For three weeks the Bluestocking Belles have given you a bit of fiction, a recipe, and a gift. This week we also add a December price cut for everyone. This month only Holly and Hopeful Hearts is only 99 cents. Don’t forget to check out weeks one and two as well.
Today the hero of Nicole Zoltack’s contribution to the Belle’s anthology, Holly and Hopeful Hearts has a surprise for his true love from the novella Christmas Kisses. Let’s check on how this pair is doing.
A Christmas Surprise
December 24th, 1813
The softest of cries stirred Jasper Warwick, Earl of Pershore. He stirred with a gasp, the sound a delight if not unexpected. After all, the babe, his son, was only two days old.
His wife was already tending to the babe, and he leaned over and kissed her cheek. “I do believe you have me at a disadvantage,” he whispered.
“And how is that?” Anna asked, an amused glint in her eyes that erased any signs of fatigue. She was the most beautiful lady in the world, and at times, he could not believe she was his.
“Why, little John. What present can I ever give you that could compare?”
“A gift of a few hours’ sleep would be most welcome.” She laughed as John smiled, drifting back to sleep in his mother’s arms.
Jasper shifted closer to cradle them both. “I am more than willing to tend to the babe for a few hours for you in three days’ time.”
She closed her eyes. “But why then and not today?”
“Today, too.” His laugh was soft, so as not to wake the babe. “But in three days you have a meeting.”
“Yes. I apologize for the timing—one never does know when a baby will come—but in three days, you’re to have a meeting with… Well, perhaps we shall wait for you to learn—“
“Jasper Warwick, you will tell me at this very moment!”
“Very well.” He grinned. Anna never had been one to keep secrets, at least not from him, and honestly, he shared that trait. “Why, with Thomas Egerton.”
“No.” She gasped. “The Thomas Egerton? Publisher of Jane Austen?”
“The very one. I met him a few years ago, and I corresponded with him and mentioned your writing—”
“You didn’t?” She gasped again.
“I did. If he likes it, and I’m sure he will—”
“Oh, Jasper!” Tears filled her eyes. “I…”
“You’re speechless for once.”
“Thank you!” she whispered.
“Anything for you, my love.” He kissed her deeply and then dropped a peck on his son’s cheek. “I’ll do and fetch some breakfast. How does ham cakes and eggs sound?”
“Perfect.” Anna sighed happily. “I do love you, Jasper.”
“And I you. Happy Christmas Eve.”
“Happy Christmas Eve!”
Ham Cakes and Eggs
|1 cup cooked ground ham|
|1 tablespoon water|
|1/8 teaspoon paprika or pepper
Rounds of toast
Parsley or chopped chervil
Preheat oven to 375. Combine the ham, 1 egg, water, and paprika or pepper. Press into 4 greased muffin tins. Leave a large hollow in each and fill with the 4 eggs. Bake until the eggs are firm. Turn the cakes onto the toast and garnish with parsley or chopped chervil. Enjoy!
For everyone who will like, follow this link (https://www.instafreebie.com/free/NCv9j) to download Joy to the World, Nicole’s contribution to the Belles’ 2015 boxed set. Enjoy!
About Christmas Kisses
Louisa Wycliff, Dowager Countess of Exeter wants only for her darling daughter, Anna, to find a man she can love and marry. Appallingly, Anna has her sights on a scoundrel of a duke who chases after every skirt he sees. Anna truly thinks the dashing duke cares for her, but her mother has her doubts.
When Lady Exeter insists on Anna befriending a marquis’s son, a man Anna thinks is far too crude, Anna learns all about the trials her mother went through to find love herself. Only time will tell if Anna can find true love this Christmas season.
A sudden gust of wind blew a few papers from Lady Anna’s hand. Laughing, they chased each one down, and when they captured them all, Jasper held out a hand to secure them for her. They stood far too close together—their chaperone seemed to be missing—and he stared down at her. He couldn’t understand why she hid herself away from gatherings, like he did. If she went to all the balls and gatherings, she would be betrothed herself. She was a fine, beautiful lady and…
“You make me want to become a thief,” he murmured, not quite understanding why he felt this way.
“A thief? I make you want to steal what exactly?” She looked up at him from beneath her long eyelashes.
Her cheeks were a lovely shade of pink. From the excursion of retrieving her papers? Or from his words?
Nicole Zoltack loves to write romances. When she’s not writing about gentlemen and their ladies, knights, or superheroes, she spends time with her growing family. She enjoys riding horses (pretending they’re unicorns, of course!) and visiting the PA Renaissance Faire. She’ll also read anything she can get her hands on.
Website and Blog: http://NicoleZoltack.com/