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One Enchanted Christmas (Distinguished Rogues series #13)

One Enchanted Christmas (Distinguished Rogues series #13)

When his father offers a wager that may help Lord Clement win freedom for his mother and siblings, he can’t refuse. Now, he must marry within three months; doable when he finds himself falling for Meg. She’s lovely, smart, enchanting—and definitely not the woman his father has chosen.

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Main Tropes

  • Christmas Romance
  • Wager to Marry
  • Brother's Best Friend


Margaret Stockwick is still mourning the loss of her beloved parents when her brother whisks her away from the family estate. Unbeknownst to Meg, Hector has no plans to allow her to return. Instead, he’ll see her ensconced in London after the Christmas season to be married off as quickly as possible, thereby relieving himself of any further responsibility for her welfare. Meg is devastated; not only by her brother’s betrayal, but at the prospect of spending the holidays with his best friend, the roguish Lord Clement.

Otis spends nearly all his days at his family’s estate, the better to protect his mother and siblings. But his greatest wish is to remove them from beneath the thumb of his scheming father. Then Lord Vyne presents a wager—marry in three months, and Otis can win a bit of freedom for his family. It’s a gamble Otis intends to win. But not with the chit his father’s chosen, an arrangement based on financial gain. No. Otis is determined to marry for love and mutual respect…and it isn’t long before he finds the lovely Meg inspiring both.

Intro to Chapter One

Lady Meg Stockwick covered her cold nose and mouth again and blew out a breath, hoping to warm her face a little bit. Meg was not used to traveling in the winter months. She was not used to traveling at all really. She was doing her best not to become an icicle.

Her brother was to blame for her discomfort, not that he seemed to care.

Until recently, she’d never had reason to venture from the family home on the coast of Dorset. But it was Hector’s home now; her brother had assumed control of their father’s estate and title upon his death, and she was supposed to obey the new viscount—even if she couldn’t seem to stop questioning his decisions.

“It’s not too late to turn back,” Meg told him urgently as Hector’s new traveling chariot began the slow descent into yet another blindingly white valley. “We could be home by Christmas morning.”

“It certainly is too late. We’re almost there,” her brother assured her as he scrubbed the damp from the window with his fist. “You will enjoy yourself.”

Meg doubted that as she huddled more deeply into her coverings. The sun had come out to shine at last and brought with it Hector’s enthusiasm for new surroundings. He had been saying she’d enjoy herself repeatedly for the last day, and she was still quite sure he was wrong. Spending the anniversary of the worst month of her life in Derbyshire, at the home of a terrible rogue, was not her idea of fun.

“We should still celebrate Christmas the way we always have,” Meg insisted, determined to win her brother over. “In our home. I had everything in hand before you arrived.”

“Next year you can do as you wish,” he promised. “But this year I have other plans than sitting in Dorset all alone.”

Meg shivered, wishing her brother had stayed in London. His return had heralded an upset of all her plans for the holidays. And now she was here, far from home and all she’d ever known. Meg had heard nothing good about her brother’s closest friend in the past few years and now she would be forced into close proximity with him for weeks. 

She had known Lord Clement as a boy, but it had been a decade since she’d lain eyes on him. She had heard enough to form a clear picture of his character though. Lord Clement was often gallivanting about London with her brother, too important to visit their little coastal village. Meg believed him to be a terrible influence on her older brother.

She heaved a heavy sigh. There was only one thing to look forward to this holiday. Lady Vyne, the rogue’s mother, was certain to be better company. Lady Vyne had written Meg many comforting letters in recent years following the death of her mother and then her father so soon after.

Hector suddenly began gathering his possessions—book, handkerchief, and a pouch of sweet meats he’d procured along the way—and stuffed them into a leather satchel he’d kept at his side for the entire trip.

Meg hugged her book close to her chest. “Mother and Father are still with us in spirit,” she argued.

Hector shifted forward to stare at her, his expression grave. “If Mother and Father are spirits as you continue to claim, and watching over us as well, then surely they’ve heard our itinerary many times from your own lips and will have hitched a ride.”

Meg wished that might be so. Did ghosts ever take a holiday? “That is how they met. Father climbed into the wrong carriage, and they fell in love.”

“By the time they reached the fourth turnpike,” Hector said softly. 

“Love at first sight.” Meg wanted so much to believe in the impossible right now. Even though she had Hector still, she felt very alone without her parents. There was no one to tell her secrets to and no one who gave her theirs to keep. Two years of death, first her mother and then her father, and the constant period of mourning had been hard to bear for everyone. Her closest friends had married and moved away to start new lives with their husbands already. She had lost touch with all but a few. 

Hector had been away in London when their father had died, but he had rushed home to be with her for the burial. He had not stayed long, traveling back to London to meet with Lord Clement while she had mourned alone.

And now Hector insisted she must travel with him. In the winter!

“Cheer up, old thing,” Hector said. “Who knows what might happen during the holidays.”

Nothing good, she suspected. Not if Lord Clement was anywhere in the vicinity of her brother. She might not see much of Hector either. That was not how she wanted to see out the year.

Meg huddled farther beneath the warm furs, trying to resign herself to the fate her brother had forced upon her. “I’m still in mourning,” she reminded him. “Even if you forbid me to be.”

He shoved his satchel aside roughly. “It was past time!”

Meg glared at him. “Papa deserved to be mourned for a full year as we did with Mother. Six months is hardly long enough.”

“Enough is enough,” he cried, smacking his fist on his thigh. “You will do as I say, and be grateful I care enough to take you to visit my friends at all. I am the head of our family and you will enjoy yourself.” Her brother scowled. “I insist you make merry.”

Meg glared at him. “You cannot make me pretend.”

Hector pinched the bridge of his nose, a sure sign she was trying his patience. “You will not embarrass me by spoiling Christmas for Lord Clement and me.”

Meg pressed her lips together tightly, affronted that Hector thought more of Lord Clement’s happiness than hers. “You don’t seem to care what I want anymore,” she grumbled even though knowing she was being difficult. This trip had been a tax on her nerves. She’d barely slept last night in yet another strange bed.

She slumped in her seat as her eyes pricked with the threat of tears. There were days she did not like her brother. He gambled away his fortune and spent far too many nights out in society. His improved situation had gone to his head. She’d also heard gossip he had a woman in London too—the sort Mama had whispered must never be acknowledged.

“I do care. Very much, and it is high time I did right by you and brought you out in society.” Hector nodded. “Gentleman have to see you in order to ask to marry you.”

Meg blushed at the idea of marrying a stranger. Hector was all for that. “You speak such nonsense. No one will notice me here.”

“On the contrary, Lady Vyne is sure to host at least one dinner during our stay. There’s a village not far from the manor house, too, and we will be here until after Twelfth Night don’t forget. Anything can happen in that amount of time.”

Meg turned up her nose. “That village has an alehouse, I assume?”

Hector grinned widely. “Every village tends to have at least one. Gentlemen come for miles around and some of them call on Lady Vyne, and Clement, too. They will assist with any introductions if they deem the connection suitable.”

He had an answer for everything. “As if Lord Clement would stir himself on my behalf.”

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Distinguished Rogues Series

The Distinguished Rogues have the world at their feet, but they may have met their match in this ongoing steamy series.
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