As part of H&H's Hot for the Holidays program, we're thrilled to share a limited-time peek at 12 special holiday stories! All 12 e-novellas are on sale now (you may have seen us talk about this H&H-St. Martin's Press program before), but we're offering H&H members the exclusive chance to read the whole story for free—it's our gift to you. But here's the thing: Stories will be available for ONE DAY ONLY over the next two weeks, so grab a blanket, a mug of hot chocolate, and get reading before they disappear with a wink and a smile!
When Oliver Townsende escapes to his friend’s house for a Christmas party, he intends to avoid the hordes of marriage-minded misses who have been dogging his steps in London ever since he inherited a dukedom. He soon learns a bit of Yuletide peace and quiet is too much to ask for. When he encounters Miss Cerian Blake, who’s dodging her own unwanted set of admirers, the two decide to join forces and fake an infatuation to keep their suitors at bay. But when a bough of mistletoe becomes involved, will their Christmastime prank turn into a love to last all seasons?
Oxfordshire, December 1817
Hunted. That’s what he was. Hunted like a fox. And just like a fox, he’d been forced to. . . run.
Oliver Townsende skidded across the perfectly polished marble floor in the foyer of Lord Medford’s country house. He rounded the imposing column at the edge of the space and took off down the nearest corridor. Behind him, the slapping of slippers against the parquet floor indicated that his flight was not in vain. He was, indeed, still being chased.
He glanced to his right. By Jove, was that a cat hurrying alongside him? He resisted the urge to rub his eyes. He looked again. Yes. There was indeed a furry feline romping to his right. Medford owned a cat? And more importantly, who was the cat hoping to avoid? Surely not the same young lady?
Oliver smiled to himself as he continued his flight. Why exactly had he agreed to attend Medford’s Christmastide house party? Yes, he’d become friendly with Lord Perfect and his wife Kate in the last year since Kate had been acquitted of his cousin’s murder. Oliver had inherited the dukedom, but he knew better than anyone how hunted he was in Society. He was an eligible young duke, for heaven’s sake. Of course Medford’s house party would be filled with young, eligible ladies with their hearts set upon becoming a duchess.Hence, the running.
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