Monday, October 5, 2020

A Royal Christmas Quandary (+ Giveaway)

A Royal Christmas Quandary
by Samantha Hastings
* Published by: Swoon Reads
* Publication date: October 6th, 2020
* Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult

Readers looking for a light, fun read full of holiday mischief will be delighted by Samantha Hastings’ A Royal Christmas Quandary, perfect for fans of A Christmas Prince.

When you spend Christmas in a castle, anything is possible.

1860. Lady Alexandrina Gailey is looking forward to a cozy holiday at Windsor Castle with her best friend, Princess Alice, and her long-time crush, Lord George Worthington. But Drina’s plans are all but dashed when Alice’s parents, Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, declare that Alice must choose one of two royal princes to become engaged to before Christmas.

There’s just one problem: George, a junior member of the Foreign Office, has accidentally misplaced one of the princes.

Together, Drina and George scour the town of Windsor for the missing prince, desperately hoping to deliver him to the royal dinner party with the queen none the wiser. They might just need a royal Christmas miracle to pull it off.

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Now here's an excerpt for your reading pleasure.

“You’ve finally arrived,” Lord George Worthington said, bounding toward her. He flashed a smile of his perfectly straight white teeth. His dark hair, so different from her flaxen yellow, was nearly black and completely messy. But on him, messy was extremely attractive.

Critically looking, she noticed that his brown eyes were widely spaced and his eyebrows were thick. His nose was rather too large for his face and he was short for a young man of eighteen. But when he smiled, one simply forgot those obvious faults. Or at least Drina did. She’d fancied George since the first time she’d met him when they were ten years old.

“I heard that you were arriving today,” he said, holding out his hands. Drina placed her gloved ones inside of his and sighed in contentment when he gave them a squeeze. “Drina, I need you desperately.”

Am I dreaming?

“Excuse me?” she managed to squeak, her heart behaving rather irregularly. Her knees trembling like jelly—probably from all of the hours travelling on the train and then the carriage.

“My father asked me to look after Prince Friedrich of Hoburg during his stay at Windsor Castle. The prince arrived this morning and I can’t understand more than a couple of German words that he says.”

Drina pulled back her hands, missing the warmth of his touch immediately. “Friedrich is my first cousin once-removed and he speaks English excellently.”

“He’s only speaking German,” George replied with a shrug. “I don’t know why he won’t speak English. I’ve spoken slowly and loudly and he pretends not to understand—”

“Because speaking louder always helps with language barriers,” she quipped.

He shrugged again, flashing her another grin. “Will you come with me, Drina, and speak to him?”

She would go with him anywhere he asked her to—that was the problem. She cared for him too much and he only thought of her as a friend.

“I suppose so,” she said, wrinkling her nose in annoyance. She handed her bonnet and shawl to Miss Russon, her lady’s maid, who was standing outside her room. “Please unpack my trunk and see that the crimson dress is prepared for tonight.”

“Very good, my lady,” Miss Russon said, bobbing a curtsy.

Drina pointed her hand forward. “Lead on.”

George did, taking Drina’s hand and placing it on the crook of his arm. Drina tsked. She didn’t want to stand this close to him. She was determined not to fancy herself in love with him anymore. Or to notice his intoxicatingly musky smell as they walked down the long corridor.

“It’s been an age since I saw you last,” he said, patting her hand on his arm.

Drina shook her head nonchalantly. He was only being friendly and she wasn’t going to read too much into this.

Not again.

Not this time.

“Not since the London season, I suppose.”

“More than seven months,” George said, looking at her intently.

“I missed you at the Ascot races in June,” she admitted. “Alice was occupied most of the time with the two princes from Hesse.”

“I wish I could’ve been there,” he agreed with another devastating smile. “My brother had two horses racing in it, but a bridge washed out on the Westerham estate and I was overseeing the rebuilding of it.”

“When I arrived back to Rothfield House in the summer, you . . . you weren’t at Westerham Palace.”

“Oh,” George waved his hand, “once the bridge was done, my father insisted that I either join the army or take the exams for Cambridge. When I refused to do either of those, he made me go to London and work as a junior secretary in the Foreign Office.”

“Do you not want to work in the Foreign Office?”

“Not at all,” he admitted. “I’d much prefer to train as an engineer.”

“You want to drive trains?” she asked in surprise.

George laughed and shook his head. “No, no. A civil engineer. I’d like nothing better than to build tunnels and design bridges—like the one I built at Westerham.”

“Then why don’t you?” Drina asked, unable to keep the bitterness out of her voice. “You’re a man. You can do anything you’d like to.”

“If only that were true,” he said, shaking his head mournfully. “My father controls my purse-strings and he believes an engineer is too lowly a station for the son of a duke.”

“Even a second son?”

Especially a second son,” George said with a sigh. “He said if I mentioned it again, he’d pack me off to Austria to be a secretary to the British ambassador there. Lord Augustus Loftus is an old friend of my father’s.”

“I’m sorry for you, then,” she said, her voice still sharper than usual.

George stopped walking and turned to look at her. “You seem changed . . . different. Have I offended you somehow? If so, I beg your pardon.”

“Even though you have no idea what the offense might be?” she asked, unable to keep her lips from forming the slightest of smiles.

“Isn’t that worse?” he said. “To not even realize how I’ve offended you?”

You keep making me fall in love with you and you aren’t in love with me, Drina thought. She didn’t say that, of course.

Meet the Author

Samantha Hastings has degrees from Brigham Young University, the University of Reading (Berkshire, England), and the University of North Texas. She met her husband in a turkey sandwich line. They live in Salt Lake City, Utah, where she spends most of her time reading, eating popcorn, and chasing her kids.

She is the author of THE LAST WORD, THE INVENTION OF SOPHIE CARTER, and A ROYAL CHRISTMAS QUANDARY.

For more on Samantha and her writing, you can connect with her on the following sites:  

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram

Thanks so much for stopping by today. Aren't you ready for a good book about holiday mischief to take your mind off these crazy times?

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8 comments:

  1. That sounds like a heap of fun. Thank you.

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  2. Sounds like Victoria and Albert had some unreasonable expectations, ha! Love that it's set in Windsor Castle.

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  3. Lost the prince? That's not good.
    I've been to Windsor Palace and I bet it's amazing at Christmas.

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  4. This sounds like a very fun read, Mason! And there's something about that gorgeously royal setting, isn't there? There's also just something about holiday season as a background. It can all make for a really fun book - thanks for sharing.

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  5. This holiday book sounds delightful.

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  6. Sounds like a great holiday read. Looking forward to reading about Christmas at Windsor Castle.

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  7. Thanks for being on the tour! :)

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  8. Royal Christmas Quandary sounds great! I enjoyed the excerpt!

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I'd love to hear your thoughts on today's post. Thanks for dropping by.