Their Mistletoe Reunion  

By: Christine Merrill

Stay snowed in this Christmas...

...with these three Regency short stories!

After he broke her heart when he left for war, dare Lucy give Jack Gascoyne a second chance? Find out in Their Mistletoe Reunion   by Christine Merrill. In Louise Allen’s novella, exiled into the countryside following scandal, Julia Chancellor finds herself Snowed in with the Rake! And in Christmas with the Major by Laura Martin, Lady Cecilia is hiding from her controlling guardian when she encounters Major Joseph Crawley...

Christine Merrill lives on a farm in Wisconsin, USA, with her husband, two sons and too many pets—all of whom would like her to get off the computer so they can check their email. She has worked by turns in theater costuming and as a librarian. Writing historical romance combines her love of good stories and fancy dress with her ability to stare out of the window and make stuff up.

Louise Allen loves immersing herself in history. She finds landscapes and places evoke the past powerfully. Venice, Burgundy and the Greek islands are favorite destinations. Louise lives on the Norfolk coast and spends her spare time gardening, researching family history or traveling in search of inspiration. Visit her at, @LouiseRegency and

Laura Martin writes historical romances with an adventurous undercurrent. When not writing she spends her time working as a doctor in Cambridgeshire, where she lives with her husband. In her spare moments Laura loves to lose herself in a book, and has been known to read from cover to cover in a single day when the story is particularly gripping. She also loves to travel—especially to visit historical sites and far-flung shores.

Chapter One

After six months, it still felt strange to be home.

It was even stranger to be holding a sword again. During one particularly savage battle Jack Gascoyne had prayed that if God kept him safe till sunset he would never pick up a weapon again.

Had he been in Navarre? Or had it been Valencia? When he tried to remember individual battles, they ran together in a bloodstained blur. It hardly mattered. He had broken the promise quick enough and continued fighting through the carnage of Waterloo.

Now the war was over and the foil he held felt like a toy compared to his cavalry sword, flimsy and useless should he actually need to defend his life.

He should not even be considering such mayhem. He was on Bond Street at Angelo’s Academy. His opponent, Frederick Clifton, was no real threat. Other than growing taller, Fred was every bit as soft as he had been fifteen years ago, when they’d still been pretending that sticks were swords. Even this thin blade would slice through him like butter, should Jack decide to apply his skill.

It would serve the fellow right. He’d wounded Jack in a way that was far more painful than a sword slash and the cut had not healed in five years. Damage to the heart did not always scar over with time, as he had been promised. This hurt had stayed fresh and painful, bleeding the love out of him until his soul was cold and dead.

While Jack’s spirit had rotted, Fred was still happy, healthy and completely oblivious to the pain he’d inflicted. He thought they could fall easily back into the role of childhood best friends as if nothing had happened between them, before or after the war. ‘It is good to have you home again,’ Fred said, his expression warm and sincere.

‘It is good to be home,’ Jack said automatically. It was what everyone wanted to hear from him, but he wondered if it was true. After all he had seen, London at Christmastime had an unreal quality. It was like staring at his old life through a sheet of ice.

‘I had hoped to see you sooner, of course.’ There was a hint of reproach in his friend’s voice, a reminder of duties that had been forgotten. The Cliftons had considered him family, before he’d gone away. Family was supposed to stay in touch.

But he had one of his own to contend with. ‘I apologise. There was so much to do. Visiting my brother...’

Fred nodded and gave a practice lunge to test the balance of his weapon before facing him to make a bow of acknowledgement and a swishing salute of his blade. ‘And how is Sir Robert?’

‘As disappointed in me as ever,’ Jack said, returning the salute. The relationship between him and his elder sibling could not quite be called an estrangement, but it had never been easy.

‘No pride for the honour you did your uniform? No relief at your safety?’ Fred said, surprised as they raised their swords to fight.

‘Nothing obvious,’ Jack replied.

‘Do not let him trouble you. He was always thus. And you still have friends who love you dearly and are eager to add to your acquaintance.’

‘You are speaking of your fiancée,’ Jack said.

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