My True Love Gave to Me by Regina Scott
Christmas, a time of peace on earth, joy...and love?
Genevieve Munroe is determined to give her newly impoverished family one last happy Christmas, including making peace with their long-time rivals, the Pentercasts. But she is shocked when the handsome oldest son Alan proposes a wager: if he can give her all the gifts from the Twelve Days of Christmas song, without spending a penny, she must marry him.
Alan's wild gambit is his last-ditch effort to win Gen's heart. After all, no Munroe would ever consider marrying a Pentercast. But perhaps the joy of Christmas can open her eyes to the man behind the wager, a man determined to turn the twelve days of Christmas into a lifetime of love.
Book 1 in The Marvelous Munroes series, this sweet, clean traditional Regency romance was originally published as The Twelve Days of Christmas by Zebra Regency.
Readers have called it wonderful, funny, and charming, a great book to read over the holidays, or any time you're in the holiday spirit.
Here's a little taste:
"Clear the way, Mother," an annoyed voice demanded, and Mrs. Pentercast scurried forward so fast that Gen's mother had to step back to prevent the purple feather from lodging in her nose. Geoffrey Pentercast, looking much as Gen remembered in his many-caped brown-tweed greatcoat, clumped into the entry, trailing mud, decayed leaves, and a six-foot log in his wake.
"Thought you wouldn't have a proper Yule Log," he announced, dragging the massive stump by a chain into the center of the entry. Gen tried not to think about what it would cost to repair the scratches he was making in the parquet floor.
She could feel her mother's disapproval. "Why, of course, Mr. Pentercast," Gen answered quickly for her. "How very thoughtful of you to bring it along. We haven't had a Yule Log in years, have we, Allison?"
"Yule Logs are such quaint customs," her sister Allison said with a sniff, "for children."
"I like to think there's still some of the child in all of us, Miss Munroe," a deeper voice said from the doorway. The flutter in Gen's stomach intensified, and she swallowed, looking up to find Alan Pentercast regarding her. Her first thought was that he was very different from what she remembered, but she wasn't sure what had changed.
Like his brother, he still had the shaggy thatch of brown hair that defied combing and the dark brown eyes that seemed to sparkle with some secret. Unlike his brother, who was shorter and more powerfully built, he stood a good head taller than anyone in the room. His face seemed leaner, his features more sharply planed. He moved with a negligent grace she'd only seen on London dance floors.
As Chimes their butler took his many-caped blue-tweed greatcoat, she saw that Alan wore the black trousers, white satin waistcoat, and black cutaway coat of a London Corinthian. Unlike the dress his mother wore, the outfit was obviously no copy. She would have said it had been cut by Weston, although she'd have also wagered there was no padding in the shoulders or calves. The sensitive, brave young man she remembered had been replaced by a confident, authoritative gentleman. She wasn't sure whether to be disappointed or awed.
The Marvelous Munroes: What is more marvelous than falling in love?