Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Promo: BACK HOME AT FIREFLY LAKE by JEN GILROY

In Jen Gilroy’s Back Home at Firefly Lake, Cat McGuire and Luc Simard find love and second chances in a heartwarming small-town romance that fans of Women’s Fiction and Susan Wiggs’ The Lakeshore Chronicles will love!



Jen is offering one (1) lucky Grand Prize winner a $25 Amazon Gift Card and a paperback copy of Back Home at Firefly Lake. Five (5) runner-up winners will receive a paperback copy of their choice from the Firefly Lake series! This giveaway is open internationally. To enter, simply fill out the Rafflecopter below:
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About Back Home at Firefly Lake (Firefly Lake #3):

Title: Back Home at Firefly Lake
Author: Jen Gilroy
Genre: Contemporary Romance / Women’s Fiction
Release Date: December 5, 2017
Publisher: Forever – Grand Central Publishing
Series: Firefly Lake
Print ISBN: 9781455569618
Digital ISBN: 9781455566938

She has a million reasons to leave. Can he give her the one she needs to stay?

Cat McGuire’s return to Firefly Lake is turning into much more than she bargained for. Sure, she missed the crisp pine-scented air and the comfort of having her family around her. But being home makes her feel less like the successful single mom she is–and more like the awkward teen who never fit in. It doesn’t help that hockey-pro Luc Simard is back in town, too. Luc was her childhood crush, the hometown hero who never noticed her, and yet somehow he still makes her heart skip a beat.

Luc’s homecoming has been bittersweet. He’s lost his wife and his career, but there’s no better place to start over than Firefly Lake. Coaching the local kids’ hockey team makes him feel alive again, and he thinks his life is complete–until Cat arrives. The shy girl he always wanted to protect is now the gorgeous woman who’s stealing his heart and making him believe in second chances. But how can he convince Cat that Firefly Lake is where she truly belongs?

Now an Amazon Best Book of the Month!

Add to your “Want to Read” shelf:  Goodreads

Available at:  Amazon  |  Barnes and Noble  |  Kobo  |  iTunes


Praise for Back Home at Firefly Lake:

“When these two broken souls come together, magic happens.” – Publishers Weekly

Back Home at Firefly Lake is a charming small-town, second-chance story. With well-written and relatable characters, readers both new and old to the series will enjoy it.” – Harlequin Junkie



Excerpt:

Luc’s heart squeezed. [Cat] was embarrassed to ask her family for help, like he’d have been embarrassed asking his. Except, that would never be an issue because he had more money than he could spend in one lifetime. Money to finance the creamery expansion his dad had talked about for years, and to send his folks on that cruise they’d hankered after but could never afford because of the cost of raising four kids and putting most of them through college. Money for everything except what mattered most—taking care of his wife and their child like he’d planned.
“Pay for the hockey registration when your grant comes through.” He tried to smile. “I know you’re good for it.”
“Thanks.” Cat’s voice cracked and she took one hand away from her bag to rub it across her face. “Hockey means everything to Amy. I want her to be able to play, but she’s growing so fast right now.”
“Hockey’s an expensive sport.” He slid an arm around her shoulders and gave her a little squeeze. The same kind of friendly squeeze he’d given her all those times back in high school when she’d saved his butt in chemistry. Before today, however, his fingers had never tingled when he’d touched Cat. His body had never heated, either.
Cat started and pulled away at the same instant he did. “Hockey can be a dangerous sport too, and now Amy will be playing with boys. She hasn’t played with boys since she was seven. She could get hurt.
Like he had, hurt so bad it had ended his career. “Amy’s playing minor hockey. At her age, there is a rule about no body checking.” He tried to make his tone reassuring. “I promise I’ll keep a close eye on her.” It was his job as her coach, and he’d do the same for any kid. It had nothing to do with the strange and unexpected attraction he all of a sudden had for this woman he’d known his whole life, who he’d never really looked at until today.
A woman who wasn’t Maggie. Luc’s stomach clenched in a tangled lump of guilt and grief, tied tight with a slippery ribbon of disloyalty. Maggie was never coming back, but that didn’t mean Luc could forget her. Or that he wanted to.

Copyright © Back Home at Firefly Lake 2017 by Jen Gilroy


Other Books in the Firefly Lake Series:

Some mistakes can never be fixed and some secrets never forgiven … but some loves can never be forgotten.

Charlotte Gibbs wants nothing more than to put the past behind her, once and for all. Yet now that she's back at Firefly Lake to sell her mother's cottage, the overwhelming flood of memories reminds her of what she's been missing. Sun-drenched days. Late-night kisses that still shake her to the core. The gentle breeze off the lake, the scent of pine in the air, and the promise of Sean's touch on her skin…True, she got her dream job traveling the world. But at what cost?

Sean Carmichael still doesn't know why Charlie disappeared that summer, but after eighteen years, a divorce, and a teenage son he loves more than anything in the world, he's still not over her. All this time and her body still fits against his like a glove. She walked away once when he needed her the most. How can he convince her to stay now?

Add to your “Want to Read” shelf:  Goodreads

Available at:  Amazon  |  Barnes and Noble  |  Kobo  |  iTunes


Praise for The Cottage at Firefly Lake:

“Gilroy’s debut contemporary is packed with potent emotions…[the] protagonists tug at the heartstrings from the beginning of the story and don’t let go. Long on charm, this story invites readers to come in and stay a while.” – Publishers Weekly

“Memories, regrets and second chances are front and center in Gilroy’s fantastic debut.” – RT Book Reviews


Summer on Firefly Lake

Sometimes love is better the second time around.

Mia Gibbs spent her marriage putting her husband’s needs before her own. And now, after a painful divorce, she’s building a new life for herself and her two daughters back home at Firefly Lake. The last thing she needs is a man to complicate things. But former bad boy turned friend Nick McGuire—and the one kiss they’ve shared—has turned everything upside down.

Attorney Nick McGuire wasn’t meant to be a family man. His career has always been his focus, and after taking time out to help his mother, he’s ready to get back to the city…until Mia and her daughters arrive at Firefly Lake. Mia is beautiful and intriguing, and it doesn’t take long to realize being “just friends” will never be enough. As the summer nights turn colder, Nick will have to choose between the life he’s always wanted…and the woman he can’t live without.

Add to your “Want to Read” shelf:  Goodreads

Available at:  Amazon  |  Barnes and Noble  |  Kobo  |  iTunes


Praise for SUMMER ON FIREFLY LAKE

“Has charm to spare… The delightful supporting cast and expertly plotted story add depth and richness to this tale, leaving readers eager for another visit to Firefly Lake.”—Publishers Weekly

“4 stars! Gilroy’s second Firefly Lake novel encapsulates the quaint, busybody small-town feel and the slippery slope of friends becoming lovers quite well… Engaging…[a] fast-paced page turner.”—RT Book Reviews


About Jen Gilroy:

Jen Gilroy lives in a small town in eastern Ontario, Canada where her Irish ancestors settled in the nineteenth century. She's worked in higher education and international marketing but, after spending too much time in airports and away from her family, traded the 9-5 to write romantic women’s fiction to bring readers' hearts home.

Jen likes ice cream, diners, vintage style and all things country. Her husband is her real-life romance hero, and her teen daughter teaches her to cherish the blessings in the everyday.

The Cottage at Firefly Lake, the first book in her Firefly Lake series, was a finalist for Romance Writers of America’s Golden Heart® award in 2015. It was also shortlisted for the Romantic Novelists’ Association Joan Hessayon Award 2017.

Website  |  Twitter  |  Facebook  |  Goodreads  |  Amazon





Monday, December 11, 2017

Promo: THE POWER OF A SEAL by ANNE ELIZABETH

Title: The Power of a SEAL
Author: Anne Elizabeth
Series: West Coast Navy SEALs
Pub Date: December 5, 2017
ISBN: 9781492650928

With over two decades of experience, Navy SEAL Leaper Lefton is bringing his expertise to young and impressionable SEAL trainees in BUD/s. As an instructor, he knows he must prepare them for all kinds of situations—and there’s a perfect opportunity for hands-on training when he spots a woman in danger in rough water. Kerry Hamilton, a marine mammal veterinarian for the U.S. Navy is beyond grateful when Leaper saves her from the rough seas, and their attraction is instant. But after everything Leaper has been through, can he truly love again? And is Kerry willing to give him the chance?


New York Times bestselling author Anne Elizabeth is an award-winning romance author and a popular comic creator. With a BS in business and MS in communications from Boston University, she is a regular presenter at conventions as well as a member of the Author’s Guild, Horror Writers Association, and Romance Writers of America. Anne lives with her husband, a retired Navy SEAL, in the mountains above San Diego.

Buy Links:

Anne Elizabeth’s favorite holiday traditions

ORNAMENTS AND REMEMBRANCES

Opening holiday storage boxes is an emotional experience. We carefully unwrap childhood trinkets, handmade ornaments, craft projects, old pictures, weathered stockings, and scented candles. Even as the wood in the fireplace snaps and crackles, emitting small plumes of smoke, we carefully fill the surfaces of the living room, every table, chair, and couch with our mementoes. Putting together an old recycled Christmas tree and placing the cool-lights around, we place the ornaments together. 

For my husband and me, this has become a time of heartbreaking sorrows and soul-touching moments, remembering those who have passed or those who have become physically or mentally more fragile. We honor these precious souls by decorating ornaments with their names, quotes, or pictures to honor each spirit with a unique creation and then we place it on the tree. It does not erase the pain, but it helps us celebrate treasured souls and share experiences about what these individuals have meant to us.

As we dim the lights and plug in the tree, we are grateful for each opportunity to love. Every day is a gift, whether it is for a brief moment or a lifetime, it adds to life's journey. From our home to yours: May your holiday season be blessed with health, happiness, and delight, and may peace and joy flourish.

Do you have handmade ornaments? Do you treasure them? And, how do you remember those who have passed?

TIME

During the holidays, music fills the house. Some of our favorite singers are Eartha Kitt and Nat King Cole. The holiday classics make us nostalgic, and I love those times when my husband pulls me into his arms and dances with me. Oh, to dwell in those romantic moments, as we cuddle close and move slowly to the rhythm. This harmonious connection chases away every thought, except for one--being together. As my husband nuzzles my neck, I smile musing on the fact that this is my all-time favorite part of the holidays. Being together. Connection and music, whether it comes from the stereo or from our hearts, this time is the best gift of all.

Is there something special you do with your mate, a friend, or family member?

HOLIDAY SENSATIONS

On Christmas Eve, it's a tradition in our home to make hot cider. I'll pull out the chipped crockpot with the broken handle. After rinsing the detachable bowl and top, I'll add fresh cider, granny smith apple slices (leaving the skin on), the peel of half of a lemon and the entire peel of a whole orange. Then I'll add three cinnamon sticks, a dash of allspice, and anise, and as soon as it heats to a boil I'll add a tablespoon of maple syrup. After stirring in the syrup for a full minute, I turn the heat down to warm and prepare to serve it about twenty minutes later. The scent of mulled-goodness fills the room as I make popcorn with real butter and a dash of pink salt. It might not be the most gourmet approach, but for us, the taste sensations are delicious. Have a blessed holiday season!

Are there any special recipes that you make during the holiday season?

RAISE YOUR VOICE

Holiday songs remind me of my childhood. Attending church with my parents and brother, and listening to the exuberance with which the congregation sang inspired intense warmth and comfort. Voices lifted in song varied from out-of-key to perfectly pitched tones, and it was wondrous! Each individual contributed to the joy as we created these beautiful sounds together.

After services, most of the congregation was full of cheer and would hurry outside for hot cocoa or tea. With cups in hand, we walked as a group down to the live action crèche. It was here that we sang the last Christmas song of the night, Away In The Manger. Of course, the goats bleated and donkeys brayed along with the clucking chickens and mooing cow; and all the sounds blended together. To this day, I still wonder if the animals were commenting or singing along.

Do you have a special holiday song, and why is it a favorite?

SNOWFLAKES

Living in Southern California, snow is a rarity. In Julian, we see snowstorms now and then, but nothing can compare to the snow seen in the rest of the United States. Yet, we are full of glee the moment a flake drops from the sky. I always rush outside and turn my face upward in hope of tasting the first snowflake. When I was little, I believed that each snowflake tasted differently, because my brother said that this was so. Even though, I'm all grown-up now, in my imagination I still pretend that there are sorts of unique flavors out there, and I'll keep catching snowflakes in remembrance of him.

Are you ever tempted to catch snowflakes on your tongue? What's your favorite childhood winter memory?


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Saturday, December 09, 2017

Book Giveaway: THE WICKED VAMPIRE by KATE BAXTER


He was one of the most feared creatures in the supernatural world, and yet, she was drawn to him unlike any other. His scent ignited her thirst. The sight of him drove her mad with want…
Lovers forever―or enemies to the death?
Sasha Ivanov was born to be wild. A vampire party girl, she stalks the L.A. clubs at night. Dancing. Drinking. Indulging her darkest appetites. Never sated, she’s always looking for more: more danger, more excitement, more blood. But when she enters a supernatural fight club―and is tethered to her mortal enemy―Sasha realizes she’s playing the most dangerous game of all…
Ewan Brún was born to kill vampires. A powerful berserker and unbeaten champion, he doesn’t need a weapon to be deadly. He is the weapon. But when his soul becomes captive to the most beautiful vampire he’s ever seen, he is all but powerless. He cannot resist Sasha―and cannot fight his desires. Is their love strong enough to defeat the gathering forces of darkness that threatens to destroy them both?



Interested in this book?
Post a comment and you'll be put into the drawing to win a copy of THE WICKED VAMPIRE.

Open to US mailing addresses only

Book Winner



The winner of THE RIGHT KIND OF ROGUE by Valerie Bowman is....

Poster #2: Texas Book Lover

Congrats! Please email me by 12/19/17 at pattifischer@yahoo.com

Friday, December 08, 2017

Promo: HEROES OF WESTHORPE RIDGE Holiday Series Boxed Set by KRYSSIE FORTUNE

Heroes of Westhorpe Ridge
Holiday Series Boxed Set
By Kryssie Fortune
Kryssie is giving away a $10 Amazon Gift Certificate and 3 ebooks of Submission, Secrets, and the Soldier to lucky winners during the tour. Please use the Rafflecopter below to enter. Remember there is a chance to enter every day, so please follow us along on the tour. You may find the tour locations here

About the Boxed Set: Kryssie Fortune's holiday series, Heroes of Westhorpe Ridge, is now available in a convenient e-boxed set!
Marriage, Mobsters, and the Marine: Abigail Montgomery, a small town schoolteacher with zero self-confidence, dreams of the Dickensian Christmas her family never enjoyed. Each month she attends a masked BDSM club, but her next visit will be her last. If she doesn’t marry within the next year, her brother won’t inherit Montgomery Hall. Desperate, she advertises for a husband. Jared Armstrong, a former Marine sharpshooter and occasional Dom needs $125,000 to get his family out of a hole. His solution--to marry Abigail Montgomery for her money. His only regret is his wife won’t accept his spanking lifestyle. Gradually, Abigail comes to dream of making their marriage real, but she promised Jared a divorce two years after their wedding. Can they share some Christmas magic as their relationship faces extortion threats, a kidnapping, and an attempted murder? Or will Jared break her heart when he walks away?



Sex, Scandal, and the Sheriff: Jasmine Stewart (Jazz to her friends) falls for the blond stranger when he spanks and seduces her at a Washington soiree. Later, when she discovers her flatmate is trying to draw her into a spy ring, she goes to the authorities. The ensuing publicity costs her her job, her security, and her future. Starting over in Westhorpe Ridge is her only option. Sean Mathews, former SEAL and Westhorpe Ridge’s sheriff, can’t forget the woman he spanked when he visited Washington, but he thinks she’s a spy. When she turns up in Westhorpe Ridge, he tries everything to make her leave town. Despite their misunderstandings, though, they can’t keep their hands off each other. As Year’s Eve looms, the spy ring resurfaces. Jazz will need all of Sean’s SEAL prowess to survive. But because his wounded leg cost him his speed in the water, will it be enough?



Desire, Deceit, and the Doctor: Twelve years ago, Mandy Devlin moved away from her friends and family--under threat. If she returned in the next ten years or told anyone who fathered her baby, her boyfriend’s great-aunt would bankrupt her family. She’s a single mom who dreams of her lost love and a good spanking. When she’s finally free to return to Westhorpe Ridge, the last person she expects to see is Adam--the man she loved and lost so long ago. Dr. Adam Montgomery doesn’t know he has a son. Thanks to his great-aunt’s will, he has nine months to find a bride or he loses Montgomery Hall and the fifteen million dollars she left him. Although he seduces Mandy on his first night home, he still believes she betrayed him twelve years ago. No way would he marry a woman like her. As Valentine’s Day looms, someone tries to kill Mandy. Is Adam trying to get rid of her? Or can Mandy trust him to protect them? 
Note: All of the books in this set were previously released as single titles.

Buy Links: 
Amazon UK | Amazon US | Loose id | Kobo | B&N  



Excerpt from Desire, Deceit and the Doctor:
Ben pointed at the man the medics were checking. “He ran down the beach, dived in, and hauled me back to shore. Then he picked me up and shouted at me. He wouldn’t put me down. I couldn’t get away no matter how hard I tried. Duffy kept barking and jumping up at him, but he yelled, ‘Sit,’ and Duffy did.”
Mandy glanced around, wondering where the dog had got to, but her concern for Ben overrode everything.
Her son hiccupped in a great lungful of air. “Once we got off the beach, he opened the back door of his black SUV. Duffy jumped in and sat there like he owned it. I thought that man meant to shove me in his car and drive off, especially since he wouldn’t put me down. I tried to squirm free and yelled for Mom. I—”
The rest of his words were lost as he buried his head against her chest and wept harder. Mandy stared at the black SUV, the same make and model every tourist rented. It would have faded into traffic and vanished if the guy she’d decked had managed to force Ben inside it. Only, according to Ben, the man at her feet was a hero not a kidnapper.
Now she’d heard the truth, she wanted to shake Ben too. Not that she ever would, but her temper still burned inside her. The guy she’d brained with the bottle had risked his life to rescue her son. She felt bad that she’d assaulted her son’s savior, but nothing gave him the right to manhandle Ben. Torn between tending the stranger or kicking him for upsetting her son, she swallowed hard. “Is he dead? Please tell me I didn’t kill him.”
As she spoke, Ben’s rescuer groaned and tried to sit up. “What the hell?”
Gods, she knew that voice. It might be deeper, smoother, and sexier, but she’d never forget the three years she’d spent dating its owner or the dreadful way things had ended between them.
One of the paramedics eased the injured man’s arm out of his shirt and gently held him in place. “Lay still. You’ve had a blow on the head, and you’ve reopened the wound in your shoulder.”
Sean’s jaw dropped. “Adam? You weren’t due home until Easter. What happened? And what’s with that wound in your shoulder?”
Mandy’s pulse raced, and she shivered with shock. Adam’s voice sounded as mellow as Scotch whisky and just as tempting, making her ache for what might have been. Her hands trembled, and her heart pounded so hard it felt like a hammer trying to break out of her chest.
Even now, she couldn’t understand how she’d loved and lost, or why Adam had left her after the one time they’d had sex. Despite the way he’d hurt her, she forced a small smile. One night of sex in thirty years wasn’t a great average, especially when the sex had been so bad she’d cried afterward.
At least Adam had moved on and made a life as an army medic, or so she’d thought when she mortgaged her life to buy the hotel. After she’d signed on the dotted line, she discovered Adam would be home soon. “Easter,” his little sister, Abigail, had said. Mandy had hoped to get Devlin’s Hotel’s Valentine’s Ball out of the way before she considered what to say to Adam, especially since he didn’t know about Ben. Now Adam had turned up almost seven weeks early.
She’d always known seeing him again would hurt, but she hadn’t expected his presence to make her short of breath or for her body to tremble for his touch. She’d imagined so many ways to greet him once he came home, but none had included laying him out with a beer bottle.
She took a deep breath and satisfied herself that Ben hadn’t suffered more than a bad fright. Standing here staring at Adam, she felt scared, excited, and exhilarated, like a human cannonball who’d missed the net. Her gaze felt glued to the only man she’d ever loved. The man who’d hurt her so deeply she’d never dated again.
The intervening twelve years had made his shoulders broader, and when he rose to his feet, he stood taller than when she last saw him. Even damp with seawater, his close-cropped hair shone like a raven’s wing. His broad lips still looked they’d been made to be kissed, but he had more muscle than she remembered. At eighteen, he’d been good looking. At thirty, even soaking wet and furious, he was drop-dead gorgeous. Everything about him seemed…more.



About the Author: 
Kryssie Fortune writes the sort of hot sexy books she loves to read. If she can sneak a dragon into her paranormal books she will. Her paranormal heroes are muscular werewolves, arrogant Fae, or BDSM loving dragons.  Kryssie likes her contemporary heroes ex-military and dominant. Her heroines are kick ass females who can hold their own against whatever life - or Kryssie - throws at them. Kryssie's pet hates are unhappy endings, and a series that end on a cliff hanger.
Her books are all stand alone even when part of series. Plot always comes before sex, but when her heroines and heroes get together, the sex is explosive and explicit. One review called it downright sensual.

Kryssie's Social Links:
Facebook | Twitter | Blog | Website   

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Thursday, December 07, 2017

Promo: THE LORD MEETS HIS LADY by GINA CONKLE

Title: The Lord Meets His Lady
Author: Gina Conkle
Series: Midnight Meetings #3
Pub Date: December 5, 2017
ISBN: 9781492651901

Lord Marcus Bowles has stained his family’s reputation for the last time. Only after spending a scandal-free year restoring some far-flung property can this second son return in good graces. But Marcus isn’t one to abandon a lone damsel on a dark country lane.

One stolen kiss and Genevieve Turner’s handsome midnight savior disappears. Typical. No matter, Gen is finally on the way to her new post, and hopefully to finding her grandmother as well. Instead she finds her mischievous hero is her new employer. Surely a few more kisses won’t hurt…

Gina Conkle writes sensual Georgian romance and lush Viking romance. Her books offer a fresh, addictive spin on the genre, with the witty banter and sexual tension that readers crave. She grew up in southern California and despite all that sunshine, Gina loves books over beaches and stone castles over sand castles. Now she lives in Michigan with her favorite alpha male, Brian, and their two sons where she’s known to occasionally garden and cook._ Find her at www.ginaconkle.com.

Buy Links:


How to Have Your Christmas Pudding Like a Georgian

Does pudding make you think sex? Probably not. When someone says “pudding” most people think of the dessert easily made from a box. Its popularity has fallen in favor of cakes, pies, and ice cream.
But once upon a time, pudding was polarizing. Political factions rose up over the food. Laws were debated in England’s Parliament. Citizens clashed (and yes, even rioted!) over the right to feast as they saw fit. Pudding was surprisingly a contentious issue in England’s history. For a time, the dish was on the outs.
Georgian England, thank goodness, recovered their decorum. King George I was served pudding at Christmas dinner and he thought the dish divine. Pudding was back.
But, why all the hubbub over…pudding? Let me explain.

A funny thing happened during Christmas

Medieval England was largely Catholic. Christmas Day was generally somber with Epiphany (the twelve days following Christmas) the time to party big—in many cases with Mardi Gras-esque debauchery. Historically speaking, Mardi Gras actually begins on January 6th (Twelfth Night).
In modern times, that kind of revelry stays in New Orleans. But, imagine what would happen if it cropped up all over? Some would denounce the excess. In early 17th century, many did.

Naughty, sexy pudding

When Oliver Cromwell came to power, Parliament demanded change in England’s Christmas festivities. Pudding was an often-discussed dish. Lawmakers (many of them Puritans) called pudding “lewd” and “unfit for God-fearing people.” Puritans weren’t the only pudding-bashing group. Quakers claimed pudding was “the invention of the scarlet whore of Babylon.”
These groups objected to what went into dessert puddings, brandy being a chief ingredient. Those opposed to pudding felt the food added to drunken, licentious behavior. Of course, we know today high temperatures cook the alcohol, leaving only the flavor. You won’t get drunk on pudding.
But, Cromwellian leadership took the excesses to heart. They banned Christmas. They ordered shops to stay open on Christmas Day. Soldiers patrolled the streets and seized “Christmas feast food” which especially meant sinful pudding!
To be fair, the Scottish Kirk (church) had outlawed Christmas decades earlier. People north and south of the River Tweed were sickened by the gluttony of sins. When Cromwell’s reign ended, Charles II was restored to the English throne. Yet, Christmas and its famed pudding didn’t come roaring back. Citizens worn out from in-fighting didn’t rush to reinstate the old way of celebrating the holiday.

The Complaint of Christmas

It took satirist John Taylor to bring people to their senses. In his pamphlet, The Complaint of Christmas, Taylor decried the “harmless sports” of the holiday which “are now extinct and put out of use… as if they had never been.” He rightfully pointed out “the merry lords of misrule [are] suppressed by the mad lords of bad rule at Westminster.”
Christmas crept back…more like a lamb than a lion, but it was back. In moderation.
It took George I enjoying his first Christmas dinner as England’s monarch to bring pudding again into holiday popularity. The tasty dish was de rigueur!

Here’s to your Christmas feast (with pudding or without).  ~Gina Conkle


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Excerpt:
Caught between the wooden beam and determined man, Genevieve didn’t fight back. Lord Bowles went to Learmouth on her behalf, and he returned…to her.
“Ah, now there’s a fine reward. The light in your eyes.” He pushed back her hood. His stare ranged over her face, her hair, dropping to her lips and back to her eyes again. “Something else would make my cold, wet ride worthwhile.”
“Such as?”
“A kiss.”
He smiled at her. For most women this would be oil to a flame. They’d leap at his warm invitation. She would not.
“Do you ever do something for the joy of giving to another, milord? Without asking something in return.”
His smile froze. Time slipped, marking this fragile point. “It’s a late-night kiss in a barn far from witnesses to soil your new, respectable life.”
“This isn’t about respectability, milord. I don’t barter my kisses.” Rain pounded overhead. Her breath quickened and all she could do was stare at his fine mouth.
“Something tells me you want this as much as I do.”
Gone was the loose-limbed, humorous country squire she’d grown accustomed to. The man pressing against her slipped into the practiced, charming wastrel she’d seen in London, and she was no less affected.
Her lips parted, the fight in her weakening by the second. “It is a simple price to pay.”
His breath touched her forehead and being the brazen woman she, she angled her face to meet his.
His lazy smile spread. “That’s better.”
Her heart thudded. Anticipation dampened the right places. What she wanted and what he’d give were at the heart of the matter. There was no such thing as a simple kiss.
Lord Bowles hooked a finger under her chin. Supple leather brushed her skin. Her body rocked forward, yearning for his leather-clad hand to explore other places. He dipped close, his lips grazing her, soft and open.
His mouth pressed at an angle to the right. To the left. All with perfect caresses.
Almost too perfect.
The interlude was all very…nice. But not heart shattering. A let down really despite her racing pulse. Lord Bowles had done this to other women.
Many times. Pleasant and practiced.
One turn of his mouth just so. The side of his nose touched hers, and he pulled away.
His eyes drifted open, the gold and green flecks so beautiful. “Well?”
“That was…”  Her lashes veiled her eyes.
“It was what?”
“It was…nice, milord. Quite nice.”
Nice?” He jerked back. “A cordial thank you note from a relative is nice, not a kiss.”
“I’m not complaining. You kiss well.”
He scowled at her. “That’s not the desired effect.”
She opened her mouth but shut it.
His brows snapped together. “If you’ve more to say on the subject, please enlighten me.”
“The same way you enlightened me about horses and size?”
His scowl deepened.
Shoulders straight, she pushed off the beam. Men lived too much by what hung between their legs. “I know exactly what your kiss was about.”
 “Oh, this ought to be good,” he said, folding his arms.
“I’ve wanted to kiss you for a long time.” She paused when his eyes rounded. “Yes. It’s true. But you kissed me the way I expect you’ve kissed lots of other women before me.”
Overhead the skies dumped a torrent the same as what she was about to do. He was right. She should never have come to the barn, but she’d already said too much, revealed too much. Nothing was going to hold her back now.
“You kissed me like it was the door to sex instead of kissing me.” Her chin tipped higher. “Sex can be so impersonal. Swiving, coupling, bed sport. Look at today. You needed what? A hard, fast ride?
His mouth flattened. Late day whiskers darkened his jaw, a hideous mess on some men, but on Lord Bowles? Potent. Curiously, he stayed quiet, letting her have her say.
 “Men never sought women at The Golden Goose for a kiss. Grope them. Get under their skirts, yes, but nothing else. Do you know why?” She stopped and took a breath, warming to the skirmish. “Because kissing scares them. It’s intimate.”
He bristled. “I kiss women.”
Of course, he did. Lots of them.
“This is me,” she said, softly. “Standing here with you. But, you kissed me just now like you would any other woman. All because you want under my skirts.”
Light flickered in his eyes. Did her message ring true? Never did she believe she’d have this conversation with a man, much less Lord Bowles. Speaking her mind refreshed her, especially since the man in question listened.
“You’re better than most men. You know how to kiss, how to charm. And that gets you what you want, but nothing in your kiss was about me.” She stared past his shoulder. “I don’t want quick tumbles. I want a man to know me.”
She stood taller for saying what she wanted. Running away wasn’t escaping the old life; it was making a new one and bawdy past or not, she’d defend what she wanted.
Thunder cracked outside. Pulsing want thrummed her veins. Shoes damp and hands cold, she surprisingly wasn’t in a hurry to leave. Neither was Lord Bowles.
“And if a man wanted to know a woman?”
He opened a door with his singular question. She swallowed a tickle in her throat and studied his coat’s weave before looking him in the eye.
“He’d pay attention to her. Find a place that needs kissing. One should never assume the mouth is the first place to kiss.”
His eyes darkened like a satyr about to feast. “Go on.”
She flattened a hand on his chest, her fingers spreading wide. Wool scratched her palm, but a profound, mysterious connection grew. “A kiss…a kiss ought to be unique. It ought to say ‘I’ve paid attention to you.’”
            “How would you kiss me?”
            His ragged voice rippled over her skin. More thunder rattled the heavens. Her heart thudded, renewing deep-seated aches.
“I don’t know.”
“Don’t be a coward, Miss Turner,” he said softly. “You started this.”
His hand covered hers on his chest and gave her fingers a squeeze. Her nipples peaked inside her stays. She had started this, the moment she stepped outside instead of hiding safely to her room. This was not about a quick kiss in the barn. She wanted to rub against Lord Bowles, ease the torment and whisper her thoughts to him.
How dangerous to have a man want to know a woman’s body and her mind.