Today I am so pleased to welcome Lily Morton to Joyfully Jay. Lily has come to talk to us about her latest release, On a Midnight Clear. She has also brought along a great giveaway. Please join me in giving her a big welcome!
I shake my head, half slipping, half falling onto the plinth, where I sprawl.
“This is real?” I say again but asking him this time.
He smiles. “Of course.”
“It was the Holly King.”
“I’m sorry? The Holly who?”
He laughs. “The Holly King who rules this land for the dark half of the year. His power is great now. After Ostara, the spring equinox, it will wane, and his brother, the Oak King, will hold sway again over the light half of the year.”
“I’m sorry. I know you’re speaking English, but I do not understand a word you’re saying.”
He grins, and to my astonishment, he swings round to sit next to me. I shift up slightly, but I can still smell him. It’s a wonderful warm scent like gingerbread baking, and it fills the air with its biting sweetness. He squeezes my hand, and I gasp as I have a sudden image of a dark forest and coming out into the open and seeing the sea in front of me speckled by starlight. I pull my hand away, and when I blink, the vision disappears.
When I turn to my statue, I find him running his fingers along the marble bed. “It is rather uncomfortable when I’m not marble,” he muses. “I cannot believe I lay on that for all these years.”
I sigh, giving in. This is real. “I’m not sure what’s happened apart from the fact that a king was responsible, but this sort of thing just doesn’t happen to me. I’m very boring.”
His eyes suddenly flash. “You are far from boring, Barnaby,” he says, and I hear the slight accent in his voice that makes my name sound suddenly special. “You are the Keeper of the Wood.”
“What does that mean?”
“It is your sacred task. Generations of Greenwoods have done the same. That is why you have your name. You keep the green wood free from interlopers and danger. It is a very sacred place.” I shake my head, and he smiles. “So, the king owed you a boon,” he says, watching me, his eyes bright.
The words ring a bell, and I search my brain before gasping. “The old man said that to me.”
“He was no old man,” he scoffs. “He was no mortal.”
He chuckles, petting the dog, who has come to sit between us. He’s a fetching little thing. “He is the Holly King.”
“You’ve said that before, but I’d like to know what it means.”
“He is the reason you deck your homes with boughs of holly. He is the ruler of winter, the lord of the dark days, the god of all transformations.”
He comes to a stop, and I lick my lips nervously. “So, what you are telling me is that the mad old bloke who was sitting in my sculpture room without buying a ticket, I might add, was actually a mystical being who has granted me a boon and made you come alive.” The dog barks. “Oh, and the dog too.”
“His name is Cyrus, and yes, Barnaby, you are right. I am alive.”
It can safely be said that Lord Barnaby Greenwood is not having the best of Christmases.
He’s penniless, up to his eyeballs in debt, and about to lose his estate. Therefore, it’s hardly surprising that when a local property developer offers a lot of money to buy King’s Wood from him, Barnaby is very tempted. But his father had always impressed on him that the green wood was sacred and must be protected at all costs, so he finds himself saying no.
He knows this will result in the loss of his home, but duty comes before everything. However, that fateful decision leads instead to a magical Christmas for Barnaby, complete with an old god who grants him a favour, and a beautiful statue that comes to life.
Cosmo is perfect for him. He’s funny and kind and completely enraptured with Barnaby, and for the first time in his life, Barnaby falls in love. But how can this lead to anything but heartache, when on the last stroke of midnight on Christmas Eve, Cosmo will go back to being a statue and take Barnaby’s heart with him?
From bestselling author Lily Morton comes a truly magical romantic comedy.
Lily is a bestselling gay romance author. She writes love stories filled with heat and humour.
She lives in sunny England with her husband and two children, all of whom claim that they haven’t had a proper conversation with her since she got her Kindle.
Lily has spent her life with her head full of daydreams, and decided one day to just sit down and start writing about them. In the process she discovered that she actually loved writing, because how else would she get to spend her time with hot and funny men?
She loves chocolate and Baileys and the best of all creations – Chocolate Baileys.
Connect with Lily:
Facebook | Lily’s Snark Squad Facebook Group | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest |Website | Newsletter | Amazon Page | Goodreads | BookBub
To celebrate Lily’s new release, we are giving you a chance to win your choice of any book from Lily’s backlist! Three winners will be chosen!
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Welcome, Lily, and thanks for the excerpt and the giveaway chance. Best wishes for the success of On a Midnight Clear!