Lady Pippa Godfrey has suffered the most ruinous London Season. She escapes to her Somerset estate for a quiet Christmastide holiday with her family, away from society’s prying eyes. But before her parents can join her, a storm crashes down on Somerset to destroy any hope of Pippa’s white Christmas dream. The roads have flooded and travel is impossible, leaving her stranded and alone. But a muddied, angry and devilishly handsome lord appears at her door demanding shelter.
Lucas Hartfeld, the Earl of Maddox, has been summoned by his parents, the Marquis and Marchioness of Bowmont, to attend a holiday party in the wilds of the country, far from his London townhouse. He suspects they command his attendance for far different reasons than a simple country party. When a storm strands his carriage, he’s forced to seek shelter at the only home for miles around, a local manor called Helton House.
When Lady Pippa is reluctant to admit him, he does what he’s been raised to do—demand she provide him and his servants with shelter until the storm passes. But the beautiful woman draws his interest far more than he’s willing to admit. Can Lucas find a way out of the predicament his parents are planning?
As Lady Pippa scrutinizes another arrogant, demanding lord, she is bombarded with memories of betrayals in her past. Can she forget those difficult life lessons to claim a Christmastide kiss from a perfect stranger?
A moment of confusion clouded her mind as the laughter dimmed and a light breeze assaulted her face—as if someone had opened a window to a gusty wind.
At her side, Pippa’s mother fanned her face. Her wrist whipped to and fro, increasing as the room went silent.
Everything froze around her but her mother’s thrashing fan.
The Duchess of Midcrest, her dear mother, who’d labored for over twenty years to rise above her merchant class upbringing, would once again be embroiled in a scandal—all because of Pippa.
“Do you wish to depart?” her mother whispered.
“I did not…” Pippa stammered. “I would never…”
“I did not believe you had, my child.” Her mother sought to soften the blow—something that society had done to the current Duchess of Midcrest a hundred times over. “However, that does not change the appearance of things, no matter what we say or do in this moment.”
Pippa lifted her chin to keep her tears from streaming down her face.
“I do not understand why,” Pippa said as she leaned in close to her mother to whisper. “Lady Natalie and I are such friends.”
“Friendship and jealously often hold hands so tightly that one cannot distinguish between the pair.”
About the Author
Christina McKnight is a book lover turned writer. From a young age, her mother encouraged her to tell her own stories. She’s been writing ever since.
Christina enjoys a quiet life in Northern California with her family, her wine, and lots of coffee. Oh, and her books…don’t forget her books! Most days she can be found writing, reading, or traveling the great state of California.