Tuesday, November 18, 2014

RELEASE DAY: J.J. Nite "His Christmas Bride"

Hugh Alexander, Earl of Kerry, returned from the war physically and emotionally scarred. He is determined to never set foot inside of a ballroom again, convinced that no one would want him anyway. Hugh isolates himself and says it is only until he heals, and then he meets Annabelle. She doesn’t appear to be effected by his appearance and is quite beautiful. If only she wasn’t a maid in his household.
Annabelle has lived and worked in the Earl’s townhouse her whole life. She knows nothing about her family and since her mother’s passing ten years earlier, has no one to ask about them. Annabelle unwittingly helps Hugh find his will to recover and encourages him to open himself up to his family again. While she doesn’t yearn for anything more, there is a secret that, if brought to light, could destroy everything she knows to be true.
Can the new friendship and budding feelings Annabelle and Hugh have for one another be enough to overcome an uncertain future? Or will they be forever lost to each other?
J. J. Nite lives in North Alabama with her husband, 3 kids, a dog, turtle, and 5 goldfish. She devours books like some people eat chocolate! She's also found that if she doesn't write something every day, her mood is that of a bear waking from hibernation. Don't worry though, the children have learned to let Mommy write a little before approaching
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“Annabelle! What do you think you're doing, girl? If Bernard finds you peeping in there again he's liable to banish you to below stairs,” Sarah said.
“I was only trying to get a peek at the master. I haven't seen him and everything I've heard makes him sound so mysterious. Tilly said he has not left his rooms since he arrived, but I heard Bernard say he met with him in the study. He has to come out sometime,” Annabelle said as she turned and followed Sarah to the back of the townhouse.
“All I’m saying, missy, is you had better take care or you’ll be finding yourself banished to the nether regions of this townhouse -- or worse, looking for new employment,” Sarah continued.
Annabelle smiled behind Sarah’s back and shook her head lightly. The plump house keeper had been a mother to her since hers had died, leaving Annabelle an orphan ten years earlier.
Sarah had woken her in the morning and given her the news of her mother’s death. She had dried Annabelle’s tears and then helped her get dressed and made her a list of chores to make herself useful around the townhouse. Her manner was always brusque, but Annabelle knew it hid a big heart.
Annabelle grabbed her cloak and basket and headed out the back door for her daily trip to the market. While she loved being out of the house, the smells that assailed her once she was on the main streets were overwhelming. The refuse, waste, and unwashed bodies made her wishing this was another’s duty.
“Hugh. Have you heard a word I’ve said?”
Hugh Alexander, the Earl of Kerry, glanced over his shoulder at the solicitor and then turned his attention back to the window he was currently standing at. His attention had been caught by a servant covered in a brown cloak hurrying away from the house.
“I apologize for my inattention, James; please continue,” Hugh said, turning from the window and sinking into a leather chair that sat next to the window.
“All I’m trying to say, Hugh, is since your return I had assumed you would want to take a more active role in your investments,” James Stevens said.
Hugh grimaced, which was all he seemed to be doing lately. He knew it was his duty to take a hand in his investments and properties, but who wanted to look at him the way he was. Glancing back at James, he could see the man was holding something back.
“Out with it, James. It is more than apparent that you have something else to say,” Hugh said gruffly.
“Right then,” James paused and took a breath. “Your father contacted me. I had assumed you had seen him since your return, but he made it clear all he had received were correspondences. I was given a message to relay.”
“The message?”
“Your parents are expecting to see you for dinner, and I was given the impression it was not negotiable on your part,” James finished in a rush.
Hugh growled to himself. He should have seen this coming. His parents would of course want to see their son after his return from the war, but they couldn’t even begin to imagine the horrors he had witnessed while there. Or the visible reminders clear on his person.
“I cannot. My mother would be horrified at what has been done to me and then, as is her want, would proceed to smother me with her good intentions. My father would pretend nothing is different and would only anger me by doing so. No. I won’t be going. I’ll send a messenger explaining I am otherwise occupied,” Hugh finished.


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