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“Lord Clevedon, my lady,” Digby announced before retiring and leaving the door open.

His lordship entered the room as if he was visiting a close relative and was assured of his welcome.
He approached and bowed low over her hand, and the rioting in her stomach grew worse. It was not caused by the handsome face smiling down at her, but at the audacity of her plan.

Her back stiffened and she stayed seated. Her eyes traveled up the length of him, and like a mouse eyeing the cheese in the trap, she sighed, the conversation to come was not a good idea.

“Lady Penelope Fisherton, thank you for receiving me. I realize we have not been formally introduced but you left the auction so quickly the other day, proper introductions were not completed.”

How like a man to ignore society’s rules and make it sound as if it was her fault.

“I must admit, my lord, I’m surprised at your visit. You won the painting so it cannot be about that.”
“May I?” he asked, indicating a chair.

“Of course, please sit. Digby, some tea for his lordship or perhaps you’d prefer a glass of brandy?” Brandy for the dandy her mother always used to say. Lord Clevedon did not look like a dandy. She shivered. He looked—it did not matter how he looked, and she pulled the summoning bell harder than necessary.

He sat in one smooth, gliding motion, like a sleek black panther prowling the undergrowth. His long legs, showcased in tight trousers and polished Hessians, made the chair look tiny. He touched his perfectly starched white cravat. Was he nervous? Her confidence surged.

“I’d prefer tea, thank you, lemon no sugar.”

Her mother had also told her never to show surprise. “Should I be flattered that you have tracked me down? I wonder what brings you to my door. Let me just say up front that I’m not looking for any kind of dalliance if you have found out about my scandalous past. I assure you it will never be repeated.”

He laughed and it sent a shiver over her skin. The sound brushed the fine hairs on her arms like a whisper. “Scandalous past? Hardly.” He looked her right in the eyes, holding her gaze. “I’m sure compared to my reputation the Pope would confuse you with a nun.”

Why did he have to be honest? In her experience most men bent on seduction did not broadcast their sordid reputations. A thought stuck. Lord Clevedon had not been in England eight years ago when she’d made the biggest mistake of her life; perhaps he had not heard of her scandalous past.

She paused drinking her tea sure he would note her shaking hands. Eyes that were framed with thick, dark lashes making the brown look almost black in color studied her intently. She wanted to shake her head to clear the vision of male beauty before her, but didn’t dare show any weakness.

Surely, he must have heard about her past because she had heard all about his from her one true friend, Lady Charlotte. If he had learned where she stayed while in London, he would also have been told her sorry, scandal-ridden tale.

Charlotte had shared the scandalous tales of Lord Clevedon’s life with her when they were making a list of men Penelope could approach. Charlotte also knew he was one of only a handful of men who had the skills and affront to help her.

She picked up her teacup, her mind locked steady. “Then perhaps you could share the reason for your visit.”

He gave her a smile that would melt snow, and probably most women’s hearts. “I’m here to gift you the painting.”

Excitement burst deep within her. This was her chance. “There are only two problems with your kind offer.” She put her teacup down again and tried to steady her shaking hands. “One, men bearing gifts to a woman such as me are looking for something in return, usually me in their beds, and that will never happen. Two”—and she sat back in her chair for this—“I don’t want the painting. I never did. Why would I need a painting of a sunrise when I see the most glorious sunrise from my bedchamber window every morning?”

The look of confusion that momentarily flashed across his handsome face was priceless. He sat up and uncrossed his long limbs. “Then why did you bid on it?”

She hesitated, her bravery vanishing like a fog as the sun rose. Finally, she gave herself a bit of a shake and uttered the words that would change everything. “Because I knew you wanted it.”

His mouth fell open before he quickly closed it. Eyes narrowing, he leaned forward, “And why was that important?”

She shrugged, trying to portray an air of nonchalance. “I needed something you wanted. Unfortunately, you seemed prepared to pay an exorbitant sum for the painting. I suspect you would have kept bidding regardless of the price. Why did you want the painting so badly?”

“It is beautiful, is it not? The way Wilson captured the sunrise.”

“I suppose, but it cannot compete with a real sunrise.”

“Can it not? Whoever owns the painting can view a spectacular sunrise every minute of the day. I can see it at night long after the real sunrise has died.”

How odd. “If one sees something on a continuous basis one often ends up taking it for granted. I love the idea that I have to take the time to admire the sunrise before it is gone.”

“Perhaps I’m greedy. I want to surround myself with beauty every minute of the day. Pulchritudo latet in omnibus.”

She had never learned Latin. “What does that mean?”

“Beauty lies in all things.”

She wanted to argue but understood it would be pointless. She suspected a young chimney sweep did not view the soot clinging to his clothes, hair, and skin as beauty. “Still, your pursuit of the painting means I have nothing I can use. I have nothing you want.”

He flopped back in his chair, the rakish smile back on his face. He gave a deep chuckle. “My lady, you most definitely have something I want.” His eyes indecently traveled over her as she sat in her chair pretending his presence did not fire up her body in ways she’d hoped would never be fired up again.

BUY LINKS or see below

Destined to go blind, a rake sets his sights on the toast of society, lighting a fire of passion that scorches the night, in this captivating novel from USA Today bestselling author Bronwen Evans.

Stephen Hornsby, the Marquess of Clevedon, has one goal: to see every exquisite thing he can before he goes blind. His greatest joy, watching a woman shuddering in the throes of passion, will be gone. But before the darkness descends, he is determined to seduce a magnificent widow, Lady Penelope Fisherton. Unfortunately, his rakish reputation has preceded him; Lady Penelope spurns his advances. Being a man who relishes a challenge, however, her reluctance adds only luster to his desire for the last beautiful sight he’ll ever see.

Considered the belle of London society, Lady Penelope was married to a scoundrel who cared for no one but himself. Now that she’s free, she wants nothing to do with love, passion, or desire—emotions that abandoned her with a cruel husband. So why does her body react when Stephen smiles? As much as she’d like to avoid the rogue, her brother-in-law wants her fortune, and he’ll kill to get it. Stephen is willing to help, but he’ll take only one thing in return: Her. In his bed.

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Welcome to the Coastal Romance Christmas Blog Hop

AND MY WINNER OF THIS BLOG POST IS Kara Vaughan Marks. I have emailed you!

Our Facebook Group…click to join

The members of this coastal romance group are authors and readers who love reading romance by the water, whether it be the ocean, a lake, a tropical island or any other body of water where our heroes and heroines fall in love and live happily ever after!

Some of our authors have combined their resources and planned this Christmas blog hop. Once the blog begins you have the opportunity of winning by going to their blog post for the day (Each author will post until Christmas Eve) and comment on their individual posts to go in the draw to win a book at each hop. Then by clicking on the raffle copter link below, you will be entered in the grand prize draw for a $150 Amazon gift card.

Prizes: Drawn on Christmas Eve.

First prize: $150 Amazon gift card

Second prize: 30 ebooks

Third prize…Each comment on 
each author’s blog will go in the draw
 for an e-book from that author. Some of our authors have also indicated there may be a print book for Aussie entrants too!

Here is where you can find all the blogs from the first day!

So what are you waiting for? Come visit, get clicking, commenting and enter EVERY day.  
You will discover some wonderful new authors and some awesome books too!
It’s like an advent calendar so bookmark this page and open a blog every day on the calendar below until Christmas! The more blogs you read, the more entries you have, and the more chances of winning the fabulous prize!

My eBook Prize for this blog post is  A SCOT FOR CHRISTMAS – a novella that is in the Christmas in Kilts: Highland Holiday Boxed Set! Simply answer the question at the end of my post.

A Christmas in Hawkes Bay

A family barbecue in shorts and t-shirts lying by the pool reading, or tucked up with a cup of tea and a book by a roaring fire after a hot roast turkey dinner? 

Can you spot the difference between a summer and winter Christmas? 

I have to admit that I love a summer Christmas. While I have enjoyed a few winter Christmas’s in the snow, I do prefer a hot Christmas to a cold one. Shall I list the reasons why?

  1. I can’t over eat as I haven’t got the big floppy jumpers and thick cardies to wear to cover up
  2. I like being able to take the dogs for a long walk after I’ve eaten to walk it all off without having to wrap up like a mummy
  3. It’s far easier for my parents and the elder visitors to get out and about—no snow to deal with
  4. I can laze by the pool, reading and swimming – my two favourite things to do (and everyone likes to come round to swim to cool down)
  5. The food is not so heavy – fish, chicken, salads and pavlova with strawberries! Yum.
  6. The kids can be easily entertained out and about in the sunshine, heading to the beach, or playground
  7. It’s still light at 9pm on Christmas day so we can enjoy more of it!
  8. The vines are all green and the grapes are forming—it’s so pretty
  9. It’s NZ’s main holiday period so the kids are off school for weeks and most people take their main leave during Christmas

I suppose that I wouldn’t mind having a winter Christmas if all my family and friends were there too! Because that is what Christmas is really about—family and friends.

The joke is on me though because I write Regency historical romances and I’ve written a Christmas novella, A SCOT FOR CHRISTMAS, which is in the Christmas in Kilts: Highland Holiday Box Set.

A SCOT FOR CHRISTMAS by Bronwen Evans
She’s ready to embrace her life and future as a spinster, he’s trying to have one last hurrah before he gives into his family’s wishes and proposes marriage to his neighbor, but fate has other ideas when the lady and the Scot meet at a holiday house party in the wilds of Scotland.

And of course I have to write about a winter Christmas. I’ve set the story by Loch Linnhe which is a sea loch so it does not usually snow or freeze over.

Here’s a wee snippet of A Scot for Christmas:

Dougray smiled and joked, “So, you want me to find you a strapping highlander for Christmas? I suspect if I let it be known you were looking for a husband I would have a queue at my door for a bonnie lass such as you.”

Emma loved it when his polish slipped and he spoke in his native brogue. She could imagine him a Scottish warrior of old.

“No.” She took a deep breath and quietly said, “I want you to be my lover. During my stay I would like you to teach me about passion before I settle into spinsterhood.”

The whisky flask slipped from his fingers to the ground and he cursed. Then cursed again at his curse, before grabbing the flask and drinking deeply.

Only the sound of the birds and the gentle wash of the waves on the shore of the loch could be heard as he sat stunned, looking at her.

He shook his head. “I think I must have misheard.”

“Please don’t make me say it again.”

You can read an excerpt here…

Wherever you’re having Christmas this year I hope it’s a celebration with family and friends. I hope it’s full of love and joy. Thanks for sharing my writing journey over the year and for sharing the love of reading with me and others.

TO WIN a eBook copy of A Scot for Christmas simply leave a comment below telling me why you like either a winter or summer Christmas the best.

A Scot for Christmas

Amazon US http://amzn.to/2gBMxxH

Amazon Canada http://amzn.to/2xBfdBf

Amazon UK http://amzn.to/2ggqWOp

iBooks   http://apple.co/2ggwjwO

Nook      http://bit.ly/2ydBMLJ

Kobo      http://bit.ly/2yjPrAG

Google Play   http://bit.ly/2yk4z0S

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

MERRY CHRISTMAS AND HAVE A SAFE AND HAPPY HOLIDAY.

Today, I have a fun surprise that I’d like to share with you.

I’ve teamed up with 50+ fantastic authors to give away a huge collection of Regency & Victorian romances to 2 lucky winners, PLUS a brand new eReader to the Grand Prize winner!

Oh, and did I mention you’ll receive a collection of FREE ebooks just for entering

You can win my novel A LOVE TO REMEMBER, plus books from authors like DARCY BURKE and ANNA HARRINGTON

Enter the giveaway by clicking here:

A LOVE TO REMEMBER

A fiercely independent duchess and a brooding, reclusive earl are tested by the demands of desire in this unforgettable romance from the USA Today bestselling author of A Kiss of Lies and A Night of Forever.

For Rose Deverill, one husband was enough. As the wealthy widow of the Duke of Roxborough, she has cultivated an unsavory reputation meant to discourage wife hunters. Thanks to a string of steamy affairs, Rose is perfectly content to be known by polite society as the “Wicked Widow”—until she’s reunited with the man she fell in love with at age fifteen. Their bedroom encounters are scorching, but it breaks Rose’s heart to wonder whether her reckless behavior ruined her for Philip Flagstaff.

The second son of the Earl of Cumberland, Philip never wanted the title. But after Philip’s older brother, Robert, follows him into the Battle of Waterloo, his worst fears come to pass. Now Robert lies in a soldier’s grave, and Philip is determined never to pass on the inheritance to children of his own. Then Rose appears, soothing the pain with her delightful curves and passionate kisses. The notorious Duchess seems to want nothing from him—and yet Philip has never ached to give a woman more.

PLUS – don’t forget the Christmas in Kilts giveaway contest.

Good luck, and enjoy!