We know it’s only September, but it’s not too early to think about Christmas. Today we feature excerpts from Christmas in America, a new anthology filled with America’s rich history and Christmas traditions from four of your favorite historical romance authors: Donna Thorland, Joanna Shupe, Piper Huguley, and Holly Bush.
“Christmas at Mount Holly” by Donna Thorland
The Jerseys, December 23rd, 1776 – The American Revolution is on the brink of total collapse. The Rebels have lost New York, the Continental Army has endured a disastrous retreat through New Jersey, and Washington is about to lose what remains when enlistments expire on New Year’s Eve. The cause needs a miracle, but Christmas is a time for wonders: as Angela Ferrers—the woman known to history as the Widow of Mount Holly—will discover when she sets a honey trap for Hessian Colonel Count Carl Emil Urich von Donop, only to find herself ensnared in mutual attraction.
She had been many things before she had become Angela Ferrers. Daughter, lover, wife, mother, widow. And then it had all ended, not in that terrible sweeping of the board, when all her pieces had been taken, but in a single, focused act of revenge that had severed her old life from her new.
For a time it had been necessary to become someone else, and becoming other people was a skilled trade. She had apprenticed herself to the first lady of the London stage, learned how to transform her appearance with little more than posture and expression from ingénue to crone, from aristocrat to orange seller. Adopting and discarding so many guises and disguises had taught her to see through the pretenses of others and realize that almost everyone wore a mask—most just didn’t realize it.
Like the handsome young jaeger captain with his velvet eye-patch and flawlessly cut uniform. He probably spent the better part of his pay dressing the part of the dashing officer. Her younger self would have been quite taken with him, with the way he entered the room, bowing low and sweeping his coat behind him with a flourish—as trim and graceful as a dancing master—and looking intently into her eyes.
“May I present,” said Ewald, in his studied English, “the Colonel Count Carl Emil Ulrich Von Donop of Hesse-Cassel.”
“Miracle on Ladies’ Mile” by Joanna Shupe
New York, 1895 – After losing his beloved wife, department store owner Alexander Armstrong seems incapable of anything other than work, despite his ache to be a better father to his daughter. When the pair encounters Grace, a charming shop girl designing the store’s Christmas window displays, he struggles to accept that perhaps miracles do happen in the most unlikely of places…
“There’s no one watching us now,” she whispered, rising up on her toes and placing a bold kiss on his jaw. “We’re all alone.”
A shudder went through him. “God, Grace,” he rasped. “We shouldn’t. You don’t even know—”
She put a finger over his lips, preventing him from finishing the sentence. “You won’t hurt me, Alex. I’m—”
“Drunk. On champagne.”