This week’s theme of A Sexy Sleigh Ride fits perfectly with my latest release, a short story in the Exquisite Quills new winter Holiday Anthology, Volume 2. My story, A Kiss and a Promise, takes place on a wintry Yule afternoon in Victorian times, and features–you guessed it–a sleigh ride.
The younger Hammonds quickly donned their coats and mufflers, but Harry held Sophia’s coat for her. He rested a hand on her shoulder, before offering her his arm and leading her to the sleigh. The chill air stole her breath, though she felt oddly exhilarated.
“Pile in, everyone,” Harry ordered.
Gerald ushered Cora and Lydia into the back seat of the sleigh and squeezed in beside them. Little Phoebe climbed into his lap, leaving Sophia in the front between Harry and her brother. She leaned a little closer into Harry’s warmth, enjoying the closeness.
“Which way?” he asked.
Reggie gave directions to the best spot for gathering holly and mistletoe, and Harry steered the horses in that direction, bells attached to the harness jingling with each step. The weather had been beastly for the last month, but it had turned the estate into a winter fairyland. Silent snow-covered fields stretched as far as she could see, and each tree sported a layer of white, softening the stark look of the winter scene. The sky was overcast, and she suspected Harry was right to rush them along.
As soon as the sleigh stopped, Reggie jumped out, made a snowball and threw it at Cora as she exited the sleigh. She yelped and chased Reggie, Phoebe on her heels squealing with excitement. Sophia watched them with amusement. Oh, to be a child again.
But she was long past that sort of behavior. She’d had a season in London, after all. She glanced at Harry and caught a gleam in his eye. “Do not even think of joining those hooligans.”
A Kiss and a Promise takes place at Yule and is a prequel to How To Woo… a Reluctant Bride. You get a glimpse of Lydia and her brother Harry when they were young and carefree. The story also introduces two sisters, Sophia and Cora, who will have their own stories in the How To Woo series. The scene is a Victorian sleighing party with an excursion to collect holly and mistletoe to decorate the house. And provide a chance for a kiss under the mistletoe.
Best of all, the anthology is completely free. Consider it our present to you, the readers. You can pick up a free copy at Smashwords or Barnes and Noble,. Coming soon to iBooks and Kobo. (Kindle readers will have to get their copy through Smashwords. If you have any questions, ask in the comments below or fill out the contact form at the website.)
Leave a comment below, and don’t forget to enter this month’s Rafflecopter for a chance to win a $10 Amazon gift card & 2015 Mouse Pad Calendar. And follow the linky list below for more My Sexy Saturday posts.
Please join us in reading this fantastically diverse FREE collection of stories to warm your heart while you wait for the kids, the oven to buzz, on a 15-minute break from work, or when you just need to hide for ten minutes from everyone! Every story is PG,but a few have a hint of zing.
The calendar on the wall says 2014 but the holidays are a magical time where anything is possible when it comes to romance. Prepare to travel through snow or to a tropical setting with a little dash of fantasy sprinkled in to make your holiday reading enjoyable. This heart-warming collection of all new, very short stories is our way of saying happy holidays to you.
A Kiss and a Promise by Lyndi Lamont
Hammond Park, England, December 21, 1878
A whirlwind rushed down the hallway and into Sophia’s bedroom.
Amused, she watched as her younger sister Cora hurried to the window, her red curls quivering in anticipation. Using the side of her fist, she wiped the steam off the inside of the glass and peered outside.
“Hurry, Sophia, I see them.” Cora turned and grinned. “I love sleighing. I’m so happy it snowed.”
Sophia moved toward the window and joined her. To say it had snowed was a bit of an understatement. The country had been in a deep freeze since November, and white powder decorated large swathes of the countryside. The Blatchford sleigh was indeed proceeding up the drive. As it neared, she noted Harry was driving, with little Phoebe beside him, while Lydia and Harry’s friend, Gerald Lovell, huddled in the back. Good for Lydia, Sophia thought. A match with Gerald would be just the thing.
“We’re late,” Cora said. “Better get your coat. Race you downstairs.”
“I’ll be down shortly,” Sophia promised, but not until she’d double checked her appearance in the mirror. She’d donned her warmest gown of dark green wool, knowing it brought out the color of her eyes.
Grabbing her fur muff, she left the room and walked down the wide stairs with all the dignity her eighteen years demanded. Cora’s excitement was contagious, and Sophia had to admit she was looking forward to gathering mistletoe for the kissing boughs. Her heart beat faster in anticipation at the thought of spending time with her friend’s brother. Still, she wasn’t about to give Harry the satisfaction of knowing she was anxious to see him. He was far too confident for his own good. And far too handsome for hers.
“Rose is a multi-published, award-winning author and dilettante who loves great conversation and discovering interesting things to weave into stories. She lives with her family and small menagerie amid oak groves and prairie in the rolling glacial hills of the upper Midwest.
Possessing an active imagination, she writes everything from children’s stories to historical non-fiction.”
Jennifer believes in writing love stories that connect families and touch hearts. Her first novel, My Mr. Manny, was released August 2013 and her first novella, In My Mother’s Footsteps, was released July 2013.
Lily Bishop lives in South Carolina with her husband and two children. She writes contemporary romance and romantic suspense, and has published two books in the City Lights series, No Strings Attached and Under His Protection. She is working on the third book now.
In every age the heart loves, and Dee Ann Palmer’s romances reflect those eras in fantasy, historic, contemporary and futuristic tales. The award winning Palmer is a PAN member of Romance Writers of America and belongs to the Los Angeles chapter of Sisters in Crime.
Barb Caffrey is a writer, editor, book reviewer and musician from the Midwest. She is the author of the humorous urban fantasy/romance AN ELFY ON THE LOOSE, and is the co-author of the Adventures of Joey Maverick series (with late husband Michael B. Caffrey).
Beverley Bateman is a Canadian author of several books who loves traveling, good wine and a mystery. She lives with her husband and two Shiba Inu dogs among vineyards and orchards set in lake country and surrounded by mountains – beaches, swimming and skiing.
Victoria Adams is a romance writer, dividing her writing between contemporary romance and New Adult contemporary romance. She lives in Ontario, Canada with her husband and kitten, Licorice. She likes to study Raqs Sharqi (Egyptian belly dance), garden, and bake.
Although she has lived or traveled in every continent except Antarctica and Australia (bucket list), M. S. Spencer has spent the last thirty years mostly in Washington, D.C. as a librarian, Congressional staff assistant, speechwriter, editor, birdwatcher, kayaker, policy wonk, non-profit director and parent. She has two fabulous grown children, and currently divides her time between the Gulf coast of Florida and a tiny village in Maine. Ms. Spencer has published nine romantic suspense novels.
Native Coloradoan Kaye Spencer writes romances from her basement hovel in a small, rural town in the far southeastern corner of Colorado—no mountains in sight—just prairie dogs, buffalo grass, and glorious prairie sunsets. While drawn to cowboys and the Old West, all genres are within her story-crafting realm. Retired from a long career in public education that included teaching through a community college outreach program, Kaye is enjoying being a full-time writer and spoiler of grandchildren. Kaye is also afflicted with ACD—Accumulative Cat Disorder—with no cure in sight.
Janis Susan May is a seventh-generation Texan and a third-generation wordsmith who writes mysteries as Janis Patterson, romances and other things as Janis Susan May, children’s books as Janis Susan Patterson and scholarly works and non-fiction as J.S.M. Patterson. Janis and her husband live in Texas with an assortment of rescued furbabies.
GEMMA JULIANA is a multi-published author who lives in an enchanted cottage in north Texas with her handsome hero, teen son and a comical dog. She loves making new friends and hearing from readers. Exotic coffee and chocolate fuel her creativity.
Lyndi Lamont is the racy alter ego of author Linda McLaughlin, who writes historical and Regency Romance. Since becoming Lyndi Lamont, she has discovered that writing sexy romance is a license to be naughty, at least between the pages of a book.