Welcome to Teaser Tuesday, the series where I share tasty teasers from new and past releases, and works-in-progress, and occasionally con good author buddies into doing the same.
Did you know there are only six weeks left until Christmas? You’re probably more than already aware given how much Christmassy stuff is already adorning the shops. They don’t like to let us forget the silly season’s arrival, do they?
I don’t mind so much this year. Why? Well, The Country Girl is scheduled to release on December 18th and that means there’ll be at least six days’ worth of Christmas shopping time for all you lovelies to grab a copy and stuff it into your, and all your bookaholic friends and families’ stockings. Woohoo!
Yeah, I know, I know. It’s all about me. But I LOVE this book and am so excited that you’ll soon be able to read it, and better still, be able grab a copy before you trek off on lazy summer holidays. The perfect book to make you even warmer and fuzzier, but without the sunburn (or frostbite for those in northern climes).
What you won’t have to wait for is our regular and hugely popular guest Anna Campbell’s new novella The Christmas Stranger because it’s coming out on Amazon this week. Rah!
Here’s Anna to tell you all about it. Make sure you read right to the end, because there could be a giveaway on offer.
Who says Christmas doesn’t come early?
Thank you for having me as your guest. I do so love to visit you – and what better time of year to swing by than in the run-up to Christmas?
I must be feeling particularly Christmassy this year because I’ve got two novellas out, and I’ve also put a previously published story into a great Christmas anthology called Romance Under the Mistletoe (check it out – great value!).
Today, I’m here to talk to you about The Christmas Stranger: A Regency Novella which touches on so many themes pertinent to the Season of Goodwill. Love at first sight. Finding a family. Taking a chance. Moving from darkness into light. Plus there’s a definite fairytale element to this romance!
Maggie Carr has been the housekeeper at isolated Thorncroft Hall for five years, and she’s convinced life is passing her by. But everything changes when architect Josiah Hale stumbles across her doorstep in the middle of a snowstorm. Joss brings the spirit of Christmas back into Maggie’s life, as you’ll see in this excerpt when our seemingly mismatched couple go in search of holly and ivy to decorate the rambling Jacobean mansion.
Thorncroft Hall, Yorkshire, 22nd December, 1821
Maggie laughed. And found herself laughing again and again, as she and Mr. Hale wandered the snowy woods behind the house in search of greenery. She’d thought they’d cut a few sprigs of holly before they headed home, but the cart was soon laden with boughs of pine and holly, enough to make the whole house bright.
The weather held while they were outside. Now and again, there was a glimmer of pale sunlight through the thick clouds. But as they turned back to the manor, the snow started again.
She turned her face up to the flakes and out of childish habit, stuck her tongue out to catch a couple. When she realized Mr. Hale was watching her, she blushed at her nonsense.
“I hadn’t heard that.” He stared at her as if he’d never seen a woman before.
“Mamma and I used to play games in the snow. I don’t know if it’s a real superstition or not, but we always did it.” Her eyes flickered down, then up again. “You must think I’m silly.”
He smiled at her, and her foolish heart stuttered, although surely only the fading light lent such tenderness to his expression. “It’s nice to see you being a bit silly. You mostly seem to take life very earnestly.”
She should tell him to mind his own business. But she found herself responding honestly. “In recent years, I haven’t had much fun. We used to. Papa was a very jolly vicar. Everyone loved him, and his parishioners were devastated when he died. They wanted us to stay in the village, but they were so poor themselves, we couldn’t take their charity. Mamma and I continued to celebrate Christmas after we came here. I just…I just seem to have got out of the habit.” She smiled at Joss. “Thank you for reminding me that it’s the season of goodwill, not the season for sitting around feeling sorry for yourself.”
“You’re such a sparkling girl.” Her gratitude didn’t seem to please him. Instead he looked troubled. “You should have the world at your feet.”
She fought to keep her smile in place, although she cringed at the poor figure she cut with her lack of sophistication and drab clothes. When she’d give anything to dazzle him with her wit and beauty.
And all was not lost. He’d called her sparkling.
“Well, I do have the king of Christmas in my thrall,” she said lightly.
To her surprise, he touched her cheek with one leather-gloved hand. The contact was over in an instant. Surely she must imagine the blast of heat sizzling through her, heat that made a mockery of the freezing air.
“You do at that,” he said softly.
The Christmas Stranger is only 99 cents on Amazon.com!
So let’s talk Christmas decorations. Are you a pile it on everywhere, the more the merrier type? Or are you a decorations minimalist? Do you put up the tree the minute you hear the first Christmas carol at Coles? Or are you someone who waits until Christmas Eve to stick up one string of tinsel?
I’ve got a Kindle download of A Christmas Stranger: A Regency Novella for someone who comments today. No geographical restrictions.
Good luck in the draw! And wishing you all the best of the Season!
Please note: Giveaway closes midnight Friday AEST, 17th November 2017. Open internationally.
Great question, Anna. We’re hopeless with Christmas here in the Hein house, mostly because we tend to head interstate for Christmas to spend Christmas with family. But even when we do stay home – as will be the case this year – half the time we end up forgetting to put up the tree. Then a few days before the big day we look sheepishly at each other and go ‘oops’.
Anyway, Christmas isn’t about decorations and trees. It’s about being with or thinking about the ones you love.
And drinking fizz.
And eating naughty food.
And squealing over all the awesome books you’ve received in your stocking, like The Country Girl (ooh, I am SHAMELESS!!)
Are you forgetful like us, minimalist or get totally in the decorating spirit the moment the calendar flips over to December (or earlier)? Share and you’ll go into the draw for a Kindle copy of Anna’s gorgeous new book The Christmas Stranger.