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Monday, November 11, 2013

My First Page: Nell Dixon

Welcome to My First Page. My guest today is Nell Dixon, author of Christmas Ever After.  Here's Nell's blurb and first page.

Blurb:

Christmas Ever after -
Lady Charlotte ‘Lottie’ Bellhavan is dubbed the runaway bride after calling off her wedding on the eve of her marriage just a week before Christmas. Her best friend, Sophie has the perfect hideout for the beleaguered society belle, her childhood home, Tything Manor.
Lottie won’t be alone for Christmas at the isolated Northumbrian manor house, Sophie’s older brother, Ranulf, the reclusive Earl of Craigmore will be there too.

Rafe is aware his unconventional looks and retiring nature won’t win any beauty contests but with the magic of the Christmas season and some judicious matchmaking from the meddlesome Sophie it might just be Christmas Ever After for Lottie and Rafe…
 
 
EXCERPT:
 
Charlotte picked up her mobile phone as if afraid it might bite her. She puffed out a sigh of relief when Sophie'’s number showed on the screen.
       “"Are you okay, Lottie?"” Her friend'’s anxious voice reached her as soon as she accepted the call.
       "“I’'m fine. I don'’t think anyone will look for me here."” She tried to sound confident. Sophie was on enforced bed rest thanks to raised blood pressure caused by pregnancy and Lottie didn'’t intend to raise her stress levels.
       “"Phew. I'’m glad you got out of London. It'’s ghastly here. I’'m afraid Tom'’s done exactly what you said he would do. The story is all over the press.”"
       Nausea rose in Lottie’'s throat. "“I'’m not surprised. It'’s what he knows, isn'’t it? I don'’t suppose it paints me in a very good light."” She tried to keep her tone cheerful even though she wanted to weep at the unfairness of it all.
       "“I made Henry bring me the newspapers. The headlines are all variations on a theme. ‘Society belle abandons fiancĂ© at altar,’ etc, etc."”
       Lottie pictured Sophie propped up in bed on a mountain of pillows wrinkling her pretty nose up in disgust as she spoke. “"It wasn'’t at the altar. It was the day before the wedding."”
       There was a rustle of papers as Sophie replied. "“I know that sweetie, and I know you had very good reasons for calling the wedding off. I just wish you'’d let me tell the rest of the world about some of them.”"
       Lottie swallowed down the lump in her throat. She was so lucky to have Sophie as her friend. "“It'’ll blow over soon enough I suppose.”" At least she hoped it would. She was glad that she was safely tucked away in Northumbria, out of the glare of the press spotlight. Tything Manor was well off the beaten track and few people knew of her connection with Sophie’'s childhood home.
       "“Rafe should be with you later today, he called in to see me on his way from the airport.”"
       “"The house is all ready. Food is stocked up and the oil for the heating was delivered yesterday."” She tried to remember when she'’d last seen Sophie’'s older brother, Ranulf. It had to have been at least five years ago, probably at Sophie'’s wedding.
       "“I wish I wasn'’t confined to this stupid bed. I desperately want to see you."” Sophie sounded forlorn and Lottie knew it was killing her friend that she couldn’'t be there for her.
       “"Your health and the baby come first. No stress, remember. Henry will kill me if anything happened over you fretting about me."” Lottie wished she could go and see her. Even as the thought passed through her mind she knew it was impossible. The last thing Sophie needed was the press descending on her house when she was supposed to be having total rest and relaxation.
       “"I know but it still sucks. You will call me and let me know how it'’s all going, won'’t you? I’'m a bit worried about Rafe. You know what he’'s like; he’'s as closed as an oyster. I'’m sure something is bothering him but he won’'t tell me anything. I’'ll be so glad when this baby arrives so I can make people tell me things instead of trying to protect me all the time."”
       “"Only a few weeks to go and then you can nag us all to your hearts content."” Lottie’'s spirits rose at the fighting note in her friend’'s voice. Sophie might appear to be a tiny, ethereal blonde beauty but she had a tenacity and vigour that belied her small frame. As soon as she was allowed out and about again Lottie knew she would be back to her usual lovingly bossy self.
 

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