Eilean Donan Castle by DRW Photography

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

An Earl’s Christmas Embrace by Diane Dario

I have been reading romance novels since the age of fourteen.

Regency romances are one of my all-time favorite eras (grand ballrooms, dinner parties while sitting next to a grand duke or war hero just returned from fighting against Napoleon and the French, hey I girl can dream, can’t she).

When I am not reading or writing the stories I have visions in my head, I am enjoying the joyful moments with my growing family, the ballet and romantic movies.

Writing has always been a great passion for me, a long road of many ups and downs (and lots of online writing classes) and the years it took to get the craft right, finally, all my time and efforts paid off and now my dream of becoming a published author is now a reality.

It just goes to prove dreams can come true as long as you do not give up on them.

Me:  What is your favorite part of writing?

Diane:  The research and having the opportunity to let my imagination run away with me as I go into another place and time while creating romantic stories.

Me: What do you use as inspiration for your characters?

Diane:  I am a big fan on Pinterest and love creating boards for my romances – visit me there and see what my characters look like and the background for my stories.

Me: Your upcoming release, An Earl’s Christmas Embrace, tells the story of magic of Christmas. Where did you get the idea for your unique spin on this familiar theme?

Diane:  I always enjoyed reading Christmas romances and I thought I could do this and the hard part was trying to come up with a plot that wasn’t used before. I do hope you like Lettice  and Noel they overcome hidden truths, deceptions and misunderstanding to find their own miracle hidden in An Earl’s Christmas Embrace.

Me:  Is An Earl’s Christmas Embrace part of a series?

Diane:  Yes it is the Men Of Waterloo, five friends who served under Wellington. One goes missing and the remaining friends search for him as they find love along the way.






EXCERPT:
Turning toward an alcove he had spotted earlier, he couldn’t stop the tension from leaking into his voice at her teasing about the “Lord of Darkness” nonsense. “Beware, Lady Emma. Do not scoff at my actions. There is darkness in my soul. A good friend and officer died in my arms during the Battle of Hougoumont, leaving behind a widow and child. I hope you never experience the despair I’ve known, that haunts me whether I am asleep or awake. Now allow me.”
Ravenstone changed topics —and directions—abruptly, before she could respond. Touching her elbow lightly, he walked her across the ballroom to an alcove, discretely screened by potted palms. He escorted her to a green velvet chaise longue, and Lady Emma smoothed a hand over her already neatly coiffed hair. He knew her reputation would be in ruins if someone from the ton should stumble upon them in such an intimate situation without benefit of a chaperone. At this moment, though, he only wanted to be with her. His thoughts went to the painting displayed in a place of honor this very night. Of course Emma couldn’t have known it was an image of the very day he had experienced his descent into hell. His thoughts must have shown on his face, for she placed her hand lightly over his.
    He abruptly changed the subject, “By the way, where is Lady Lettice? Do you think you could introduce her to me?”
Lettice felt her heart skip a beat before she thought to ask, “Hasn’t my cousin, Lord Foxington, introduced you?”
Ravenstone’s chuckle cut her off abruptly.
    “Ah, look what hangs above us,” he said, lifting his eyes towards the ceiling. “I believe it’s mistletoe. You know what this means don’t you? Legend says you must accept a kiss, lest you be doomed not to receive any marriage proposals for a full year, and scorned for the lack. I’m sure you wouldn’t want to invite public disdain by denying my holiday kissing privileges.”
He slowly, slowly, took her hand, turned it over, and kissed her palm. He noticed a blush staining her d├ęcolletage. Her breath caught as his eyes fixed on the rosy glow that spread upward, and he asked, “Did you ever hear about the tradition that for every berry in the mistletoe I may give you a separate kiss?”
    She slowly moved her head side to side, her eyes locked on his lips. He licked his lips, loving the way her eyes dilated at the teasing motion, then continued. “I kiss you first, then I pluck off a berry. When all the berries are gone, so are the kisses.”
With that, Ravenstone lowered his head, “First kiss.”
He spoke against the softness of her skin, and planted his lips tenderly on her forehead.
    Reaching up to pluck one of the white berries, “Kiss number two,” he whispered, then kissed each eyelid in turn, finally pressing his lips on her mouth. His hands wrapped tightly in her hair, holding her head at exactly the right angle for his ministrations. His body pressed her back against the upholstered arm of the chaise, and he welcomed the heat she generated. Her response was creating such amazing sensations that he simply pressed closer.     She swayed, and he swayed with her, wrapping his arms around her, intoxicated. He just wanted to hold her close. To absorb her sweetness. Light burst inside him for the first time since that fateful day in France. He had thought he’d rather face an army of Napoleon’s men than consider marriage. But when he was with Emma, anything seemed possible.
When he was with her, he never wanted to let her out of his sight. He loved how she challenged him. Unlike the other women on the marriage mart, Emma wasn’t frightened of his stern expression. He wasn’t sure when he’d started to think of her in such intimate terms, but it felt right. She didn’t pout or flutter her eyelashes ridiculously in an attempt to make him smile. She had enough joi de vivre for them both. A few curls tumbled loose from her coiffeur. He heard her breath catch, but she remained within his embrace, and her eyes fluttered open.
    “What?” Ravenstone asked.
    Lettice shook her head, then giggled.

Where You Can Find Diane Dario:

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