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The Last Chance Christmas Ball by Mary Jo Putney, Jo Beverly, Joanna Bourne, Patricia Rice, Nicola Cornick, Cara Elliot, Anne Grace & Susan King with Excerpt and Giveaway

The Last Chance Christmas Ball by Mary Jo Putney, Jo Beverly, Joanna Bourne, Patricia Rice, Nicola Cornick, Cara Elliot, Anne Grace & Susan King with Excerpt and Giveaway

Holiday stories are just the thing to spur the ‘mood’ and today I have an anthology, The Last Chance Christmas Ball with stories from Mary Jo Putney, Jo Beverley, Joanna Bourne, Patricia Rice, Nicola Cornick, Cara Elliott, Anne Gracie, Susan King. Please read on for my review and an excerpt, check out the tour stops to see what other readers thought, and don’t forget to enter the tour-wide giveaway where you could win one of 3 Trade Paperback Copies of THE LAST CHANCE CHRISTMAS BALL

Book Review:

An eight story anthology that is introduced with a lovely prologue that introduces the hostess, Lady Howard and her lady’s companion Clio set the tone for this collection.  Each story brings a couple who are deserving of their own last chance at happiness.

From reunited lovers separated by circumstance, second chances at romance and possibilities for new lives far different from initially anticipated, each story has a moment of “ooh’ with it. As with all collections, I have my favorite characters and scenes, although Clio and her catching the eye of the Duke was particularly satisfying, as was Kim and Roxie’s story so long delayed by his injuries and fear of not being wanted after the war.

There is something for every historic romance fan in this anthology, whether read in one sitting or over several ‘getaway’ moments when the hustle and bustle of the holiday season is wearing thin.

The Last Chance Christmas Ball by Mary Jo Putney, Jo Beverly, Joanna Bourne, Patricia Rice, Nicola Cornick, Cara Elliot, Anne Grace & Susan King with Excerpt and Giveaway

Title: The Last Chance Christmas Ball
Author: Mary Jo Putney, Jo Beverley, Joanna Bourne, Patricia Rice, Anne Gracie, Susan King, Cara Elliott, Nicola Cornick
Genre: Historical Romance, Holiday Themed
Published by: Zebra
ISBN: 1617739235
Published on: 29 September 2015
Format:eARC
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Pages: 320
Rated: four-stars
Get Your Copy: Amazon iTunes Kobo Downpour

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About the Book:

Christmas 1815. Upstairs and downstairs, Holbourne Hall is abuzz with preparations for a grand ball to celebrate the year’s most festive—and romantic—holiday. For at the top of each guest’s wish list is a last chance to find true love before the New Year…

A chance meeting beneath the mistletoe, a stolen glance across the dance floor—amid the sumptuous delicacies, glittering decorations, and swell of the orchestra, every duchess and debutante, lord and lackey has a hopeful heart. There’s the headstrong heiress who must win back her beloved by midnight—or be wed to another….the spinster whose fateful choice to relinquish love may hold one more surprise for her…a widow yearning to glimpse her long-lost love for even one sweet, fleeting interlude …a charming rake who finds far more than he bargained for. And many other dazzling, romantic tales in this star-studded collection that will fill your heart and spice up your holidays…

A copy of this title was provided via Publisher via NetGalley for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.

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From OLD FLAMES DANCE by Cara Elliott

            A man was sitting in a leather armchair, his long legs propped up on the brass fender surrounding the flames dancing up from the logs in the marble hearth. His head was bent over the book in his lap, the planes of his profile sharply defined by red-gold flames, even though tangled strands of silky black hair had fallen across his cheek.

Lily tried to breathe, but the hammering of her heart against her ribs seemed to thump all the air from her lungs.

His face was more austere. Time had chiseled away the softness of youth. There was a new firmness to his features—the cant of his eyes, the slant of his cheekbone, the shape of his nose. . . .

Oh, but the shape of his mouth still possessed a fullness that belied the serious expression tugging at its corners.

Seeming to sense the scrutiny, he slowly looked up from the open pages.

The slight movement broke the spell that held her in thrall. Lifting her skirts, she hurried to catch up with her escort, the agitated swoosh-swoosh of wool and lace skirling around her legs.

“Your quarters are here, madam.” Munton opened the paneled portal and stepped aside for her to enter. Her maid had already lit the oil lamps and stirred the banked fire to a cheery blaze. “You have only to ring if you require anything.”

“Thank you,” replied Lily, her breath still feeling a little ragged.

He bowed, and the door closed with a discreet click.

“I’ve laid out your night rail and wrapper, Mrs. T.” Her maid, Colleen, an Irish girl from County Kerry who had been with her for the last five years, came around the large four-poster bed chafing her arms. “Cor, I had forgotten how cold winter can be here. I never thought I’d say it, but I almost miss the sweltering heat of Bombay.”

“It will take a little time to readjust.”

“Aye, lots of things to get used to again,” agreed Colleen. An even-tempered girl who had proved unflappable through any adventure, she had become a friend as well as a companion. “The weather, the peace and quiet, the food—though I won’t miss that hot-as-hellfire curry.”

Lily smiled and they continued chatting as her maid helped her to undress and ready herself for retiring. The supper tray arrived, the hot tea and still-warm meat pie helping to calm her jumpy stomach. She then dismissed Colleen for the night, wishing to be alone with her thoughts.

Not that they proved to be very good company.

Edward. She had thought that time—how many hours were in a decade?—had rubbed off all the sharp edges of longing. Her godmother’s invitation to the ball had offered a chance to see him one last time before retiring to the snug little cottage she had leased on the coast—and she had told herself it was merely a mixture of curiosity and nostalgia that had compelled her to accept. A dispassionate glimpse back at her youth before heading to the future of living out her widowhood in comfortable peace and quiet.

Liar! In her heart, she should have known her feelings, however carefully locked away in the darkest depth of her being, had not withered away for lack of air or light. One glimpse—one fleeting glance at his face—and love had burst into bloom, its tender vines shooting out to curl around her consciousness. . . .

“Yes, it was a mistake to come here,” she whispered.

 

 

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About the Authors

Mary Jo Putney, Jo Beverley, Joanna Bourne, Patricia Rice, Nicola Cornick, Cara Elliott, Anne Gracie, Susan King are the ladies otherwise known as the Word Wenches. These eight authors have written a combined 231 novels and 74 novellas. They’ve won awards such as the RITAS, RT Lifetime Achievement award, RT Living Legend, and RT Reviewers Choice award. Several of them are regulars on the New York Times and USA Today bestseller lists. Learn more at www.wordwenches.com.

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