Christmas is right around the corner, with lots of great stories coming our way!
Release day is 10/27/22 for Christmas at Belhaven Hall, Book 3 in The Maidens of Marbury series by author Karla Kratovil.
Lady Olivia Rivenhall has always lived at Belhaven Hall. A year has passed since her husband’s unexpected death, and she’s been living in limbo wondering when she will have to vacate her home and finally decide what to do with the rest of her life. Just as she is beginning to believe that the new earl will never come to take possession of the manor, Maxwell Drake walks back into her life.
After almost dying in a gutter in Venice, Maxwell Drake vows to turn his life around. Learning that he’s inherited his estranged cousin’s title is exactly the fresh start he needs. Max is looking forward to enjoying Christmas in the English countryside at the estate he’s missed, but he’s dreading facing his cousin’s widow, the only woman he’s ever loved.
The attraction is stronger than ever, but so are the wounds. As Christmas magic steals through the ancient halls and secrets beckon to be shared, can these two lonely hearts find a second chance at love?
Max stared into the fire as he pondered his earlier conversation. Patience. They had been apart for eight fucking years. He pinched the bridge of his nose. He wasn’t sure he was capable of patience. A creaking sound came from across the room. His bedroom door opened, and a shadowy figure slipped inside. The door creaked shut, and Olivia pressed back against it. The candle she carried illuminated her beautiful face.
“Olivia? What are you doing here?” he asked.
“I don’t want you to court her.” Her voice rang out across the room.
“I know that I ruined our beautiful afternoon together. And that I said I wasn’t sure…and that I hurt you…but you can’t—”
“Livvy, come here,” he commanded.
She blinked at him for a moment. But then she moved into the room and slowly came toward him with eyes filled with trepidation. His initial instinct to tease her about being jealous died on his lips. He held out a hand, cautious not to spook her. “Livvy, I don’t care about Susanna Ashby. I care about you.”
Olivia stopped in front of him. He reached for the candle holder in her hand and set it aside next to his book. Then he grasped her hand, sandwiching it between both of his. “I don’t want anyone but you.”
Her breath rushed out of her in one long sigh. “You don’t?”
Words didn’t seem to sink in with this ridiculous woman, so he tugged her onto his lap and kissed her instead. He sank into the kiss, gently sliding his lips against hers, sipping and savoring her unique taste. She sighed against his mouth, and he counted it as a victory. Olivia was thinking far too much, worrying far too much. Tonight, he would make it his mission to persuade her only to feel.
She wore naught but her nightclothes, and her hair was unbound falling in a waterfall around her shoulders. He slid one hand into her hair. It was just as soft and thick as he remembered. It had always cascaded down her back freely when they were young, and he had been quite obsessed with the golden locks.
Max wrapped his hand in a section of her hair, winding it around and around. Then he gave a tug to pull her head back and expose her throat. Her eyes widened in surprise, but a low hum of pleasure followed as his lips scorched a path across her soft skin. “I think you need to be reminded that you’re mine. That we have always been meant to love one another.” He nipped at the juncture of her throat and shoulder, not too hard but hard enough to get her attention. “Livvy, why did you come to my room tonight?”
Her eyelids fluttered closed. “Because I was jealous that you spent the whole day with Susanna.”
He gave another tug on her hair. “And why were you jealous?”
Her eyes popped open. They flashed with heat. “Because you’re mine.”
He growled in satisfaction and crushed his lips against hers. Her hands slid into his hair, and she kissed him back with just as much desperation. He wanted to devour her. Taste every inch of her heavenly body. He let go of her hair to run his hands down over her curves. There was far too much clothing between them. He stood, taking them both to their feet. With a swift tug at the belt of her dressing gown, he had it off her shoulders in seconds.
About the Author:
Karla lives right on the edge of Northern Virginia’s wine country with her college sweetheart, two terrific teenagers, and two blond terriers. She is a Taurus. Like any good earth sign she loves good food, good wine, and getting her hands dirty growing things in her garden.