It’s almost Christmas. Shopping, baking, Christmas cards should
be almost done.
Someone posted they didn’t relate to Christmas and the
commercialism, which I can support. And that for many people who live alone,
live below the poverty line or with disabilities, it can be a very lonely time,
made worse by all the talk of big families and get togethers. I also believe this
is true. I thought I’d go back and check out the history of Christmas, before
Santa and the commercialism.
The word Christmas comes from a shortened form of Christ’s
mass. It’s a religious and cultural celebration among billions of people around
the earth commemorating the birth of Jesus Christ. It is preceded by the Advent
or the Nativity fast and initiates the season of Christmastide, which
historically in the West lasts twelve days.
The traditional Christmas narrative, the Nativity of
Jesus, says Jesus was born in a stable in Bethlehem of Joseph and Mary. Although the month and date of Jesus’ birth
are unknown, by the early-to-mid fourth century the Western Christian Church
had placed Christmas on December 25th. For Christians, the belief
that God came into the world in the form of man to atone for the sins of
humanity, rather than the exact date, is considered to be the primary purpose
Over the centuries and years and through various
countries things like gift-giving, Christmas carols, Christmas trees, Christmas
cards, Christmas decoration, Christmas lights, Christmas crackers, a special
meal, and Santa have been added. Gift-giving and other aspects of the holidays have
heightened economic activity to the point where the meaning of Christmas has
In this time of lights and spending large amounts of
money on gifts maybe we need to sit back and remember that birth long ago, and
the people today who are poor or alone during this holiday season. Just a
Charlene Raddon began
writing nearly forty years ago. She never meant to be a writer. In college she
studied fine arts. But that was before she discovered romance novels, and
before she woke up one morning after a dream so vivid she knew it belonged in a
book. She got out an old typewriter and ever since, instead of painting
pictures with paints and a brush, she does it with words. An Amazon bestselling
author, Charlene was first published in 1994 by Kensington Books. Today, she's
an Indie author. She is also a book cover designer specializing in western
DIPSOMANIA IN 19th
CENTURY AMERICA Believe it or not, the Puritans believed in drinking.
In fact, they brought more beer with them than water. Early Americans took a
healthful dram for breakfast, whiskey for a lunchtime tipple, ale with supper
and ended the day with a nightcap. Continuous imbibing clearly built up a
tolerance. By 1830, consumption had peaked at 7 gallons per year per person.
By the late 19th Century, dipsomania, or alcoholism,
was being treated as a disease. The first arrest for driving under the
influence of alcohol was in 1897.
Physicians began to consider alcoholism a disease, but
they had no real cure. There were facilities for the treatment of dipsomania,
and if that failed, there were always insane asylums where people with
disabilities of all sorts were put to get them out of the way.
In my new novel being released December 15, titled Thalia, The Widows of Wildcat Ridge Book 7, my
heroine, Thalia, goes to the town doctor for advice in trying to cure the man
she loves of drinking. He tells her, "Alcohol consumption eats at your
innards over a long period of time and brings about a long slow death. It
grinds away a man's liver and other organs. Those who recover from it are often
plagued with liver and heart problems the rest of their lives." He tells
her of asylums back east where they treat dipsomania, but he doesn't recommend
them. "Horrible places they are," he says.
But alcohol wasn't
the only addiction rampant in the nineteenth century. During this time, much of
the food consumed by working-class families was adulterated by foreign
substances, contaminated by chemicals, or befouled by animal and human
excrement. By the 1840s home-baked bread had died out among the rural poor; in
the small tenements of the urban masses, unequipped as these were with ovens,
it never existed. The list of poisonous additives reads like the stock list of
some mad and malevolent chemist: strychnine, cocculus inculus (both
hallucinogens) and copperas in rum and beer; sulphate of copper in pickles,
bottled fruit, wine, and preserves; lead chromate in mustard and snuff;
sulphate of iron in tea and beer; ferric ferrocynanide, lime sulphate, and turmeric
in Chinese tea; copper carbonate, lead sulphate, bisulphate of mercury, and
Venetian lead in sugar confectionery and chocolate; lead in wine and cider; all
were extensively used and accumulative in effect, resulting, over a long
period, in chronic gastritis, and often fatal food poisoning.
And adults weren't
the only ones imbibing these poisons. Most medicines, even for children,
contained alcohol or opiates or both. Laudanum
is a tincture of opium containing approximately 10% powdered opium by weight (the
equivalent of 1%morphine). Medical officers were convinced that one of the
major causes of infant mortality was the widespread practice of giving children
narcotics, primarily opium, to quiet them. Laudanum was cheap enough, about the
price of a pint of beer. Opium killed far more infants through starvation than
overdose. Dr. Greenhow, investigating for the English Privy Council, noted how
children 'kept in a state of continued narcotism will be thereby disinclined
for food, and be but imperfectly nourished.'
At mid-century at
least ten proprietary brands of medicines containing opiates existed, with
Godfrey's Cordial, Steedman's Powder, and the grandly named Atkinson's Royal
Infants Preservative among the most popular. Opium in pills and penny sticks
was widely sold and opium-taking was described a way of life in places. Morphine was treated like a new-fangled wonder drug.
Injected with a hypodermic syringe, the medication relieved pain, asthma,
headaches, alcoholics’ delirium tremens, gastrointestinal diseases and
menstrual cramps. By the late 1800s, women made up more than 60 percent of
By 1895, morphine and opium powders, like OxyContin and other prescription
opioids today, had led to an addiction epidemic that affected roughly 1 in 200
Americans. The Civil War helped. The Union Army alone issued nearly 10 million
opium pills to its soldiers, plus 2.8 million ounces of opium powders and
tinctures. An unknown number of soldiers returned home addicted, or with war
wounds that opium relieved. Opiates made up 15 percent of all prescriptions
dispensed in Boston in 1888, according to a survey of the city’s drug stores.
Only around 1895, at the peak of the epidemic, did doctors begin to slow and
reverse the overuse of opiates. Advances in medicine and public health played a
role: acceptance of the germ theory of disease, vaccines, x-rays, and the debut
of new pain relievers, such as aspirin in 1899. Better sanitation meant fewer
patients contracting dysentery or other gastrointestinal diseases, then turning
to opiates for their constipating and pain-relieving effects.
Blurb for Thalia:
Thalia Plunkett has loved Duncan Moon, known as Dinky,
all her life. Now he's in big trouble. Can Thalia help Duncan kick the booze
threatening to kill him, and win his love? Or will he choose whiskey over her?
And who is the mysterious man watching Thalia?
The topic for this month was an excerpt from one of your stories that shows the spirit of this season (however you define it) and tell why you used it (excerpt does not have to be Christmas themed). OR write a short story or flash fiction piece for the season.
First, thank you Rhobin for these interesting topics all year.
Next, I don't have any Christmas excerpts so I wrote a short piece with my characters from The Hawkins' Ranch series. It's a short piece on what I think would be an ideal Christmas with family. I hope you enjoy it.
Gabe watched Cody carefully picked up Gran, so she could
place the star on the top of the tree. Gran and Grandpa Jack had bought the
star their first Christmas. The had little money at the time and chopped down a
small tree and strung it with popcorn balls, but they’d wanted a star. So,
their Christmas present to each other had been that star. It had been on the
family Christmas tree every year since.
Cody gently placed
Gran down and she perched on the chair closest to the tree. Gabe smiled at the
family gathering. Everyone was here for the annual tree lighting and dinner. Children
skipped around the room putting red and green balls a on the lower branches and
Lucky and Blue added their barks from behind the gated doorway. Annie put
another record on the old record player in the corner. Silent Night filled the
room. Everyone joined in to sing along
to the familiar lyrics. The children curled up with their parents. Gabe added
his baritone voice to the words.
Cody sat down beside Maggie and Matt wriggled in between
them. Kye stood behind the chair where Janna sat. Eli climbed up on her lap
snuggled and against her shoulder. Kye’s hand rested on Janna’s shoulder touching
her dark hair and Eli’s head. Molly, Matt and Eli knew the words and added their
Even Luke had taken time away from his practice to be
here with Allie and Molly, their adorable red-headed, adopted daughter.
As the song came to an end, Sam plugged in the lights and
the eight-foot fir tree burst into light. Everyone oohhed. The children grinned.
Gabe smiled. It was a familiar scene filled with love. Delicious smells of
carefully spiced mulled wine and Christmas baking emitted from thee kitchen. He
and his family had so much to be thankful for. Maybe this would be the year he’d
add a new member to the growing family – maybe. Until then he’d appreciate another special
Hawkins’ Christmas with his family, food, music and love. It would be a
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year everyone!
And don't forget to check out these other websites to read their thoughts on
weeks until Christmas, how are you doing? Decorations
and tree up – check Music
playing -check Christmas
cards sent - check First
Newsletter out (Yeah me!) – check. And you can sign up for it at my
website https://wwwbeverleybateman.com Shopping
– in progress First
Christmas party – check Christmas
baking – in progress. I included my recipe for quick, yummy
Christmas cookies in my newsletter Latest
book, The Fourth Victim Sara’s Story now in paperback – check
I still have shopping and baking and planning Christmas dinner to do.
I’m trying to work on my new WIP. Do you get much writing done during
this time of the year? I
find it a challenge so here’s a few hints that I use and might work for you-
a list and checking it twice. 😊
down your goals for each day – including shopping, wrapping, Christmas concerts,
your schedule and decide when you have a spare fifteen minutes – get up a few
minutes earlier, stay up later, write by hand during a lunch break – fit in
fifteen minutes of writing
Waiting in line to mail parcels, do research 0n line or carry a book with you,
or jot down things you need to check
want get a lot of pages written but you will get a few done over the holidays
and you’ll keep your WIP fresh. And when you’re busy doing research or thinking
about your story you may get a thought that gets you excited and find you have
to write the scene or chapter.
you have any suggestions to help with writing during the holiday season, please
share them with us.
Lexi Post is a New York
Times and USA Today best-selling author of romance inspired by the classics.
She spent years in higher education taking and teaching courses about the
classical literature she loved. From Edgar Allan Poe's short story “The Masque
of the Red Death” to Tolstoy’s War and Peace, she's read, studied, and taught
But Lexi's first love is romance novels so she married her two first loves,
romance and the classics. From hot paranormals to sizzling cowboys to hunks
from out of this world, Lexi provides a sensuous experience with a “whole lotta
Lexi is living her own happily ever after with her husband and her cat in
Florida. She makes her own ice cream every weekend, loves bright colors, and
you will never see her without a hat.
Character Interview Beverley:What’s your name? Holly:My name is Holly Douglas. I’m a widow. Beverley: Where
did you grow up? Holly: I grew up in New
Hampshire, but I married a Scotsman, so I live in Deervale, Scotland now. My
family wants me to move back to America, but I want to stay here. I feel closer
to my husband here, especially because he’s been visiting me for the last three
years and sending me spirits. They are so much fun. I love flying with them. Beverley: During
what time period does your story take place? Holly: Well, that’s a
loaded question. It takes place in my past, my present, and in my future.
Though as Malcom and Joy, my Spirits of Christmas Future, told me, I can make
my future change. Beverley: What’s
your story/back story? Why would someone come up with a story about you? Holly: Oh, I’m just a
regular person. My biological dad had nothing to do with me. When I was a
teenager, my mom and I were living in an apartment building that caught on fire
on Christmas Eve. We were placed with the Tinders by our social worker,
Jessica, who along with Duncan were my Spirits of Christmas Past. Anyway, Mom
ended up marrying the Tinders oldest son, so I got a new family. I met Cameron
at the Highland Games and we were together for two years before we married.
Unfortunately, he died on Christmas day two years later. He was rock-climbing.
I was devastated. Beverley: What’s your goal in this
story? Holly: My goal? Oh, I want
to convince my husband’s spirit to keep visiting me for the rest of my life.
It’s hard though because if he stays too long with me, he could turn into a
ghost. And yes, there’s a difference between a spirit and a ghost. Cam’s and my
connection is so strong that he’s in danger of becoming a ghost. If he turns
into a ghost, he’ll be stuck on the living plane for eternity. That would be
great while I’m alive, but after I die I’ll transition and he’ll be stuck here,
so we don’t want that. But I really miss him. We were soulmates. Coco, she was
one of my Spirits of Christmas Present, along with Ian, and she could see
soulmates. She said they glowed and Cam and I were definitely soulmates. Beverley: What conflicts are you
facing? Holly: Well crap, I kind of
answered that, didn’t I. Except you should know that Cam is trying to get me to
let go of him. The spirits he sent helped me cope, but now he wants me to move
on. I hate that he’s trying to push me away. His best friend Ethan, who is still
alive, by the way, is trying to help me out. Beverley: Do
you have a plan for resolving them? Holly: I’ve tried reasoning
and pouting and yelling and crying. I’m not sure what else I can do. I’m hoping
Ethan has some ideas. He’s always been the smart one of Cam’s two best friends. Beverley: Is there anything else
you’d like us to know about you? Holly: About me? I’m really
not that interesting. Oh, but I do own the One of a Kind Christmas Shop here in
Deervale. It was Cam’s idea, but I’ve always run it. I find artisans to make
one-of-a-kind ornaments and decorations for Christmas. We are doing better this
year because we’ve had a lot of American visitors. Christmas isn’t as big here
in Scotland as in America. Here they celebrate Hogmanay a lot more. I’m
getting pretty excited because I’m only days away from seeing Cam again. It’s
only once a year, but he has my heart and though he says this is his last
visit, I’m hoping for a Merry Christmas anyway. I really don’t know how I can
say goodbye. Blurb for About One of a Kind Christmas:
For her to love him, he must face a spirit, an archangel…and himself.
The spirit of Cameron Douglas has totally screwed-up…again. Now, he has to fix
his mess in one night with the help of his best friend and somehow encourage
his widow to move on.
Holly Douglas is anguished that this is the last Christmas she’ll be visited by
her late husband, Cameron. For three years he’s sent her the spirits of
Christmas Past, Present, and Future, and they‘ve helped her cope with her loss.
But now all that ends, and she doesn’t understand why he must push her away.
Ethan Stewart has been in love with Holly since Cameron’s death, but she
isolated herself from everyone, including him. Then something changed, and he
was welcomed back as her friend. But he wants more— to love her openly, and
most of all to make her happy again. Though he loved his best friend like a
brother and will do anything for Holly, as he’s pulled into the spirit world,
he discovers the price they must pay for their chance at forever…and it just
might be too high.
Excerpt for About One of a Kind
He closed his eyes and took a deep breath before opening them. “I miss Cam. It
was as if we were two parts of the same soul. I lived vicariously through him
even while I worried constantly about him. It was one of the reasons I was
constantly warning him to be careful. I was afraid to lose him.”
Ethan looked away and rubbed the back of his neck. “And then I did.”
She felt as if her heart were breaking all over again, not for her but for
Ethan. He was so good to her. He even loved her. And she… “Ethan, I
His gaze returned to hers. Though she couldn’t see his face clearly, the
limited light reflected off the sheen in his eyes.
She placed her hand on his cheek and rising on her toes brushed her lips across
his in a feather-light kiss. She only meant to give comfort, but a spark of
something else hit her heart.
She remained there, her lips close to his but not touching, wanting more but
afraid to ask.
Ethan remained absolutely still, his breath mixing with her own.
He loved her but would never push her. It wasn’t his nature. She could walk
away right now, but to what?
She stared at his mouth in the dim light. She wanted to live again. She wanted
to feel again. Tilting her head, she pressed her lips more firmly against his,
moving her hand down his stubbled jaw and behind his neck to pull him closer.
Ethan’s lips opened, and she slipped her tongue between them.
As his arms came around her, it was like waking from a dream. A slow burn
flowed through her veins as he took control of the kiss and explored her mouth
with his tongue. It was an unhurried exploration and heat built in her belly.
When he pulled back to lick the underside of her top lip, she took her first
deep breath. As she exhaled, tingles spread throughout her body.
He kissed the corners of her mouth before leaning his forehead against her own.
“Ye catch my blood on fire, lass.”
Debutantes, widows and the occasional courtesan test
society’s boundaries in Beverley Oakley’s wicked, passionate historical
romances dripping with scandal, intrigue, and suspense.
Her Fair Cyprians of London series is about a group of
determined and clever courtesans at a high-class Soho brothel who use their wit
and beauty to avenge past betrayals - and who find lasting love along the way. How can there be a
happily ever after? is a question many a reviewer has asked before admitting to
being delighted and satisfied by the unexpected plot twists and surprise
endings – just like in Beverley’s own life. You can read more on her website.
Interview with Faith Montague, the heroine of Keeping
Beverley:What’s your name? Faith:Faith Montague Beverley: Where
did you grow up? Faith: I was second eldest
daughter of ten and I grew up in a damp, leaky farm tenant’s cottage in
Wiltshire, England. My mother was too busy to spend time with me and my father
was drunk much of the time. I couldn’t wait to go into service at the Big House
when I was thirteen because, although I worked my fingers to the bone, I
learned that if I could behave the way my betters behaved, it could be an
avenue out of poverty for me. Beverley: During
what time period does your story take place? Faith: 1878. (A great time
in fashion when the bustle was at its sexiest.) Also, women were starting to
have opportunities for work other than being just a servant, governess…or a
prostitute like the girls I lived with after I was falsely accused of stealing
and sent to live in a brothel. Beverley: What’s
your story/back story? Why would someone come up with a story about you? Faith: I was born in
poverty but an American heiress plucked me out of obscurity to train me how to
behave like a lady. Her intention for me was to seduce and ruin a young man
whom she believed had ruined her daughter’s life. Beverley: What’s
your goal in this story? Faith: I just want my
freedom. Initially, I thought I’d get my freedom by carrying out my
benefactress’s evil plan but after I fell in love with the kind, sensitive,
gorgeous young painter (who was about to become a diplomat) whom I was supposed
to destroy, freedom meant finding a future with him. Beverley: What
conflicts are you facing? Faith: Conflicts? Happiness
should have been impossible. The social mores of the day would not have
tolerated my being with my true love, Crispin, even if I did take London by
storm as his artist’s muse. Yes, we both became celebrities overnight. One
might have thought that such public adoration would have meant I would be
accepted by society. But that’s when the real conflict began. There
was my past. No one would condone a young diplomat in line for a title taking
up with a girl who’d been brought up in a brothel. It might have happened in
the romantic novels that are so popular today but not in real life. Not in my
life. Beverley: Do
you have a plan for resolving them? Faith: I’m a survivor. And
sometimes the unexpected happens. Sometimes, when everything is against you:
family opposition, society’s attitudes, the vengeance of the people you thought
you could trust…sometimes a rabbit just gets pulled out of a hat and the happy
ever after shimmers tantalisingly in front of you. Maybe, just maybe, you’ll be
allowed to taste real happiness. Beverley: Is
there anything else you’d like us to know about you? Faith: Just that I’m not
unlike so many of what that journalist Henry Mayhew called “London’s lowlife”
when he wrote his famous book, London’s
Underworld. A fallen woman was reviled and usually her dire circumstances
were not of her making. My friends were all decent women who just wanted to be
happy. They didn’t choose to live in a brothel but there are precious few
opportunities when one is poor and without education. So,
spare a thought for them. I’m making sure their stories are recorded in the
other books in the Fair
Cyprians of London series. Thank
you for listening to mine.
for Keeping Faith
Four years ago, Faith’s mysterious benefactress falsely
accused her of stealing and deposited her in Madame Chambon’s exclusive
There, Faith was to learn how to entrance London’s noble
gentlemen with her learning in philosophy, politics and art.
Her body was to be saved for the greatest enticement of
Faith doesn’t care what she has to do. She lives only to
fulfil a bargain that will set her free.
But when Faith is recruited as the muse of a talented,
sensitive painter whose victory in a prestigious art competition turns them
both into celebrities overnight, she discovers the reasons behind her mission
are very different from what she'd been led to believe.
Now she is complicit in something dark and dangerous
while riches, adulation and freedom are hers for the taking.
But what value are these if her heart has become a slave
to the man she is required to destroy?
Excerpt: from Keeping Faith
“What did you learn last
night?” “A gentleman must always
believe he knows best.”
Confident that her
answer was pleasing, Faith reached across the table to help herself to a
macaroon but a sharp slap across the back of the hand stopped her progress by
the silver teapot.
Her smile of feigned
contrition was rewarded with a raised eyebrow from Madame Chambon. Not an
invitation to partake of a macaroon, unfortunately. The table laden with
eclairs and petit fours in Madame’s private sitting room was merely for show. “Greedy girl, Faith! You
can eat at the Dorchester tomorrow and I daresay you won’t even spare a thought
for the other girls who are justified in being somewhat jealous of your
cossetted life.” Madame sniffed as she patted one of the grizzled, orange curls
of her elaborate coiffure. Faith suspected a squirrel’s pelt had made its
contribution. “I’m sure they wonder every day why you never have to stir
yourself – or anyone else, for that matter – to get your fine clothes or a roof
over your head.” Madame Chambon piled three macaroons onto her already laden
plate before making a sweeping gesture that encompassed the furnishings of her
surprisingly decorous private sitting room with its gold tasseled green velvet
curtains and flock wallpaper. “What have you told them, Faith? About why you
are here, I mean?”
Faith’s stomach rumbled
as she gazed from the prints of the famous artists that lined the walls to the
fine fare in front of her, ordered from Fortnum and Mason. These monthly
sessions in table manners were supposed to give Faith the practice she needed
to deport herself like a lady when eating in public. However, under Madame’s
guardianship, Faith never actually got to try the specialties.
“Answer me, Faith. In
all the three years that you’ve been here, you’ve had to do precisely nothing
to justify your existence. Surely the girls have questioned you? I have my own
version of the truth for them, as you know, but I’d be interested to hear what
you have to say.”
Faith didn’t answer. She
already knew how lucky she was, but Madame was not ready to drop the subject,
despite having just crammed an entire chocolate éclair into her mouth. Faith
just managed to make out the muffled words, “Every night you lie peacefully in
your bed while the other girls have to earn their livings.”
Lying peacefully in her
bed was not how Faith would describe the restfulness of her slumber. She was
kept awake every night by the grunts and cries of ecstasy that penetrated the
thin walls of her attic chamber.
Still, she’d finally
learned when it was wise to respond meekly, so she bowed her head and stared at
her neat kid gloves while dreaming of the delicacies Mrs. Gedge would order for
them when Faith really was dining with her at the Dorchester Hotel the following
afternoon. The Sacher Torte Mrs. Gedge had ummed and aahed over before finally
choosing the baked Alaska from the sweets trolley last month still haunted her.
However, since part of Faith’s tutoring included how to win over reluctant
gentleman ‘and make them wild with wanting’ which is how Madame phrased it,
then surely Faith could persuade her American benefactress to order the
Austrian chocolate specialty?
She was so busy
rehearsing her words for tomorrow that she almost missed Madame’s prophetic and
appalling statement. “Well, Faith, the time
has come for you to start earning your way, now.”
Madison Michael is an
indie publisher, blogger and the author of the Beguiling Bachelor Series as
well as the novella Desire & Dessert, from her sizzling B&B Billionaire
A Chicago native and
hopeless romantic, Maddy was raised on Chicago culture, fairy tales, great
literature and swashbuckling movies. Maddy employs that history, writing steamy
contemporary romance novels set against the sumptuous backdrop of Chicago’s
After receiving a BA in
Journalism from the University of Illinois and an MBA from Loyola University of
Chicago, Madison abandoned her writing to find her way in the corporate
business world. Daughter of a librarian, it was inevitable that she would
return to the world of books.
Maddy writes from high
above Chicago where she can stare at its gorgeous skyline or the shores of Lake
Michigan surrounded by feline assistants. When she is not writing,, Maddy can
be found lost in a book, fighting for the rights of the mentally iil or dining
on Chicago’s famous cuisine. Hot dogs and pizza, anyone?
your name? Leigh: My name is Leigh
Dobbs. It used to be Leigh Winters but I recently survived a rather nasty
divorce and reverted to my maiden name. Beverley:
Where did you grow up? Leigh: I grew up in the
small town of Asheford, a suburb of Boston. Beverley:
During what time period does your story take place? Leigh:
Moonlight & Moet takes place now, yesterday or tomorrow. It
is pretty timeless. Beverley:
What’s your story/back story? Why would someone come up with a story about you? Leigh: I grew up sheltered,
studious and quiet, but somehow I caught the eye of the prince of Asheford, Joe
Winters when I was fresh out of college. To be honest, he swept me off my feet.
But marriage to Joe was lonely. He was an ambitious lawyer often working late
nights. I supported his efforts to make partner, getting involved
in the community, in local charities. Then, after five years of marriage, he
admitted he was cheating on me when his girlfriend, and paralegal found out she
was pregnant. I recovered from the devastation of the divorce, but the scandal,
fuelled by Joe’s lies, was more than I could manage. Now
I am picking up the pieces of my life and starting over in the small North
Carolina town of Saylesville.I have
purchased a B&B here in the mountains of Western Carolina and am settling
into a new life here. Beverley:
What’s your goal in this story? Leigh: I want to expand the
B&B to include additional guestrooms, and a dining room that serves the
public. This will provide me the income I need to thrive. I want to become part
of the town life, make friends, settle down. Beverley:
What conflicts are you facing? Leigh: It seems the McEwan
family wields the power and influence in Saylesville. I am running up against
Caleb McEwan. He is fighting my expansion plans and support from his company is
critical to the success of my B&B. I guess I should also mention that he
makes my heart thunder and my panties damp. Caleb
is the man of my dreams, except for fighting my dreams and doing this constant
disappearing act. Beverley: Do
you have a plan for resolving them? Leigh: Caleb is a mystery –
and the source of all my pain and pleasure. I must either grow numb to his
effect on me, learn not to care when he is gone without a word only hours after
bedding me, or I have to win his heart. Can you figure out which I prefer? Beverley: Is
there anything else you’d like us to know about you? Leigh: Oh, did I mention
the dreamy and talented French chef I just hired to help me at the B&B? I
wonder if he can help me forget Caleb. Come along into the sumptuous, romantic
world of Moonlight & Moet to find
Blurb for Moonlight and Moet- B&B
Billionaire Romance Series (Bk 2)
When her husband publicly cheats on her, Leigh Dobbs
trades her humiliating reputation as an ice queen and a hometown that shuns her
for the unknown of rural North Carolina. Taking over a small bed and breakfast,
Leigh sets out to restore it, her dignity and her life. Excited at the prospect
of adding more rooms and a full-service restaurant, Leigh’s big plans encounter
the brick wall that is Caleb Rausch. Sparks fly even as Caleb votes no on the
planning commission, crushing Leigh’s dreams.
Handsome powerhouse Caleb Rausch is a man on a mission,
expanding his huge corporation without encroaching on the small town where it
resides. His commitment to his products, employees and historic preservation
are unwavering. What’s lacking is his commitment to one woman. Caleb is the
most eligible bachelor in three states, dating celebrities and models, but
never settling down. Until now.
Even as Caleb forces Leigh’s expansion plans on hold, the
couple moves full-steam-ahead on their relationship, unable to resist the
mutual attraction. So why, after a steamy night together, does Caleb disappear
for weeks? Has Leigh put her heart out there again, just to be played?
Will the magic of a moonlit night be enough to kindle
their love or will Caleb’s constant disappearing act prevent him from melting
this ice queen’s heart?
From Moonlight and Moet
Exhausted and anxious to return home, Leigh wasn’t paying
attention as she stepped out the door of the small law office at the end of the
row of storefronts. Leigh went down hard on the cement, her skirt flying up,
her brochures flying. A shook-up Leigh assessed the damage and caught her
breath. Her dignity was beyond repair.
Leigh was brushing the dirt from her palms, scraped from
trying to break her fall when a shadow blocked the sun, and a large, dirty
hand, attached to a long, strong arm reached down to assist her. Leigh’s gaze
followed the flannel covered forearm up over a muscled bicep and continued
until her scrutiny was arrested by a pair of coffee-colored eyes surrounded by
the deep laugh lines of an outdoorsman. He was staring vast expanse of creamy
thigh and more than a hint of her magenta panties. His expression told Leigh
that he liked what he saw.
Leigh clumsily scrambled to lower her dress, gather the
brochures fluttering in the breeze, and take the proffered hand all at once.
Several pamphlets escaped down the sidewalk, but she quickly forgot them as she
was lifted like a feather against her mountain’s chest and too swiftly placed
gently on her feet. She winced when the blisters made contact with the hard
surface beneath them and the lumberjack buried behind a grizzly bear beard
reacted. “Injured, little lady?” he asked with concern. “Let me
help you get you to urgent care. "That won't be necessary," Leigh responded,
smoothing her dress to cover her embarrassment and interest. "Then at least let me help you to your destination.” “I was just heading to my car, down the ways,” Leigh
tried to gesture with the arm the man still held. “But, I’m fine. Really. I can
take it from here.” “Fine, indeed,” Grizzly Adams replied in a sarcastic,
deep baritone. He was tall, covered in a subtle sheen of dirt and sweat,
but Leigh quickly realized the shirt under her fingertips was the finest wool
and his boots, caked in an inch of dried mud, were Scarpa Phantom 8000's. He
was a very wealthy Grizzly Adams, and a dedicated hiker too. Those boots were
featured in the mountaineering store up the road for over $1000, way too rich
for Leigh’s blood. He stood still,
his smile twitching as caught Leigh checking him out. Then, without warning, he
swept her into his arms, carefully adjusted her dress to modestly cover her
behind while managing to slide his hand all along them. The man was a pro.
Leigh couldn't fault his effort, even as she realized he was copping a
feel.Carrying her easily, he began
taking long strides in the direction she had pointed. “This is completely unnecessary,” Leigh repeated more
than once, interspersed with “put me down, please” and “Really I can walk.” He
ignored them all, speaking right over her repeated and flustered objections. “You took a nasty fall there. People are always missing
that last step." His face was too close and too handsome. He smelled of
the outdoors - pine, sweat and sunshine. It was intoxicating. “Are you sure you
wouldn’t prefer I took you over to the doc’s office or the urgent care?” “Just to my car, thanks,” Leigh requested, done trying to
argue with the hard-muscled man. Who was she kidding? It felt incredible to rest
against his broad chest, his arms holding her securely and his minty breath
blowing on her face. He may have been filthy, a bearded mountain man who was
certainly not her type, but he was sexy as hell. Leigh wished her car was miles
away. “Will you be ok to drive, Miss…” “Leigh.” “Miss Leigh,” he repeated, caressing her name. “Are you
sure you’ll be alright to drive?” Leigh bobbed her head in the affirmative. She loved
resting her head against the power of this man’s chest, secure in his firm
grip. Leigh looked up at him from under her eyelashes, admiring what she saw.
She could tell that under the caked on mud and scruff, he was handsome, with a
cocky smile and those laughing eyes. She wished she could see more. “This is my car,” she finally motioned. “Thank you, Mr…” “You’re certain you can drive?” he asked in his slow,
smooth drawl, ignoring her question. “I’m not going far,” Leigh reassured him. “I’ll be fine.” The mountain man placed Leigh on her feet, holding her by
the waist as if waiting for reassurance that she was solidly standing. Leigh
looked down as if to assure herself both feet were there and with a deep breath
made eye contact. The man was a head taller, broad and powerful, and staring at
her as if he wanted to devour her. A hot flush filled Leigh's cheeks, and she
extended a hand to shake his. “Well, thank you again. You certainly turned out to be my
knight in shining armor today,” she jested. “Well, Miss Leigh, then I guess I get my knight’s favor,”
the man responded with a devilish grin. Leigh was still registering his warning
when he lowered his head to hers and placed his warm lips upon her cooler ones.
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