Hollystone Hall, the country home of the Duchess of Haverford, is packed to the rafters with guests attending her Yuletide house party as well as a litter of mischievous kittens who have the knack of turning up in all kinds of places.
In my novella, Dashing Through the Snow, the heroine, Miss Kate Woodville is introduced to Pearl when she finally arrives at Hollystone Hall for the New Year’s Eve charity subscription ball. But Kate also has other things on her mind… namely a rather enigmatic viscount…
“I hope this bedroom meets with your approval Miss Woodville.” Cedrica Grenford, the Duchess of Haverford’s niece and personal secretary pushed her spectacles up her nose as she regarded Kate expectantly. “And I must say, the duchess is very pleased that you could attend her house party even though it is nearing the end.”
“I’m delighted to hear that, Miss Grenford,” replied Kate as she glanced about the small but comfortable looking room with its floral chintz curtains, delicate cherrywood furniture and cheerful fire. There was even a small gray kitten purring contentedly on the shepherdess chair by the hearth; Miss Grenford had already introduced her as Pearl. “This will do just nicely.”
“Excellent. It is actually most fortunate that you have arrived only today. Until recently, Hollystone Hall was full to overflowing, but with the departure of a few of the duchess’s guests, we have been able to accommodate you, your brother, and sister-in-law quite easily.” She gave a shy smile. “If you don’t mind my saying so, I think they are rather pleased to have one of the estate cottages all to themselves. How romantic to think they had a Yuletide wedding in the Lake District. It seems to be the season for proposals and weddings.”
“Yes, it was very romantic,” agreed Kate; thank heavens the story they’d all agreed upon—that Freddie had proposed to Violet in London on the eve of the journey to Hollystone and that Kate had gone with them to Cumbria so that they might wed by special license in Fenwick House’s small private chapel—was being taken at face value. So far. Hopefully no one had asked why Lady Stanton had not accompanied them. Or where Lord Stanton had been…
Miss Grenford was looking at her expectantly so Kate continued, “And we are most grateful that the duchess has been so accommodating at the last minute. Now, about payment for the tickets to the ball for myself, my brother and his new wife—”
Miss Grenford beamed. “Oh, it has all been taken care of.”
“It has?” Kate frowned. How odd.
“Yes. Lord Stanton paid for them. He arrived yesterday and settled everything.”
Miss Kate Woodville, teacher and bluestocking, enjoys her independence, thank you very much. But when a very determined viscount insists she accompany him on a mad dash through the snow to Gretna Green to stop his younger sister, Violet, eloping with Kate’s own brother, she has little choice but to go. She’ll risk the ruin of her own pristine reputation if it means she can save Freddie from Lord Stanton’s wrath.
As they race along the road north and then back to Hollystone Hall in Buckinghamshire for a New Year’s Eve charity ball, hearts and wills are certain to collide. But will anyone—Freddie and Violet, or Kate and Lord Stanton—find the path to everlasting love?
Dashing Through the Snow is one of the eight novellas contained in the soon-to-be-released Bluestocking Belles’ holiday box set, Holly and Hopeful Hearts. It is available for pre-order right now and releases on November 8th.
25% of the proceeds will be donated to the Bluestocking Belles’ chosen charity, The Malala Fund.