Jude Deveraux, the dazzling New York Times bestselling author of Wild Orchids and Forever and Always delivers a delightful and passionate yuletide tale sure to become a classic this and every holiday season.
Hollander "Holly" Latham can't believe her good fortune. After endless calls, letters, emails, and promises, she's finally persuaded her parents to buy Spring Hill Plantation just outside beautiful, historic Edenton in eastern North Carolina -- and strategically located near Belle Chere, the purest, most untouched plantation site in America.
At the tender age of thirteen, Holly fell in love with Lorrie Beaumont, who inherited the Revolutionary-period estate when his heiress mother died during childbirth. Though more than a decade has passed since Holly last locked eyes with her childhood love, the passion she felt in her young heart has never come close to extinguishing -- that is, until charming, ruggedly handsome Nick Taggert unexpectedly waltzes into her life and treats her to an unforgettable weekend of laughter and intense passion.
Despite Holly's undeniable attraction to this dazzling stranger, she knows he's not marriage material. What Holly doesn't know is that Nick Taggert is actually Dr. Nicholas Taggert. Having been with more than his share of women only interested in money and pedigree, Nick decides to test Holly and conceal his more refined qualities. Will Holly be seduced by Lorrie's wealth and privilege, or will she choose the simple gift of love that Nick has offered her? The answer is unveiled on a starry Christmas night, when passion, hate, and greed collide to reveal bitter truths that will forever change the course of Holly's charmed life.
With Holly, Jude Deveraux once again uses her golden touch to conjure up a tale full of dazzling intrigue and inspiring romance. It is a story for all seasons and one to remember always.
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December 31, 2002
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Excerpt from Holly by Jude Deveraux
Holly felt as though she'd pulled off the coup of her life -- and by Christmas it would all be settled. After many calls, letters, emails, and promises, she'd finally persuaded her parents to buy Spring Hill Plantation just outside beautiful, historic Edenton in eastern North Carolina. Of course, it hadn't hurt that her stepsister, Taylor, was going to marry a man who lived there.
Now, she was in the little grocery store that was two miles down the road from the ghastly house her parents had rented last year and she was trying to find something to eat that didn't have a thousand calories a bite. She'd recently lost eleven pounds and she didn't want to put it back on. Facing a summer near her skinny, beautiful stepsister had made her quit eating and go to the gym four nights a week.
And of course there was the prospect of seeing Lorrie again, she thought. For a moment her eyes glazed over as she remembered him. She was no longer seeing the store, but instead, saw the river and the dock and Lorrie. She'd been thirteen that summer and Lorrie had been sixteen -- a tall, lean, bronzed young man, with golden hair and brown eyes.
That summer had started out horribly. Her parents nearly always rented a house somewhere for the summer, but until that year the houses had been in communities where their two daughters could swim and meet other people their own age.
But that summer a friend of her father's had offered them the free use of his beautifully restored old house, built in 1778, located on a river, and set in the midst of four and a half acres of old trees and pretty flower gardens.
Holly had hated the place at first sight. Its isolation, the remoteness, had made her want to scream. In an instant she'd envisioned a summer in a hell of loneliness. Taylor was old enough to drive so she'd be going to nearby Edenton and joining the real world.
But what am I to do here the whole summer? she thought, near to tears. Catch tadpoles? Sit by the river and watch the turtles come up for air? It wasn't what a pubescent girl wanted to do.