**BOOK BLAST** ~ The St Nicholas’ Day Wager, by Em Taylor (includes excerpt)

Sensual Regency Romance

A huge welcome today to The St Nicholas’ Day Wager, by Em Taylor, a seasonal Regency Romance. This author writes hugely romantic and sensual reads and never fails to deliver. I hope that you enjoy reading the excerpt as much as I did! Tina ❤

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In Regency times, the Feast of St Nicholas, which falls on December 6th signified the start of the the Christmas season. For the poor, this propbably did not mean much as they still had to work for a living. For the rich, it was another excuse to party and attend balls and functions, drink and make merry. So not much change there either.

The St Nicholas Day Wager begins just before midnight strikes the beginning of St Nicholas’ Day in 1818. It’s a night that will change the lives of the Viscount Eastden and Lady Gabriella forever.

Blurb

stnicholas800As the clock in White’s hallway chimes midnight on St Nicholas’ Day morning, Lord Nicholas, Viscount Eastden makes a stupid wager. Somewhat foxed, he agrees to a wager which states that he can marry the spinster sister of the Earl of Thornwich by Christmas eve. If Thornwich wins the wager and Eastden fails in his quest to marry her, he will get ten thousand pounds and vice versa. Having grown up on neighbouring estates, Nicholas can’t figure out why a nice girl like Gabriella failed for so many seasons on the marriage mart. Gabriella appreciates the viscount’s honesty when he explains the wager. Knowing the dire straits of her family’s finances and her brother’s addiction to gambling, it seems that marriage to Nick may be the only option. But can she overcome his cruel words from their childhood when he taunted her about the strawberry birthmark on her face which blights her appearance? After such a rocky start, can the Spirit of Christmas find its way into the lives of Nick, Gabriella and their families or will injury and grievances from the past keep hem apart forever?

Excerpt 

Nick has been injured by thugs in the street and although he is staying at his own rooms in Brook Street, a kindly friend brought his back to his parents house where his betrothed, Gabriella, is staying. She is supposed to be being chaperoned by her maid while Nick’s father sees to his mother who is understandably upset that her son has been attacked. Nick has a badly sprained and bruised knee, injured ribs and a cut to the head.

“Gah!” Nick roared as Gabriella lifted his knee gently, holding it until her maid placed a pillow under it and then let it down slowly. The pain was so intense it made him want to cast up his accounts there and then. But he would not show himself up in front of her. 

I am sorry,” she whispered, “but it does need to be elevated.” She placed cold, wet cloths over the knee he was sure was twice the size it was supposed to be.  

“Shall I take the dirty water down to the kitchen, my lady?” asked the maid, scowling into the large bowl of water he assumed to be somewhat bloody given the state of his head.

“Yes please, Molly. I shall use the bowl on the side there but please bring up some more cold water.” 

Yes, my lady.” Molly bobbed a curtsey as Gabriella placed a hand on either side of his face and pushed his face into her bosom so she could inspect the wound at the crown of his head. His body reacted instantly. The poor girl was clearly not thinking about the situation she was currently in as she ran a damp cloth over the head wound. He sucked in a breath at a sharp sting and placed his hands on her waist. It wasn’t that the head wound itself was sore, but he was already nauseated from the pain in his knee. Damn, she had luscious breasts. Every part of his being, and one part in particular, wanted him to stick out his tongue and lick the skin just under his lips.

Thank heavens for the fischu. It seemed to taunt him and remind him of his need to be honourable at this moment. Meanwhile the throbbing in his knee reminded him he could hardly tumble the girl even if he wanted to. And the new ache in his groin told him he desperately wanted to. 

“It has nearly stopped bleeding,” she remarked as another sting made him suck in a breath, filled with her scent of lavender. Involuntarily his hands moved higher. His manhood was straining at the fall of his breeches and she still had no idea what kind of predicament she was in. He brushed the knuckles of his thumbs along the underside of her breast and she gasped. Was it a gasp of pleasure or one of outrage, he was not sure. He moved his thumbs again. 

“My lord,” her voice was husky. More desire than protest then.  He smiled against her décolletage and pursed his lips, dropping a kiss to the one bit of spare skin her fischu did not cover. She stepped away, biting her lip. “My lord, that is wholly inappropriate,” she said, the censure in her voice somewhat lacking.

“Did you like it though, Gabby?” he asked. 

Her throat worked as she swallowed and looked anywhere but at him. “My lord, we are not yet married.”

“No, we are not. But I asked if you liked it. Did you?” 

Her cheeks were crimson, almost hiding the strawberry birthmark. She nodded slowly. 

“Me too.” He grinned. 

My lord!” she chastised. 

“Oh don’t ‘my lord’ me, Gabby. You were the one who stuck my face in your bosom. I just…took advantage of it.”

 “I did and I am sorry.”

 “I am not sorry. It took my mind off the pain in this blasted knee.” 

“Well I am afraid my bosom will no longer be acting as a distraction for you, Nicholas.” 

“Oh my darling Gabby, even from here it is a delightful distraction.”

You can buy The St Nicholas Day Wager Here

About the AuthorEm was born and brought up in the Central Belt of Scotland and still lives there. She was told as a child she had an over active imagination–as if that is a bad thing. She’s traded her dreams of owning her own island, just like George in the Famous Five to hoping to meet her own Mr Darcy one day. But her imagination remains the same. 

If you like the sound of this read you may want to check out my review of Restoring Lady Anna, also by Em Taylor by clicking on the book title. 🙂

 

 

The Twelfth Night Wager, by Regan Walker – A Perfect Christmas Read!

715486[1]Has the Rake Met His Match?

Regency Romance: e-book 134 pages

The Twelfth Night Wager, by Regan Walker, is a classy Regency romance where a wager between friends has far reaching consequences for those it concerns – a dissolute rake and a respectable young widow. There is also a cleverly woven sub plot containing elements of danger and suspense, which added to my enjoyment and acted as a catalyst to the romance. I found it a love affirming and entertaining read, welcome at any time of year but especially heart warming at Christmastime!

In The Twelfth Night Wager, Christopher St Ives, Viscount Eustace, is a rake, who toys with women for fun. His friend, Hugh Redgrave, by contrast a happily married man, sets him a challenge in a wager, which is entered into the betting book at White’s and becomes the talk of London society:

‘LD Eustace has wagered LD Ormand 1000 pounds that by Twelfth Night he can seduce, bed and walk away from a certain lady understood between them.’

The ‘certain lady’ is Grace, Lady Leisterfield, a young widow with the reputation of being very proper. Her husband has been gone a year, and Grace, encouraged by her friends, decides to shed her mourning attire and embrace life. The plot thickens when Mary, Hugh’s wife and a friend of Grace, insists that Grace be informed that she is the object of the wager. Grace nevertheless decides to welcome the Viscount’s suit, with the intention of letting him down when he finally propositions her. For his part, Eustace finds Grace very attractive and foresees no problem in using his wiles to seduce her and win the wager. Throw in a great cast of supporting characters, not least Hugh and Mary (Lord and Lady Ormand) a matchmaking dowager countess and a sub plot involving blackmail, and the scene is set for a delightful and entertaining read!

I loved Grace, who although she has been married before and is in many ways innocent, she is totally aware of the danger rakes such as Eustace pose. She is surprised however, when she starts to discover the real man beneath the façade. It is this man whom she must guard her heart against, lest she succumbs, as he will, as per the wager, only walk away from her once he has bedded her!

Eustace is a fascinating character, whilst most certainly a loveable rogue, who has had his fair share of women, underneath he is a man of substance. As the plot progresses and he gets to know Grace, he becomes very protective of her and more and more enamoured, a state that he is not familiar with. I found some of the scenes where he struggles with his feelings and Grace’s actions very humorous, especially when provoked by his friend Hugh. The sexual tension between the couple sizzles throughout and they are well matched. However, the wager stands between them and casts doubt on Eustace’s intentions. Will Grace succumb to his charms and will Eustace win the wager and still get his girl or will he lose her forever?

I enjoyed meeting characters out of the author’s other books, which I have read, notably Hugh and Mary, whose love story begins in Racing With The Wind ,  book #1 in Regan Walker’s Agents of The Crown Trilogy (for my review click on the title). The tale also includes fictional and real-life Regency characters and makes reference to actual events, places and Christmas and New Year customs, which add to the authenticity of the read. The Twelfth Night Wager is a great addition to the author’s Regency romances and works perfectly as a standalone. I recommend it to romance lovers who enjoy a Regency tale where a rake may finally have met his match!

A copy of this novella was given to me by the author for the purpose of a fair and honest review.

Reviewed by Tina Williams

Boroughs Publishing Group

Digital edition created by Maureen Cutajar www.gopublished.com

Amazon US          Amazon UK

Regan Walker’s website

4326416[1]If you like the sound of The Twelfth Night Wager you may want to check out The Holly and the Thistle, a short story which takes place at the same time and featuring how one of Grace’s friends, the widow Lady Emily Picton finds love after a case of mistaken identity with a handsome Scot

Amazon UK     Amazon US