My little Christmas novella, The Right to Remain Single, is now available at Amazon.com — just in time for a taste of Christmas in July! It’s related to my Scandalous Kisses series about the badly-behaved Warren cousins. So if you didn’t get it last year when it was in the anthology Christmas Kisses, now’s your chance. Only 99 cents…
Faced with the ghastly suitors her father approves, Thomasina Warren decides to lose her virginity so that no respectable man will have her. Who better to ruin her than handsome, charming James Blakely? But James is an honorable man and refuses point-blank. Humiliated, she resorts to outright refusal to wed, with the help of a ghost who scares her suitors away. But four years later, her father has arranged her marriage to a stodgy gentlemen whose only condition is that the ghost must be banished forever.
James Blakely never forgot the lovely girl who asked him to ruin her, and when he offers to get rid of the ghost, he thinks he’ll be doing a good deed. Instead, he is faced with the hostile Thomasina, her cowardly suitor, pigheaded father, lecherous cousin, an exorcist monk, and a ghost who warns of danger and deadly peril—and a few short days in which to convince Thomasina that with the right man, she might just want to marry after all.
Here’s an excerpt:
James opened his bedchamber door upon an appalling sight.
A lady, standing next to his writing desk clad only in her nightdress, turned to him with a dazzling smile. “Mr. Blakely, how romantic.” She indicated the pile of papers he’d been working on that afternoon. “I didn’t know you wrote poetry!”
“I don’t,” he said, unable to stop himself from looking her up and down. She was so damned pretty—there was no denying he found her attractive—but good God, what if someone heard them? He shut the door softly and glared at her. “What the deuce are you doing here, Miss Warren?”
Thomasina Warren’s flush showed clearly in the light of a branch of candles. “I came to ask a favor of you.”
The ghost, who had removed his plumed hat in the presence of a lady, beamed and nodded at James.
“At midnight?” James snapped. “In my bedchamber?”
She blushed even more—and what a beautiful sight she was. “What better time and place?”
The ghost grinned widely. He mentioned midnight and bedchambers far too often in his execrable poems.
“For what?” James demanded, trying not to notice how enchantingly her chestnut hair tumbled about her shoulders.
“For…for love.” Her gaze flickered to the scattered sheets of bad verse. “Who is she, your inamorata?”
“My—my what?” He shook his head. “She’s not real,” and then, at a sudden gust of frigid air on his spine, “not alive, anyway. She’s the lady love of our resident ghost.”
“Ah, the dashing Cavalier I’ve heard about. That explains the slightly archaic feeling of the poems.” She took a deep breath. Her bosom rose and fell. “In that case, what I’m about to ask is acceptable.”
Nothing was acceptable about this situation. “Miss Warren, I do not wish to be discourteous, but this is most improper, and you must leave at once. Ask your favor of me tomorrow, in daylight, in a less compromising location.”
She didn’t move. “Tomorrow will be too late.”
“A pity, but nevertheless you may not remain here.” He returned to the door, motioning with his chin, hoping to get rid of her without actually touching her. “Back to your own bedchamber. Now.”
Thomasina faltered a little, but instead of obeying, she approached, looking up at him with wide, grey eyes. Meanwhile, he struggled not to lower his gaze to her bosom, which jiggled as she moved. The ghost watched them, highly amused.
“Please don’t be upset, Mr. Blakely. It’s just a simple favor. I’m sure it can’t be difficult, as it’s done all the time.”
He gritted his teeth. “What is done all the time?”
“Carnal knowledge,” she said calmly. “Tupping, as my cousin Colin would put it.” His face must have shown his feelings, for she flapped a dismissive hand. “Yes, I know it’s improper of him to say such things in my presence, but you know what my family is like.”
Damn Colin Warren. He should know better—which hardly mattered right now. Hades, she couldn’t be serious!
“The Warrens are scandalous by nature and have been for centuries. Everyone knows that, so it’s practically expected of me to keep up the family tradition.” She hesitated, tipping her head to one side, as if assessing his growing dismay. “It’s quite simple, really. All I want is for you to ruin me.”