And since Thanksgiving here in the U.S. is the kick-off to the holiday season, I have a great holiday romance for you this time out: A Christmas Promise (Dell, purchased) by Mary Balogh. Randolph Pierce, Earl of Falloden, not only inherited a title, but a mountain of debt which he is determined to pay off. Somehow. So far, he's been unable to find a way to do that. Then a Mr. Joseph Transome pays him an unexpected visit: Mr. Transome has bought up every debt Randolph owes. In exchange for making them go away, the merchant wishes Randolph to marry his daughter Eleanor within a month, or Mr. Transome will call in the IOU's. Of course, marrying someone not of his class is out of the question, no matter how pretty she might be. But Randolph decides he will make a go of it. Eleanor is not any happier about the situation, though she understands her father's reasoning: he's dying and wishes to see her happily settled first. She believes her husband-to-be is a wastrel to have accumulated so much debt, and he believes her an unfeeling fortune-hunter. Nothing either says or does in the beginning disabuses them of their mistaken notions. Despite an intriguing chemistry, neither trusts their heart to the other, straining their new relationship. Holidays spent at his country home with friends and family lead both to share things they might not have otherwise, but it may take a Christmas miracle to set this pair straight. I adore Mary Balogh, and this is a delightful story, full of angst and tenderness, heartache and humor. I know it's a reprint of an older story, but if you have only recently discovered Ms. Balogh, you should grab this one. It's a lovely holiday story. I'm giving it all five of Cupid's five arrows.
Until next time, happy reading!