Skip to main content

The Spinster's Christmas - Chapter 7a #Christianfiction #Regency #romance

I’m posting my Regency romance, The Spinster's Christmas, so all my blog readers get a chance to read it! It’s the Prequel novel to my Lady Wynwood’s Spies series.

A Christian Regency romantic suspense

Spinster Miranda Belmoore has become a poor relation in her cousin’s house. She determines to escape a life of drudgery and disdain from her own family members, who are embarrassed by her straightforward speech and unconventional behavior that does not match with proper society. She is beginning to believe what they tell her—that she doesn’t matter to anyone, not even to God.

Former naval captain Gerard Foremont is having difficulty adjusting to life back on land, bitter that his career has been cut short by his severely injured knee. A Christmastide houseparty with the Belmoores reunites him with his childhood friend, Miranda, but he is appalled at the verbal abuse she endures and wants to help her.

The festivities are disrupted when a cloaked intruder attacks Gerard, with Miranda as the only witness. Now the two of them must uncover who wants to harm him and why, before Twelfth Night ends in murder …

All the posted parts are listed here.


Chapter 7a

December 25th

“You look pretty,” Ellie said to Miranda.

“Thank you.” She stood in front of the small mirror on the wall of Miss Teel’s room, pinning her dark hair. She had made several narrow braids and coiled them in a simple pattern that looked like a more complex one, at first glance.

Miss Teel had already dressed and was helping some of the older schoolgirls with their toilettes, since the entire family were to dine together again tonight before the ball. Miranda normally took very little heed of her own dress, but tonight she wanted to look … different. Even though she knew there was no reason for it.

Not that she had much choice in what to wear. When she had been living with her parents, they had attended parties and dances, but Miranda had not always accompanied them—the crowded rooms made her feel as though she couldn’t breathe, and her conversation became even more insipid than usual. So her wardrobe even then had been small. Now, she had but two evening gowns, the dark blue one she had worn last night and this one.

It was her favourite. She had altered it herself from a gown her mother had no longer wanted, a pale green silk with the fuller cut that had recently fallen out of fashion. Miranda had trimmed it with emerald green ribbon, and then embroidered the fabric in a delicate pattern of gold leaves. It was old, and it did not fit her quite as well as she would have liked, but she was pleased at how the embroidery looked and took pleasure in the feminine way the skirt swished about her ankles.

“I must take this from you now, you scamp.” She removed the necklace from around Ellie’s neck, which she had been allowed to wear while Miranda finished dressing. It had been set with real emeralds when her mother first owned it, but their finances had forced her to sell the gems and replace them with paste. The paste stones were rather unnaturally colored and fitted badly into their settings, but Miranda liked they way they matched her eyes.

She tried to tell herself yet again that she ought not to try to impress anyone. Gerard’s opinion of her appearance shouldn’t interest her in the least, because she would never consider opening herself to someone else. No one had ever understood her, and there was too much about her that could never come to light.

She would always be who she was, she would always be how she was. So it would always be just herself.

“Shall we collect the other children and go downstairs?” she asked Ellie. The little girl jumped off the low cot on which Miranda had been temporarily sleeping while the house was so full of guests and servants.

The other nursery-maids were herding children out of the other bedrooms in the nursery wing, and Miranda helped wipe hands and faces with a damp cloth, retie sashes that had gone askew, and find a couple of lost shoes. Then they all went down to the drawing room.

Even though she was surrounded by excited children and all the family gathered for dinner, she looked up and met Gerard’s eyes as soon as she entered the room. His injury had caused him to lose some weight, but he still stood tall and proud, exuding a vitality that made all other men look weak and sickly. His dark evening coat set off his wide shoulders, and his snowy cravat was simply tied with modest shirt points, which revealed the strong line of his jaw.

He smiled at her, which made her blush and look away. Then she was embarrassed to have responded in so missish a fashion.

There was a cry as two boys began to argue over who would get the largest piece of roast beef at dinner, and she turned her attention to her charges.

She dissuaded some of the children from starting a game of jack-straws, since they were to dine soon, and directly on time, the butler opened the drawing room doors to announce that dinner was served. While the other guests proceeded into the dining room, Miranda kept a watchful eye on Paul, who delighted in playing with the greenery over the fireplace and had already caused an entire bough to tumble to the floor this morning after church.

She was one of the last to be seated, and she saw an opportunity. Her Great-Aunt Lavinia had arrived only this morning, and the elderly woman had traded seats with someone—most likely offending Felicity’s sense of propriety—and was near to the children’s chairs. Miranda traded seats with Paul in order to sit next to her great-aunt.

“Hello, Aunt Lavinia.”

“Oh! Catherine—no, Miranda, isn’t it? You look just like your mother,” Aunt Lavinia shouted. She was not the oldest person at table, but she probably had the worst sense of hearing. However, she could read lips, so Miranda made an effort to face her when speaking.

“Have you been enjoying yourself, Aunt?”

“Most certainly, dear. So many friends have returned to the neighbourhood for Christmas, so in the next few days, I shall call upon them.”

And, knowing her aunt, gossiping and collecting news. She was sister to Miranda’s grandfather and had married Sir Justin Skinnerton, whose estate bordered the Belmoore lands. A lifelong resident of the area, she was close to all the local families.

Cecil harrumphed enough that silence slowly filtered down the long table until all eyes were upon him. Then he gave a most respectful prayer, giving thanks for the food, for the Christ child, for the past harvest, for the harvest to come, for everyone’s good health, for everyone’s continued good health, and he might have continued if Paul had not whispered loudly, “When can we eat?”

Cecil cleared his throat and concluded his prayer, then stood. It signaled the servants to scurry about and serve steaming cups of wassail to all the company, including a special version using apple cider instead of ale for the children. Extra servants had been hired for the ball after dinner, so it only took a minute or two before everyone had a cup to raise.

“A toast to family and friends,” Cecil said solemnly.

The company replied, “Family and friends!” and drank.

Miranda savoured the flavour of the sweet wassail, a secret recipe passed down to each of the baronets’ wives in the Belmoore family. Felicity had made the wassail every year since Cecil’s mother had died, and Miranda admitted Felicity had a knack for it. She perhaps used less ale and more sherry, which brought out the flavours of the roasted apples, nutmeg, and ginger.


Buy The Spinster’s Christmas ebook!
Google Play


Popular Posts

Interview with Tamara Leigh

Captain's Log, Stardate 03.13.2006 Multi-published Tamara Leigh has shifted from Medieval romances to chick-lit! Her newest book is STEALING ADDA published by NavPress. It had been a long time since New York Times best-selling author -- and historical romance writer extraordinaire -- Adda Sinclaire had experienced more than a fictional dose of romance, but when publisher Nick Farnsworth walks into her life, everything changes. Life for Adda ironically reads more like a country song than a bodice-bursting, breathless affair. For starters, she has no actual romance in her life. That might have something to do with the fact that her husband -- correction-EX husband -- ran off with Stick Woman, whom everyone knew would never be more than a mid-list author anyway. To add insult to injury (and another verse to the country song), he not only took their dog but gave it to her. If this isn't enough, Adda's come down with a horrible case of writer's block and finds h


Source: via Camy on Pinterest In-N-Out, one of my fav burger joints, makes an appearance in the first chapter of A Dangerous Stage . It's a chain on the West Coast and Hawaii, I'm not sure how far east they have restaurants. They don't freeze any of their food, it's all fresh, including the buns and the french fries. When you order, you can see them use this french fry hand-crank machine to make their fries, it's pretty cool. The specific restaurant in A Dangerous Stage doesn't exist at that location, but there's a couple of them near me and I go there way too often than is good for me, but it's oh-so-yummy!

No Cold Bums toilet seat cover

Captain's Log, Stardate 08.22.2008 I actually wrote out my pattern! I was getting a lot of hits on my infamous toilet seat cover , and I wanted to make a new one with “improvements,” so I paid attention and wrote things down as I made the new one. This was originally based off the Potty Mouth toilet cover , but I altered it to fit over the seat instead of the lid. Yarn: any worsted weight yarn, about 120 yards (this is a really tight number, I used exactly 118 yards. My suggestion is to make sure you have about 130 yards.) I suggest using acrylic yarn because you’re going to be washing this often. Needle: I used US 8, but you can use whatever needle size is recommended by the yarn you’re using. Gauge: Not that important. Mine was 4 sts/1 inch in garter stitch. 6 buttons (I used some leftover shell buttons I had in my stash) tapestry needle Crochet hook (optional) Cover: Using a provisional cast on, cast on 12 stitches. Work in garter st until liner measures

Sweet & Clean Christmas Romance sale

I’m participating in the Sweet & Clean Christmas Romance sale. Check out all the sweet/clean romance books available and stuff your eBook reader! Sweet & Clean Christmas Romance

99c Squeaky Clean Christmas Romance sale

I’m participating in the 99c Squeaky Clean Christmas Romance sale. Check out all the sweet/clean romance books available and stuff your eBook reader! 99c Squeaky Clean Christmas Romance

Year of the Dog serial novel

About Year of the Dog : A month or two ago, I remembered an old manuscript I had completed but which hadn’t sold. It was a contemporary romance meant for Zondervan, titled Year of the Dog . The book had gone into the pipeline and I even got another title ( Bad Dog ) and a cover for it, but eventually my editor at the time decided she didn’t want to publish it, for various reasons. She instead requested a romantic suspense, and so I cannibalized some of the characters from Year of the Dog and thrust them into the next book I wrote, which was Protection for Hire . Honestly, I didn’t take a lot from Year of the Dog to put in Protection for Hire , aside from character names and a few relationship ties. I was originally thinking I’d post Year of the Dog as-is on my blog as a free read, but then it occurred to me that I could revamp it into a romantic suspense and change the setting to Hawaii. It would work out perfectly as (yet another) prequel to the Warubozu series and introduc

Clean Romance Deals

I’m participating in the Clean Romance Deals sale. Check out all the sweet/clean romance books available and stuff your eBook reader! Clean Romance Deals

Daniel 9:9

Dear Lord, Thank you for being so merciful and forgiving to us no matter what we’ve done or where we’ve been. Thank you for loving us so much, even when we find it hard to love ourselves. Even if we have rejected you, you still reach out to us and want us to come to you for love and comfort and forgiveness. Thank you for your magnificent grace. Amen 主よ、 私たちが何をしようと、どこにいようと、私たちを憐れみ、赦してくださりありがとうございます。私たちが自分自身を愛することが難しいときでさえ、私たちをこんなにも愛してくださってありがとうございます。たとえ私たちがあなたを拒んだとしても、あなたは私たちに手を差し伸べ、愛と慰めと赦しを求めてあなたのもとに来ることを望んでくださいます。あなたの素晴らしい恵みに感謝します。 アーメン

Last chance! Jane Austen sweepstakes

Last chance! Win a Library of 30 Historical Romance Novels + Jane Austen Swag Worth $250! This is a delightful surprise I've been eager to share! Join me and 30 extraordinary authors in an enchanting giveaway where we're gifting a vast array of historical romance novels to two fortunate winners! And the cherry on top: The Grand Prize winner will be treated to an exclusive Jane Austen swag pack, worth an impressive $250! You'll get the chance to win a copy of my book, Lady Wynwood’s Spies, volume 1: Archer, as well as novels from renowned authors like Laura Beers and Kasey Stockton. (Please be aware that not all the historical novels in this giveaway are Christian or sweet.) To enter, simply click the magical link below. Wishing you the best of luck and a journey filled with delightful reads! Join Our Giveaway

Grace Livingston Hill romances free to read online

I wanted to update my old post on Grace Livingston Hill romances because now there are tons more options for you to be able to read her books for free online! I’m a huge Grace Livingston Hill fan. Granted, not all her books resonate with me, but there are a few that I absolutely love, like The Enchanted Barn and Crimson Roses . And the best part is that she wrote over 100 books and I haven’t yet read them all! When I have time, I like to dive into a new GLH novel. I like the fact that most of them are romances, and I especially appreciate that they all have strong Christian themes. Occasionally the Christian content is a little heavy-handed for my taste, but it’s so interesting to see what the Christian faith was like in the early part of the 20th century. These books are often Cinderella-type stories or A Little Princess (Frances Hodgson Burnett) type stories, which I love. And the best part is that they’re all set in the early 1900s, so the time period is absolutely fasci