Deb Marlowe is here today to share some holiday cheer and tell us about her Christmas novella, Lady, It's Cold Outside. I recently read it and it's an absolute delight, a heartwarming story to put you in the Christmas spirit. I hope you all enjoy it as much as I did. At only $0.99 in e-book format, it's the perfect "Merry Christmas to me" gift! For more information about Deb and her books, visit her website. Connect with her online at Facebook and Twitter.
Please join me in giving Deb a warm, Romance Dish welcome!
We all know one. That person who tolerates Halloween. They put out the pumpkins, and coo over trick-or-treaters. They enjoy Thanksgiving - the food and friends and family. But truly, deep down - they are just waiting. Waiting for the carols, the lights, the tree, the cookies and presents. They spend most of the year biding their time, waiting for Christmas!
You can name someone like that, can't you? I can! My Grandpa was one. He loved the decorations especially, but everything else about Christmas too. And he passed that love on down to my mom. My mom loves Christmas! She collects Santas and 'I Believe' signs. She starts shopping in June or July. She has lots of decorations and is always looking for more. She sometimes can't wait and puts her tree up before Thanksgiving. She decorates her house and some of the public places in her building - all in exquisite taste. Her gift list is a balanced work of art. We didn't always have a lot when I was young, but she made every Christmas special for us.
It totally makes sense. She grew up in the golden, Christmas hey-day. When carolers visited house to house. When Bing crooned carols on TV and the Rankin and Bass specials were brand new! But more than that, I think she loves the spirit of the Season, the love and togetherness and warmth that we are more likely to show each other.
So, when I was thrilled to be writing my first Regency Christmas story, a character popped right into my head, a character who also loves Christmas. In Lady, It's Cold Outside, a little boy named Dowd has had a rough year. He's faced loss and now he's being uprooted - and he wants his Christmas, dang it! He wants every bit of cheer and goodwill and Christmas magic that he can get - and he's not afraid to dig his heels in and let it be known.
I had to find the right sort of people to give it to him, right? And both Miss Glenna Bolton and Lord Ellesworth need some Christmas magic too. Helping the three of them find it together was a lovely experience for me - and I hope it will be for you too!
For today, though, I'd love to know - do you know a big Christmas fan too? What is their special Christmas talent or love? For example, I think we all know someone who is magic with Christmas Candy, don't we, PJ?
Share your story and a random commenter will win a digital copy of An Unexpected Encounter, the first novella in my Half Moon House series.
Excerpt from Lady, It's Cold Outside:
When his turn came, the boy paused. “Do soldiers like gingerbread?” He sounded worried.
“This one does,” Ellesworth returned, climbing to his feet and nodding to the ladies. “It’s my favorite.”
Dowd beamed. “Mine, too.”
“Cream to go with it, sir?” Miss Bolton smiled at him and the ache in his leg was eclipsed by a new one blooming in his chest.
“No, thank you.” He wrenched his gaze from her and accepted a dish from the boy. “I don’t wish to miss a bit of that gingerbread flavor.” He took a bite and closed his eyes. “As good as my mother’s,” he told Dowd. “And that is no light compliment.”
“I stirred,” the boy told him with pride. “And I only broke one bowl.”
“Well done, sir,” Ellesworth acknowledged with a nod.
“Cook said I could come back to her kitchen anytime I brought Miss Bolton to clean up my mess.”
“She sounds like a wise woman.” He managed not to laugh.
“I told her about your gun and your sword and about my puppy.”
“Puppy?” Ellesworth looked to the girl with alarm.
“The puppy that he means to have,” Miss Bolton clarified. “Dowd is hoping to convince his grandmother to give him a pup for Christmas.”
“A boy needs a dog,” he agreed. “There is no better first best friend.”
“See, Lady?” Dowd grinned up at the girl. “I told you he would know.”
The boy moved on, with the companion following. Miss Bolton, however, stayed put, still smiling at him over her pitcher.
“You have won a devoted admirer,” she said softly.
His heart betrayed him. It soared high, for the smallest moment, because that silly, wayward organ thought she referred to herself.
Then his brain caught up and he knew she meant the boy—and he was afraid a hint of crushing disappointment must have shown on his face.
She blinked. “It’s just a case of hero worship,” she hurried on, sounding suddenly alarmed . . . and then her brain caught up.
She blushed. Charmingly. Color swam up from beneath her high collar, inching its way toward her hairline even as it strove to match its hue. But then she straightened. Lifted her chin. Color still blazing, she said, “My friend Miss Headley recognized your name, sir. She told me what she’d read about you in the dispatches, what a great service you’ve done for England.” She swallowed. “I should have said, you’ve won two admirers.”
It was boldly, bravely said. And devastating to his reserve. He fell harder, because he knew she meant it and because they both knew what was happening—both inside and between them. Matching pulses, gone quick, and senses on alert. Matching minds—and hearts. They stood there, both embarrassed, but both ridiculously happy, too.