A CHRISTMAS BALL
Three charming authors invite you to the Hartwell House holiday ball, where just about anything can happen -- and does! -- to the delight of readers who enjoy short, light, delicious love stories that encourage them to feel the pleasure of the season.
Jane Tate, the illegitimate daughter of the master of the house, has to pose as her half-sister, the legitimate daughter, when Sybil runs off with a painter. Bryan brings "My Lady Below Stairs" into the ballroom to fix a complicated marriage-in-progress situation that runs amok as everyone discovers true love cannot be denied.
Ashley's Nvengarian shapeshifting nobleman comes to the ball to find the woman he loves, Mary Cameron, who ran from him. Since falling for Baron Valentin, Mary has tried to avoid passion, but seeing him brings back all her longing and fears. This time Valentin is determined to make "The Longest Night" the one in which he wins his beloved.
Johnson proves that some family eccentricities are hard to hide in "Traditions." The staid Earl of Casslebury is set on courting Miss Meldrin when her companion, Patience Byerly, catches his eye. She's a most unconventional woman and not his type, but something about her intrigues him. Perhaps it's her eccentric father's wild escapades at the ball, but the earl is drawn into Mary's life and the holiday love that flourishes. (LEISURE, Oct., 380 pp., $7.99)