It's Christmas in July time and I have several romance novels that are set at or around Christmas.
Flavia's Secret, my romance set in Roman Britain and Roman Bath, has its climax during the Saturnalia, the ancient world version of Christmas. You can read more here.
Dare Celtic slave Flavia trust her Roman master Marcus? In the Roman city of Aquae Sulis (modern Bath), Celtic slave Flavia longs to be free. Her mistress’ death brings a threat to Flavia’s dream: Valeria’s heir Marcus, a handsome, dangerous Roman officer. Flavia is drawn to Marcus but she has a deadly secret to hide and many enemies.
Maggie’s younger brother, Michael, is kidnapped by outlaws, and it’s up to her to rescue him. Appealing to Sir Conrad, the grim steward of the northern English high lands, is the very last thing she wants to do. With the very real possibility that the outlaws know of Michael’s talent—the ability to open any lock, to reveal any treasure—Maggie races against time to find him before his usefulness to the outlaws is ended.
Sir Conrad desires Maggie from the minute he sees her—she makes him feel alive again—and that has not happened since the death of his wife. Though he hasn’t known Maggie before, a strange feeling of familiarity nags, and he agrees to aid the beautiful peasant girl in this quest of finding her brother.
Joining forces, Maggie and Sir Conrad form a tenuous bond. When an assassin attacks Maggie, the pieces of the puzzle begin to fit, and Conrad realizes that even Maggie doesn’t know the power she holds. But Conrad not only must keep Maggie safe, he must thwart the dangerous devices of his spiteful older brother, Richard, who has lately returned from crusade.
As love blossoms, Maggie and Conrad must protect one another. Evil is all around them, and doubt is a cruel enemy. Will their faith in each other keep them united? In the world of dangerous courtly intrigue, who is saving whom? Love is all that matters…but can that be enough?
A Knight's Captive - a novel that also has it's climax at Christmas-time
It’s 1066, a year of strange comets and portents, harsh battles, dying kings and Norman and Viking invaders. Compelled to go on pilgrimage in a restive northern England, war-worn Breton knight Marc de Sens knows his first obligation is to his three orphaned nieces. But then he encounters the stunning blonde beauty Sunniva and his life changes forever.
Thrust together by betrayal, Marc and Sunniva must find a way to survive these turbulent times, but both hold dark and deadly secrets and trust between them is slow to grow. What happens when their tentative truce is shattered? Will Marc be held captive by his past? Will Sunniva become his willing prisoner? And will they find a way to find love and free themselves?
(Previously published by Kensington Publishing, New York, in 2009. Nominated for the ‘Romantic Times’ Reviewers’ Choice Best Historical Novels Award, 2009.)
After a few days spent indoors, cold dug into Conrad’s head and neck like a hawk’s talons. Wrapping the second of two cloaks more snugly around his wife, he steered his big bay, Gog, along the sunken road and wished again that Richard was not leading their party.
“Are the woods here always so dark, even at midday?” Maggie asked, without turning. They had ridden out from the early morning, but not a word of complaint had escaped her lips. He was proud of her, but too tired to praise.
So much for Richard’s short-cut! Conrad was also too saddle sore and chilled for anything more than resigned irritation. Swallowing to relieve his dry mouth, he said, “These sunken tracks fall quickly into shadow, but they are a good way of shifting through the greater forest unseen.”
“Is that necessary with a troop of our size?”
“Your father thought it wise.” Secrecy came naturally to Earl John and that peacock cousin of his, Lord Gerald, but Conrad did not have to like it.
“When did Richard come here?” Maggie must be exhausted if she uses questions as a distraction. Yet it was a handy inquiry and one he himself had wondered at. “Years ago, with our father.” The gilded pair had made a progress of the family’s lands, son and heir together. Feeling the old bitterness rise up, Conrad said a prayer against his envy of Richard and concentrated instead on the delicious sensation of his wife’s rump pressed against his groin. “In the summer,” he added, clicking his tongue to ease Gog past a patch of black ice.
Maggie briefly clasped his arm and he knew she understood. What was an easy path in summer was not the same in winter.
“Did your brother not remember how deep the snow can lie?”
“Richard as a chevalier does not care.” He rides well and he has no pillion to consider. Or did Richard plan to travel this way because I ride with Maggie?
Even as Conrad told himself not to be stupid—his brother was neither so devious nor so malicious—a whoop rang out from the head of their column.
“Woo! Better than a bishop skating! Excellent fun!”
Conrad stood on his stirrups to see Richard waving and smirking at the bottom of the long, descending slope, now narrowed down as slim as a sword and with frosted snow funnelled high on either side. Richard spotted him and hollered again.
“The Roman road is here, brother, am I not right? I knew I was right!”
“That path will be glass smooth soon,” murmured Maggie, anticipating the same danger as her husband. Her fingers were hidden by her mittens, but Conrad knew it was no bet that her hands would be fisted into Gog’s thick mane.
“We shall dismount,” he began, through clenched teeth, before Richard brayed again.
“Come on, no cowardice! Ride it!”
There again, why should we? The snow slope had become a challenge, one Conrad was determined to win. He coaxed the big bay into an ambling canter, aware that Gog’s longer gait would mean that the stallion stepped onto pristine snows. He felt Maggie shudder but she only hissed in a breath as they began the descent.
Why are men such idiots? The question drummed in Maggie’s head. Caged by her husband’s iron arms, she closed her eyes, then snapped them open, aware of the bitter air slicing through her lungs. Perched on this huge barrel of a horse, guided by a brute of a warrior, she lurched helplessly in the saddle and saw the icicles, hanging from the branches, then the looming, skidding ground. Desperate not to be sick, she endured the steepling dive, the nightmare sense of uncontrolled falling, the roar of blood and racing hooves in her ears, and then it was over.
“You fool!” she almost snarled. Part of her wanted to say that, and more. Are you so careless of me? Is your rivalry with your brother more important than my safety? Must everything be a challenge?
She patted the steaming Gog, instead. She had seen, as Conrad must surely have seen, the fleeting, satisfied expression on Richard’s handsome face towards her when she seemed about to scold her husband—which would make me a nag and Conrad hen-pecked, at least in the eyes of all these men, never mind that none of them are riding pillion, so none of them have the same danger.
Just in time, she reined her anger back. Richard wants to divide us. He will not find it so easy.
“Odd ride.” Nothing would compel her to say it was good, but she ignored her queasy stomach, sore from the horse pommel, twisted about in the saddle and smiled at her man. She offered her lips to be kissed and Conrad obliged, a sweet moment which helped to stifle her fears.
Who dares to seek love on a Midsummer’s Eve when the Otherworldly veil is thin, and anything can happen? Magic runs high, and passions flare on this special night made for taking chances. For this is the night when ritual fires burn bright and invite lovers to consummate the promise of their love—and anything can happen!
In this wonderful boxed set of medieval tales, ONE MIDSUMMER’S KNIGHT holds the key in each story to a “happy ever after” ending! Step into a realm of adventure and magic with these four spellbinding tales of daring, chance, and love with ONE MIDSUMMER’S KNIGHT!
UNICORN SUMMER—LINDSAY TOWNSEND: When the faery queen casts a spell on a knight to change him into a unicorn, there seems to be no hope for him—except the stronger magic of true love!
MIDSUMMER’S PROMISE—KEENA KINCAID: Can a mercenary find his heart’s home with a beautiful healer? Her brother, a seer, says they are not for each other—but can their love change fate?
A FAIR BARGAIN—MELISSA JARVIS: When a maiden trades her own future happiness for that of her sister, it seems all is lost to her—until an Otherworld prince comes to her rescue and seals a different kind of bargain—made of unexpected and forbidden love.
A MISTY KNIGHT--CYNTHIA BREEDING: Can a daring knight’s love bring happiness to a beautiful woman who others call a witch? He must find a way to rescue the stubborn lass before she is killed, but can he do it as a human?
He was bored of eating grass. Unicorn, who had once possessed another
name, another form, shook his golden mane and flicked his long black tail in
Fairies dress in flowers and sing with the nightingales,
cows dispute on where to find the best green forage, horses love to play chase
the shadows over the rolling hills and snort tales of adventure to each other.
Even chickens banter with dust sprites. Why do I lack such lively speech? Why
am I not content?
Unicorn scraped his pale horn on the bare earth and galloped to the edge
of the pool. He might have asked “Why am I alone?” Sometimes, in dreams, he
heard a woman telling him it was all a punishment, for his pride and cruelty,
though when Unicorn woke, he could never remember what his sin had been.
He whickered softly and stared at his reflection in the water. What does it matter that my eyelashes are as
long and sparkling as frosted spiders’ webs? What does it matter if my eyes are
sometimes blue, often grey, and can spot each tremble of the ash leaves before
they fall? Why, with all my flowing beauty, am I solitary?
am I? Who was I?
The rippling spring held no answers but there was something submerged in
the deep pool, beyond Unicorn’s hazy reflection. A floating streamer of mane—no, this was hair, human hair—drifted up
towards the surface.
What does brown hair floating underwater mean?
Unicorn snorted and stamped the ground. Part of his aching mind knew
this mystery should not be beyond him. It was no puzzle at all, even if the
long hair was as shiny and lush as the ripe acorns he liked to chew and it clung
to the pond’s edge like bladderwrack.
No! Unicorn twisted his neck and bit down on his own flank. The pain
shrank down the world and his senses and all at once he understood—There was a
body in the pool.
Even as he plunged his head underwater and struggled to grip the hair
with his teeth, a pair of flailing hands shot up out of the green-blue murk and
grabbed his spiral horn. Unicorn planted his hooves in the churned earth and
shuffled backwards. The weight made his head hurt and his shoulders burn but he
did not shake the shivering fingers off. One slow step after another he pulled
himself and his burden free of the pool.
A final sharp crack as the body broke through and Unicorn could shift
much faster, nimbly dragging the figure into a springy soft bank of herbs. The
body coughed, rolled onto its stomach and shook like a wet dog, only this was
A woman, Unicorn realised, and I
have rescued her. He tossed his head in a preen, but resisted the impulse
to charge off over the hills in a victory gallop.
The woman might need him again.
He settled beside her, careful to keep his sharp horn away from her
trembling limbs, and covered her with his black tail. Sleep, he willed her,
content as he had not been for an age when she shuffled into his warm side and
his sharp ears caught a dainty snore.
When she wakes, I will know her name. But she might ask for his and how could he answer? He
glanced at his polished hooves and thought of a way.
brand new series from the author of the Kitty McKenzie series and The Slum
The Great War is over, and Millie is ready to
leave her loving family home and be a wife to Jeremy who is everything she had
Not long after their wedding, Millie discovers
Jeremy is affected by shell shock and moving into his late father’s cold dark
estate escalates the problem. Millie tries to help, but Jeremy grows more
distant and befriends a homeless, wounded ex-soldier, Monty, who has
As Millie’s distrust of Monty grows, a rift is
created between her and Jeremy and when he leaves to receive hospital
treatment, she is left feeling abandoned. When her family is dealt a terrible
loss, it is Millie who must be the strongest. However, just when she feels
things couldn’t become worse, she suffers her own heartbreaking tragedy. Grieving and alone, Millie wonders if her
marriage can ever be mended, but she can’t give up without a fight.
Will a new home for her and Jeremy in a foreign
country be the answer, or will the events of the past destroy everything she