Lady Joan Flynn needs a husband—any husband—if she’s not to find scandal and mischief under her Christmas tree; Scottish wool magnate Dante “Hard-hearted” Hartwell needs an aristocratic wife to gain access to the financing that will keep his wool mills secure. Can holiday magic spin an expedient match into true love, and wary differences into trust?
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Grace offers an excerpt from WHAT A LADY NEEDS FOR CHRISTMAS:
Dante and Joan’s wedding night has begun with a discussion of holiday gift-giving, though neither bride nor groom can stay focused on that topic for very long…
Joan stretched out her chilly foot, and encountered Dante’s calf. His bare, warm, hairy calf, because her husband slept without the benefit—or hindrance—of clothing.
He moved onto his side, facing Joan. “What shall I get you for Christmas, Mrs. Hartwell?”
“You’ve given me your very name. That’s gift enough.” Also his trust, his respect, his kisses…so many treasures.
He rolled to his back, suggesting Joan had provided the wrong answer.
“I don’t want your gratitude, madam. Loyalty, fidelity, and a good-faith effort to make something of this marriage will be a fine bargain on both of our parts. The marriage is as much opportunity for me as it is convenient for you.”
Joan did not want a fine bargain, but she did want the warmth her husband’s body gave off. She yielded to the craving and snuggled right up to his side. His arms came around her, as if they’d spent many nights visiting their way to shared sleep.
“I kept my nightgown on.”
“I know, lass. I’ll forgive you that modesty if you kiss me.”
She kissed him, and the contour of his lips told her he was smiling. “You should kiss me too, sir. My feet are cold.”
“You need your new husband to warm them up?”
Joan needed her new husband in so many ways. “Shall I take off my nightgown?” She didn’t want to, but Dante was naked, and the intimacies she’d tried hard not to dwell on were commencing.
“You feel safer with it on,” he said, shifting to blanket her with his body. “I’ll try not to tear it.”
Gracious. “I can stitch it back together if you do.”
He nuzzled her ear, sending a shivery feeling down Joan’s spine. “Kiss me some more, Mrs. Hartwell.”