My earliest holiday memories are of early mornings. Very early mornings. So early that some of them could be called late nights.
I’m not sure how far back these go – maybe to age four or five. My brother, sister and I (my two eldest sisters having grown too august to participate in this silliness) would be put to bed on December 24th trembling with excitement and desperate longing for Christmas Day to be here at last. I’ve never been an early riser but the minute my little brother (or elder sister) nudged me I’d be wide awake. Never mind that it was pitch dark and cold and about 3 am.
We knew we’d be in big trouble if we woke our parents before dawn, but we were allowed to open our stockings. (I suspect this was a compromise negotiated by the big sisters at some point before they became old and cynical.) I can’t remember when I realized that Father Christmas (as Brits call Santa Claus) was actually Mum and Dad. I wondered why he used the same wrapping paper as them (my mother was a mad recycler and the same paper—rather crumpled—appeared year after year) until it eventually occurred to me that it was No Coincidence. We didn’t have very fancy stockings—mostly practical things, a small toy or two, and a clementine in the toe of the sock. The fruit, and perhaps a chocolate bar, came in very useful when there were several hours until breakfast.
One year my brother and I got so out of control with excitement that we started running around the passageway whooping and my father came out to speak to us. I don’t remember what he said (probably nothing too threatening) but we were chastened enough to return to bed, for about ten minutes.
Then one year my brother came to my room. “It’s Christmas,” he said. “Get up.”
“Go away,” I said, rolled over and went back to sleep.
I had turned into my eldest sisters.
How excited are you about the holidays? Are you still a four-year-old at heart?
Length: 384 pages
Publisher: Avon (December 30, 2014)
Wanted: Governess able to keep all hours . . .
Rebellious Julian Fortescue never expected to inherit a dukedom, nor to find himself guardian to three young half-sisters. Now in the market for a governess, he lays eyes on Jane Grey and knows immediately she is qualified--to become his mistress. Yet the alluring woman appears impervious to him. Somehow Julian must find a way to make her succumb to temptation . . . without losing his heart and revealing the haunting mistakes of his past.
Lady Jeanne de Falleron didn't seek a position as a governess simply to fall into bed with the Duke of Denford. Under the alias of Jane Grey, she must learn which of the duke's relatives is responsible for the death of her family--and take her revenge. She certainly can't afford the distraction of her darkly irresistible employer, or the smoldering desire he ignites within her.
But as Jane discovers more clues about the villain she seeks, she's faced with a possibility more disturbing than her growing feelings for Julian: What will she do if the man she loves is also the man she's sworn to kill?
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Other Books in Series:
The Importance of Being Wicked. Her historical romances published by Avon include the popular Burgundy Club series, about Regency book collectors, and currently The Wild Quartet.
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