ARC Giveaway of Season For Surrender!

I’m doing something really fun today – an excerpt and ARC exchange with my fellow Kensington Zebra author, Theresa Romain.  You see, we both write Regency-set historical romance and we both have Christmas-themed books coming out on Oct. 2.  So we thought it would be fun to post some exclusive excerpts and also give our readers a chance to win Advanced Reader Copies of our books.  Just think, you have the chance to read either His Mistletoe Bride or Season for Surrender two months before anyone else!

And now for the good stuff – an excerpt from Theresa’s truly lovely book, Season for Surrender.

When Alexander, Lord Xavier, hosts a country house party, he never expects his own reputation will come into question. For years, the ton has known him as a scandalous rogue, always up for a naughty wager. So what could possibly go wrong?

Well. His cousin forces a wager that Xavier can’t get a proper bluestocking, Louisa, to stay for the length of the house party. Louisa has every reason to hate Xavier, but she’s intrigued by his home’s fine library—and by the chance to mix with the impolite sector of the polite world.

In this early scene, Louisa has begun to suspect that her host’s reputation is a façade. What does it hide, though? When he finds her in the library, she’s willing to forge a truce so she can find out more.

*          *          *

 “Are you suggesting I’ve been difficult?” Again, the expression of elaborate shock.

Louisa mirrored his posture, folding her arms. “Come now, my lord. I’ve promised not to be shrewish with you, so you can’t expect me to pick up that thread of conversation. I’m only asking you to treat me with the same respect you would one of your male associates.”

Gray eyes met hers. “They rarely wear such fetching frocks, Miss Oliver. I would find the pretense difficult to sustain.”

She shook her head. “Honesty, please, my lord. You don’t have to say things like fetching to me. I’m not going to leave if I’m not complimented every two minutes. In fact, I’d much rather receive no compliment at all than an insincere one.”

She gestured at her patterned muslin day dress. “This is clothing, my lord. It covers my body. It doesn’t have anything to do with my real self.”

When he studied her without replying, she made an impatient gesture and laid the play on the nearest shelf. “Excuse me, please.”

She crouched again, intending to continue her survey of this long-neglected collection of books. Determined to ignore the tall man lurking behind her, she scrutinized the bindings for some clue as to where to begin. The old, cord-banded spines on this shelf were not marked. Anything could be here, waiting to surprise her.

Xavier loomed over her, and the hair at the nape of her neck stirred in the eddy of his slight movements. Then he sank to the floor, leaning against the very shelf she was looking at, and stretched out his long legs.

“You’re wrong, Miss Oliver. When you choose your clothing, you do reveal something about yourself.”

He looked at her aslant. “Your gown is simple, yet it follows fashion. This shows that you care about practicality but do not wish to do yourself a disservice by appearing a frump. In the same way, your hair is coiled back from your face, yet its twists have been carefully arranged. In your every choice, you balance the demands of the world with the demands of your own self.”

Louisa sank from her crouch to a seat on the floor, an arm’s length away. “Oh.” She stopped; shook her head. “Thank you?”

She smoothed her skirt, wondering at all he’d read into the floral-patterned fabric. One hand reached up to touch her hair, as though it had altered when spoken of. “I’d never thought of it all that way. You surprise me, my lord.”

He lifted his chin and looked at her directly. “Likewise. Please, Miss Oliver, don’t assume that every compliment I give is insincere. I might candy my words, but they do have real substance.” His expression turned wry. “Well, sometimes they do.”

A knot of something tense between her shoulders began to relax. “That’s more than many in the ton could say. Certainly more than most would admit.”

She leaned against the shelf next to him, feeling an odd tug of companionship. It came from the informality, maybe; sitting not on furniture with her back straight as a yardstick, but on the floor, her legs folded up like a child’s.

There was nothing improper, exactly, about sitting like this, yet she felt as though she’d left propriety behind her at long last. She sat close enough to the infamous Lord Xavier to breathe in his clean scents of starch and spice; close enough to judge the span of his biceps beneath his coat. Would her two hands meet around it? She felt an almost irresistible urge to try, to wrap her fingers around some part of him and clutch this moment close.

Alexander Edgware, Lord Xavier, has quite a reputation—for daring, wagering, and wickedness in all its delightful forms. But the wager before him is hardly his preferred sport: Xavier must persuade a proper young lady to attend his famously naughty Christmas house party—and stay the full, ruinous two weeks. Worse, the lady is Louisa Oliver, a doe-eyed bookworm Xavier finds quite charming. Yet to refuse the challenge is impossible—he will simply have to appoint himself Miss Oliver’s protector…

Louisa knows her chance for a husband has passed. But she has no desire to retire into spinsterhood without enjoying a few grand adventures first. When Lord Xavier’s invitation arrives, Louisa is more intrigued than insulted. And once inside the rogues’ gallery, she just may have a thing or two to teach her gentlemen friends about daring…

Pre-order: amazonbarnes & noble • book depositorybooks-a-millionchapters indigo indiebound • powell’s

Pre-order e-book: kindlenook

Vanessa, here.  Didn’t that excerpt whet your appetite?  I had the pleasure of reading Season for Surrender a few weeks ago and I just loved it.  It’s witty and warm, with a wonderful hero and a smart and appealing heroine.  Theresa is a very talented writer and the person who wins this ARC will be very lucky!  So, for a chance to win the ARC Season for Surrender, just leave me a comment about something you really look forward to during the holiday season.  Yeah, it’s the middle of summer, but let’s spread a little holiday cheer a few months early!

The ARC contest on my blog will be open until August 8.  And don’t forget to check out Theresa’s blog and her website for the excerpt from my book, His Mistletoe Bride, and for a chance to win the ARC!


71 thoughts on “ARC Giveaway of Season For Surrender!”

  1. I adore Christmas stories and this one sounds really great! I love baking cookies and having the whole house smell nice. Also love to recieve cards and decorate the tree. Putting on the lights is not so fun, but hanging all the meaningful ornaments is. The thing I most look forward is getting together with the family 😀

    • Kirsten, you’ve mentioned a lot of my favorites too. Time with family is best of all! And the smell of holiday baking seems so cozy, doesn’t it? Not to mention it usually means that the tasting is soon to come. 🙂

  2. This book sounds wonderful! I would Love to win!! I look forward to baking… with my granddaughter. We started baking together about a year ago and it is so much fun. She’s 10 yrs old, so everything we make is new to her. Christmas cookies are wonderful and allow for imaginations to go wild. ;o)

    • Betty, thanks–I’m glad you stopped by!

      A holiday with a young child makes you see it in a new way, doesn’t it? I have a young daughter, and she gets so excited about holiday traditions (ALL holidays–even, say, Flag Day) that it makes things more fun for the rest of us. I bet your Christmas cookies are a beautiful sight!

  3. My family is rather far-flung, Christmas is one time we try to all get together. It’s more difficult given that everyone has children and other family to accomodate.. But we always have a good time and share memories and make more memories!
    Great excerpt!!

    • CateS, my family used to turn Christmas into a reunion time too. It’s nice to know you’ll get to see everyone, isn’t it? Hope everyone has safe travels when they make this year’s trip!

  4. Vanessa, thank you so much for sharing this excerpt on your blog–and for giving an extra peek at your lovely story, HIS MISTLETOE BRIDE, on my site! Turnabout may be fair play, but it’s also lots of fun.

    • May, that sounds lovely! I know just what you mean–I have a young daughter, and her excitement makes Christmas more fun. (At her age, she’s probably most excited about the cookies.)

  5. hi ladies!

    since i live in a two-seasons country, i can’t experience a white christmas (bummer). but, it’s still fun, especially if i have the time to read all day 😀

    • Hi, sienny–is it warm all year where you live? I’d trade a white Christmas for extra reading time too. Snow’s beautiful to look at, but it sure doesn’t make travel any easier!

  6. Hey, Vanessa and Theresa! Ahhh, Christmas. My favorite time spent with family. I look forward to watching my kids open their presents…especially when it’s something that they have REALLY been wanting! 🙂

      • Hi, Andrea–thanks for stopping by! Yep, no one shows enthusiasm like kids do. 🙂 Vanessa, I really like finding a perfect gift too–especially if it’s something the recipient never expected to get.

  7. I really enjoyed a Season for Temptation and really excited about Lousia’s story. The Christmas season is my favorite time of year. I have already started on my Christmas projects and shopping so I can actually enjoy the holiday season without being as stressed out.

  8. Hi Vanessa and Theresa! It’s never too early to start anticipating Christmas as far as I’m concerned. I love everything about it! I start baking and making chocolates the weekend after Thanksgiving and don’t stop until Christmas Eve. 😉

    I’ve had the pleasure of reading an ARC of SEASON FOR SURRENDER and it’s wonderful! Everyone who read SEASON FOR TEMPTATION and hoped for a happy ending for Louisa should be more than satisfied. And, if you haven’t read SEASON FOR TEMPTATION yet, what are you waiting for?

      • Pj, you’re so kind! And Vanessa, you are too. I’m really glad you both liked the book. I wrote it over the Christmas season last year, and I think that made it easier to get into the spirit. (Now I’m trying to write another Christmas story in the middle of a heat wave…)

        PJ, I love your baking schedule. Do people follow their noses to your house all December long?

  9. I love Christmas romance books too!! I love pretty much everything about Christmas. I love decorating my house at Christmas time and baking Christmas cookies the most. My grandchildren will be 3 and 4 this Christmas and I think that is the perfect age for kids to enjoy Christmas.

  10. I look forward to christmas, because that is when all of us are at mom and dads at the same time. Its a blast getting to catch up with my brothers and sister. Thx for giveaway.

  11. I love decorating for the holidays, the lights, the tree, I just throw on my favorite Christmas music and away I go. I could skip the shopping though, I LOATHE the shopping ugghh.

  12. I do enjoy Holiday stories. I think what I am looking forward to the most about this Christmas season right now is just the cool weather! I am so tired of 90-100 degree temps. I do love the decorations of the holidays and the smells of baked cookies, spiced cider, etc.

  13. the book sounds like delightful fun 🙂 that’s one of the things I enjoy about the holidays — the sense of fun & joy in the air as well as being able to spend time with family 🙂

  14. Hi Theresa and Vanessa!
    Thanks for the excerpt, I’m hooked! I would like to read how Louisa gets Xavier to ‘toe the line’….*wink*….it takes a smart lady to stand-up to a scandalous rogue and I’m sure she will be up for the task.

    I LOVE Christmas, anything and everything involved is awesome for me! My favorite thing is baking Christmas goodies. My house just has the greatest smells for weeks! LOL!!
    Between all of our friends and neighbors always hanging out in my kitchen it seems like I never stop baking and feeding them. We have lots of fun and of course the latest gossip too!

    We miss our family, they all live too far from us. I do ship my baked goodies to them, at least we are connect through our tummy’s during Christmas…LOL!

    Thank you for the chance to win your book!

    Have a wonderful day ladies!

      • OMGosh….where do I start! LOL!! I make a peppermint cupcake with crushed candy cane sprinkles on top, yummy! White Christmas coconut cake cupcake, chocolate chunk candy cane cheesecake, mini chocolate cherry cakes, white chocolate peppermint jumbles, brown sugar cake w/peanut buttercream & brittle topping, berry snowflake cupcakes, Christmas cranberry cupcakes, Christmas fruit cupcakes, holly cupcakes.
        I also bake a wide variety of cookies and brownies.
        See what I mean….LOL!
        This is why my house is always jumping at Christmas with neighbors, I just LOVE it!
        I figure if my pants are going to be snug ….so is everyone else’s!

  15. One thing I find really heartwarming about the holiday season is everyone’s spirit of giving. I know this happens all year round but during the holidays it’s especially highlighted. There are so many ways to give back or show an appreciation. It’s definitely a season to give thanks and think to all we already do have.

  16. Something I look forward to during the holiday season is all of the great holiday decorations in the neighborhood. I love to drive around at night and see all the light displays.

    • Barbara, my family likes to do that too! My parents did that when my siblings and I were kids, and now we have our own kids to take on the lights tour. Are there certain parts of town that you know will always put on a good show of decorations?

  17. Vanessa –

    I love both your bookd snf what fun for you and Theresa to be sharing each other’s books in your current contests!

    I loved the excerpt and have a feeling that Louisa will tame Alexander with his wicked ways!

  18. Family time! It’s always wonderful to spend time with family; when us ladies gossip in the kitchen & the menfolk wonder what we are getting up to!

  19. LOVE Christmas Regency stories. I have a shelf full of them and I reread them every year around the holidays to get me in the mood for Christmas.

    I love decorating my Christmas tree. I have several sets of Christmas decorations – each one dedicated to a certain theme. I have teddy bears, dogs and cats, birds, toys, angels, farm animals, wildlife and even a set of Victorian decorations. It is fun to decided which set to use each year.

  20. Who doesn’t like a little Christmas in July…or August. Chirstmas is wonderful year round, though I don’t appreciate the Christmas stuff in stores before Thanksgiving. I always look forward to making lefse with my Mom and sister, something I can’t manage alone and we get to be silly girls.

  21. I love spending time with family and seeing the excitement of my kids at Christmas time. We always spend a day making homemade ornaments with the kids.


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