Twelve Days of Christmas Mail-Order Brides: THE GOLD RING

On the fifth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me...

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Pearl knows she'll only ever be a whore. Her chance to be anything more was snatched away long ago, and the bitterness has eaten at her for years. What keeps her looking to the future is the opportunity to take care of and protect the other working girls at La Maison des Chats... Well that, and one particular customer who holds her heart, even if he would never consider a life with someone like her.

On Christmas Eve, a dozen new brides arrive in Noelle and are forced to take up residence in La Maison. Pearl is happy to be able to offer comfort and support, because the poor things need her help...even if their very presence is a sharp reminder that she can never be one of them.

But when the Reverend's scheme to get the brides married off falls through on only the second day of Christmas, it looks like the town will never be stable enough to entice the railroad spur they all desperately need. So Pearl agrees to a deception that will not only save the town, but bring her what she desperately wants: a marriage--even a pretend one--with the man she loves.

Little do they know just how dangerous this deception will turn out to be... 

Meet Caroline Lee

USA Today Bestseller Caroline Lee has been reading romance for so long that her fourth-grade teacher used to make her cover her books with paper jackets. But it wasn't until she (mostly) grew up that she realized she could WRITE it too. So she did.

Caroline is living her own little Happily Ever After in NC with her husband, sons, and brand-new daughter, Princess Wiggles. And while she doesn't so much "suffer" from Pittakionophobia as think all you people who enjoy touching Band-Aids and stickers are the real weirdos, she does adore rodents, and never met a wine she didn't like. Caroline was named Time Magazine's Person of the Year in 2006 and is really quite funny in person. Promise.


E.E.: How did you come up with the idea for this series?
Caroline: Totally in a dream. Sometimes I have dreams that are specifically related to my writing (as opposed to personal), and when I woke up, I KNEW this was a writing dream. Of course, it had been about a sheikh putting together a harem (heh), and I knew THAT wouldn't work for a series...but the more I thought about it, the more I realized the basic premise could work for mail-order brides, and it could be AWESOME if written by twelve different authors. Also: FUN!

E.E.: What has been the most exciting part of writing it?
Caroline: The coolest part of this project has been working with eleven other authors. I really loved seeing how each author incorporated the noun from the song's verse into their titles and into their books. There's been a lot of use of names--like the heroine from book #1 is Felicity Partridge--and then a lot of really wild, creative tie-ins. 

For the most part, the twelve of us meshed really well, which was great because we had to work so closely on this project! Not only are the books in the same series, they take place at the same time! So we had to not only communicate extensively while writing, but read and re-read each other's books and shared scenes, until we knew they meshed well. Even though these books came out in December, they've been a big part of our lives all year!

E.E.: What is the most challenging part of writing a multi-author series?
Caroline: Having to be a leader!! I stink at it; I would MUCH rather lead through democracy, asking everyone's opinion and doing my best to make sure everyone has a say and we can accommodate everyone's view. But with this many people involved, I HAD to make executive decisions, and that was really hard for me. Every time I did it, I cringed a little and wanted to apologize. I like to think those executive decisions have steered us well, but I second- and third-guessed them all! 

E.E.: Why did you pick the 5th day?
Caroline: When I set out to make this series a reality, I contacted Kit Morgan and E.E. Burke to be co-leaders with me. When we met in person to discuss, Kit quickly got assigned the first day (she has experience leading a series like this) and E.E. was the natural choice to tie it all together. Ironically--considering I'd come up with the series--I didn't have a spot I really wanted. Honestly, I liked the seventh day, because I thought it would be neat to incorporate swans... 

But when we decided to put me in the middle, #5 was the natural choice, because hey! Romances and gold rings! Easy peasy! But I had the hardest time figuring out how to incorporate that ring into my book...

My story is about one of the town whores, who has appeared in a lot of the other books. There's a theme in this series of the town whores versus the mail-order brides (as the two groups of women in town), and I LOVED being able to portray one of the whores. I also got to set it up with a false bride and false groom, so it looked like the readers were going to have to read about a really horrible hero and heroine in book #5, but I switch them out at the last minute! That was part of the decision to put me right there in the middle.

E.E.: Do you have a favorite line or scene from The Gold Ring?
Caroline: This is my favorite scene, where Draven proves--with his actions--that he thinks Pearl is so much more than what their relationship had previously been. The book IS sweet (in that there's no sex on the page), but these two have some heat between them.

He stopped in the doorway, his eye raking her from head to toe. She placed one hand on her hip, thrust her breasts against the cotton of her camisole, and gave him the sultry, sensual look she and Jolie had spent hours perfecting in the mirror.
It didn’t work.
“What are you doing?”
His question flustered her. “What does it look like I’m doing?”
He didn’t answer. Instead, he stalked towards her, the heels of his boots echoing on the floorboards beneath them. “I thought you’d be in bed by now, trying to get warm.”
The mound of blankets was appealing, now that the stove’s heat had fizzled out. But she was on a mission, and wasn’t going to let anything get in her way. “I thought of another way to get warm.” 
There, that didn’t sound too silly, and it was true. Just the thought of Draven’s hand on her camisole—and on her skin under it—was enough to make her warm.
She began to untie the ribbon at the neck of the undergarment, but to her surprise, her fingers were shaking too much to make sense of the knot. 
“Pearl.” He stepped up to her, his large hand covering both of hers at her collarbone. “Stop.”
She tried to smile up at him, but wondered why it felt so watery. “I just…”
I have to thank you.
Shaking off his hand, she managed to untie her camisole. The two sides of the material gaped open, offering him a magnificent view of the inner valleys of her breasts. She held her breath as he stared down at her chest for a long moment. A muscle ticked in the unscarred side of his jaw, and she wondered what he was thinking.
Finally, his gaze lifted to hers, and she didn’t see any of the desire she’d hoped for. Here she was, in this man’s home—the reason she’d forced her way in here—and he couldn’t even summon a smidge of desire for her? 
“Pearl,” he repeated, his low and gentle, “what are you doing?”
Oh, God. He looked so fierce and deadly, but when he spoke to her like that—when he treated her like she was something special—her heart always broke from longing.
“I’m thanking you!” she cried, before she could think better of it. “You shared your food with me, you shared your home with me, and you didn’t have to! You didn’t have to do any of this! I just wanted to show you—”
This time his voice was harsher, and she bent her head in shame. She deserved his reproach. 
To her surprise, his hands came to the neckline of her camisole, like they’d done so many times before, but instead of pulling the white material apart, instead of exposing her breasts to the cold air and warming them with his tongue, he…he tied the ribbon closed. 
He protected her modesty.
And then he placed each of his large hands on her shoulders—close enough she could feel the sides of his thumbs, caressing the skin of her neck—and said, “Look at me, Pearl.”
She did. And when she looked into that dark eye of his, she saw something there she couldn’t identify. It wasn’t pity, and it wasn’t hope, and it wasn’t anger. It was a kind of fierceness she’d never seen on a man’s face before. 
“Are you listening?” he snapped.
Mutely, she nodded.
“You are more than a whore, Pearl.” He punctuated each sentence with a little shake. “If you want to thank a man, just thank him. You don’t need to trade your body for—for anything.” He swallowed. “Just say ‘thank you.’ ”
You are more than a whore..
Pearl blinked back tears. “Thank you,” she said thickly, not quite sure anymore what she was thanking him for. 


Twelve days. Twelve books. Twelve bestselling authors.

Twelve men. Twelve brides. Twelve days to save a town.

Christmas, 1876: Noelle, Colorado is in danger of becoming a ghost town if the railroad decides to bypass the mountaintop mining community. Determined to prove their town is thriving, twelve men commit to ordering brides before the railroad’s deadline six days into the New Year.

Each of the twelve women has her own reason for signing up to become a mail-order bride. But after they arrive in the uncivilized settlement, they aren’t so sure they’ve made the right decision. Neither are the grooms.

Will the marriages happen in time to save Noelle? The countdown starts on Christmas Day.

The Twelve Days of Christmas Mail-Order Brides, written by twelve bestselling authors, put a new twist on an old song in this heartwarming historical romance series.

The Partridge by Kit Morgan - A clever man’s plan becomes a matchmaking disaster…and the countdown begins to save the town of Noelle.

The Dove by Shanna Hatfield - A bewitching gypsy and a beguiled blacksmith tangle over a hidden treasure…with only eleven days left to save the town.

The Hens by Merry Famer - A wandering woman finds exactly who she was looking for, but not who she was expecting...with only ten days left to save the town.

The Calling Birds by Jacqui Nelson - A wanted woman's flight, a man in pursuit of honesty not stolen gold...and only nine days left to save the town.

The Gold Ring by Caroline Lee - A dangerous masquerade and a twist of fate put Noelle’s future at risk…with only eight days left to save the town

The Goose by Peggy Henderson - A woman on the run, a man who doesn't want to be caught—it's one wild goose chase…with only seven days left to save the town.

The Swan by Piper Hugely - A beautiful woman with secrets comes to Noelle to confront a powerful person with the truth...and only six days left to save the town.

The Maid by Rachel Wesson - A convicted murderer, a young maid on the run...and five days left to save the town.

The Dancing Lady by Mimi Milan - A desirous diner owner and a disguised dancer waltz their way to love... with only four days left to save the town.

The Lord by Danica Favorite - An assayer and a ladies maid, each living a lie. Will the truth ruin everything...with only three days left to save the town.

The Piper by Amanda McIntyre - A determined matchmaker, a stubborn mountain man...and only two days left to save the town!

The Drum by E.E. Burke - A bad luck bride, an exploding disaster…can Noelle be saved in just one day?

What is your favorite Christmas or holiday tradition? 🎄🎄🎄

Enter the Rafflecopter for a chance to win a copy of Caroline Lee's book, The Prince's Pea. (This is the first book where you'll meet Draven, the hero in The Gold Ring.) Don't forget to leave a comment!

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  1. Advent is my favorite part of he holidays.

  2. Decorating the Christmas Tree with my Grandson's & making Christmas cookies with them. Thanks for your great generosity.

  3. Making treats,pies,cookies,pralines and fudge.. Decorating

  4. Baking Christmas treats and driving around looking at the Christmas lights.

  5. My fav part is sending out Advent Calenders to all the kids on the day after Thanksgiving then on Dec 1st we put lights in all our windows. ptclayton2@aol.com

  6. Love the music and family gatherings.
    D K Stevens

  7. helping with the luminaries on Christmas Eve to light them and then go to church with the candle glow all around!

  8. Such an awesome interview! I really like Pearl, & can’t wait to meet her! My favorite part of the holidays is getting to hang out with my sibs & extended family.

  9. Decorating and baking!

  10. Making & sharing treats with family & friends.

    Kate Sparks girlygirlhoosier52@yahoo.com

  11. Our most important tradition (other than enjoying family) is attending Christmas Eve service. Another tradition that comes from my childhood- greet everyone on Christmas eve morning by saying "Christmas Eve Gift," and trying to be the first saying it.

    donna (dot) durnell (at) sbcglobal (dot) net

  12. I love baking and making cookie trays for my neighbors and friends.

  13. I love the quiet still time in the mornings before the four small children are up. A mug of tea in one hand, a book in the other with only the Christmas lights creating Christmas magic.

  14. Since I was a child, my extended family gets together on Christmas Eve on our 5-acre farm and act out a Nativity program with costumes and Christmas carols. We'd then have a bonfire with chili, Indian fry bread, and smores.