A Snowlit Christmas Kiss Regency Christmas Kisses Book 1 by Larissa Lyons Genre: Holiday Regency Romance
Santa claws? A roguish feline plays matchmaker for two lonely souls.
A mischievous feline anda case of mistaken identity land two lonely souls together during a wretched, snowy night. Arguing over the business end of a shovel, they take refuge from the storm and find thatsparks and kisses warm their frigid selves as much as unexpected laughter. But he’s engaged, and she’s decided to never marry, so in the morning they go their separate ways, leaving pieces of their hearts behind…
Battle scarred and bone-weary, the prodigal Lord Redford finally returns home—intent on pushing everyone away. Only he’s greeted not with the small welcome party he expected, but with a house full of people ready to celebrate his engagement. Which is going to prove rather a challenge, given how he’s never met his betrothed… Or has he?
When Anne rushes to the door, ready to give her tardy intended a sound dressing down and inform the lout who’s ignored her since their betrothal began that she has no use for marriage—or him—she’s greeted with a host of surprises.
Merry mistress or marriage? Or mayhap, nothing at all?
A Snowlit Christmas Kiss is a sweet and spicy Regency Christmas extended novella of 40,000 words (with hot kisses and just a bit more).
All Regency Christmas Kisses books are HEA standalones and can be read independently. A Snowlit Christmas Kiss takes place chronologically first, and is followed by A Frosty Christmas Kiss and A Moonlit Christmas Kiss, which occur at the same time but in different locations.
As though the remembered burn of her tantalizing touch—her fingers within his—flamed to cinders his resolve, when he heard the shovel’s blade strike sodden, stubborn earth yet again, he wrested it from her. “Give me that.”
What a cork-brain! Offering to bloody help on such an asinine task—and in the middle of the night?
In the snow—and resulting mud. And all for a blame mouser?
And him—with one blighted hand?
And there it was, in all its ugly glory.
The core of what ailed him these last weeks: ineptitude. Regret.
“I vow,” he grunted, turning his body at an awkward angle, hoping in vain for a sturdier grip on the shovel. “If I’d known what an imbecilic task I was setting myself to”—the aborted stump of his arm slipped against the metal and he swore, viciously—“I never would have sought out the beckoning lure of your lantern.”
“Stop that.” She wrenched the handle from its loose position against his middle as he cursed the tender stump and white spots whirled in front of his dark vision.
Fire burned up his arm and into his neck and he prayed he wouldn’t lose consciousness. Faint face-first—and sore body—in the pitiful hole they had managed to spoon out.
Then he realized that the shovel was gone and she was there—cradling his broken arm—metaphorically broken, that was—within her palms, brushing her sure, soft touch over his person—in such a way he wondered if she might soothe his broken spirit as well.
“’Tis a recent loss, is it not?” She kept on touching him, for God’s sake. The gentle probe from her fingers reaching through the dark and chill and fear—that he’d never be the same, never feel like himself (or like a full, complete man) ever again--
He damn certain felt now. A host of inappropriate things.
“Now you’re going to be exasperatingly silent?” Though she sounded rather vexed by that notion, the dangerously soothing caress only stroked up his arm, to his shoulder and neck, feathered over his jaw, his lips… His bottom lip. His top. She traced them both. And by blazes if his blade didn’t stir anew.
His good—er, remaining—hand shot out to shackle her wrist. “Just what are you doing?”
The harsh, chastising growl that should have emerged sounded more like a whimper.
Damn his needy soul.
What are you doing?
Anne ignored the strident protest.
“Your lips are cold.” The inane statement whispered between them and even with his fingers upon her wrist, she kept touching…
Exploring… What was she doing? “Wondering how you might kiss.”
The supple, chilled lips beneath her fingers trembled. Firmed. Then parted to chide, “Maryann, you cannot say such a thing.”
Her stomach swooped and circled.
Did its own little illicit waltz as she caught a whiff of the man. The strength, despite his recent injuries.
Beneath the cold, the weariness of the day, the sadness and joy, the fear—delivering three babes while comforting panicked child, wailing toddler and distraught mother had roused such a cacophony of emotions…
Anne wasn’t used to feeling so very raw—ever.
Anne, the responsible, dutiful, afraid to dream, or hope for more than pleasing her parents daughter, for once, allowed herself to be a little reckless. “I cannot say such a thing? No matter that it is the truth? Then mayhap I shall only do such a thing.”
All right, a lot reckless.
Needing to banish the sorrowful memories of the day, the anxious thoughts of the future, she stood on her toes and replaced her questing fingers with her lips.
A Frosty Christmas Kiss
Regency Christmas Kisses Book 2
A Frosty Christmas Kiss is an expanded version of the previously published Miss Isabella Thaws a Frosty Lord; this updated version contains additional chapters and characters.
Blind from a young age, a Regency heroine risks her overbearing father’s displeasure by attending a holiday house party, never dreaming she’ll meet a formidable lord who will discover all her secrets and still want her for his own.
A pair of ghostly matchmakers warm two chilly hearts.
Dominated by her father’s rigid ways since a twist of fate stole her sight, Isabella uses the magic of Christmas to steal away for an adventure of her own when invited to join friends for the holidays. Oh, how she adores Christmastime!
How he abhors Christmastime! Hiding his war wounds beneath a frosty exterior, Lord Frostwood lives up to his name, freezing out everyone who tries to get close. Everyone, that is, until a spirited wench falls at his feet and proceeds to warm his cold existence, thanks to some strategically placed mistletoe and their resulting Christmas kisses.
A Frosty Christmas Kiss is a sweet and spicy Regency Christmas novel of 45,000 words (with hot kisses and one sex scene after marriage).
HEA ~ Standalone ~ Book 2 - Regency Christmas Kisses
The dangling ringlet upon Isabella’s forehead swayed with the motion of her feet. She’d requested the maid arrange it just so, and every light brush was a reminder of how pleasing it was to have her wishes regarded.
Spine flush against the wall, Isabella’s toes rose and fell in time with the lively music. Her right hand, snug upon the strap of her fan, tapped against her thigh in tandem with her dancing toes. She itched to be alone. To indulge in her one vulgar pastime—or so Father labeled it, saying the habit made her look no better than a “bingo mort”, a female drunkard—the activity that had earned her more than one bruised shin and worse, Father’s further disdain. But all the same, the obsession beckoned.
But it was not to be. Not now that the other guests had arrived and she no longer had the privilege of finding herself alone in the great ballroom.
The beginnings of the third set reached her ears. Everyone not already breathless with exertion rushed onto the dance floor at Anne’s prompting. As mistress of the assembly, Anne presided over the dances and called the steps, just as they’d played and practiced when they were younger. Her friend’s happiness was evident.
More than ever, Isabella yearned to join in.
“Dance with me.”
Her head jerked toward the speaker. Startled by the abrupt command, as well as by the rich voice that pronounced it, she blinked. Was he talking to her? Or someone else nearby?
Anne had dispensed with the custom of dance cards, instructing her guests to mingle and make merry as they saw fit. This wouldn’t be the first man to take pity on the blind wallflower in the corner and offer to escort her around the floor. But he would be the first to do so without at least introducing himself or extending a greeting.
“Pardon?” Isabella inquired softly, testing her perception.
He shifted closer. She felt his presence fairly sizzle along her front. “I said, ‘Dance with me’.”
“That is what I thought you said. Well, sir…” Isabella began with true regret, for she longed to dance and for some odd reason given his inexcusable curtness, she especially longed to dance with the owner of the velvet-voiced commands. She certainly hadn’t entertained such longing when declining the four previous, courteous offers she’d received, but then each of those men had been known to her. “I fear I must decline your less-than-polite dictum.”
In direct contrast to his abrupt tone, she gave a gracious nod then turned toward the open doors she knew to be on her left, running her corresponding hand lightly along the wall.
“What?” he snapped the same instant she felt his fingers encircle her opposite wrist, halting her progress. “You reject me?”
Had not her fan been affixed to her arm she surely would’ve dropped it at the unexpected touch—and her reaction to it.
“Reject you? Nay,” she said, trying to dismiss the nuance of hurt she detected in his haughty voice. Just as she tried to dismiss how the fingers above her glove seared her skin. Had she ever felt the touch of a man not family on her flesh before? Why certainly she had… Physicians for one--
Shaking herself free of his hold and her own disturbing thoughts, Isabella reiterated, “Nay, but I do reject your tone for I dislike intensely being ordered about.”
“Ah…then it is I who must beg your pardon,” he said smoothly—too smoothly. It was a rakeshame she had the misfortune to be bantering with, Isabella feared, feeling how the subtle shift in his demeanor caused her insides to riot. “For though I have been returned from war these two years past, I fear old habits of barking commands have yet to leave my lips. Would you perchance care to dance? Perchance to dance?” he self-mocked. “From commander to pitiful poet, I fear. I only ask because you…”
Why was he still hesitating? Though his unexpected humor distracted her mightily, she heard plainly what he refused to voice. So she said it for him. “I am the only pitiable female not yet engaged?”
“No! You…you have a curl in your eye,” he accused as though she’d committed a crime and the pillory awaited.
“Mayhap I like it there.”
“Well, I do not.”
Subduing the urge to twitch her head and dislodge the curl he somehow found so offensive, Isabella wondered why, if she irritated him so, he remained. And why, a foxed pox on her sudden boldness, was conversing with him exhilarating beyond belief?
This daring side she’d released was wont to land her in trouble.
Thanks to her father, she’d learned early and well to hide her love of music and movement. A lesson she’d best not allow a domineering stranger tempt her into forgetting. “Well, sir, as much as I like my curl’s present location, mayhap I wish you gone.”
She thought he sputtered a protest but didn’t give her ears time to decide. “Because I most certainly do not care to dance, especially not with you,” she lied, for she irrationally wished it above all things. “Good evening, sir.”
Quickly, she quit the room before he could—shameless rake or gruff commander, she knew not which—blast through her common sense and have her agreeing. To dance with him of all things.
I am the only pitiable female not yet engaged?
Damn and blast! That wasn’t what he’d been about to say. Not even close. You have a curl in your eye.
Blast and damn, that wasn’t what he’d meant to say either. She muddled his tongue, this obstinate, enchanting miss.
An uncommon beauty, at least to him, Frost thought now, recalling her wistful expression as she held up one side of the ballroom. A lone, confident figure who invited and intrigued… I only ask because you stare so longingly at the dance floor…with just a hint of sorrow. I thought perhaps you were reliving an earlier time and we might banish our memories together, if only for a song.
But he hadn’t been able to bring himself to utter such romantic drivel.
The lack of courage had cost him. Cost the acquaintance of the most promising miss present and there certainly wasn’t a lack, Ed and Lady Redford having invited half the shire from what he could tell. “Little gathering for the holidays” indeed. Had to be close to ninety revelers in his estimation. Might as well have been five hundred for all the maggoty “cheer” such a crush harkened upon his person.
Hell, he’d only promised himself a single dance as a singular act of charity, little expecting to be captivated and then outright rebuffed, but that’s exactly what happened. Perhaps the saucy baggage did it on purpose, to snare his interest.
Without conscious thought, his right hand coiled into a fist…the same hand that had gripped her yet had been unable to prevent her escape. The same hand that warmed oddly for such an innocent, brief touch.
Damn and blast all over again. He’d not expected to react to a female here of all places—and at this time of year? What else he hadn’t expected was having his overture rebuffed. Shot down like an unwitting bird in the sky.
Hieing off to his room and to bed should have been accomplished in a trice, but Frost was restive. Or so he told himself when instead of heading toward the guest wing where his assigned chamber awaited, he turned in the opposite direction…exploring. Searching.
His cheeks felt peculiar. He reached up to touch one, and that’s when Frost realized he was smiling. Smiling at the audacity of the fresh-faced chit who had left him standing there, rejected.
By Zeus, he finally decides to do his duty and ask a wench to dance and the only one he approaches shows him her backbone in denying him, and then her backside—alluringly curved, he couldn’t help but notice—as she walks away.
Amazing. Both that she turned him down and that he found it humorous.
“Insane.” He checked Ed’s study and the library, declined refreshment when a servant passing in the hall offered such, made quick work investigating the balcony along the second floor, as well as two smaller parlors he chanced across, looked in the drawing room where they’d gathered before dinner, the card room—which was much attended at the moment—and the billiard room.
Though he must’ve encountered every damn guest not on the dance floor and avoided seven of Ed’s blasted kissing boughs, he didn’t catch sight nor sound of the woman he sought.
Where the devil had she gone off to and why the devil did he care?
It wasn’t as though untidy brown ringlets and annoying, green-as-holly, unusually pale peepers were anything worth obsessing over. Neither was her trim figure sheathed in flowing lavender or her pinkened cheeks. An attractive, wholesome package to be sure, but nothing he hadn’t seen a hundred times over.
Yet obsess he did.
Over that obstinate mouth he craved to taste—almost as much as he craved hearing it spout unexpected retorts.
Breathing deeply after ascending yet another set of stairs—of thinking of her mouth?—Frost consciously subdued his efforts and the sense of inexplicable anticipation surging through him.
He had eleven more days to learn who she was. To convince her to dance with him. To forget why he hated Christmas and wasn’t supposed to be feeling something as unexceptional as excitement over spending it here. With her.
The unnamed nobody he’d yet to garner an introduction to.
The woman who caused him to remember his past with something other than pain.
A lifelong Texan, Larissa writes steamy regencies and sexy contemporaries, blending heartfelt emotion with doses of laugh-out-loud humor. Her heroes are strong men with a weakness for the right woman.
Avoiding housework one word at a time ;-), Larissa adores brownies, James Bond, and all things feline. She’s been a clown, a tax analyst, and a pig castrator (!) but nothing satisfies quite like seeing the entertaining voices in her head come to life on the page.
Writing around some health challenges and computer limitations, it’s a while between releases, but stick with her…she’s working on the next one.