Mischief and Mistletoe
Unwrap the most romantic of Regency delights in this sparkling holiday collection. . .
Christmastime in England--a time for passionate secrets, delicious whispers, and wicked-sweet gifts by the fire. From a spirited lady who sets out to save her rakish best friend from an unsuitable engagement, to a bold spy who gets the unexpected chance to win the woman he's always loved, to a vicar's daughter who pretends to be a saucy wench, these holiday tales will make you curl up in front of the fire for a memorable season of mischief and mistletoe. . .
Confections that charm and delight, like the holidays themselves.
~RT Book Reviews
No one writes historical romance better.
~Cathy Maxwell on Mary Jo Putney
Breaks just about every rule in the book and makes us beg for more.
~RT Book Reviews on Jo Beverley
Excerpt from "She Stoops to Wenchdom" by Mary Jo Putney
Lucy drew a ragged breath. “Gregory didn’t want to talk to me. Or touch me. When changing partners brought us together in a dance, he looked like he wanted to run away rather than take my hand for a few moments. He did run away after the dance. Paid his respects to the Randalls and left immediately after. I…I knew his feelings were unengaged, but it hurts that he hates me.”
“How very odd,” Chloe said thoughtfully. “If he’d half forgotten you, his most likely reaction would be indifference, but his behavior was not indifferent. He has no reason to hate you. No one hates you. You are the rarest of creatures, a beautiful girl who is universally liked. Perhaps he likes you too much?”
Lucy swallowed a hiccup. “That makes no sense whatsoever.”
“No? The man has spent years at war, doing dark and dreadful deeds that we can only imagine. He comes home and sees a girl he’s always liked all grown up into a woman, but she looks so innocent and refined that he feels wholly unworthy. Afraid of his own passions, he flees for the sake of honor!”
“That is ridiculous!” Lucy exclaimed.
“Is it?” Chloe retorted. “He might not want to touch you, but I hear he doesn’t mind touching the barmaids at the Willing Wench.” Then she clapped her hand over her mouth, her eyes rounding.
“I beg your pardon?” Lucy stared at her friend. “Gregory is doing what?”
Chloe sighed. “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to tell you. I must still be suffering from the champagne. In the retiring room I chatted with Helen Merchant. She’s Gregory’s cousin, you know. She said the whole family is worried about him. Since coming back from Spain, he hardly talks to anyone. Polite, but he just slides away. Rides or walks all day, and spends his evenings at the Willing Wench. He can apparently relax with the barmaids, if nowhere else.”
“Drinking and risking the pox?” Lucy said icily. “He won’t even touch my gloved hand, but he’ll have a jolly time with a tavern wench?”
Her tone was so alarming that Chloe said soothingly, “It’s just how men are, Lucy. You’re a lady. You belong on a pedestal. With you, he’d have to be a gentleman, and he’s just not ready for that.”
“That is insulting to both ladies and wenches!” Lucy exclaimed. “Barmaids from the Willing Wench have called on my father for help or spiritual guidance. They are women just like we are. Some are mothers trying to raise their babes. Others need to work if they’re to eat. They deserve to be treated with respect.” Her head swung around to Chloe, her eyes glittering. “And I deserve to be treated like a woman, not a lady!”