Title: Transformed by a Christmas Star
Series: Lords of the Night
Author: Sandra Sookoo
Genre: Regency Romance, Paranormal Romance, Shifter Romance
Publisher: Blue Tulip Publishing
He’s angry and questioning, but doomed to be alone… Sir Sebastian George Sutcliffe, Baron Wimsley, is a wolf shifter. He’s come to London to demand answers from his half-brother, the Duke of Manchester. On his way to see that austere personage, he spots a shooting star and makes a desperate Christmastide wish he hopes will help him survive his miserable life, but the delicate beauty he finds in Hyde Park might just change everything.
She’s lost, but seeks true purpose… Miss Estelle Forbes has been cast from the heavens as a star to escape a dark, desolate future. When she falls to earth, she takes the form of a human without a history or knowledge of the cold world she plunged into. As a handsome stranger rescues her, she immediately feels a strong connection to him. Perhaps her light is meant to guide him.
Love creeps in to save them both… As Sebastian and Estelle learn about each other, they’re both forced to confront the difficulties in their lives. Along the way, a courtship happens and brings about a sweet romance to strengthen that invisible bond, but their hidden secrets and old lives threaten the budding happiness. Only a Christmastide miracle can usher in a happily ever after.
No sooner had he gained the impact point than the strange glow faded, leaving darkness in its wake. He let his eyes adjust to the sudden change in light then set about attempting to locate the rock or piece of ice that had slammed into the earth.
Two steps ahead, he stumbled over something, lost his footing and flailed his arms, did a set of hops and staggers in order to keep his footing. “Damn and blast.” By the time he’d returned his attention to the offending object, he sucked in a breath. “What is that?” It was no rock or even a tree stump.
Lying in a shallow crater with the sides and dead grasses decorated with black scorched marks was a woman, unconscious and dressed in a diaphanous garment of shimmering silver that sparkled in the faint light of the half-moon. The fabric moved with each breath she took.
“Bloody hell, she’s still alive!” His whisper sounded overly loud in the sudden hush of the park. But where was the shooting star, and what had that object been?
Her blonde hair lay in disarray about her head and shoulders. It fairly glowed with a light of its own, and as he stood staring down at her, that vibrancy faded too.
Sebastian glanced around the area. There was no indication that she’d arrived by way of a carriage and there certainly wasn’t another soul in sight who had possibly accompanied her. Where the deuce had she come from and what had brought her to this pass?
Poke her, his wolf encouraged.
I won’t. He continued to peer at her. The woman didn’t move with the exception of her shallow breathing.
Kiss her, the wolf said instead.
Need slammed through Sebastian’s chest. She was certainly pretty enough and had curves to tempt a saint—and blast if every contour and shadow she possessed wasn’t on display through the sheer fabric of her gown. But he refused to accost a woman who lay unconscious. That I won’t do either.
She’s ripe for the plucking, and we haven’t had a woman in forever, his wolf was quick to remind him.
A sigh shuddered from him and he glanced away to the darkened trees even as his groin stiffened. I am aware, but I enjoy my bedmates livelier when I make love to them.
Which brought him back to his original problem. What to do about the woman who obviously required assistance or perhaps even medical help? Yet, she wasn’t his business. He didn’t know her, and if someone hadaccompanied her, no doubt they’d arrive on the scene soon, probably taking exception to his looming over her. And he didn’t need a bout of fisticuffs and bruises.
I cannot, in good conscience, leave her here.
Inside his mind, his wolf howled with laughter. You have no conscience, good or otherwise.
Be that as it may, I must render my assistance.
His wolf snorted. Are you playing at being a hero now? That’s not your usual mien.
Consternation and self-loathing knotted his gut. No, I can never claim that title, but I do have a bit of compassion and mean to use it now.
So saying, Sebastian knelt in the snow beside her. “Miss?” He touched her shoulder, which was warm; she hadn’t been exposed to the elements long. “Miss, can you hear me?” Giving her a little shake, he waited for a reaction.
She stirred, uttered a tiny sigh and then opened her eyes, which were gray, almost silver really, and seemed to hold a thousand secrets swirling in those depths. Then confusion filled them and she started upon focusing on his face. A shiver racked her body.
“Gentle, now. Easy,” he said in a soothing manner he’d used with skittish horses at his country estate. “No sudden movements until I can ascertain if you are unwell.” Again, he touched her shoulder and she gasped.
The woman shook her head. She stared up into the sky and put a hand to her ivory throat. The shimmering fabric of her gown showed off more of her body than it concealed, and Sebastian was hard-pressed not to stare that the hardened outlines of her nipples. “Where…? How…?” Her voice, melodious but scratchy as if from misuse, danced through the air before the wind snatched it.
Sebastian tried to quiet her as best he could. “You’ve apparently been in an accident of some sort,” he said in hushed tones with another look about the area. “Are you hurt?”
“Hurt?” she repeated slowly. Her delicate eyebrows scrunched together. “What is hurt?”
“I’m quite sure I don’t know unless you tell me.” Was the woman daft or had she injured her head in the accident? He swept his attention over her brow and temples, but there was no blood to indicate a blow. “Do you require assistance?”
“Assistance,” she again repeated with the same slow utterance as before, like she mulled over the words because they were unfamiliar.
“Do you speak English?” he asked instead. Perhaps she wasn’t from London at all and had difficulty with the language.
“Ah.” Her eyes brightened for a second before the concern, and was that pain, clouded them. “I think so, but I’ll require a few minutes to find out.”
Hellfire and damnation. What did that mean? Sebastian sat back on his heels. “I would caution you not to wait too long, for it is cold out here and you are not dressed for the elements.” He frowned, watching her face for signs of distress.
Where had she come from and who the devil was she? A shiver of something zipped down his spine. If she was lost and abandoned, what would happen to her?
Take her under your protection. She’s fine enough to become your mistress, his wolf suggested with a very beastly grin in his mind.
No. Sebastian shook his head. She doesn’t have that look. Did she? And he wasn’t in the habit of abducting random women to warm his bed. “Miss? I require some answers.”
Once he had her settled, he would continue on his own personal task of begging his own.
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Sandra Sookoo is a USA Today bestselling author who firmly believes every person deserves acceptance and a happy ending. Most days you can find her creating scandal and mischief in the Regency-era, serendipity and happenstance in Victorian America or snarky, sweet humor in the contemporary world. Most recently she’s moved into infusing her books with mystery and intrigue. Reading is a lot like eating fine chocolates—you can’t just have one. Good thing books don’t have calories!
When she’s not wearing out computer keyboards, Sandra spends time with her real life Prince Charming in central Indiana where she’s been known to goof off and make moments count because the key to life is laughter. A Disney fan since the age of ten, when her soul gets bogged down and her imagination flags, a trip to Walt Disney World is in order. Nothing fuels her dreams more than the land of eternal happy endings, hope and love stories.
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