I’ve mentioned fellow Carina author Susanna Fraser to y’all before–and I have indeed featured her before right here on Boosting the Signal. I’m delighted to have her back for her latest release with Carina, a romance novella just in time for the holidays. If Christmas-themed romances are your cup of spicy, aromatic tea, then you really can’t go wrong with a Fraser.
A Christmas Reunion is the story of star-crossed lovers reunited at Christmas just a week before the heroine is set to marry another man. For today’s post, Susanna’s stepping into the point-of-view of that other man—the perfectly wealthy, charming, and suitable Sir Anthony Colville.
I need a wife. Whether or not I want one hardly matters.
Other gentlemen have the luxury of delay, or even of never wedding at all should true love fail to enter their lives or if the thought of a settled existence does not appeal. Those gentlemen either lack entailed property or have trustworthy heirs for it already, brothers or nephews or cousins who will take good care of their lands and dependents should it come to that.
I am not so fortunate. The cousin who would inherit Colville House, and with it responsibility for the health and well-being of my tenants, my lands, and my mother and sisters, is a rogue and a wastrel of the first order. Every day that I go without fathering a healthy, legitimate son and heir and, ideally, an equally healthy younger brother for him, is a day everything my grandfather, my father, and I have worked for decades to build remains at risk of utter ruin.
Lady Catherine Trevilian seemed an answer to my every prayer. She is a clever and self-possessed young lady of excellent birth, ideally suited by both family connections and inclination to be a great political hostess as well as the mistress and patroness of my estate. No, I am not passionately in love with her, but nor is she with me, so there is no imbalance there. We are friends, we can talk for hours, we can make each other laugh, and until today I was confident we would be happier together than ninety out of a hundred married couples in Society.
But today I saw her with Captain Gabriel Shepherd, the baseborn and penniless poor relation of the family who became Catherine’s guardians after her father’s demise. They had not seen each other in five years, the good captain having been driven into the army after the two of them were caught kissing under the mistletoe, if you please! I would happily regard this as a mere youthful indiscretion—after all, who of us hasn’t experienced desperate calf love at sixteen or eighteen or twenty?—except that neither of them can tear their eyes from the other for any length of time, and last night I saw them passionately kissing on the staircase.
I would never wish for Catherine to be unhappy. By any logical measure I would be a better husband for her than Captain Shepherd. Who knows if that grand Romeo-and-Juliet passion of theirs would last if she actually married him and had to live an everyday life with a man so far beneath her in birth and fortune? With me she would always have safety, stability, and a secure place in the world she was born into.
Yet I will never be able to offer her that passion, that wild intensity of feeling. And now that she’s tasted it again—and as a woman grown, no longer a girl barely out of the schoolroom—will she truly be content without it?
Still, I need a wife most desperately. I wish I knew the right path to follow.