Title: Something in the Air
Author: Regina Jeffers
Genre: Regency Romance; Clean Romance; Holiday Romance
Courting Lord Whitmire: A Regency May-December Romance
At the bend of the path, an unexpected meeting.
She is all May.
He is December. But loves knows not time.
Colonel Lord Andrew Whitmire has returned to England after spending fifteen years in service to his country. In truth, he would prefer to be anywhere but home. Before he departed England, his late wife, from an arranged marriage, had cuckolded him in a scandal that had set Society’s tongues wagging. His daughter, Matilda, who was reared by his father, enjoys calling him "Father" in the most annoying ways. Unfortunately, his future is the viscountcy, and Andrew knows his duty to both the title and his child. He imagines himself the last of his line until he encounters Miss Verity Coopersmith, the niece of his dearest friend, the man who had saved Andrew’s life at Waterloo. Miss Coopersmith sets Whitmire's world spinning out of control. She is truly everything he did not know he required in his life. However, she is twenty-two years his junior, young enough to be his daughter, but all he can think is she is absolute perfection.
Last Woman Standing: A Clean Regency Romance
She is simply his grandmother's companion.
However, when the Christmas ball ends, the last woman standing wins the marquess.
JACKSON SHAW, the Marquess of Rivens, never considered the “gypsy blessing” presented to his family during the time of Henry VIII truly a blessing. He viewed it more as a curse. According to the “blessing,” in his thirtieth year, at the Christmas ball hosted by his family, he was to choose a wife among the women attending. The catch was he possessed no choice in the matter. His wife was to be the one who proved herself to be his perfect match, according to the gypsy’s provisions: a woman who would bring prosperity to his land by her love of nature and her generous heart. In his opinion, none of the women vying for his hand appeared to care for anything but themselves.
EVELYN HAWTHORNE comes to River’s End to serve as the companion to the Marchioness of Rivens, his lordship’s grandmother. However, Lady Rivens has more than companionship in mind when she employs the girl, whose late father was a renown horticulturalist. The marchioness means to gather Gerald Hawthorne’s rare specimens to prevent those with less scrupulous ideas from purchasing Hawthorne’s conservatory, and, thereby, stealing away what little choice her grandson has in naming a wife, for all the potential brides must present the Rivenses with a rare flower to demonstrate the lady’s love of nature. Little does the marchioness know Hawthorne’s daughter might not only know something of nature, but be the person to fulfill the gypsy’s blessing.
Excerpt from Last Woman Standing:
It was then she heard the cracking sound. “Blast and double blast!” She dared not move, fearing the ice upon which she stood would crack again, and she would tumble into the frigid water. “How could I have mistaken a frozen pond for a glade?” The idea dumbfounded her. Tilting her head back, she called out to the Heavens, “Now what, God?” She lifted her skirt, better to view the ice beneath her feet.
“Perhaps I may be of assistance,” a baritone voice responded from somewhere off her left shoulder.
Evelyn dared not turn to view her rescuer. Any movement could, literally, be her downfall.
“Assistance would be a blessing,” she assured.
She remained perfectly still as he circled what must be the banks of a pond. When he came into view, she blinked several times, thinking she must be mistaken, for the man was the most handsome gentleman she had ever encountered. Although her interactions with the aristocracy remained limited, she recognized quality when she saw it. Dark, nearly raven-black hair. A well-hewn noble countenance. Full lips, turned up in an engaging smile. Nose, just a bit crooked. Full chest. Trim waist. And wearing a many-caped greatcoat that flapped open in the breeze, providing the impression of his being as strong and dangerous as an ancient conqueror of the land.
Quickly lowering her skirts, she lifted her gaze. “I am grateful for your presence, sir.”
“I don’t often encounter a soul brave enough to venture upon Pandora’s Pond, unless, of course, the ice thickens to a reliable three to four inches, which it rarely does.”
Evelyn found herself blushing. Hopefully, with the darkening shadows, he did not take notice. “I thought I had simply left the woods for an open glade,” she explained.
He glanced back to the tree line. “I suppose you did. Unfortunately, if you had entered from the opposing tree line, say, over there,” he pointed to the direction where he, evidently, had emerged from the woods, “there’s a wider bank.”
Cold and frightened, Evelyn’s response exposed her exasperation. “I shall keep your advice in mind if I have the opportunity to pass this way again. That is, assuming you would agree to extend a hand in my rescue.”
He crossed his arms as if to ward off her growing outrage. “I’m no longer certain such is the best course of action.”
Evelyn sputtered, “You cannot mean to walk away without a care? What if the ice cracks, and I fall in?”
“Exactly,” he said. “If the ice cracks from our combined weight, I’ll be forced to dive in after you, and it’s excessively cold out here.”
“You coxcomb!” she growled, just barely stopping herself from stomping her foot in anger. “Very well. Go on about your business. I absolve you of any blame in my demise. I shall manage just fine.” Without waiting for his response, she lifted her small bag above her head and gave it a heave-ho in the direction of the bank. Regrettably, the shift of her weight and the icy surface had her windmilling to keep her balance. Tumbling over backward, she lost the battle, slamming hard against the ice. Another louder crack of the surface followed, and Evelyn groaned in helplessness as icy water seeped in around her.
She heard the gentleman’s, “Oh, no. No. No. No!” but she did not turn her head to observe his efforts. Her vision was blurry, and her limbs felt too heavy for her to lift them.
It was then she felt his hands on her ankles. “Do not move!” he grunted. “I have you!”
He slid her across the ice, tugging her, heels first. As ridiculous as it would appear to those who had never experienced the warring sensation of the heat of his hands combined with the cold surface, Evelyn smiled.
At length, his hands were on her knees, then her thighs, and, finally, her waist. He maneuvered her to the side of where he was stretched out upon the ice. He wedged his hands beneath her back and lifted her carefully to a seated position, cradling her to him. “Tell me you are not injured,” he pleaded.
She pressed a wet glove to her forehead. “Allow me a moment,” she murmured.
“I fear we do not have a moment,” he said in cautious tones. “We’re still on the ice, and I don’t think it will long support the both of us.”
Evelyn attempted to make sense of his words, but her head still buzzed, like a swarm of bees.
“Bear with me,” he said. She felt him prop her weight against what certainly was a large rock, and then his heat and his closeness were gone. She heard the crunch of his boots on the snow behind her, before, with a grunt, he lifted her upward in what was surely an awkward position for him. Swinging her around, he again placed her down, this time on the trunk of a fallen tree. He braced her in an upright position with a hand on her shoulder to keep her steady. The clean scent of soap and the heat of his body only added to her incoherence. Other than her father and grandfather, Evelyn had never been so close to a gentleman in her life. “You’ll pardon me, but I should examine the back of your head. You took quite a fall.”
Evelyn managed to shrug away his suggestion. “I only require a minute,” she insisted, blinking several times to keep his image in focus.
Up close, his smile was as breathtaking as she suspected it would be. “I see you possess pluck,” he said. “I like pluck, but now is not the time for it.”
He reached for the back of her head, but Evelyn swatted away his hands. “I said I shall be well.”
“And so you did.” A chuckle rumbled in his chest. “But I require proof. Allow me to view you standing on your own.” He stood and stepped back to provide her room.
Evelyn reached for the rough texture of the tree’s bark to steady herself and pushed upward; however, before her knees could lock in place, she pitched forward into the gentleman’s waiting arms.
Share a holiday family tradition:
Sending Christmas cards is one of my favorite parts of Christmas. Doing so provides the opportunity to connect with those we do not see often enough, but who are rarely far from our minds. I love this so much, I send out Christmas cards to those who are consistent followers on one of the website’s I manage. These readers have been loyal followers for many years, and sending a card is my way of saying I “appreciate their patronage.”
Why is your featured book perfect to get readers in the holiday mood:
What is better than two compelling reads in one book? A “twofer” of historical fiction to carry the reader through the holidays. A May-December romance in “Courting Lord Whitmire” proves happiness can be found where one least expects it, and “Last Woman Standing” provides us with hope for “coincidence” knowing best if one simply follows his heart.
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Runs December 1 – 31
Drawing will be held on January 4.
With 50+ books to her credit, Regina Jeffers is an award-winning author of historical cozy mysteries, Austenesque sequels and retellings, as well as Regency era-based romantic suspense and historical romances. A teacher for thirty-nine years, Jeffers often serves as a consultant for Language Arts and Media Literacy programs. With multiple degrees, Regina has been a Time Warner Star Teacher, Columbus (OH) Teacher of the Year, and a Martha Holden Jennings Scholar, as well as a Smithsonian presenter. She has been a finalist for the Daphne du Maurier Award for Excellence in Mystery/Suspense, the Frank Yerby Award for Fiction, the coveted Derby Award for Fiction, the International Digital Awards, and the Chanticleer International Book Award, among her many accolades.
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