The Last Chance Christmas Ball

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…

“The authors talented teamwork results in a seamless storyline where long lost loves are reunited along with the unexpected joy of newly discovered love. Readers will quickly find themselves swept up in the excitement and anticipation of the Christmas Ball’s festivities.”

— Texas Tea and Travel Magazine

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“Well miss,” her grandmother, the Dowager Countess said tartly as she took her seat, “this is an unexpected pleasure. We hear tales of your racy life in London. Come to empty your father’s purse now have you, now that you’ve run through Camden’s fortune? And where is that handsome husband of yours?”

Caro squirmed a little. Her grandmother never hesitated to call a spade a spade and was forever meddling but she was kind of heart and Caro could see the spark of anxiety in her eyes. Like everyone else the Dowager was worried that Piers had banished her for her extravagance. And since there was still no sign of him, Caro began to wonder if he really had washed his hands of her.

One of the other guests, Mrs Tremaine, tactfully came to her rescue with a question about the weather on her journey. Caro, despite her own preoccupations, noticed that her elder brother Edward cast frequent glances across the table at the elegant Lily Tremaine. He seemed to be taking an inordinate amount of interest in her which was curious since Pershore had already told her that the gossip in the servants’ hall was that Edward planned shortly to announce his engagement to Roxanne Hayward, their neighbour of many years. Roxie had given Caro a cheerful little wave of greeting as she had come into the room but Caro thought she looked very pensive and not in the least like someone who was happy about their future. And as Roxanne had once had a tendre for Caro’s younger brother Kimball it seemed all the more odd. Love, it seemed, was playing havoc with them all this Christmas.

The courses came and went, the conversation ebbed and flowed. Caro painted on a bright smile and tried not to wilt. Her gamble had failed. Piers had not followed her.

The sound of voices from outside the dining room cut across the conversation within and for a moment there was a lull as everyone tried not to gawp at what was going on. Then Caro heard a step in the doorway, a familiar, impatient step and a familiar deep voice:

“Thank you, Munton. I’ll announce myself.”

Caro looked up, her fork clattering from her hand.

There is the doorway was Piers, dark, dishevelled, the expression on his handsome face hard and remote as his gaze swept around the table to pin her to her seat.

End of Excerpt

The Last Chance Christmas Ball

is available in the following formats:
North American Edition

September 29, 2015 · Kensington · ISBN 13: 978-1617739231 · ISBN 10: 1617739235

Acclaim

Reviews for The Last Chance Christmas Ball
A delightful anthology.

“The authors talented teamwork results in a seamless storyline where long lost loves are reunited along with the unexpected joy of newly discovered love. Readers will quickly find themselves swept up in the excitement and anticipation of the Christmas Ball’s festivities.”

Fantastic historical authors are out now, in fun, holiday splendor!

“I love the Word Wenches (Mary Jo Putney, Joanna Bourne, Anne Gracie, Jo Beverley, Patricia Rice, Cara Elliott, Susan King, and Nicola Cornick) and they recently released a delightful Christmas anthology, The Last Chance Christmas Ball.”

Starred review

“Lighthearted gaiety is gently tempered by misunderstandings and a few more serious issues as these cleverly linked romances unfurl into a unified whole that is poignant, funny, and complex; one of the most engaging anthologies of the season.”

“Wholly delightful!”

“Eight authors walk into a Regency-era ballroom and wreak fabulous, shimmering holiday mischief all over the place…The characters are smart and attractive and their stories are delicious and appealing.”

4 stars!

“Tales glowing with the joy and romance of the yuletide.”