A Lady, A Kiss,
A Christmas Wish
Daughters of Desire (Scandalous Ladies) Series, #1
Sometimes you have to take a few risks on the road to happily ever after…
He dared to defy tradition…
Lord Brandon Morrisette is a born risk-taker. Instead of claiming his place in society, he became a physician to help the less fortunate. So, when he sees a patient mistreating her sweet, bright-eyed companion, Brandon is determined to help bring some holiday cheer into the poor girl’s life. It’s the least he can do. But in truth, he’d like to do much more for the kind-hearted beauty who so easily captured his attention…and his heart.
She guards a scandalous secret…
Joy Winterborne can’t afford to take risks. If anyone found out about her past, she’d lose everything. And getting fired from her companion job would deprive her of the only bright spot in her otherwise dreary life—the time she gets to spend with the charming and oh-so-handsome Dr. Morrisette. Of course, nothing can ever come of her attraction to him. He’s nobility, and she’s nobody. But that doesn’t stop her silly heart from wanting…more.
With a little luck, some mistletoe, and maybe even a Christmas wish, can Brandon convince Joy to take the greatest risk of all—falling in love?
Secret, scandals, and sigh-worthy romance.
This historical holiday romance will have you cheering Brandon and Joy on to their much-deserved merry Christmas and happily-ever-after.
If you enjoy reading lovable rogues, class difference, and opposites attract historical romances with a pinch of mystery, a dash of humor, and soul-searing emotion, then you’ll adore Collette Cameron’s captivating DAUGHTERS OF DESIRE (SCANDALOUS LADIES) SERIES. Settle into your favorite reading nook with your favorite beverage for a page-turning, entertaining Regency world adventure you can’t put down.
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See what readers are saying!
“A Lady, A Kiss, A Christmas Wish is a sweet holiday romance and a delight to read.” ★★★★★ ~ Suzannah
“It was short with great characters, a strong and enjoyable story, and some humor. I loved it.” ★★★★★ ~ Krista Hudecek-Ashwill
“This is a very endearing story that pulls on the heartstrings and leads us all to believe that, just maybe, our Christmas wishes can come true too.” ★★★★★ ~ Linda G. Martin
“A charming, imaginative and delightful story written with the magical pen of Collette Cameron, brings the Christmas spirit alive in one of my favorite stories of the year!” ★★★★★ ~ Lori Dykes
“Collette Cameron has gifted readers with a heartwarming Christmas tale sure to bring a smile to everyone’s face.” ★★★★★ ~ Terrie
“What a perfectly charming and sweet novella this was to start off a series…” ★★★★★ ~ Diana A.
“This is a delightful short Christmas story, that will bring a couple together that has help from an unlikely scrooge., with a dashound and a cat that has a minor part.” ★★★★★ ~ Anna Katherine Kohler
“This is an ideal read for a winter’s fireside read. Heartwarming and entertaining.” ★★★★★ ~ Fiona Murphy
“This is a beautifully written seasonal story that will keep you entertained on a winter’s night.” ★★★★★ ~ Stephen Williams
Why the devil isn’t anyone answering the door?
Shifting his feet against the blistering cold, Brandon lifted his hand to knock again when the door finally swung open, creaking and scraping on unoiled hinges.
A rather breathless, fresh-faced Miss Joy Winterborne greeted him with a winsome smile that stole the air from his lungs for a heartbeat.
“Forgive me for making you wait. I was, um…” She pressed a long-fingered hand to her trim middle, her throat working as she swallowed. “That is to say, we were making preparations for your visit.”
She glanced down self-consciously and brushed at the vibrant blue of her gown. Color bloomed across the delicate slope of her high cheekbones.
By Jove, she is blushing.
Because she’d anticipated his calling today?
Well, now, wasn’t that an unexpected but most excellent turn of events?
Primal male satisfaction winged through Brandon’s veins, heating his blood as a grin tugged the edges of his mouth upward.
This was the first time he’d seen Joy in anything other than dreary gray or dull brown frocks, and he couldn’t help but admire the becoming color on her. The hue did remarkable things to her glorious hair—the shade somewhere between a shimmering, coppery gold and rich, warm honey.
The long-sleeved gown hugged the gentle swells of her bosom and emphasized her tiny waist before flowing to the floor in a swirl of midnight. She’d secured a silver brooch atop the lace at her throat.
All in all, Miss Joy Winterborne looked very fetching, indeed.
“You are looking very well today.” He flashed her the practiced smile he used to calm nervous patients. “Is that a new gown?”
Her impossibly blue eyes went round, and her tongue darted out to wet the seam of her plump lips.
That was unforeseen and wholly telling as well.
The minx was as aware of Brandon as a man as he was of her as a very appealing woman.
“No.” She shook her head and snagged her lower lip between her neat white teeth as if to prevent herself from saying more.
Heaven help him, for the desire to taste that sweet mouth slammed into him with such unexpected force, Brandon felt as awkward as a first-year medical student. That his blood heated further condemned him as an inexperienced beginner.
No, blister it, he felt as inept and clumsy as when he’d lost his virginity at sixteen to the buxom, older parlor maid who’d been flirting with him for months. What Brandon had lacked in finesse he’d made up for in endurance, and he and Marissa had enjoyed each other that summer until he’d gone off to university.
She’d been Brandon’s one and only lover, for he’d found he didn’t have the disposition for casual intimate encounters. They seemed shallow, and though his view was unpopular, he’d always believed sex was an expression of love. Not just a carnal urge.
Later, as a physician, his knowledge of the havoc sexually transmitted diseases wreaked upon humans kept him from jumping in and out of beds with the same proclivity as many of his friends.
For that matter, his older brothers, too, before they’d wed.
He couldn’t count the times he’d been mocked for his abstinence and had long since developed a tough hide regarding the ribbing.
Setting his well-used brown leather bag on the half-table, the only piece of furniture in the entry other than a slightly lopsided straight back chair, Brandon examined the dim interior.
He’d never seen it otherwise.
Always dull and gloomy and fusty.
So unlike the vibrant woman beside him with her reddish-blond hair and sparkling blue eyes fringed by thick lashes. She should be surrounded by color and light.
“I hope you didn’t become chilled while waiting,” she murmured before giving him an unconstrained, breathtaking smile.
That simple upward bend of her mouth directed toward him scattered his wits. The wintery breeze blew them like thistledown, pell-mell along the lane. His attention remained riveted on her tempting, parted lips as his mind pondered if they’d taste of peaches and cream.
Her winged reddish eyebrows puzzled together, she gazed at him expectantly, one arm extended and indicating he should enter the house.
Brandon scrambled to come back to himself and recall what she’d said.
Yes, she fretted that he’d taken a chill.
In truth, he was more likely to do so inside the house, which, in his experience, was always underheated.
“It’s of no matter.” Forcing a nonchalant smile, he stepped across the threshold. “It’s a fine day outside.”
If you could count a cold, blustery December day as such. Nonetheless, the sun valiantly shone through the few scattered pewter clouds, and the wind but teased rather than blew with any real determination to cause discomfort.
Joy peered past him, a wistful expression skittering across her face. “It does look to be so.”
She glanced upward, meeting his eyes, and he noticed the dark blue ring around her iris. It was exactly the same shade as her gown. She had quite the loveliest eyes, and he found himself boldly staring. A man could drown in those sapphire depths and not mind it in the least.
“Even though I don’t like the cold, I’ve always liked the winter, especially when it snows.” She raised one sloping shoulder and inch. “I suppose it’s because I was born in December.”
“Your birthday is this month?”
“Yes, the seventeenth.”
Assessing her, he narrowed his eyes the merest bit.
How old was Miss Joy Winterborne anyway?
Running his gaze over her face, Brandon examined the creamy skin, the clear blue eyes, and the aristocratic bone structure.
Somewhere in the middle of her third decade, he decided.
Had her family fallen on hard financial times, and she’d been obligated to find employment? If so, hers was a common enough tale.
“Mine is in January,” he offered conversationally. “The twentieth. I shall be one and thirty.”
Brandon passed her his hat and gloves, and finally, his outercoat before retrieving his doctor’s bag. He disliked treating her as a servant, but the manservant who sometimes acted as Mrs. Thackpenny’s butler was nowhere to be seen this day.
“I’ll be five and twenty,” Joy murmured, the merest hint of despair leeching into her modulated tone.
Still staring out the door, she stood there, his garments in her arms. There was such yearning in her spectacular eyes that he impetuously blurted, “Miss Winterborne, perhaps you’d care to take a walk when I’m done examining Mrs. Thackpenny?”