At least that's me.
How about you?
It's ALSO the time of year for us to start thinking about Holidays; Thanksgiving, Christmas etc. And what better way to celebrate that reading?
Ok, at least in MY opinion. ;)
EsKape Press has been gracious enough to let me be a part of their huge holiday celebration by releasing "Redeeming the Deception of Grace" (A Christmas Regency Romance) in their Boxed Set: "Romancing the Rogue" ( sounds Delicious, doesn't it?"
Along with other amazing authors, this boxed set is only .99! Here's the cover:
And to celebrate this awesome release, they're doing a fun little contest. To play, you need to read my excerpt and yes, there WILL be a test ;) ;) so pay attention! Follow the instructions on the Blog hop and answer the question about the except and you'll be entered to win a prize from EsKape press! AND because its the season of giving ( and thanksgiving) If you leave a comment on this post, telling me your favorite holiday book, I'll enter you to win a copy of my new release "To Tempt An Earl"! Ready? Set? Here we go!
"Redeeming the Deception of Grace"
Because sometimes all love needs is a little healthy competition...
Ewan was shocked when Grace stopped her much anticipated reply. Resisting the temptation of waving his hand in front of her face, he turned slightly to see what she was gawking at. Spencer Raleigh, Earl of Shiply. Anyone but Shiply! But of course Grace would find his angelic looks enticing. Hadn't scores of other debutantes believed the same? Eyeing Grace, he intended to set her straight but paused, noticing how she observed the gentleman from head to toe in a seductive fashion. Ewan doubted she even realized it.
I want her to look at me like that, he thought, feeling the fire of jealousy burn in his gut as he realized that it wasn't that Grace was immune to charm in general, she was simply immune to him. Disregarding the offensive thought, he focused on Shiply's advance. He had to think fast. Shiply had targeted her and was sauntering over in an effort to secure an introduction.
"Greys! I thought I saw you," Shiply said enthusiastically as he reached out to shake Ewan's hand.
Trying to think of a way to keep him away from Grace, he paused, stalling for time. "Shiply, didn't expect to see you here. In fact, I know of a gentleman who wanted to speak with you, if you'll just…" He hoped Shiply would take the hint and leave, but Shiply waved him off and began another thread of conversation, one that led to Grace.
"Why would I miss this crush? And who may I ask is this English flower?" he asked, turning toward Grace, offering her a seductive smile that made Ewan cringe.
His eyes held her captive, and Grace felt as though she had stopped breathing, she was so lightheaded. She marveled at how gentle he was when he reached out and grasped her hand before kissing the air above it. Though many gentlemen had done the same, his administration warmed her like hot tea after a cold walk through Hyde Park..
"Ah, yes, this is Lady Jarvais and her daughter, Lady Grace." Ewan made the introductions, mumbling slightly. With a questioning glance, she waited for Ewan to offer up the stranger's name.
When Ewan stared back stubbornly, challenging her with the slight squint of his eyes, she turned back to her new acquaintance. "You'll have to excuse Lord Greys, he tends to mumble and forget his manners when he's foxed."
She cut a glance to Ewan and then turned back to the handsome gentleman. "It's a pleasure to meet you, sir…" She waited for him to fill in the blank. Out of the corner of her eye, she saw Ewan stiffen before settling on an unamused smirk.
"Spencer Raleigh, Earl of Shiply, at your service," he said with a smile, and he offered her a playful bow. His light hair brushed his brow as he leaned down, adding a boyish charm to the already handsome man.
"Excuse me, but I am not 'foxed', as you put it, Lady Grace," Ewan interrupted her conversation with Shiply. He tamped down the urge to get into fisticuffs with the flirting earl but barely. Why was Grace reacting in such a way? He disliked the emotions the arrival of Shiply had uncovered.
"My mistake," she quipped, but never took her eyes off of Shiply, which irritated Ewan even more.
"Care to dance, Lady Grace?" The honeyed words dripped from Shiply's mouth, causing Ewan to fight a gag reflex. Some people had no class.
"I'd be delighted." Grace's smile lit up her face, and Ewan found himself unable to look away. She truly had grown into a beautiful young woman, though when this had occurred was unknown to him.
Her perfectly straight teeth flashed against full lips that reminded him of the crimson-colored sheets currently covering his bed. Aroused at the thought, he imagined her kiss, with those passionate green eyes closed in rapture. She bit her lower lip as she took Shiply's hand. Ewan found himself licking his own lips, wondering how her kiss would taste.
Ewan mentally shook, pulling himself from his desirous thoughts, and focused on Grace's retreating form. He stood scowling and watching the pair dance and flirt, his mood darkening by the second.
"Wipe that scowl from your face, Ewan. It's not as if she's never danced with anyone but you before," Lady Jarvais chided, clicking her tongue.
Ewan started slightly. He had all but forgotten about her presence. He turned towards the dear woman and tried to act the unconcerned rogue. "Yes, well, he's unsuitable. A rake, rogue… whatever you call the unsavory characters that prowl about, these days." He lifted his hand in a dismissive gesture toward Shiply.
"Yes, and you yourself are nothing of the sort?" she asked as her eyebrows rose.
He understood his hypocrisy as she gave him a disbelieving look. No. He wasn't any better. However, he wasn't the one trying to woo Grace, attempting to seduce her to his bed, make love to her until the far reaches of the morning…
What am I thinking? His mind spun out of control imagining Grace in all those situations with him. The air was warmer, so he pulled on his collar. Then he also fought the urge to loosen his cravat.
His eyes never left her twirling body, and he physically responded to her curves. Cursing, he looked away, willing his body to calm and forbidding his mind to think of her tempting body pressed against his. As he searched for a distraction, he noticed Lady Jarvais watching him with a curious expression on her face before it lit up in an understanding smile.
"You're jealous." She spoke the words with awe. She looked thrilled.
Ewan felt his stomach drop. No, he couldn't be jealous. Could he? But admitting she was correct would require him to acknowledge all the twisting emotions within his gut, and he refused to do that.
No, he was not jealous. Annoyed, certainly. Straightening his collar, he faced Lady Jarvais. "I am nothing of the sort."
Glancing back at the dance floor, he saw Grace give Shiply a flirtatious smile. His insides burned with a hot rage. Perhaps he was jealous, although he would never admit it out loud. Ever.
"You are so. It's written across your face, clear as day," Lady Jarvais remarked, still marveling. "You know, I saw this coming," she added with an arrogant grin full of trouble. The way she tilted her chin reminded him of Grace.
"You most certainly did not, because it is not happening. I'm not jealous!" He glanced up and muttered, "Especially of that arrogant cad, Shiply."After a moment he added, "Lady Grace has far more sense than to fall for the likes of that sort." He huffed, hoping he sounded more convincing than he felt.
"Ah, and you'd be far better for her than Shiply." Lady Jarvais's green eyes twinkled as she challenged his claim.
"Of course. Anyone would," he replied with little patience. Hadn't he already said as much?
"Good. Then I trust you to make sure she'll be safe." She watched him expectantly.
"Excuse me?" He looked at her as if she had lost all sense. What could she mean? As an available gentleman, he couldn't act as chaperon, nor would he want to, but Lady Jarvais knew that. Trepidation seeped into his chest as he watched Lady Jarvais grin.
"Yes, Lord Jarvais is gone for business on our country estate in Sussex. He won't be back until a week before the Kringle Ball. Her brothers are all busy with their own families. There are only us two who can look out for poor Lady Grace."
With a touch of her fan on his shoulder, she continued, "I won't be able to be everywhere at once, so I'm enlisting your help. As a longtime family friend who has Lady Grace's best interests at heart, I trust you to make sure she is safe from this unsavory Shiply character." She said 'Shiply' with mock terror as she widened her grin, not enough to mock him openly, but enough to issue a challenge — a challenge he was sure to take on, regardless of how his head told him to walk away.