Now that her mourning period is over, she is eager to have her very first love affair, and the man she wants is the rogue known as Lord Misrule.
He has rather strict rules for affairs, mainly to keep anyone's heart from becoming attached--it's the only way he can handle the regrets from his role in a past Christmastime tragedy.
This story was originally published as part of the A Very Wicked Christmas anthology. Now it will be available on its own for the very first time.
Lord Misrule is the first in The Matchmaking Earl series. The second story -- Truly, My Love -- is currently in the Fool for Love anthology.
Here's an excerpt, to tide you over until Lord Misrule is released on October 15th:
Juliana had missed out on so much already. Did she want to miss out on even more?
Before she could answer her own question, there was a discreet knock at the door. Her butler, Sanders, entered, proffering a letter on a silver salver.
She stood up, grabbing it, knowing already who had written it. She walked to the window overlooking the garden, opening the missive while trying to settle her heart into a normal rhythm.
It was impossible once she read Lord Blaise's brief note:
My Christmas gift to you –
Twelve entertaining days.
Twelve sleepless nights.
I await the pleasure of your response.
Juliana plopped into a nearby chair, fanning herself so briskly with the letter her curls fluttered wildly. Lord Blaise had taken a simple everyday salutation and imbued it with a meaning that could not be mistaken.
Was it madness to accept such an offer? Perhaps it was. She should pack her belongings and head this instant to Bedlam, taking up permanent residence there.
Yet how could she resist? The few moments she had spent in Lord Blaise's proximity had been impossibly arousing. It was not difficult to imagine what the man could accomplish in twelve days and twelve nights.
Juliana dropped her head against the back of the chair, staring at the ceiling, wishing it contained the answers to her dilemma.
"I have no idea what I should do," she muttered. "Which decision will prove to be the mistake? Which choice will be the one filled with lifelong regrets?"