Iâ€™d like to thank Tarah Scott for inviting me to participate in the Coffee Time Romance Santa Watch.
Some of my fondest recollections are of Christmas Eve. I love Christmas Eve, probably more so than Christmas Day. Even when I was a child the night before the big day just seemed so magical. The anticipation made everything seem so mystical and exciting.
In our family we had several traditions, starting with putting up the Christmas tree on my birthday. I am a December baby and I think it was my mumâ€™s way of making me feel special. It worked. 🙂 I know some with December birthdays feel put out and forgotten in the rush, but I never did.
In my family, on Christmas Eve, we were allowed to open one gift. It was always pyjamas. It seems like such a small thing now, but we looked so forward to finding out what mum chose for us. Whether they were feety pjâ€™s, a warm new flannel nightie or a new robe with slippers, it was always such a treat. Here in Canada, some nice warm flannel is well appreciated on a cold winter night.
After that we attended church services as a family. It was such an uplifting experience, the congregation jovial, the Carols boisterous. And without fail, it always snowed on Christmas Eve. Great big fluffy sparkling flakes. In my family, we still call it Christmas snow. Weâ€™d come home, my dad would light the fire and weâ€™d sit down and watch A Christmas Carol, the black and white version, with Alistair Sim.
Itâ€™s been more than twenty years since I sat with my folks and enjoyed these simple pleasures. I will always cherish and remember that feeling of home.
And now, having children of our own only adds to the fun and enchantment, to watch the excitement and wonder through their eyes. Weâ€™ve continued the pyjama tradition and it is as much a hit with our kids as it was with my sister and I. As well we still pop the tree up on or close to my birthday. And the kids can recite most of the dialogue from A Christmas Carol almost as well as I can.
I hope some of these things our children will also continue as they grow and start families and traditions of their own. And I hope they look back as I do and fondly remember the people who lovingly began these customs.
Iâ€™ll be giving away a copy of historical romance The Devil Take You along with a $5 Amazon Card.
Iâ€™d like to wish you all a very Merry Christmas filled with the spirit and all the blessings of the season.
And a safe and Prosperous New Year.
Scotlandâ€”1307â€”During the Scottish Wars of Independence
Gard Marschand will stop at nothing in his pursuit to regain what is lost. Concealing his true identity, he will associate with his enemies, kill his own countrymen, even sell his soul to the devil if all else fails. He will lie, cheat, steal, rape and siege his way across two countries gaining power and reputation in his malevolent wake. His determination all consuming, until King Edward commands Gard to lay siege on Ross-shire holding, where Braelynn Galbraith obliterates his single-minded purpose.
Braelynn Galbraith wants peace for her beloved Scotland, marriage to her childhood sweetheart, Callum, and a house full of children. In that order. But evil incarnate in the form of Gard Marschand, turns her life inside out and destroys all hope of a decent marriage.
Can Gard abandon his deep-seated need of revenge for a love that might just save his soul, or will he succumb to the demons that hound him and surrender to the devil within?
Enjoy an excerpt from The Devil Take Youâ€¦
Brae faced Marschand, unable to look away. He looked furious. His jaw ticked as he hunted her, yet again. She assumed his anger was about the map and the other documents.
He bent and pulled a dirk from his boot right before he reached her. Sheâ€™d been on the wrong end of that blade already.
â€œPlease. I didna see anathinâ€™.â€ She backed up.
Marsch was on her in an instant pulling at her skirt. His lightening speed caught her off guard. She fought him. Grainger had warned her. Leashed violence, heâ€™d said.
He subdued her easily. His dirk in one hand, Marschand used the other to loose his leather belt.
â€œPlease,â€ she cried. â€œI didnaâ€¦â€
â€œStop fightinâ€™ me!â€ he growled.
Baring her legs, he pulled the leather around her thigh yanking it tight.
â€œWhaâ€™ are ya doinâ€™?â€ she asked, frightened not only by his anger but his actions.
â€œYa willna go another minute witâ€™oot beinâ€™ armed. I canna be witâ€™ ya all the time.â€ He panted with exertion and ire. â€œI am tired oâ€™ tryinâ€™ ta keep ya safe. Ya are jusâ€™ too temptinâ€™ ta all â€™twould seem.â€
His intense black eyes devoured her. She could not seem to breathe properly with him so near. He was an incredible looking man, she realized, so different from Callum in every way. Even in her fear, she wanted to reach out and touch the unruly black hair that brushed his collar, itching to touch his beard and feel for herself if it was rough or soft.
He cut off the excess leather and slid the cool blade of the dirk between the leather and her flesh.
Suddenly she looked at him as his words and his enunciation sunk in. His breathing was harsh, his lips snarled, his teeth bared. It finally dawned on her. Was that what she had been detecting? Her heart started to pound painfully in her chest. She grabbed his chin forgetting her fear for the moment. His black eyes shot to hers in shock of being touched.
â€œBe ye Scot, then?â€
He visibly blanched, from the allegation or her touch she was not sure. â€œNay.
Snagging her wrist he removed her hand from his jaw and moved to get up when he stopped, noticing the redness on the opposite thigh. He pushed her skirt higher baring the gash.
â€œAh, Christ!â€ His eyes shot to her again. â€œIs thaâ€™ from me?â€ he asked looking appalled. He did not wait for her answer. â€œGood God! Of course â€™tis.â€ He seethed at the awful looking cut. She also stared at the mean looking crimson that radiated and spread across her white skin.
â€œWho did ya have tend it? The butcher?â€
â€œYa see, when ya are conflicted or upset, ya drop yer disguise. Ya are noâ€™ whaâ€™ ya pretend ta be.â€
â€œWhom did you have tend this?â€ he asked succinctly, carefully, in flawlessly refined English.
â€œI tended it meself.â€
He looked horrified.
â€œThere was na one at home. I couldna control the bleedinâ€™. I had na choice,â€ she confessed. â€œâ€™Tis festered? Aye?â€
â€œAye. No wonder you are so warm. Why you shivered all night long. You are fevered.â€ He placed his cool palm to her forehead. Brae was shocked by his gentleness. It belied the power and tension radiating from every ounce of his being.
Her eyes fluttered at the pleasure of the simple touch.
He removed his palm and circled a finger lightly around the perimeter of the redness on her thigh. The sensation made her skin feel strange.