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Christmas Secrets


When Carl Forsythe bumps into Beth at Bewley Manor, his ancestral home, all he can think about is their night of searing passion years ago. Then he meets little James, her son--his son?--the secret she's been keeping for all that time…

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Christmas Secrets

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When Carl Forsythe bumps into Beth at Bewley Manor, his ancestral home, all he can think about is their night of searing passion years ago. Then he meets little James, her son--his son?--the secret she's been keeping for all that time…

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780373836185
  • Publisher: Harlequin
  • Publication date: 10/1/2004
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Pages: 384
  • Product dimensions: 4.10 (w) x 6.62 (h) x 1.05 (d)

Meet the Author

Catherine Spencer fell into writing by happy accident. Approaching menopause and ready for a change of career while she could still walk and chew gum at the same time, she eavesdropped on a conversation about writing for Harlequin and decided this was too good a challenge to pass up.

With the blithe ignorance of a non-swimmer leaping into a shark-infested pool, she resigned from her job as a high school English teacher and fired off her first submission to Harlequin Mills & Boon's editorial staff. Although her first two submissions were rejected, the third effort made the grade.

Since then, she's sold over 25 books; 24 of them to Harlequin and most of them selected for the Presents Line. The Loving Touch, her third novel, was a short contemporary finalist for the Romance Writers' of America's prestigious RITA Award.

Her March '99 release, Dante's Twins, was the number one Presents' seller in North America, the United Kingdom, Australia, and New Zealand. Her books have been translated into more than 17 languages and distributed in nearly 30 foreign markets.

In between deadlines, she has taught courses on writing series romance at both the college and continuing education level, as well as presenting workshops at the RWA's national conference in St. Louis and New York, to various affiliated chapters throughout the Pacific Northwest, and at the Surrey Writers' Conference in British Columbia. With friend and fellow writer Judith Bowen, she is a co-sponsor of the biennial Singletree Workshop, an acclaimed weekend retreat for romance writers drawing participants from all over North America.

In May 1997, Catherine was one of thetwoBritish Columbia authors invited to represent Harlequin for the gala opening of Chapters' flagship bookstore in Calgary, Alberta. The following month, she flew to Long Island, New York, the only Canadian among a lineup of 20 well-known Harlequin writers, to take part in the television series special, Harlequin Goes Prime Time. In 1999, she represented Harlequin in its cross-Canada touring exhibit celebrating five decades of romance and was in Calgary again for Valentine's Day 2000, as part of the company's ongoing promotion of romance in the new millennium.

Catherine is married and lives with her husband in White Rock, a small seaside community south of Vancouver, British Columbia. She has four grown children, five grandchildren, two dogs and a cat, all of which are perfect! She has yet to find the perfect house, though, and despite repeated promises never to do so again, continues to persuade her husband to undertake renovations which always turn out to be more extensive and costly than she envisaged.

In her limited spare time, she enjoys swimming, walking, reading, playing the piano, collecting antiques, and growing tropical plants. She once drove from B.C. to North Dakota and spent a week cruising small-town auctions there and in South Dakota and Minnesota, looking for small antique items to bring home. She ended up renting the biggest U-Haul trailer her car could tow, and had it stuffed to the roof with furniture. Ever since, her husband refuses to let her leave town unless he's along for the ride!

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Read an Excerpt

Christmas Secrets

By Carole Mortimer Catherine Spencer Diana Hamilton

Harlequin Enterprises, Ltd.

Copyright © 2004 Harlequin Enterprises, Ltd.
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0-373-83618-X

Chapter One

"YOU wanted me?"

Mrs Heavenly was aware of the soft, fluttering sensation behind her that told her she was no longer alone. But her attention was so intent upon the vision that she didn't want to leave it, even for a second!

At last! She had waited a long time for this particular plea for help to come. Almost too long, she acknowledged ruefully. But at last it had come.

She looked up to smile warmly at the young angel who stood before her. Faith. Yes, she would be perfect for this particular assignment. Warm, compassionate, and with a mischievous sense of humour that had almost been her undoing a couple of times in the past. But in this particular case Faith's qualities were more suited to the problem than the equally admirable ones of Hope or Charity.

"Come and look at this, my dear." Mrs Heavenly encouraged the angel to step forward and share the vision with her. "It will help you to understand the problem that has - thankfully! - been presented to us."

Faith stepped into Mrs Heavenly's vision, eager to learn what her assignment was to be. Christmas was only two days away - always a fraught time of year for humans, when the inadequacies in their normally busy lives often became glaringly obvious. It was also a time when they often cried out for help to cope with those difficulties.

"This incident happened a short time ago," Mrs Heavenly told her softly, a smile on her cherubic face.

Faith gazed down interestedly at the scene being enacted below them.

A tiny woman of about thirty - startlingly beautiful, her fine-boned body clothed in a black trouser suit and cream blouse, and with golden-blonde hair cropped close to her head - was stepping lithely out of a lift, her expression one of determination as she marched down the carpeted corridor to rap sharply on an oak door at the end of the hallway.

"She looks rather angry," Faith murmured.

Mrs Heavenly nodded unconcernedly. "She invariably is," she informed Faith lightly.

"Why -? Goodness, who is that?" Faith gasped as the oak door swung open to reveal a man almost as handsome as Gabriel himself.

Or Lucifer, she decided as an afterthought. His hair was so dark it was almost black, his eyes so dark a brown it was difficult to see where the iris stopped and the pupil began. As for his looks - they could only be described as devilishly attractive.

"Is he her husband?" Faith prompted breathlessly.

"Hardly." Mrs Heavenly smiled. "Listen," she encouraged softly.

"Ms Hardy," the man greeted dryly. "To what do I owe this unexpected pleasure?"

Olivia, despite the obvious derision in his tone, stared back at him unmovingly. Ethan Sherbourne had occupied the apartment directly above hers for over a year now. But apart from an occasional greeting to him - on the rare occasion they happened to get into the lift together - or to one of the constant stream of women that seemed to flow in and out of his apartment, Olivia had remained firmly detached from the man.

The only other exception being when his mail became confused with her own. Which it had already several times this Christmas.

"Yours, I believe." She held up the pink envelope she carried with her.

He raised dark brows as he reached out a lean hand and took the envelope, checking the writing on the front before holding it up in front of his nose and sniffing appreciatively.

"Gwendoline," he announced knowingly.

Olivia repressed a delicate shudder. "I didn't real-ise women still did that sort of thing," she commented scathingly.

Neither did Olivia understand why Mr Pulman, the caretaker of this exclusive apartment building, should think she might be the recipient of a scented Christmas card!

Ethan Sherbourne gave a roguish smile. "Only certain women," he drawled huskily.

Utterly stupid ones, in Olivia's opinion. But she was sure Ethan Sherbourne wasn't in the least interested in her opinion. She wasn't tall, willowy - or young! - as the majority of women trooping in and out of his apartment seemed to be.

She gave a cool inclination of her head. "I'll leave you to open your card -" She broke off with a frown as the lift doors opened down the corridor, immediately releasing the ear-splitting wail of a baby. A very young baby, by the sound of it, Olivia realised, wincingly.

She turned slowly in the direction of the cry, just in time to move out of the way of the young woman striding purposefully towards Ethan Sherbourne's apartment.

The roguish smile had been wiped off Ethan Sherbourne's face the moment he looked at the approaching virago. "Shelley ...?" He betrayed his uncertainty with a frown.

The tall, youthfully leggy blonde, looking not much more than a child herself, gave him a humourless smile, the screaming baby held firmly in her arms. "I'm surprised you remember me," she snapped. "We met so briefly."

"Of course I remember you," Ethan Sherbourne returned smoothly, sparing a reluctant glance for the shawl-wrapped bundle in the girl's arms. "And this is ...?"

Olivia stood to one side of the hallway now, an unwilling but at the same time fascinated eavesdropper on this conversation.

The girl - for, on closer inspection, she most certainly was a girl, probably no older than twenty or so - was gazing down at the screaming baby with a look that somehow managed to combine motherly love and sheer terror at the same time.

"Here." She thrust the child into Ethan Sherbourne's unsuspecting arms.

The screaming - to its mother's obvious frustration - instantly ceased, although emotional hiccups quickly followed.


Excerpted from Christmas Secrets by Carole Mortimer Catherine Spencer Diana Hamilton Copyright © 2004 by Harlequin Enterprises, Ltd.. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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