Holiday Party with Vanessa Kelly

I love Vanessa Kelly’s lush historicals and when you throw in the added fun of Christmas, her stories are delicious! Please welcome my friend and fellow Rock*It Reads author to the blog today.


Let’s Have A Party

If there was one thing folks excelled at during the Regency period it was having a party.  That was especially true during the Christmas Season, which ran from Christmas Eve through to Twelfth Night on January 6.  The final party on Twelfth Night was usually a real wing-ding, roughly comparable to the kind of blow-out we now celebrate on New Year’s Eve.

Much of the action in my new historical romance, His Mistletoe Bride, takes place during the holiday season.  One of my favorite scenes happens on Twelfth Night.  Lucas and Phoebe, my hero and heroine and very recently married, are throwing a huge party at their estate, Mistletoe Manor.

Life hasn’t been easy at the manor—Lucas is dealing with a decrepit mansion and a neglected estate, smugglers who are using his lands for their smuggling route, interfering relatives, and a motley group of servants who go by the name of Christmas.  The last thing Lucas wants is a big, noisy party, and he tells his wife that in no uncertain terms.

But Phoebe is convinced that holding a holiday celebration will put everyone in a good mood—especially Lucas—and the bigger, the better.  She’s particularly excited about the King’s Cake, the centerpiece of the celebration.  Traditionally, one bean would be baked into the cake and whoever got it would be appointed the Lord of Misrule for the evening’s festivities.

Phoebe, however, has a little surprise planned for Lucas that involves this particular tradition.

His Mistletoe BrideShe tugged his hand and they weaved their way through the crowd, heading for the dais. It took several minutes, as villagers wished them good cheer and warm thanks for the evening’s entertainment. Phoebe was too flustered to say more than a few words, but Lucas responded with easy charm, seeming to enjoy himself. When his hand settled once more low on her back, cradling her gently as they strolled, her tension eased.

They reached the dais just as the door in the back of the hall swung open. Mr. Christmas emerged with great ceremony, two brawny footmen staggering behind him under the load of an enormous King’s Cake. The confectionary edifice was always the centerpiece of the Twelfth Night celebrations, and Mrs. Christmas claimed that Cook’s was the finest in the entire county.

The cake’s thick icing gleamed with a brilliant white in the blaze of the candles, and whimsical sugar figurines dotted the polished, two-tiered surface. The round base was elaborately trimmed with sugar flowers in a rainbow of pretty pastels, while a credible representation of the village church and a few of the local shops topped the cake off.

“Good Lord,” Lucas exclaimed. “Is that the village square on top of that monstrosity?”

“Yes,” Phoebe said proudly. “It was Cook’s idea. She did a splendid job, do you not think?”

Her husband laughed. “Actually, yes. It’s got everything but the village drunk.”

“Really, Lucas,” she responded primly. “Come along. It is time to take your seat on the Lord of Misrule’s throne.”

He frowned. “Why do you think I’m going to be Lord of Misrule? That’s a damned big cake, and there’s only one little bean baked into it. Anyone could find it and be appointed lord.”

She glanced over at Mrs. Christmas, who was cutting the first slice. “We decided to do things a bit differently this year. Given certain, ah, mishaps in the past, everyone will be handed slips of paper with their cake. He who receives the slip with the appropriate mark will be designated Lord of Misrule.”

“Hmm. I suppose someone got drunk and almost choked on the bean one year.”

She widened her eyes. “How did you know that?”

“It’s a fairly frequent occurrence. It happened to Robert once, and he wasn’t even in his cups. Almost went to his grave because of the damn thing. He’s only still with us thanks to his grandfather. The General slapped him on the back so hard he nearly knocked the poor lad into the next room.”

Phoebe had to laugh at the image. “Well, we want to avoid that sort of thing. Mrs. Christmas came up with the slips as a substitute.”

“Yes, but that still doesn’t explain why you think I’ll—”

Lucas broke off as Mrs. Christmas trundled toward them, carrying a plate. He directed a baleful look Phoebe’s way. “Tell me you are not doing this.”

She gave him a beatific smile in response.

He groaned. “On top of everything else, I must now be Lord of Misrule?”

“I am afraid so.”

Surprisingly, his mouth twitched into a smile. “Well, I suppose it does make a bizarre sort of sense, given how everything tends to go to hell in a handcart around here.”

Needless to say, things do go to hell in a handcart and right in the middle of the party, too.  But Lucas and Phoebe are rather used to that by now, so I’m sure they’ll cope!

What about you, readers?  What’s your favorite type of party during the holidays?  Do you like fun family get-togethers, rowdy New Year’s Eve celebrations, or do you prefer curling up with your honey by a cozy fire?  One person who comments will win a copy of His Mistletoe Bride.


 When Major Lucas Stanton inherited his earldom, he never dreamed his property would include the previous earl’s granddaughter. Phoebe Linville is a sparkling American beauty, yes, but with a talent for getting into trouble. Witness the compromising position that forced them into wedlock. Whisked away to Mistletoe Manor, his country estate, it isn’t long before she is challenging his rules—and surprising him in and out of bed…

Phoebe has no intention of bowing to Lucas’s stubbornness even though he offers all that she wants. His kisses and unexpected warmth are enticing, but Phoebe is determined to show the Earl of Merritt what real love is all about. And if that takes twelve nights of delicious seduction by a roaring fire, she’s more than willing to reveal her gifts very slowly…

 Buy links:  Amazon  Barnes & Noble  Books A Million

Vanessa Kelly was named by Booklist, the review journal of the American Library Association, as one of the “New Stars of Historical Romance.”  Her Regency-set historical romances have been nominated for awards in a number of contests, and her second book, Sex and The Single Earl, won the prestigious Maggie Medallion for Best Historical Romance.  Vanessa also writes contemporary romance with her husband under the name of V.K. Sykes.  You can find her on the web at or at

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Vanessa’s Blog

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His Mistletoe Bride

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My Lady Below Stairs

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Thanks, Vanessa. Your Mistletoe Bride sounds delicious!

Now just to sweeten the pot, I’d like to add my Christmas novella to the drawing and offer My Lady Below Stairs to one lucky commenter. All you have to do is share your favorite type of holiday party to be entered to win either Vanessa’s His Mistletoe Bride or my My Lady Below Stairs.

32 thoughts on “Holiday Party with Vanessa Kelly

  1. Dawn Taira says:

    My favorite holiday when my mom and dad would invite all the airmen/soldiers,that couldn’t go home for the holidays, over to celebrate with us..And now that I am a military wife, I’ve continued the tradition!!

  2. Janie McGaugh says:

    I like casual family get-togethers, where I can catch up with family I don’t see often.

  3. Linda says:

    I like family get togethers. Love the reminiscing, the story telling & general catching up. & then culminate with sneaking off to snuggle up in our room with my man. Perfect way to end the day.

    1. Mia Marlowe says:

      Isn’t it amazing how the Christmases you remember most are the ones that didn’t go as planned? I remember one when the power went out at my grandparent’s house and they broke out the old lanterns that they used to use all the time. It lead to some very interesting reminiscing.

  4. catslady says:

    Every year we have a tree trimming party – friends and family – lots of food, drink, laughs and my tree gets trimmed lol.

    1. Mia Marlowe says:

      I love having the tree up for a long time, so on Thanksgiving, after the meal is cleaned up, we break out the boxes of Christmas decorations. Of course, the DH gets pulled away from football for things requiring someone tall or able to lift heavy boxes, but as long as I’m willing to wait for commercials, we’re good.

  5. Sheryl N says:

    We always do a Christmas Eve party with our family. We have Christmas music and plenty of food. We then let my little one open one small gift. We always go outside and leave reindeer food in the yard then leave cookies out for Santa. We send the little ones to bed and all the adults talk and set up Christmas.

    1. Mia Marlowe says:

      We always let the kids open one gift on Christmas Eve too. Guess none of us could wait. ;-)

  6. Kelli says:

    A casual gathering with family where there’s lots of food and drink and everybody is happy, healthy, and together.

    1. Mia Marlowe says:

      Sounds lovely, Kelli.

  7. Ann S. says:

    We always have a Christmas Eve party with the whole extended family. It is quite a squeeze, but we change locations every year, so nobody gets stuck with the cleanup every time. It’s great to know you will see everyone, Aunts, Uncles, Cousins, etc. at least once a year.

  8. Lori P says:

    I love all of them. My holidays don’t feel complete without having it all.

    1. Lori, you can never have too many holiday parties, right?

  9. Lora Patten says:

    The smaller and more intimate the gathering, the more meaningful it is to me. I don’t mind large family gatherings but they always seem so chaotic and forced to me or someone always ends up arguing over something petty and stupid. Aren’t holidays grand when they bring out the worst in those who are supposed to be closest to you ;-) LOL!

    1. Oh, yeah! No big family gathering is complete without an argument, is it?

  10. Nicole Laverdure says:

    My favorite Christmas party was when my 1st grandaughter was born. Sabrina will be 21 on December 26th. I love her so much! So each Christmas is special for both of us!

    1. Nicole, that’s lovely! Children do make the holiday special.

  11. Chris Bails says:

    My favorite party is with my family. I have a large family and we rent a hall for christmas. All my family goes and brings food. We have had it at the same place for the past 35 years. We have food, eat, visit, and even play cards. Thanks for the great giveaway.

    1. Chris, that sounds great! Maybe not as much clean-up, either.

  12. Sebrina says:

    I like April’s idea better than what we do (might have to suggest hers for next yr). We do the rolling party, gift exchange all in the same day! That’s at least 3 different houses, sometimes 4, w/ food at every house. By the time the day is over, we’re literally rolling in the front door just exhausted. LOL
    I don’t do a lot of entertaining, although, I would love for that to change….this year my family will be traveling to our house early December (bc that’s what works for them all). I’m now planning a party for when they are here w/ our friends and their kids. Not sure yet how much of a Christmas theme I will do, or if it’ll be just mostly food, drinks and more drinks and lots of laughing moments! :)

    1. Sebrina, your tradition does sound pretty cool, though. But I can imagine that it’s pretty exhausting!

  13. Michele Hayes says:

    My favorite holiday party is having the whole family together, including in-laws, grandchildren, etc., about 25 people in all. The adults make the food and the kids make the fun. A good time is had by all.

    1. Wow! There must be a lot of cooking going on, Michele. Sounds awesome!

  14. Maycee Majors says:

    My favorite holiday party is a tradition in our family. All of us kids get together at my parents house to help decorate their tree. We play cheesy holiday music and have the fire going. Each “kid” has to put on all of their special ornaments which include all the god awful ugly ones we made in school. When we are done we get hot chocolate and turn out the lights and sit by the glow of the Christmas lights.. It’s really fun every year!

    1. Maycee, I want to come to your house this year!

      1. Maycee Majors says:

        Good deal I’ll give you directions! ;0)

  15. May says:

    I like christmas party with close family friends and relatives/family where everything is informal. YOu don’t have to worry about saying the wrong thing or doing the wrong thing!

    1. LOL! That’s a good point, May!

  16. April, your Christmas party sounds awesome!

  17. April Knight says:

    My favorite holiday party is when all of our friends come over and we eat, drink and let the kids open gifts. I host this party every year the week before Christmas so everyone is able to join us and still spend Christmas with their families.

    1. Mia Marlowe says:

      Rolling parties, first with friends, then with family–what a great idea!

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