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Christmas with the Marquis

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Can mistletoe and holly soften her hatred so the Marquis can persuade her of a love he never expected?
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Sales price: $4.50
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Rating: 4/5
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Christmas with the Marquis
by Jean Hart Stewart
Genre Holiday Historical Romance
Tags  Christmas traditions, Christmas decorations, Christmas of yore, reluctant heroine, a Marquis in love.
Release  December 12, 2014
Cover Designer  Charlotte Volnek
Words  25710
Pages  120
ISBN  978-1-77127-628-3
Price  $4.50

Back Cover

When an arrogant Marquis’s seduction fails, he plans a Xmas celebration at his country estate. Inviting the one girl who not only rejects him but seems to hate him is part of his plan to win her. His scheming soon turns to much more than decorating the house for Xmas. Abigail’s beauty incites a plan for revenge on the Marquis by his most depraved enemy, who is bent on kidnapping and raping Abigail. Can the Marquis save her and make this a merry Christmas after all?


Excerpt

The Yule log was satisfactorily ablaze, although Abigail muttered about how it was a shame they didn’t have a sliver from last year to light it with. Jared turned away so she wouldn’t see his smile. Hell, he couldn’t even remember where he’d been last Xmas. All the footman were bringing in berry-laden holly and laurel as well as the mistletoe, and under Abigail’s direction swags of greenery were twined down the stair rails and around the mantels on the fireplace. Ivy and holly made sumptuous wreaths around the base of every candlestick on the dinner table.

The entire house smelled wonderful.   The mulled cider was kept accessible through out the day, with everyone welcome to warm themselves when they came in from the cold. Jared served himself and walked casually to lean against the wall, cup in hand. He found it hard to believe this cold mansion could be so transformed. Everyone, guest or servant, was going about the tasks Abigail has assigned, and everyone had a smile on their lips.

By god but she’d make a wonderful Marchioness. And eventually, a wonderful Duchess.

She was perfect. And for the first time in his life, he was not at all certain he would win the one girl he wanted.

To his surprise Abigail turned from the garland she was twining around the staircase, and walked up to him.

“Jared, have you noticed the snow is falling more thickly?” Her eyes were as excited as a child’s. “We’re going to have a really white Christmas.”

He grinned. “Do you think it will be thick enough we’ll be forced to miss the Christmas service at the church? I’ll start thinking up pleasant alternatives if you’d like.”

She laughed. “You’re a heathen, aren’t you? Don’t worry, I’m sure we can make it to the church.” Her eyes lit. “Do you by any chance have a sleigh? Oh, I’ve got to go see.”

He grabbed her arm. “I have no idea, but I’ll send a footman to find out. If we have one it will be half buried in some barn. You insane girl, you’re enjoying all this fuss and bother, aren’t you?”

She didn’t look at him, but she whispered a reluctant yes, and then spun away. Fleeing the room, and him.

He swore under his breath. He nearly gave up and went to his room with a bottle of brandy. But some niggling feeling kept him there.

It was not a nice feeling. A premonition of danger overtook even his lust for Abigail. Something was wrong and he didn’t know what it was. He searched the rooms until he found Abigail wrapping some small objects in glittering paper. She immediately stood and swept everything behind her.

“Go away, Jared. This is a surprise for everyone!”

What he wanted to do was scoop her up in his arms and carry her to his bed. He’d lock her in his room to keep her safe, if she’d only let him.

Instead he looked at with a grave expression she’d never seen.

“Come, Abigail. Something is wrong and I don’t know what it is. I want you protected. Let me see you to your room and you can lock the door behind me. I intend to have the property searched and want to know you’re safe while I do so.”

She put both hands to her lips. “Jared, you’re frightening me.”

“Then let me make you safe. I promise to consult with you in the morning, if you’ll stay in your room tonight.”

“Of course, Jared.”

Holding her hand tightly, he walked her to her door, planted a sweet kiss on each eye and then her lips, waited till he heard the lock turn, and left. At least Abigail had let him kiss her three times, even if they were only little pecks instead of the deep embrace he longed to give her.

It was getting too dark to search far or well, but at least the intruder he intuitively felt was on the property would know he was alert.

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Reviews

Monday, 29 June 2015
Do you enjoy a rocking and rolling story with good guys, bad guys, romance, adventure, intrigue, oh, and Christmas? If so, look no more. You’ve found it. A story with all of the above.
CHRISTMAS WITH THE MARQUIS, by Author Jean Hart Stewart, will take you on a wild ride with characters that don’t always know what they want until they don’t have it. Jason Anders Denniston, 12th Earl of Derbyshire, soon to be Marquis of Allenham breaks his engagement with Abigail Vandersham, his betrothed, because she’s too ugly. Hey, she’s a kid. Of course, he has an attitude and is quite the ladies’ man. Sometimes people regret hasty acti because his rejection made her life miserable with her father, presents a challenge to Jason.
Will the star-crossed lovers find happiness, or will Abigail get her revenge for the way Jason humiliated her when she was younger by breaking their engagement? And where does Christmas fit into this tale? Ah, you’ll have to read the book to find out.
This is not normally the kind of book I read. But I love anything Christmas, so I entered a contest and won. There are some graphic scenes that made me blush. The characters pulled me into the story, and I hoped that things worked out for Abigail and Jason. I’m not saying.
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Beverly Stowe McClure

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