Lady Pippa Godfrey has suffered the most ruinous London Season. She escapes to her Somerset estate for a quiet Christmastide holiday with her family, away from society’s prying eyes. But before her parents can join her, a storm crashes down on Somerset to destroy any hope of Pippa’s white Christmas dream. The roads have flooded and travel is impossible, leaving her stranded and alone. But a muddied, angry and devilishly handsome lord appears at her door demanding shelter.
Lucas Hartfeld, the Earl of Maddox, has been summoned by his parents, the Marquis and Marchioness of Bowmont, to attend a holiday party in the wilds of the country, far from his London townhouse. He suspects they command his attendance for far different reasons than a simple country party. When a storm strands his carriage, he’s forced to seek shelter at the only home for miles around, a local manor called Helton House.
When Lady Pippa is reluctant to admit him, he does what he’s been raised to do—demand she provide him and his servants with shelter until the storm passes. But the beautiful woman draws his interest far more than he’s willing to admit. Can Lucas find a way out of the predicament his parents are planning?
As Lady Pippa scrutinizes another arrogant, demanding lord, she is bombarded with memories of betrayals in her past. Can she forget those difficult life lessons to claim a Christmastide kiss from a perfect stranger?
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Pippa Godfrey is nervously waiting to perform at a musical event hosted by her best friend’s family. As her lifelong friend, Natalie, introduces her, Pippa is shocked to hear Natalie include a sly and suggestive innuendo, hinting at impropriety with their mutual teacher. Though the ambiguous statement was false, Pippa’s family whisks her off to the country, hoping to avoid a scandal. As the Christmas holiday approaches, Pippa ponders her ruined first season, and wonders why her best friend turned on her. One day, while her parents are away, bad weather forces a stranded stranger to her door, seeking shelter. Since her parents aren’t there, Pippa tries to send him away, but the forceful Earl of Maddox barrels in, demanding sanctuary.
Initially, Pippa and the earl, Lucas Hartfeld, are only mildly antagonistic toward each other, but soon Pippa’s genuine caring nature and kindness come the forefront. She realizes how uncharitable she was to a stranger in need, and he realizes that he actually bullied his way into her home. Lucas has lived a life full of rakish behavior and pleasure , but no real love from his family. There’s a very tragic incident that happened when he was a young boy, which totally alienated him from his parents. As soon as they could, they shipped him off to school, and had little to do with him over the years. Now they summoned him to a holiday houseparty, with the intent of announcing his betrothal to none other than Natalie, Pippa’s estranged best friend. Lucas has no expectations of any type of love or happiness in marriage, so he’ s willing to accept their choice for him. That is, until he gets to know Pippa, and begins to see how things might really be with someone he cares for. They share a stolen Christmas kiss, and then Pippa’s parents, along with their neighbors, Natalie and her parents, show up, and realize they have been sharing the house unchaperoned.
A KISS AT CHRISTMASTIDE is a sweet (and non explicit) story with a heroine who is almost too good to be true. She has a very generous nature, and though badly betrayed by her best friend, she doesn’t have thoughts of hate or revenge, she’s just confused and wants reconciliation. Lucas is definitely a tortured hero, and his parents are truly awful. I enjoyed their quick romance, and how they felt so right for each other. Their happy ever after was hard won and satisfying. There were some loose ends left, which I felt would have increased my enjoyment of this story – first, Lucas and his family and their strained, dysfunctional relationship, and, second, the mystery of Natalie’s behavior. It does appear that there will be an upcoming novella devoted to Natalie’s story, and I look forward to seeing if Christina McKnight can change my opinion of this shady lady.