Two heartwarming holiday tales of true love set in a place where happily ever afters abound–the library, of course!
Worth More Than Rubies – by Grace Burrowes
All the Duke of Dunfallon wants this holiday season is a respite from the machinations of the matchmakers. When pursued by a particularly determined would-be duchess, he ducks into the West Bartholomew Street Lending Library. Librarian Emerald Armstrong sees a dapper gent in a bit of a hurry and mistakes Dunfallon for a curate overdue for his assignation with West Bart’s theological collection.
Dunfallon is intrigued by Emmie’s love of books, her disdain for society’s games, and her ferocious generosity of spirit toward all of the library’s patrons. She has no patience with posturing, and thus he takes the risk of admitting his true identity. To his surprise, Emmie doesn’t mind all that much that he’s a duke—some things cannot be helped—but she is far less willing to keep silent about Dunfallon’s other secret, the one he has been guarding from even his fellow peers.
If an honest woman is worth more than rubies, what will a duke sacrifice to earn her love?
Diamond in the Rough — by Christi Caldwell
Lady Diamond Carmichael, paragon of propriety, is horrified when she discovers her headstrong younger sister at the Royal Colonnade Library reading books that would enrage their ducal father. Worse, this disaster-in-the-making has been abetted by a rude, opinionated librarian named Mr. Abaddon Grimoire.
Abaddon clawed his way free of a life of poverty and crime thanks to the refuge he found at the Royal Colonnade Library, and he’s determined to help other people find their escapes as well—in the pages of the library’s books! He issues Diamond a challenge: Spend a fortnight exploring the volumes on the library’s shelves; if after two weeks, she still wants to prevent her sister from visiting, he won’t interfere.
Abaddon soon realizes that beneath Diamond’s icy veneer beats the heart of a loyal, loving, and passionate woman, and Diamond comes to see that Abaddon’s devotion to books is a respect for truth and learning. A former guttersnipe and a duke’s daughter aren’t the stuff of matches made in Mayfair, but perhaps happily ever afters aren’t just for fairy tales!
NOTE: This duet will be released on Sept. 27, 2022, through library channels (and for our international readers, through Kobo). Readers wishing to purchase the story directly can do so from either authors’ website. Wide-retail distribution for these stories is planned for the 2023 holiday season, when next year’s new duet takes its turn as a library exclusive!
Three PREVIOUSLY PUBLISHED Regency Novellas
His Grace of Lesser Puddlebury (from Dukes in Disguise) — Connor, Duke of Mowne, has been injured in a most delicate location, and needs a place to heal far from the curious eyes of Polite Society. When he takes refuge with the independent and impecunious Julianna St. Bellan, he suspects his wound was in truth caused by Cupid’s arrow!
Duchess in the Wild (from Duchesses in Disguise) — Sir Greyville Trent accepts a friend’s offer of a quiet respite in the countryside where Grey can prepare years’ worth of scientific notes for publication. The task goes poorly until Francesca Pomponio and her two friends join the household while they await repairs to their carriage. Francesca doesn’t care much for jungles, but she’s willing to help Grey get his notes organized. Collaboration turns to fascination, and the focus of the investigation from exotic flora and fauna to true love!
The Governess and the Norse God (from Marquesses at the Masquerade) — Darien, Marquess of Tyne, dutifully takes up his hammer and dons his trews to impersonate a Viking god for the duration of one interminable masquerade ball. He’s by nature the most reserved and retiring of men, and the only lady to catch his mortal eye is Miss Lucy Fletcher, governess to his two daughters. A gentleman would never importune a lady in his employ–and Tyne is every inch a gentleman–but a Norse god is subject to different, and far more dashing rules!
When a storm blows off the North Sea and slams into the village of Fenwick on Sea, the villagers prepare for the inevitable: shipwreck, flood, land slips, and stranded travelers. The Queen’s Barque Inn quickly fills with the injured, the devious, and the lonely—lords, ladies, and simple folk; spies, pirates, and smugglers all trapped together. Intrigue crackles through the village, and passion lights up the hotel.
One storm, eight authors, eight heartwarming novellas.
Two holiday novellas:
“The Appeal of Christmas” previously published in the anthology Christmas in Duke Street:
Hazel Hooper is the daughter of barrister Gervaise Stoneleigh’s old mentor, and over the years has become Gervaise’s reliable sounding board, conscience, and chess opponent. While Gervaise abhors the Yuletide holidays, he most assuredly does not abhor Hazel, though lately he’s been distracted by an unsigned love letter he came across at their favorite bookshop…
“A Knight Before Christmas” previously published in Christmas in the Duke’s Arms:
With her year of mourning at an end, Penelope Carrington must remarry in haste, or her portion of her late husband’s estate won’t be enough to dower her younger sisters. Shy, handsome man of business Sir Leviticus Sparrow longs to give Penelope a marriage proposal for Christmas—and his heart—but Sir Levi must first foil the other bachelors scheming to meet Penelope under the mistletoe in his place.
Love on the Links
American attorney Julie Leonard has come to Scotland on a working vacation, determined to improve her golf game and thus earn a leg up in the judgeship sweepstakes. Niall Cromarty pulled the short straw for the job being Julie’s golf coach, and if that weren’t trouble enough, Niall’s neighbor-turned-nemesis, Declan MacPherson, has finally found the family will that can jeopardize Niall’s plans to expand his golf course. Julie thinks she wants to wear that black robe, but when Niall and Declan ask her to resolve their dispute, she realizes she really wishes she’d been asked to wear Niall’s ring.
My Heartthrob’s in the Highlands
Florist Megan Leonard has come to Scotland for her sister’s wedding, though it’s crunch time for Megan’s business back home, and the loan that will allow her to expand is finally, finally about to close. The best man, Declan MacPherson, is a Scottish farmer who strikes Megan as wed to the land his family has been working for generations, though Declan can be tempted to frolic with her in the greenhouse. As she gets to know Declan better, Megan sees that she’s not the only person with a worthy dream, but if she wants to be with him, she’ll have to give up everything she’s worked for. Will love put down roots in Scotland, or wither in the face of more practical priorities?
Two contemporary romance novellas featuring the kilted version of true love…
Kiss and Tell
(Formerly published as a stand alone novella under the same title)
Jane DeLuca, Esquire, thrives on advocating zealously for her clients in Damson County’s courts, but her solo practice leaves no time for a personal life. She’s opposed in a nasty divorce case by dour, stubborn Scotsman, Dunstan Cromarty. And yet, as the clients’ case grows more complicated, so do Jane’s feelings for Dunstan—and his for her.
Crossing personal lines in the middle of a case could cost each of them their license to practice law, and in a small, rural jurisdiction, they’ll oppose each other frequently. Neither can afford to give up their livelihood or their professional integrity, but can they give up each other?
(Formerly published in the anthology Must Love Highlanders)
As a favor to his cousin, art history professor Liam Cromarty agrees to show American attorney Louise Cameron the Scottish sights. He doesn’t expect that his guest will challenge and charm him, until all he can see is the possibility of a shared future with Louise.
She’s at a professional crossroad, between the courtroom and the creative career she was robbed of as a younger woman. Liam is the perfect partner for exploring all of the wonders of Scotland, and he also inspires Louise to renew her artistic ambitions. When Liam realizes his actions were responsible for cheating Louise out of her dream years ago, he knows that whether he keeps silent about the past or reveals the truth, he could lose Louise forever.
“The Ducal Gift” and “The Christmas Carriage” are short stories set in the Windham family’s holiday world. While the Earl and Countess of Westhaven play the role of elves in “The Christmas Carriage,” in “The Ducal Gift” we see that even when Percival and Esther get their holiday signals crossed, the only gift that matters is love.
These stories are my gift to you, so happy reading, and happy holidays!
Windham sisters Louisa, Sophie and Jenny all find true love at Christmastime, and their stories have been bundled together so you can treat yourself to an entire holiday of happily ever afters. Lady Sophie’s Christmas Wish involves an unexpected baby, no room at the inn, a helpful stranger and three wise men (well, they think they’re wise). Lady Louisa’s Christmas Knight is the story of Louisa’s practical decision to marry former sharpshooter Sir Joseph Carrington, who can aim Cupid’s arrow at Louisa’s heart with the same skill he pitches snowballs and pithy repartee. Lady Jenny’s Christmas Portrait brings all the Windhams together as Jenny, last among them to marry, tries to choose between her heart and her art.
If you’d like more holiday romance, Grace suggests her Scottish Victorian tale, What A Lady Needs for Christmas, or a delightful novella anthology, Christmas in the Duke’s Arms, which features novellas by Carolyn Jewel, Miranda Neville, Shana Galen, in addition to Grace’s own story, A Knight Before Christmas.
A collection of three audio novellas in the Windham series, including: