Fall Into Winter Romance Giveaway *Winners*
Thank you for making the Western Kisses Fall Into Winter Romance Giveaway Hop a smashing success! The Western Kisses Anthology is in the Amazon Top 100!
#1 Victorian Romance
#1 Western Romance
#1 Holiday Romance
I’ll soon be contacting those who left notes in the comment section of my last blog. If you want Carré White trading cards, I’ll be happy to send those as soon as they arrive; the printer should be shipping them to me this week.
The winners of the big blog hop are:
Grand Prize $50 Gift Card
Mandy Marie Earles
Autographed copies of An Unexpected Widow
Shannon Noelle Patch
Romance Swag Bag
$5 Amazon Gift Cards
Loree Naquin Hayman
Debbie Ann Hart
Ashley Anne Applebee
An Unexpected Husband is out now!
In the continuing Colorado Brides Series, Mary Hampton, one of Fanny’s adopted daughters, finally gets her chance at love. When Brandon Carlyle arrives in Denver City, he’s in need of a nanny for his six-month old daughter, Rosalind. Jane and Mrs. Hoffman devise a scheme to send Mary to town to interview for the job. Not only is the outspoken girl the perfect fit for such employment, but it’s not long before she charms her way into Brandon’s heart. However, once his sister and her friend arrive, meddling family members test their bond. When they do finally decide to walk down the aisle, will a winter snowstorm keep the groom from his own ceremony? Find out in Mary’s sweet and romantic love story, available now.
Here is an excerpt from An Unexpected Husband:
“Good night, Megan.”
“Don’t forget to turn the lamps down.”
“I won’t. I’ll go to bed soon too.” I had another sip of sherry, feeling agreeably numb. Even my nose was numb. I giggled, marveling at how strange I felt. Finishing the contents of the glass, I left it with the other, reaching for a nearby lamp. I extinguished it and then another, until the parlor was dimly lit. There was enough light to find my room, as I made my way towards the hallway. It was at that precise moment that the door swung open, revealing the imposing figure of Mr. Carlyle. I gasped. “My stars, you scared me!” We had seen him entering the notorious parlour house, and I was certain he would not emerge for hours. This was an unexpected shock.
“I’m sorry about that.” His gaze roamed over me. “I had thought everyone would be asleep.”
“I was just going to my room, sir.” A hiccup escaped.
His gaze sharpened. “Who else is awake?” He towered over me, with his hat in his hands.
“Megan was, but not anymore. Did you have a good night, sir? We saw you from the window.” I closed my eyes, cursing myself for that slip. Oh, dear…ugh.
“Is that so?”
“It’s…it’s quite busy outside. Um…there are lots of drunks at the saloon…I mean, patrons.”
“Have you been drinking?”
Oh, double blasted cow! I could hardly look at him. “I…had…some sherry.” I added desperately, “I’ve never had spirits before in my life! I swear! It won’t ever happen again, sir.” And now he would dismiss me. I’d have to pack my bags and hire a wagon for the ride to Fanny’s farm. How had I gotten myself into this muddle?
After placing the hat on the brass rack, he removed his coat. “I haven’t gone over any of the rules yet. This slight has been my fault.” He turned to face me.
There were tears in my eyes. “I’m dreadfully sorry.” After a noisy hiccup, I continued, “I…please don’t send me away. I’ve not even been on the job a full twenty-four hours yet. I…assumed the evenings might be my own. I only had two…er…three tiny glasses of sherry.”
It was odd, but I got the impression that it was a struggle for him not to smile. He swallowed visibly, his Adam’s apple moving up and down. “What exactly did you see from the window, Miss Hampton?”
“You said you saw me.”
“I did. We did. You…were walking down the boardwalk.”
“Spying on your employer and drinking.”
I hiccuped. “I didn’t know you were out there, honest to God, sir. Megan was the one who drew the drapes aside.”
“Now you’re blaming someone else for your misdeeds. I suppose you’ll say it was Megan’s idea to have a drink.”
It was! “Um…” My shoulders slumped. “Oh, drats. Jane will have the biggest laugh at my expense. I’ve gone and ruined it all.”
“My older sister. It was her idea that I find a job, sir. She gave me the advertisement for the position. She wrote a recommendation as well. She’ll find this amusing,” I muttered unhappily.
“That you failed?”
“That I was let go after less than a day.”
“Do you believe your actions are worthy of such an outcome?”
“I can only assume.” Tears flooded, which was mortifying. “I do so enjoy Rosalind. She’s the prettiest baby I’ve ever seen, and that’s saying quite a lot, because there are a great deal of babies in my family, sir. It would’ve been a lovely job to keep. I had so looked forward to bathing her and watching her learn to crawl and pull herself up on things. Now I’ll never know what her first words are.”
He exhaled visibly, his expression softening, yet he remained quiet.
“What is your decision? Am I being let go?” The weight of something unnamed hung between us, while he stared at me. I wanted desperately to read his mind.
“I’ll give you another chance.”
“I might regret this. I know I’ll regret this, but yes. You’ve another chance. Do try to behave yourself and mind your own business.”
“Yes, sir.” I hiccuped. “Sorry.”
“Good night, Miss Hampton.”
“Yes, sir. Good night. Thank you for not sending me home at this hour. I doubt I would’ve found a driver.”
“Don’t trouble yourself over it. Go to sleep.”
I slipped into the bedroom, eyeing Rosalind, who was resting on her side. Turning down the lamp, I knelt by my bed. “Dear Lord. Please forgive me for—” I hiccuped noisily, “for imbibing spirits. I won’t do it again. I’m ashamed I…I had a drink, Lord. It is possible that Megan is a bad influence. I’ll try harder not to be swayed by sin. Please watch over my family and my brothers and sisters. Keep everyone safe and healthy. Amen.” I was about to stand, when I had another thought. “And please watch over Mr. Carlyle. I’m entirely grateful that he seems to be a merciful man.” I mused, “He is rather handsome, isn’t he?” I hadn’t meant to say that out loud, and I was mildly baffled with myself. “Oh, never mind about that last part. Amen.”