Three festive Regency second-chance romances
'Tis the season…
For three reunion romances!
In The Major's Christmas Return by Diane Gaston: at her friend’s house for Christmas, Caroline’s shocked her fellow houseguest is Major Nashfield—who left her at the altar! In A Proposal for the Penniless Lady by Laura Martin: Isobel’s always regretted obeying her father and turning down Thomas’s proposal. Now that he’s back for Christmas, is this their second chance? And in Her Duke Under the Mistletoe by Helen Dickson: Sophie is stunned by her convenient husband Tristan’s return—and their thrilling new attraction…
Nash had the dream again. The dream of Caroline, her arm around him helping him sit and drink some broth. She faded away again only to reappear with a cool cloth to his head. The room was dark now, the only light shining on her face, floating in front of him.
She disappeared again and it felt as if he’d sunk into oblivion only to wake up in hell.
No. Not hell. Battle. Smoke all around him. Screams of the wounded. Air filled with the scent of gunpowder, blood and rage. He was trapped in the center of it.
Had to save his men. Save his men. One by one they fell, shot by cannon, impaled by steel.
“No!” he cried. “No!”
She appeared again. Caroline. “Nash! Nash! Wake up. You are dreaming.”
He tried to rise. To fight. To try to keep his men alive. She held him down by his shoulders.
“It is a dream,” she said. “Only a dream.”
She was dressed as an angel all in white. Where was he?
“Am I dead? This is hell?” He seized her. “If this is hell, why are you here, Caro? This place is not for you.”
He could still hear the horses charging towards him and the French drums. And always the cries of his men.
“This is not hell, Nash,” her apparition told him. “You are at Bolton House. You are ill. Typhus. Lie down. Try to sleep.”
“Why does my mind conjure up you? I left you behind long ago.” He’d tried to forget her. Forget what she’d done.
“Lie down.” There was an edge in her voice now. “You need rest.”
He shoved her away and lay back against the pillows. “Leave me,” he murmured. “Leave me again.”
But Caroline did not dare leave him, not with him delirious with fever. She moved one of the brocade cushioned chairs to where she could easily watch him, but not be directly in his sight, should he wake.
She feared he would die.
She watched his chest rise and fall, seeing that face that still made her heart skip a beat. He must not die.
She’d studied the lists that were printed in the Gazette after the battles, the lists of the officers killed and wounded. She’d searched for his name and breathed a sigh of relief when it wasn’t there. She’d read he’d been wounded at Waterloo. Was the scar on his leg from that injury?
A pain deep inside her ached thinking of that wound.
“Nash,” she whispered low enough so he could not hear her. “Nash, why did you leave me? Why did you send Percy to tell me you did not want me? Why did you not come?”
He mumbled something and turned fitfully, throwing off his covers again. She moved closer and touched him, His skin still burned. She straightened his blankets and tucked him in again.
“Do not die, Nash,” she begged louder. “Please do not die.”
There was nothing to do but sit and wait.
Three talented historical romance writers gracefully explore the magic of second chance romances during the holiday season in this stellar trio of novellas. In Diane Gaston’s “The Major’s Christmas Return,” soon-to-be-broke Caroline Demain arrives at her friend Lady Sybella Bolton’s country home only to find almost everyone has hastily decamped due to the suspicion that one of their guests, Major Guy Nashfield, may have contracted typhus. With the assistance of a few novice servants, Caroline finds herself unexpectedly playing the role of Florence Nightingale to a man, who jilted her at the altar seven years ago….
Each author in this superb collection thoughtfully imbues her story with just the right measure of holiday warmth and cheer as well as gifting readers with characters that display lovely layers of nuance. No matter what time of the year it may be, this is the perfect gift for any Regency historical reader.-- John Charles, Goodreads