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Something in the Air: Two Regency Christmas Novellas is a Christmas in July Fete pick #holidayreads



Title:

Something in the Air: Two Regency Christmas Novellas


Author:

Regina Jeffers


Genre:

women authors; historical British fiction; clean romance; classic historical fiction; anthologies; classic romantic fiction


Book Blurb:


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:


“What do we have here?”


A very masculine voice came from behind her, but Verity made no attempt to turn. Not that the sound of the gentleman’s voice did not pique her interest, but, rather, she feared the slightest movement would spell her doom.


“How does it appear to you, sir?” she quipped in irritation, more at her own foolishness than his curiosity, but, nevertheless, he could recognize her peril without making her feel a fool.


“It appears you thought the bog was a warm mineral spring.” The man’s voice held levity, something she attempted to convince herself was understandable considering her situation, but Verity found nothing amusing about the circumstances in which she found herself. She heard the man dismount and begin to walk slowly in her direction. “It is not often people dare to trespass upon my land, and, especially, not any as comely as you.” Although he attempted to sound intimidating, Verity suspected he simply thought her situation a diverting tale to share with his chums over ale at the inn. There was no hardness in his tone.


He continued to stroll casually around the outside rim of the bog. At length, he stopped before her and squatted as if to have a closer look at her. “Perhaps you are one of those fairies who creates the steps which are impossible to climb—so impossible you took a fall and were caught in your own trap.”


Verity scowled, enough was enough. “I would appreciate it, sir, if you would cease with your attempts to make light of my situation and, instead, provide me a hand out of this muck.”


He grinned again, and Verity realized how breathtakingly handsome he was. Certainly, he was not a young man, likely old enough to be her father; yet, there was nothing lacking in his appearance. His eyebrows were everything masculine. A roughly-hewn face well accustomed to being out in nature’s worst. He possessed a nose that was a bit crooked—as if he had known more than one round of fisticuffs—but, nevertheless, it was very aristocratic. And his mouth, although purposefully set in a straight line, remained unable to disguise his humor. She wished she could view the color of his eyes and the exact shade of his hair. She thought he would make an excellent study for her paints. Would she be capable of capturing the life and the depth she viewed in his countenance?


He gazed at her for a long moment, without comment. Finally, he asked, “How did you come to be caught in the bog?”


“It was a mistake,” she began.


“You do not appear to be a half-wit,” he declared, “so I assumed your situation was not enterprising.”


She glanced off to the path slightly to his left. “I permitted my imagination free rein. For a few minutes, I thought someone followed me.” Despite the awkwardness of her thoughts, Verity made her gaze meet his. “In fact, how do I know it was not you who trailed me?” she accused.


“I assure you, a man of my age has better things to do than to frighten young ladies in the midst of a rain storm.” As if on cue, a crack of thunder and a bolt of lightning accented his words. With an expert thrusting motion of his arm, he tossed his hat behind him, and, without notice, he stepped into the bog and edged forward. “At least my batman can kill me but once for the abuse my clothes and boots have known today.” Although he did not ask her permission first, he placed his arm around her waist, locking her into his embrace with his hand splayed about her middle. “It would be of use if you would wrap your arms around my neck,” he instructed. “I plan to lift you into my embrace.”


“But, sir—” she began to protest.


“Dear lady,” he corrected, speaking as if she were some sort of simpleton, which irritated her most thoroughly, “there is no tree or rock close enough to the edge for you to use as leverage to release yourself. If I am to remove you from this scum, you must assist me. I intend to lift you and to cradle you in my arms, and we will walk out together.”


After an elongated second, in which she considered the merits of boxing his ears or slapping his too confident face, she presented him a nod of acceptance. Carefully, he bent his knees and slid an arm underneath and around her legs and lifted her to him. With a grunt of obvious exertion, he pivoted to return to solid ground. It was then that her right leg finally pulled free with a popping sound, and she released a gasp of pain before she could swallow it. However, her rescuer did not stop his progress until they stood along the tree line, with her still cradled in his arms. “What occurred?” he asked, as he set her on a downed tree, true concern sounding in the question.


Verity was still shaky, but she was not certain whether it was the pain in her limb or the compelling countenance of her rescuer which had stolen away her breath. Realizing he waited for an answer, she managed a response. “My boot stayed in the bog. My ankle—” She gestured toward the foot that throbbed as thoroughly as if it were a rotten tooth.


“May I?” He indicated her ankle. All the teasing was gone from his tone.


Verity could not remove her eyes from his. They were the precise color of the storm that had swirled around her during the height of the rain. He studied her with a compelling intensity, and, although she was soaked to the bone, she felt heat radiate through her.


He cleared his throat, and, again, asked, “Miss, may I examine your ankle?”


Tears crept into her eyes, but Verity was not certain whether she grieved the loss of their connection or whether she anticipated the pain shooting up her leg. At length, she again, nodded her agreement.


Buy Links (including Goodreads and BookBub):







What I love most about the holiday season:


One of my favorite treats at Christmas is mincemeat pies. I purchase these for myself, for there is no one else in the house who likes them. However, I grew up in a household where we would have a slice of mincemeat pie for each of the day of Twelfth Night. Doing so is supposed to bring one good luck and fortune and has been practiced since the Middle Ages. I am not going against tradition. My Scot-Irish-English ancestors might haunt me. LOL!


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


One characteristic of a must-read book is how the characters grow as the events of the novel unfold. In “Courting Lord Whitmire,” for example, it is the heroine who manages their romance. Andrew Whitmire thinks himself too old to hold an interest in Miss Verity Coopersmith. After all, Miss Coopersmith is not much older than Andrew’s daughter. However, Verity has other ideas.


Meanwhile, in “Last Woman Standing,” Jackson Shaw attempts to ignore the “gypsy blessing” presented to his family at the time of the Battle of Guinegare in 1513. Neither the blessing or perhaps his grandmother’s companion, Evelyn Hawthorne, can change his mind. Yet, like it or not, Shaw must follow a ritual prescribed by the gypsy and name his bride at midnight. Who will it be?


As to the holiday mood, like Scrooge’s “ghosts,” these tales are a bit “haunted” with Andrew’s regrets for the loss of his best friend and Jackson’s family’s curse/blessing. Yet, I can hear “God bless us, everyone” playing in the background.


Giveaway –


One lucky reader will win a $75 Amazon US or Canada gift card:



Open internationally.


Runs July 1 – 31, 2023.


Drawing will be held on August 1, 2023.



Author Biography:


A writer penning more than 60 novels, Regina Jeffers is the award-winning author of stories with dashing heroines and daring heroines, all set in the Regency or early Victorian era. A Smithsonian presenter and a Martha Holden Jennings Scholar, Jeffers has been honored with multiple awards for her tales: She writes full-time, skillfully enveloping her readers in the hearts and minds of her characters. She will have you cheering for her characters, will likely make you cry, will have you laughing aloud, as well as wanting more.


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Always Austen (Group Blog)

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