Sexy book excerpt: Candace Camp takes on holiday romance in latest anthology

Dec 23, 2015 at 8:00 p.m. ET
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The New York Times bestselling authors Sabrina Jeffries, Karen Hawkins and Candace Camp, and USA TODAY bestselling author Meredith Duran come together for a sizzling historical romance holiday anthology. In By Any Other Name, Edinburgh is aglitter for Christmastime as Candace Camp sends a curious gentleman in hot pursuit of an intriguing lady in disguise — one who refuses to reveal her true identity, though she fears he has already stolen her heart with his kiss.

Read the By Any Other Name excerpt from What Happens Under the Mistletoe:

He reached out to grasp the sides of her shirt, and Rylla jerked back, squeezing into the sofa cushion as far as she could go. She clutched the garment even more tightly to her. “You don’t need to do any such thing! I’m perfectly all right.”

His hands dropped. “You don’t know that. The knife went through your clothes.”

Holding her shirt together at the top with one hand, Rylla carefully lifted the bottom of her shirt. She peered at her stomach. “It’s only a scratch.”

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“’Tis a pity to mar such beauty.” Gregory was studying her skin as if it held great secrets. His face was flushed, his blue eyes glittering, his mouth soft and full. She had never seen such a look on a man’s face before. It shot a strange leaping excitement all through her. He had lowered his hands, but now they rested on her thighs, warm and heavy. It was thoroughly indecent — and even more indecently, Rylla liked the way they felt on her.

He smiled at her, more with invitation than amusement. “What were you doing at that gambling den, I wonder? A romantic assignation?”

Rylla’s jaw dropped. “I beg your pardon!”

“But surely no man is so foolish as to leave you waiting. He would arrive early and wait any length of time.” He went on musingly, “No, I think more likely you were spying on a lover.”

“A lover!” Indignation surged through her. “You think I am a... a hussy!”

“Nae, I would never use such a term for you.”

“Oh!” Rylla jumped up, shoving him back with both hands. Irritatingly, he only laughed and rose lithely to his feet. “You are rude! Insufferable!” She rushed to refasten her clothes, her fingers trembling and clumsy with fury. In her agitation, she fumbled at both shirt and waistcoat, succeeding with neither.

“Wait, here, you are doing them up all wrong.” Gregory’s expression was indulgent as he reached out to help her. His action only served to fuel the fires of her anger.

Rylla slapped his hands away. “Don’t touch me! You are no gentleman. You’re a... a perfect beast. A scoundrel.” She drew herself up to her fullest height and lifted her chin haughtily. The pose was somewhat spoiled by the fact that she wobbled and Gregory had to grab her elbow to steady her.

“I did come to your rescue,” he pointed out mildly.

“My rescue! Hah!” She shrugged off his hand. “You were probably in league with him.”

Gregory’s brows popped up. “I like that. I chase off a thief who is attacking you, and now I’m a villain.”

“You took advantage of me.” Rylla had managed to get her shirt fastened, even if the buttons were a trifle askew. She decided to abandon the attempt on her waistcoat.

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“Took advantage of you! You are drunk as a wheelbarrow and running about dressed in men’s clothes, visiting gambling hells. And I took advantage of you?”

“I am not drunk as a wheelbarrow! Nor am I a woman of loose morals.” She fisted her hands on her hips and glared at him. “I, Mr. Rose, am a lady.”

He stared at her for a moment, then let out a long breath. “Devil take it. You really are a blushing virgin, aren’t you?”

About the author:  Candace Camp is a New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author of more than 60 novels of contemporary and historical romance, including the bestselling Regency Romances Treasured, The Marrying Season, and A Summer Seduction. She grew up in Texas in a newspaper family, which explains her love of writing, but she earned a law degree and practiced law before making the decision to write full time. She has received several writing awards, including the RT Book Reviews Career Achievement Award. Visit her at Candace-Camp.com.

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