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Thursday, November 15, 2012

Lady Penelope's Christmas Charade and Christmas Wishes


Hi, everyone! Lilia Birney here. I am pleased to announce my latest release for Night Shift publishing, Lady Penelope's Christmas Charade. I was fortunate to work with a talented and gracious group of women on my first two novellas, one of which was included in last year's holiday anthology Summons from the Duke.

Lady Penelope's Christmas Charade is my first full-length novel, and I set it during the Christmas season for one very specific purpose. The hero and the heroine of my novel have both given up on wishes long ago. And only during this magical holiday season can they find the strength and courage to make a Christmas wish for more in life.

My heroine, Penelope Annand, has everything her heart could desire. She's wealthy beyond measure. She has fine gowns and a lovely townhome in Grosvenor Street. She has a delightful group of friends who brighten her days. But for many years, she was married to a man who lived a lie, and after his death, she is lonely and distrustful of men.

My hero, Pierce Howe, is a professional thief-taker. As the police force for London was in its infancy back in the Regency era, men were often hired as detectives to track down criminals and bring them to justice. Pierce happens to be the best in the business. He relishes the prospect of bringing scoundrels to light, but hides his own secrets as well.

When Penelope's trusted maid turns up missing one chilly November morning, she hires Pierce to track the wayward servant down. Penelope is furious with Pierce's high-handed ways and will only allow him to work on the case if he treats her as an equal partner in the adventure. This leads to a series of close calls, intriguing trysts, and, of course, a charade or two--all the while, the two draw closer together. They both find they have the desire to make Christmas wishes again.

I love Christmas--I'm one of those lunatics who start listening to Christmas music the day after Thanksgiving. We have so many ornaments that we've had to get two large Christmas trees to hold them all. And now that I have a daughter, I love watching her eyes light up with the magic of the season. This is indeed the most wonderful time of the year, and it was my pleasure to write a book that celebrates the wonder of the season.

As a giveaway, I am offering one free copy of Lady Penelope's Christmas Charade to a reader who comments below. Tell me, what's your favorite part of the Christmas season?

And here's a brief taste of Lady Penelope's Christmas Charade:

She gathered her skirts and took a step, only to be caught around the waist from behind. Unable to breathe from the pressure of the arm around her middle, she kicked backward, connecting with her assailant's right knee.

"Damnation!" A familiar voice swore, and her captor released her. Rubbing her ribs, she turned to see Pierce kneeling in the dirt.

"Pierce, are you terribly hurt?" She knelt beside him, tucking her skirt to pad her knees. "I'm so sorry. You frightened me. I didn't know it was you."

"I was worried when I returned to the carriage and you weren't there," he gasped, rubbing his kneecap. "I should know now, I need never worry for your safety again. Who knew a lady's boot heel could be quite so painful?"

"You shouldn't have grabbed me so," she replied tartly. "How was I supposed to react? Here we are in the yard of a most notorious brothel—any man with a grain of sense would have approached me differently."

"Believe me, madam, I am regretting my mistake most heartily at the moment." He gingerly flexed his leg, grimacing slightly. "What the devil are you doing out of the carriage anyway?"

"I saw a servant passing by, and thought it would be wise to question her." She took his leg in both of her hands, pressing it gently. Heavens, what a strong, muscled leg he had. She was thankful for the darkness, which hopefully covered her blush. "Does this hurt?"

"I'll survive." He leaned back on his elbows in the grass, staring at her from under lowered brows. "I was concerned for your safety, Lady Annand."

"Thank you, but I can defend myself. As you now know." She withdrew her hands from his leg, keeping her eyes lowered. If he read her thoughts at that moment, how he would laugh at her—how everyone would laugh. The Ice Goddess, reduced to nothing but a bowl of porridge after touching a man's knee.

29 comments:

  1. I love Christmas. It is the most exciting time of year. I get to see Christmas lights everywhere. I tend to be in a jollier mood. The smell of bake goods. The giving of gifts. Just a happy time of year.
    countessofmar(at)yahoo(dot)com

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    1. It really is a happy time of year, isn't it? Even the store displays make me feel jollier. Thanks for stopping by!

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  2. Lilia,
    Thanks for being with us today! I just bought this book and I can't wait to read it. It sounds amazing!

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    1. Thank you, Samantha! You are so sweet to buy my book. I hope you like it. :)

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  3. Lilia,
    Your book sounds great! I love Christmas wishes come true. I look forward to reading it!

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    1. Thank you, Julie! And congrats on your new debut!

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  4. Welcome, Lilia! I agree with Julie, love the sound of Christmas wishes coming true! And your cover is beautiful!

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    1. Hi Deb! I am so fortunate to have the help of Lily Smith in designing my cover. Isn't she amazing?

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  5. The book sounds great!

    I love the energy of Christmas. It is such a hopeful and happy time of year.

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  6. I'm going to be shallow and say that my favorite part of Christmas is the food. Peppermint bark, cookies, and eggnog anyone? LOL

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  7. Lilia ~ I have a Christmas village that I put up every year. Just seeing the lights in the little houses and buildings makes me happy. This year I'll get to share my village with my boyfriend and his daughter. She is already planning where she's going to put each piece. :)

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    1. I love those little Christmas villages! Our local public library puts one up every year, and I love to go gaze at it. Now my daughter is old enough to enjoy it too!

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  8. Congratulations, Lilia, on the debut of your first full length novel. How exciting that must be for you! I absolutely adore the plot of "Lady Penelope's Christmas Charade" and I think the cover is very elegant. I'm looking forward to reading it and have just put it on my Wish List!

    It has only been in the last few years that I can say that Christmas us pleasant to me again. I lost my mother many years ago at Christmas time. My husband and children and I were living in Europe at the time and I went back to the U.S. to be at my Mom's side. I missed Christmas with my children which tore me apart. For years, Christmas was just something to get through as it brought back too many bad memories. Fast forward years later and after we retired and moved to Florida, we met a young woman living here on her own. She too had lost her mother at Christmas when she was just 15. We have grown so close over the years and now we call her our daughter. She is a Kindergarten teacher married to a wonderful Police Captain and they have two little girls. They call us Grandma and Grandpa. Together, she and I have worked to welcome Christmas back into our lives. Having her, her family in our lives is the best Christmas gift ever. We love them dearly. And by the way, we both love peppermint bark and I finally learned how to make it! Delicious!

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    1. What a wonderful story, Connie. I am so glad you found the joy of Christmas again.

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    2. How lovely, Connie! Thanks for sharing!

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  9. Hi Lilia!

    As soon as I read that Penelope demanded to be an "equal" partner in finding her maid I knew I wanted to read her story but then when I read how when she "kicked backward" it was Pierce she ended up kicking I wished I already had a copy so I could read it now or even better yet have started it yesterday!

    Every year between Thanksgiving and Christmas I love reading holiday books and from just the few lines you shared I can't wait to find out what other situations happen when Penelope and Pierce are working together to find her maid - and what situations they manage to get into before the happiness of the holidays also becomes their "dreams come true"!

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    1. Hi Jeanne! I loved writing this Christmas story...and I really hope it brings a little joy to readers this Christmas. Thanks for stopping by!

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  10. Congratulations, Lilia!! Your cover is gorgeous!

    Wishing you much success! And thanks for sharing your excerpt with us at Lady Scribes. :)

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  11. WOW! This sounds like a good book and funny too! I like the characters already. The cover on your book is pretty. Congratulations on your first full lenght novel. I'm sure you will sell many. I would love to win it now. Thanks for the chance. Maxie ( mac262@me.com )

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  12. The book sounds great, can't wait to read it. I love Christmas. I enjoy seeing it through my 5 year old sons eyes.

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    1. Once you have kids, it really deepens the holiday, doesn't it? Thanks for stopping by!

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  13. I love the atmosphere during Xmas: the decorations & the sounds of Christmas carols everywhere & especially the warmth of feeling of goodwill to men that everyone seems to feel during Christmas (equates to the kids being able to get away with being naughty! LOLs)

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    1. LOL! So true, Linda! Thanks for stopping by!

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  14. My favorite part of the Christmas season is all the wonderful lights and decorations. My favorite tradition is what my sister and I do after Christmas dinner - we hop in the car and drive around town looking at all the decorations.

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  15. My Favorite part of Christmas is X'mas Tree, Gift and snack :)

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