Thursday, December 16, 2010

Day 4 of The Twelve Books of Christmas - A Wallflower Christmas by Lisa Kleypas

                                 Hello all, I thought it would be fun to lead up to Christmas with some holiday reads from some of our favorite literary ladies. Some are new to me, such as this one I just read, A Wallflower Christmas by Lisa Kleypas. Everyday leading up to December 25th, there will be a new read. Some are short stories from anthologies and some are full length novels. I hope you like....
                               A Wallflower Christmas begins with four young ladies, best friends, who met at parties in London and instead of being each others competition for the affections of men, they joined forces to help each other out.
                                London 1845, we find the Wallflowers wed and still very much friends. The ladies gather to speculate on Lillian, Lady Westcliff's brother Rafe Bowman's upcoming betrothal to the Lady Nathalie Blandford, a beautiful young girl from London. Rafe and his sisters Lillian and Daisy are Americans, from a very rich family. The sisters have been married well and the father has arranged a possible marriage between Rafe Bowman and Lady Nathalie. Nathalie's cousin Hannah Appleton, her companion, is invited to tea with the wallflowers. The ladies want to ask questions about Lady Nathalie and also introduce Rafe to London society.
                                When Hannah meets Rafe she doesn't think much of him for her cousin, but at the same time they find they have a strange attraction to one another. This lovely story follows Rafe and Nathalie's courtship and Rafe's undeniable attraction to the other woman.                  
                                  This was actually the first Lisa Kleypas book I have read and I've already purchased more. I really enjoyed it, especially at this time of the year and I think you will too.

Here is a sneak peak at A Wallflower Christmas by Lisa Kleypas:

They walked through the winter garden in silence, while Hannah struggled with the certainty that Rafe Bowman was even more dangerous, more wrong for Natalie, than she had originally believed. Natalie would eventually be hurt and disillusioned by a husband she could never trust.  

"You are not suitable for Natalie," she heard herself say wretchedly. "The more I learn about you, the more certain I am of that fact. I wish you would leave her alone. I wish you would find some other nobleman's daughter to prey upon."

Bowman stopped with her beside the hedge. "You arrogant little baggage," he said quietly. "The prey was not of my choosing. I'm merely trying to make the best of my circumstances. And if Lady Natalie will have me, it's not your place to object."

"My affection for her gives me the right to say something"

"Maybe it's not affection. Are you certain you're not speaking out of jealousy?"

"Jealousy? Of Natalie? You're mad to suggest such a thing"

"Oh, I don't know," he said with ruthless softness. "It's possible you're tired of standing in her shadow. Watching your cousin in all her finery, being admired and sought-after while you stay at the side of the room with the dowagers and wallflowers."

Hannah sputtered in outrage, one of her fists clenching and raising as if to strike him.

Bowman caught her wrist easily, running a finger lightly over her whitened knuckles. His soft, mocking laugh scalded her ears. "Here," he said, forcibly crooking her thumb and tucking it across her fingers. "Don't ever try to hit someone with your thumb extended—you'll break it that way."

"Let go,"
she cried, yanking hard at her imprisoned wrist.
"You wouldn't be so angry if I hadn't struck a nerve," he taunted. "Poor Hannah, always standing in the corner, waiting for your turn. I'll tell you something you're moore than Natalie's equal, blue blood or no. You were meant for something far better than this."

"Stop it!"

"A wife for convenience and a mistress for pleasure. Isn't that how the peerage does it?"

Hannah stiffened all over, gasping, as Bowman brought her against his large, powerful form. She stopped struggling, recognizing that such efforts were useless against his strength. Her face turned from him, and she jerked as she felt his warm mouth brush the curve of her ear.

"I should make you my mistress," Bowman whispered. "Beautiful Hannah. If you were mine, I'd lay you on silk sheets and wrap you up in ropes of pearls, and feed you honey from a silver spoon. Of course, you wouldn't be able to make all your high-minded judgments if you were a fallen woman . . . but you wouldn't care. Because I would pleasure you, Hannah, every night, all night, until you forgot your own name. Until you were willing to do things that would shock you in the light of day. I would debauch you from your head down to your innocent little toes"

"Oh, I despise you," she cried, twisting helplessly against him. She had begun to feel real fear, not only from his hard grip and taunting words, but also from the shocks of heat running through her.

After this, she would never be able to face him again. Which was probably what he intended. A pleading sound came from her throat as she felt a delicately inquiring kiss in the hollow beneath her ear.

"You want me," he murmured. In a bewildering shift of mood he turned tender, letting his lips wander slowly along the side of her throat. "Admit it, Hannah, I appeal to your criminal tendencies. And you definitely bring out the worst in me." He drew his mouth over her neck, seeming to savor the swift, unsteady surges of her breathing. "Kiss me," he whispered. "Just once, and I'll let you go."


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