Thursday, September 17, 2015

Excerpt -- The Last Chance Christmas Ball

I'm so excited that the Last Chance Christmas Ball is up for pre-order.

In case you've missed the news, this is the Word Wenches Christmas anthology. 
Going blurbish ...

Christmas 1815. Upstairs and downstairs, Holbourne Hall is abuzz with preparations for a grand ball to celebrate the year’s most festive—and romantic—holiday. For at the top of each guest’s wish list is a last chance to find true love before the New Year…

A chance meeting beneath the mistletoe, a stolen glance across the dance floor—amid the sumptuous delicacies, glittering decorations, and swell of the orchestra, every duchess and debutante, lord and lackey has a hopeful heart. There’s the headstrong heiress who must win back her beloved by midnight—or be wed to another….the spinster whose fateful choice to relinquish love may hold one more surprise for her…a widow yearning to glimpse her long-lost love for even one sweet, fleeting interlude …a charming rake who finds far more than he bargained for. And many other dazzling, romantic tales in this star-studded collection that will fill your heart and spice up your holidays. 

Jo Beverley, Nicola Cornick, Cara Elliott/Andrea Penrose, Anne Gracie, Susan King, Mary Jo Putney, Patricia Rice, (and I) have each contributed a wonderful story.

See the prologue here.  Or drop by and see it on sale here
And at the Word Wench's blog, here, you can listen to us talking about how we wrote an intersecting group story.

My story is titled My True Love Hath My Heart. It's a second chance at love story ... with intrigue ... and disguise ... and fabulous jewels ... and Christmas sexiness. Also, plum pudding as a minor character.


“I always wondered what housemaids got up to in their leisure time.” The voice came from the door. “Theft, apparently.”
There was an instant like lightning--filled with a flash of recognition in the midst of blank surprise. She recognized him at once. How could she not? Nobody else spoke like silk over steel. Like honey and granite rock. Rough with laughter, sarcastic over the card table, whispered across a pillow--that was not a voice one forgot. She turned slowly to face him.
Nick Lafford closed the door behind him and strolled into the room. Time flowed sluggishly around him, giving her a long opportunity to feel five or six emotions in a row, all of them complicated and contradictory.
“Picture of a maid dusting the jewelry,” he said. “How thorough of you.”
“Searching it, actually.”
“We rise above the banal, then. I always enjoy rising about the banal with you.” He came to look past her into the box on the wardrobe shelf. “We have the very likeness of plunder. I feel quite piratical. Is it immensely valuable?”
“Not so far.” She closed the leather case with the rubies and put it firmly back in the tray. “If they were vegetables, this would largely be a pile of potatoes. What in the name of sanity are you doing here?”
“I appear to have joined you in ransacking with intent. Embarrassing if I’m caught at it.” He leaned to look into the jewel box and they touched, just a little. A brush of his jacket on her shoulder. A feeling of warmth at her side. Nothing really.
He said, “I’ll bet these dainty little boxes contain the good stuff.”
“Almost certainly. Go away, Nick.”
“I don’t think so. You may, eventually, be glad I’m here.” He stirred a finger into the jewels, inquisitive. “Or, of course, you may not. But I’m here anyway.”
This was so typical of him. Ready to filch jewels at her side or lead her onto the dance floor in Vienna in front of the assembled nobility of Europe. Once, he’d helped her relocate an inconvenient body. Once--
Blast him for being Nicholas. For being sneaky and single-minded and never giving up. For being clever enough to move her like a chess piece to this time and this place. For saying he loved her.
Blast her for being happy to see him again.  


  1. Congratulations, Jo. Looks to be a fun Christmas read!

    1. Eight utterly great authors. You're sure to find stories you like.

  2. Squeeeee! That is all.

  3. I do hope you like it.

    Last year's anthology is on sale right now, all over the place. Amazon and Nook.

  4. Will there be any now Spymaster books? Absolutely loved them all. Hope you have a wonderful holiday.

    1. I'm working on a novella right now that is part of the Spymaster's fictive universe. I should be out in the spring. I'll put up some information about it when the publication date gets nearer.

      Severine's story has been on the back burner for a while, but I'll start working on it very hard in the new year. I'm enjoying her as a character.

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