Welcome to my blog. Today, as part of a blog tour for Mistletoe, Marriage, & Mayhem, fellow Bluestocking Belle Mariana Gabrielle and me are introducing two secondary characters from our novellas.
[This is Part Two of a cross-book blog post. For Part One, go to Mariana Gabrielle’s blog at: www.MariChristie.wordpress.com.]
At a holiday house party, there are always those young people too old for the nursery party (or so they say), but too young to participate in the dancing. At one such occasion, Sophie Templeton, from Under the Mistletoe, a fanciful child who likes to chase butterflies and kiss frogs, hoping one will turn into a handsome prince, meets up with Hugh and Guy Amberly, younger brothers to the heroine of ‘Tis Her Season. The thing about young people of this age, however, is that they are but a few years away from seeking matches of their own. One never knows if a childhood friendship might blossom into romance…
After a trip to the kitchens, and with their lunch in hand, Sophie shows Guy and Hugh the way to the pond.
Sophie sits down a bench and puts on her skates. Calling to Tulip, Sophie glides onto the ice with her pup slipping and sliding in her attempt to follow. Sophie manages a circle on wobbling legs and cups her hands to her mouth. “Come on, boys. The ice is just grand!”
Guy and Hugh put on their skates and join her, as well as the other dozen people of all ages skating at the pond. Guy skates in circles around Sophie until Tulip lunges for his scarf. He plays tug with the pup, both sliding about, more rambunctious than a boy and dog on ice should be, causing a bit of a commotion. Hugh, by contrast, skates sedately, as though he already believes himself too old to have fun.
Sophie laughs at Guy and Tulip’s antics. Her pup continues to hold onto to the scarf while Guys is pulling her along the ice, all four legs spread wide. Tulip growls her frustration, shaking her head without freeing the scarf from Guy’s grip.
Sophie skates up to Guy and gives him a smile. She is beginning to enjoy his company, whereas, his brother, she could do without. Even his skating appears as if he’s already all grown up.
“No offense intended, but does your brother always act like everyone is beneath him?” Sophie dares to whispers.
Guy laughs. “Yes.”
The dog drags him farther away from Sophie and the crowds of people, onto a patch of ice that looks none-too-sturdy. He tugs at the scarf to avert catastrophe, but Tulip just thinks he is still playing.
At a loud creak, Guy becomes a bit frantic. “Come along, Tulip. Come on…” He is trying to make himself lighter than he actually is, and slide smoothly toward thicker ice.
The sound of cracking ice echoes beneath Sophie. A worried frown forms. “Guy…” she calls out, trying not to panic.
With a great CRACK, louder than a gunshot, the ice breaks.
“GUY!” Sophie watches in horror, as Guy slips beneath the frigid water. Tulip still holds onto the scarf as she, too, gets closer to the edge.
Sophie skates as near as she dares before she lies down upon the ice to even out her weight. She makes a grab for her dog right before the puppy falls into the water. Sophie tries to toss Tulip to safety, but the dog refuses to let go of the scarf. Rising to a sitting position, Sophie digs the blades of her skates into the ice for leverage, and she and Tulip yank on the fabric to bring Guy back to the surface, then pull him out of the water and off the ice.
Sputtering and stammering, teeth chattering, Guy might as well be frozen solid, as much as help as he can be in his own rescue.
Hugh has all but lost his reason, and has abandoned his skates and is pacing back and forth at the edge of the pond, bellowing any order he can think of, whether or not anyone is listening (and no one is). He dispatches a footman to go to the manor house and bring help. While he has no wish to hear what his mother will have to say about this, rather that than what she will say about not being told.
Guy’s blue lips and trembling has Sophie acting like a mother hen. “We need to get you up to the manor and changed out of these wet clothes.” She unbuttons his coat, pulls her own off, and drapes it onto his shoulders.
“Do not look at me like that,” she protests, seeing his horror to be wearing a girl’s garment. “Better to be warm in my coat than freeze to death before I can get you inside.”
As soon as they are off the ice, Hugh runs over and drapes his own greatcoat over the girl’s pelisse, saying, as though he were not repeating Sophie’s demand. “We must get him back up to the manor house!”
Guy, through chattering teeth, asks, “Tulip?”
“She’s safe,” Sophie replies, “and so are you. Come, Tulip.”
“You s…s…saved my l…l…life, Miss Templeton.”
Sophie hesitates, painfully aware, by his formality, that she had been calling the young gentleman by his given name. “I am certain you would have done the same, Mr. Amberly.”
“P… p… perhaps, but I was not c… c… c… called to. I m… m… must f… find a way to rep… p… p… pay you.”
“I shall tell our father of your heroism, Miss Templeton,” Hugh says, “and surely, he will reward you in some manner as yet unnamed.”
“Oh, no! Really, that is not necessary. My father would never let me accept any form of a reward, when he would say it was my Christian duty to help another.”
“Nevertheless,” Hugh pronounces. “My father, the viscount, will have his say. Perhaps,” he says slyly, cutting his eye at his brother, “he will give you my brother’s hand in marriage.”
“B… b… button your lip, Brother!” Guy snaps, the tips of his ears turning bright red.
“Y… you truly are a n… nasty boy!” Sophie sputters. Embarrassed not only for herself, but Guy, as well, she clamps her lips tight, afraid what else might spew from her mouth. Clearly, Hugh Amberly was in need of a lesson in manners.
“L… l… leave me alone or I will c… c… c… call you out, Hugh,” Guy stammers.
“You will do no such thing, young man!” Lady Effingale bustles up, a thick quilt in her arms, and wraps it around Guy. Completely ignoring Sophie’s presence, she chides, “Inside now, before you catch a lung fever.” She turns to Hugh, “And you! You were supposed to watch over your brother. You will speak to your father as soon as we return to the house.”
Belatedly, she notices Sophie. “I do hope you are not wetted, Miss. Certainly, we will make amends for any items damaged in the event.”
“She saved my life, Mum,” Guy says.
“Is that so?” Lady Effingale raises a brow. “What a very… boyish thing to do. Ah, here we are.” She shuffles her sons through the front door to the manor house. “I’m sure we will see you at supper, Miss Templeton.”
After that, one never knows…
Meet Sophie Templeton in Under the Mistletoe, by Sherry Ewing, and Hugh and Guy Amberly in ’Tis Her Season, by Mariana Gabrielle, both available in:
Mistletoe, Marriage, & Mayhem: A Bluestocking Belles Collection
In this collection of novellas, the Bluestocking Belles bring you seven runaway Regency brides resisting and romancing their holiday heroes under the mistletoe. Whether scampering away or dashing toward their destinies, avoiding a rogue or chasing after a scoundrel, these ladies and their gentlemen leave miles of mayhem behind them on the slippery road to a happy-ever-after.
***All proceeds benefit the Malala Fund.***
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This blog post co-written by:
Sherry Ewing picked up her first historical romance when she was a teenager and has been hooked ever since. A bestselling author, she writes historical and time travel romances to awaken the soul one heart at a time.
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