated from New York to the Carolinas as a child. Her mother, a retired English and History teacher, always encouraged Anna’s interest in writing, after discovering short stories she would write in her spare time.

As a child, she loved mysteries and checked out every Encyclopedia Brown story that came into the school library. Before too long, her fascination with history and reading led her to her first historical romance—Margaret Mitchell’s Gone With The Wind, now a treasured, but weathered book from being read multiple times. The day she discovered Kathleen Woodiwiss,’ books, Shanna and Ashes In The Wind, Anna became hooked. She read every historical romance that came her way and dreams of writing her own historical romances took seed.

Today, her focus is primarily the Regency and Civil War eras, although Anna enjoys almost any period in American and British history.

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