At Christmastime, a stranger crossing the threshold means good fortune…
When Josiah Hale, society’s favorite aristocratic architect, stumbles upon an isolated manor house in the middle of a snowstorm, he feels like he’s entered a fairytale world. And Sleeping Beauty in this secret corner of Yorkshire is lovely, vulnerable Maggie Carr, surely a princess disguised as a humble housekeeper. Is Josiah her prince – or the man who will break her heart and leave her life in ruins?
But is the stranger’s arrival lucky for the girl Christmas forgot?
Maggie Carr has worked as a housekeeper at isolated Thorncroft Hall since her beloved mother died five years ago. No matter how often she tells herself she’s accustomed to being poor and alone, Christmas always stirs poignant memories of a time when she had a place in the world and a family to love. But this Christmas, a handsome stranger bursts into her solitary world and makes her feel like a desirable woman. Maggie has already lost so much to cruel fate. Now as the season advances and she finds herself in thrall to the man who challenges her loneliness and turns winter nights to sultry summer, what price will this irresistible passion demand of her?
Will the Yuletide enchantment vanish with the season’s decorations? Or have Maggie and her Christmas stranger discovered a magic to sustain them through a lifetime of happiness?
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The Christmas Stranger: A Regency Novella
Josiah “Joss” Hale is a famous architect, whose work is in high demand, and who is very popular with women. Yet, his mother feels his restlessness and dissatisfaction, and calls on her old beau, (who also happens to be Joss’s godfather) Thomas Black, to help find the perfect woman for him. The somewhat absent minded Thomas remembers that his orphaned cousin, Margaret “Maggie” Carr, is serving as housekeeper at Thorncroft Hall, a distant estate of his. He feels she might be a perfect match for Joss, so he contacts Joss with a request to view the hall and suggest architectural improvements. Since Thomas never married, he plans to bequeath the estate to Joss upon his death anyway. As usual, Thomas then gets distracted, and neglects to inform Maggie of Joss’s impending arrival.
Over the Christmas holiday, Maggie is alone at Thorncroft Hall, as her fellow servants have left. She is shocked to be awakened by pounding on the door in the middle of the night. Joss blusters in, demanding that she have servants tend to his horse, prepare him some food, and show him to his room. After the initial confusion, and Joss realizes that Maggie is the only person in residence, and that she was unaware of his scheduled visit, he becomes more reasonable and less abrasive. Though Joss knows it’s totally improper for him to be alone with Maggie, the nasty weather prevents him from leaving.
Joss can see that Maggie is unlike any of the women he’s known. She’s lovely and innocent, yet she’s been so lonely in this isolated spot, that she’s very eager for Joss’s company. It’s not long before their attraction flares, and Joss decides that he must leave before he actually compromises Maggie. Though he makes the attempt, the weather is against him, and he returns to Maggie’s eager arms.
Can two people who have known each other such a short time have found a genuine love? Joss has plenty of experience with women, and he knows this is a feeling he’s never felt before. He is a bit rough around the edges, but still a gentleman who wants to act honorably. Maggie is the daughter of a vicar, and is very short on experience. Can she trust what she feels, and that Joss isn’t trifling with her? THE CHRISTMAS STRANGER is a sweet and enjoyable holiday read with a touch of heat, and a happy ever after that will leave you with a smile.