Adam Rutledge, Viscount d’Arque, really rather loathes Christmas. The banal cheerfulness. The asinine party games. And, worst of all, the obligatory trip to the countryside. His grandmother, however, loves the holiday—and Adam loves his grandmother, so he’ll brave the fiercest snowstorm to please her. But when their carriage wheel snaps, they’re forced to seek shelter at the home of the most maddening, infuriating, and utterly beguiling woman he’s ever met . . .
Sarah St. John really rather loathes rakes. The self-satisfied smirks. The sly predatory gazes. Oh, and the constant witty banter rife with double meaning. But in the spirit of the season, she’ll welcome this admittedly handsome viscount into her home. But as the snowstorm rages, the Yule log crackles, and the tension rises, Sarah and Adam find themselves locked in a fiery, passionate kiss. If love is the true meaning of Christmas, it’s the one gift this mismatched pair can’t wait to unwrap.
Click on title below for direct Amazon buy link: Once Upon a Christmas Eve: A Maiden Lane Novella (Kindle Single)
Adam Rutledge, Viscount d’Arque, is traveling with his beloved grandmother, when a carriage mishap brings their journey to a screeching halt. Concerned for his frail grandmother, Adam decides to return to a house they passed a mile or two back, to see if they can take shelter there. His pounding on the door is answered by none other than Godric St. John, (one of my very favorite Maiden Lane heroes,) who is celebrating the Christmas holiday with his family. Godric and Adam return to the scene of the accident to pick up his grandmother, who is looking very unwell. One of the other houseguests happens to be a doctor, and his examination concludes that the elderly lady is very ill and should not travel for a couple weeks. Thus, Adam is now part of the St. John family Christmas house party.
Sarah St. John, Godric’s sister, is very aware of Adam’s rakish reputation, biting wit, and vain personality. She is not happy to have him as a houseguest, and doesn’t hesitate to let him know it. Sarah harbors a particular loathing for rakes because of an incident that happened to her when she was a young lady of only sixteen. That incident severely damaged her reputation, and kept her away from town for several seasons. She has never been genuinely courted, and longs for a family and home of her own. Now at age twenty seven, she feels her chances of achieving her dream are slim.
Though Adam and Sarah snipe at each other, they feel a strong attraction, which they attempt to camouflage with their biting remarks. Adam’s rakish reputation is well deserved, but over the course of the party, Sarah begins to see another side to him – his love and care for his grandmother, his genuine happiness in frolicking with a puppy, and his strong defense of another young lady at the party who is accosted by someone against her will. Adam, in turn, learns the story of how Sarah’s unhappy encounter when she was young has shaped the current way she reacts to him.
Adam’s own personal code doesn’t let him dally with innocent ladies, yet his feelings for Sarah are strong, unlike anything he’s felt before. Sarah also wants to give in to Adam, and explore these new and exciting emotions and sensations. Is it possible that these two totally dissimilar people could find a genuine love for Christmas? ONCE UPON A CHRISTMAS EVE is a short, steamy, and truly romantic read. As always, Elizabeth Hoyt parallels each chapter with her take on a fairy tale, which is as entertaining and captivating as the main story. This novella is billed as the end of the Maiden Lane series, which breaks my heart, as it’s absolutely one of the best, EVER, in historical romance. I have hopes that in a year or two, Ms. Hoyt will have a brilliant idea for another book or novella, which can’t be suppressed, which will take us back to visit the world, or revisit the characters of Maiden Lane.