AUTHOR Laura Tolomei
FACEBOOK THREADS: Laura Tolomei Horror Side
Estimated Publish Date: December 25, 2020
HEAT: 4 flames
PUBLISHER: eXtasy Books
Three people, three different destinies, a common deadline. Will Christmas of 1855 prove to be their downfall or the way forward to a new union and everlasting happiness?
Count Mathew de la Roche feels trapped. To keep La Belle Dame, the sugar plantation in Martinique he inherited at his uncle’s death, he must enter into a stable relationship and provide for a viable heir of his own by Christmas of 1855. Problem is—he likes variety in his bed and doesn’t want to be tied down to a single person.
Amandine Duvalier is the Creole daughter of a slave and a marquis, the master of the now-abandoned Cantrell plantation. Impossible for her to inherit her father’s estate, she’s about to be kicked out of the place where she was born, and she has only until Christmas of 1855 to find new accommodation. Problem is—she’s a certified witch, so no one’s going to offer her a roof over her head.
Kabir Sayed is an Indian prince from one of those obscure reigns tolerated by the British. He stands to inherit the throne, but he’s not sure he wants it. His brother would be better suited for this job, and Kabir has left home to learn more of the world surrounding him. Now, he’s working as an indentured laborer on La Belle Dame, cutting up sugar canes by the hundreds, and he has until Christmas 1855 to make up his mind about the succession. Problem is—Johannes Van Dyke has it in for him, and he might’ve just killed him after that severe beating.
As their paths cross in unexpected ways, the Christmas deadline looms on the horizon. What hasn’t entered the equation so far is the magnetic attraction they feel for one another. Will it be enough to overcome their prejudices and lead them to true union and everlasting happiness?
Could anything be more ludicrous?
“Quick, he’s here.” Throwing open the door, Paulette gestured her forward.
If Amandine hesitated, it was because she was still feeling dejected after her latest failure to find some sort of solution to her Christmas deadline. Madame Robillard’s flat refusal had been the third in a row. So far, Amandine had asked Madame Lefevre and Madame Tourimbot, receiving the same disheartening reply.
“Oh, yes, we’re sorry. We feel terrible about it. Of course, we understand your predicament, dear Amandine. Losing one’s ancestral home is dreadful, and we hope you’ll find suitable accommodations soon. We wish we could help, but it couldn’t have happened at a worst time. You see, we’re expecting the children from Paris. To celebrate Christmas, you understand, and they’ll stay well after December, maybe until March. It’s going to be pure mayhem around here.” They’d glance at the enormous drawing-room that alone could accommodate one of Napoleon’s armies. “The house is so small. Who knows if we’ll even fit all the children.” A peal of nervous laughter was in order before they continued, “We’re so sorry, dear, but there’s just no way we can fit you in. Even the servants’ quarters will be crowded with all the extra help we’re going to require. There’s simply nowhere you can stay, not even for a couple of days.”
Amazing how Madame Robillard had repeated the same things, almost word for word. Amandine’s heart had sunk at the first, “I’m sorry.”
What none of them was ever sorry about was calling on her at the slightest sign of illness. It didn’t have to be anything serious. Two sneezes in a row and they’d be sending for her faster than lightning. Madame Robillard had gone even farther, commissioning a beauty cream to stop age from ravaging her face. Could anything be more ludicrous?
Amandine had complied, hoping that providing the woman with her own concoction of cucumber, aloe, and lemon would make the Madame more sympathetic to her plight.
It only turned the lady into a nagging bitch who required more and more massive doses of the accursed mixture. Amandine regretted the day she ever came up with it. These women didn’t deserve a damn thing. They were only capable of taking, giving nothing in return, not even a third-class rundown shack.
Getting a grip on herself, Amandine took a deep breath and nearly wretched from the awful stench.