6 Wagers Starting with Vicky DreilingVicky Dreiling is a confirmed historical romance junkie and Anglophile. Frequent business trips to the UK allowed her to indulge her passion for all things Regency England. Bath, Stonehenge, and Spencer House are among her favorite places. She is, however, truly sorry for accidentally setting off a security alarm in Windsor Castle. That unfortunate incident led her British colleagues to nickname her “Trouble.”
Despite her troublesome past, Booklist nominated Vicky’s debut historical romance HOW TO MARRY A DUKE one of the Top 10 Romances of 2011 and received a Romantic Times nomination for Best First Historical Romance.
A CHRISTMAS WAGER
By Vicky Dreiling
Rosehill Abbey, 1816
Lady Josephine Marston leaned closer to Justin Greystone, the Earl of Ravenwood. “I will win this wager,” she said. “By Christmas, our friends will be madly in love.”
Justin Greystone, the Earl of Ravenwood, scoffed. “You fancy yourself a matchmaker, but you would do well not to meddle.”
“It’s Christmas. What could be more romantic? Miss Parker and Mr. Faraday only need a little nudge in the right direction,” Josephine said. Really, Justin was older and more experienced in the world, but when it came to matters of the heart, he was hopelessly inept.
“Josie, you have always tried to influence others, but this is none of your affair.”
“You must trust me.” She unfurled her fan and surreptitiously surveyed the room. Miss Parker sat near the pianoforte while Mr. Faraday was practically miles away at the fireplace. “We must bring them together. I’ll ask Miss Parker to play while you encourage Mr. Faraday to turn the pages.”
“And help you win our wager?” Justin said. “I think not. You, my dear, will submit to my kiss on Christmas day.”
“You’re awfully sure of yourself,” Josie said. A very secret part of her wondered what it would be like to kiss Justin. Their families had been close for ages, but it wasn’t until recently that Josie had begun to feel differently about Justin. There were times when she yearned to be closer to him, and on occasion, she caught him looking at her in a most peculiar fashion, as if he were spellbound. But then he would say something ridiculous, and all the fluttery feelings in Josie’s bosom would dissipate. But she didn’t want him to kiss her because of the wager. If they were to kiss at all, she wanted it to be because he was overcome with tender feeling. Josie almost snorted, a most unladylike thing to do.
To keep herself in check, she looked about the room once again and realized what was missing. “We have no mistletoe,” she said. “How can it be Christmas without mistletoe?”
Justin gave her a mischievous look. “Shall we make an expedition to find mistletoe?”
Josie’s father, the Duke of Dartborough chuckled. “That’s a splendid idea. Miss Parker and Mr. Faraday, do lend a hand.”
“Miss Parker and I must don our wraps first,” Josie said. Then she winked at Justin. “I will win this wager,” she said under her breath, “and when I do, you must kiss my feet on Christmas Day.”
Justin wished there was enough snow so that he could throw a snowball at Josie. Faraday was a good sport about having to squire Miss Parker about, but the man had to know that he was being pressured.
“You’re not even looking for mistletoe,” Josie said. “Where is your Christmas spirit?”
“I am looking for mistletoe, but I’ve not seen any.” He looked at Josie’s rosy cheeks and impish smile and his chest tightened. He’d suggested the ridiculous wager, because he’d not been able to think of any other way to steal a kiss without losing face. But now he wished he’d never suggested it in the first place. Blast it all. Why had he developed these feelings for Josie of all women? But he had, and now he couldn’t get rid of them.
Josie pulled on his arm and urged him behind a tree. “Look. Mr. Faraday is pointing at the tree. He found mistletoe. Do you suppose they will kiss?”
Justin drew nearer to her and trapped her with his hands against the tree. Her breath and his frosted in the cold air, but he very much wanted to kiss her. As he angled his head, her eyes started to drift closed.
Then Faraday’s voice rang out triumphantly. “We found mistletoe!”
Justin silently cursed the interruption and stepped back. “Our mission is complete.”
“Yes, it is,” Josie said.
Was that disappointment he heard in her voice?”
It was well after midnight, but Josie knew she wasn’t the only creature stirring as she padded toward the drawing room where the mistletoe hung. As she neared the open doors, she saw that a man stood before the dying coals. “Justin?” she whispered.
He whirled round. “Josie, what are you doing here in your nightclothes?”
“I heard a noise.” She wasn’t about to move out from underneath the mistletoe and miss this opportunity.
He strode toward her. “You should go to bed. It wouldn’t do at all for someone to find us here alone.”
She moistened her lips. “Justin, look up.”
“I don’t have to.” Then he took her in his arms and kissed her tenderly. “Josie, I won the wager.”
She cupped his cheek and smiled. “No, Justin. You won me, long ago.”
“Merry Christmas, my love,” he said.
Want some more of Vicky Dreiling's work?
Lady Julianne Gatewick is in a pickle. It started when her brother’s best friend—for whom she’s long nursed a secret tendre—agreed to act as her guardian for the Season, only to seduce her with a risqué waltz.
But when the music stopped and the expectant ton waited for the Earl of Hawkfield to claim her as his own, he made his disinterest clear. Rather than succumb to humiliation, Julianne does what any recently discarded, wickedly witty young miss would do. She secretly pens a lady’s guide to enticing unrepentant rakes . . . and it becomes the hottest scandal in London.
Every honorable rake knows that friends’ sisters are forbidden. But suddenly Julianne has a spark of mischief in her eyes that Hawk can’t resist. Try as he might to push her away, he spends his days listening for her laughter and his nights dreaming of her kisses. He’s always avoided innocents and their marriage-minded mothers, but has the man least likely to wed finally met his match?
Pick It Up Today!:
Vicky will be giving away 1 audio version and 2 print copies of her release, HOW TO SEDUCE A SCOUNDREL, to some lucky commenter (3 winners, 1 gets audio, 2 get print- Open to US and Canada only) !!! Make sure to leave a comment with your thoughts on her scene and her books if you've read them and fill out the raffle copter form below to be entered!
Don't Forget to head over to Ramblings From This Chick and read Lecia Cornwall's special holiday scene (plus ener her giveaway)
a Rafflecopter giveaway
On behalf of myself, Dani and a whole host of generous and awesome authors, we will be having one BIG Grand Prize given away to 1 lucky winner. The grand prize consists of a mix of books, swag, and lots of other secret goodies. Believe me, you want to enter to win this prize. Just make sure to leave a comment every day on each post on both blogs and fill out that day's grand prize giveaway form on each blog. You can follow THIS link to today's form for this post or fill it out below after you comment.
**Grand Prize Giveaway**
That's it. Super easy!
Good Luck everyone and Happy Holidays!