Lady Katherine Oakley, the widowed Countess of Crossbury, has decided that she needs a drastic change in her life. Considered old and undesirable by much of Society, she has spent the last several years sitting on the edges of ballrooms. Even her job writing for the gossip sheet, Town Tattler, as the infamous Madame C. brings her little pleasure these days. At a loss, all Catherine can envision for her future is a life of empty, endless parties and even more empty and endless nights alone. So when her good friend Lord Candlewood offers to make arrangements so that she might reside one last time at Hollywell, the grand castle that once belonged to her family, for the length of the Christmas season, Catherine eagerly agrees.
French nobleman Julian Valette, cousin of the infamous Comte De La Croix, has grown tired of chasing his thieving cousin across England in an attempt to regain his rightful title. Instead, he has recently taken up life as a gentleman farmer at the behest of his old friend Lord Candlewood. While Julian occasionally longs for the sparkle of London, for the most part he is content at Hollywell, his castle by the sea and the activity the nearby village provides. So when a strange woman arrives at his doorstep claiming to be the dowager Countess of Crossbury and insisting that the castle is, for the Christmas season any way, her home, Julian is more than a little befuddled. And more than a little attracted.
Can Julian and Catherine sort out the misunderstanding quickly or are both of them stuck with each other through Twelfth Night? Provided they don't kill each other in the meantime, of course.
This 40,800-word novella, which is a companion piece to the "Tales From Seldon Park" series, is written in the modern, Regency romance style for a slightly hotter and sexier read. It may not be appropriate for younger audiences.