Christmas At Eden Manor
by Noelle Adams
Brie Graves might be jobless, living with her brother, and recovering from a painful break-up, but she’s determined to enjoy the holidays. Until the end of the year, she’s going to do anything she wants to do, no matter how crazy it might be. Soon, she discovers exactly what she wants–to spend a week with a fascinating, sophisticated stranger. It doesn’t matter that she only knows his first name or that he’s more than twenty years older than her. After this one week, she’ll never see him again.
Cyrus Damon has spent his life making money and holding himself to impossibly high standards. Pressured into taking a vacation in Savannah, he’s alone and at loose ends, so he lets himself do something he never would have considered otherwise. He gives in to his attraction to a beautiful, free-spirited, and much-too-young woman. But, after the week is over, he’ll once more be the man he’s always been, left with nothing but the memory of a woman who made him happier than he’s ever been.
He has no idea that when he visits his nephew in a charming bed and breakfast called Eden Manor, he’ll find the woman he thought he’d left for good.
Christmas at Eden Manor is a short holiday romance with an old-fashioned hero in his fifties and a lot of swoony romance. It concludes a sequence of three series (Heirs of Damon, Beaufort Brides, and Eden Manor), but it can easily be read as a standalone.
People tend to accept what’s easy, without considering whether it’s real or true. Thus they take in so many half-truths and lies because they make them fell what they want to feel.
I sometimes feel exactly the same way. As if everyone else has found life, and I’m just treading water, watching other people’s ships go by.
You’re my blessing, my strength, my solace, a gift I’ll never deserve.
Noelle Adams is a recent find for me and I have enjoyed her engaging and tender stories. The characters in this story were intriguing, smart, and immediately likable. They were good for each other and I reveled in a couple who were enjoying being together as a refreshing change from storylines of constant conflict and angst. The writing was sweet and insightful, as well as deliciously steamy. Both characters were individually taking unplanned month long breaks for themselves, and had decided to spend that time doing only as they pleased. Which led me to ponder – what would I do if I had a month of doing just as I pleased?
Excerpt from Christmas at Eden Manor:
When they’d finished the last of the wine and the mousse had been licked clean, Brie put down her spoon and collapsed back in her chair. “Wow. That was probably the best dinner—the best meal—I’ve ever had.”
Cyrus smiled at her, almost fondly. “Good. I’ll tell Gordon you appreciated it.”
“Who decided on the menu and… ambiance?”
He arched his eyebrows in amused irony. “It was Gordon. He was very pleased about this dinner, and he might have gone a bit too far in setting the mood.”
Intrigued, Brie felt a little less boneless, so she managed to lean forward, resting her head on one hand. “Really? Does he do a lot of matchmaking for you?”
“He never has before,” Cyrus said with a half shrug. “I was as surprised as you were.”
“Were you really? You acted totally suave, like you have romantic dinners like this all the time.”
“I doubt you’d believe me if I told you how long it’s been since I’ve had a romantic meal of any kind.”
A surge of curiosity banished a lot of her decadent languor. “How long?” she demanded.
Cyrus’s mouth twisted into what might have been a sheepish smile. “I don’t think I’m going to tell you.”
“But I want to know.”
His eyes transformed as he gazed at her. The shift was almost imperceptible, but Brie felt a shudder shape itself in the base of her spine in response to his expression. “Do you always get what you want?” Cyrus continued, his voice throaty, the texture making her shudder even more.
“No,” she admitted. “Almost never.”
“There’s something wrong with a world where such a thing is true.”
It took her a minute to unravel this comment, but when she did she was moved even more. The man didn’t even seem to be trying, but he had the knack for always saying the right thing, for being kind and romantic and civilized, all at exactly the same time.
She’d never believed it was possible before.
She knew she was treading in dangerous waters here. She was on the verge of being swept away by him completely. She wanted to enjoy herself with him this week, but she didn’t want to do something so foolish it would leave her hurt and lonely next week.
She didn’t know this man. Not really. So she could feel a resistance rising inside her, at the same time as the deep attraction.
She needed to change the mood between them. Quickly.
“Let’s walk some more,” she suggested lightly. “I could use it after such a meal.”
He stood up and took her hand to help her out of her seat. Then he didn’t let her hand go as they strolled through the gardens again.
She soon realized her suggestion might have been a mistake. The rich scent of the air, the soft moonlight, and the feel of Cyrus’s warm hand quickly went to her head. She felt unsteady, overly warm, and so fluttery she couldn’t take a deep breath.
“God, Cyrus!” she gasped, as an ache of need pulsed through her before she was ready to handle it.
Cyrus had appeared calm, leisurely, at his ease. But he’d evidently been fighting feelings of his own. Her breathless cry seemed to snap his control. He used his clasp on her hand to pivot her around and then slid his free arm around her, pressing her against the length of his body.
His warm, lean strength was exactly what Brie wanted to feel. She freed her hand from his and instinctively twined her arms around his neck. With his hand now free, he used it to cup the back of her head.
“You’re so beautiful, Brie,” he murmured thickly. “So beautiful and… and glowing with life.” His eyes like flames, almost fierce in the moonlight, he leaned his head down to claim her lips.
About Noelle Adams:
Noelle handwrote her first romance novel in a spiral-bound notebook when she was twelve, and she hasn’t stopped writing since. She has lived in eight different states and currently resides in Virginia, where she reads any book she can get her hands on and offers tribute to a very spoiled cocker spaniel.
She loves travel, art, history, and ice cream. After spending far too many years of her life in graduate school, she has decided to reorient her priorities and focus on writing contemporary romances.