Today I’m hosting Jenna Jaxson’s hero from her Christmas novella, A Kiss Beneath the Mistletoe.
Pleased to meet you, Mr Isley. Will you introduce yourself to readers?
My name is Alexander Charles Isley, only son and heir to Sir Henry and Lady Isley. Until lately I lived in London, as most gentlemen of good name do. At the beginning of December I was summoned home to attend a birthday party for one of our family friends. Her name is Miss Jenny Crowley and we’ve known each other since we were children. Our parents are great friends and Jenny, that is, Miss Crowley, was my sister’s best friend.
Sounds like fun. What do you believe is your most attractive feature? Physically, I would say my smile. *he smiles a lopsided grin* It never fails to annoy Miss Crowley. My best inner feature is protectiveness. I am protective to a fault. I’ve told Jenny…Miss Crowley, that is, that I meant to keep her safe from making a terrible mistake, and I’ll take drastic measures if I have to, to do it.
Such the gentleman. How do you stay fit? When I’m in London I box at Jackson’s, of course. I also train at fencing, although it is mainly for the exercise. No one defends themselves that way anymore, although it’s nice to be able to do so, should the need arise. When I’m in the country I ride a great deal and walk as well.
I always enjoyed horseback riding. If you could change one thing in your life, what would it be? I think I would not have gone to university. It was stimulating, as one might expect, but I feel perhaps the money could have been better spent on the estate and training me to run it.
They say it makes one more cultured but I find it makes some snobby. **smiles** But not you! What do you consider your most comfy article of clothing? My blue silk damasked banyan, sort of a dressing gown. It is the perfect garment for relaxing either at night or in the morning before breakfast.
What’s your method of travel and is said mode special to you. Well, it depends on where I’m going. Around the estate I use either a horse or carriage, although usually my horse. In London I can use either, but I prefer the carriage. I’m planning on acquiring a curricle, but recent circumstances may delay that purchase indefinitely. I am quite fond of my horse, Rubicon, or Con for short.
Like that name. So, do you have a hobby? Well, I pursue all the pastimes a fashionable gentleman in London of 1819 ought to. I ride, I shoot, I box, I fence, I gamble (although not to excess), I dance, I go to my club in the evenings. Do I prefer one of these pastimes to another, perhaps I am more fond of boxing than of the others.
Sounds like you’re a well rounded fellow. A favorite place you’d like to travel. I would love to travel to the Continent, to Italy, for a honeymoon perhaps, although I am not looking to get leg-shackled any time soon. I am not quite four and twenty yet.
Leg-shackled…LOL! A favorite piece of clothing to remove from your lover? That is rather an impertinent question. However, I can envision unpinning the jeweled hairnet from…a certain lady’s hair, very slowly, watching and waiting as her hair droops lower and lower until it finally cascades about her shoulders in a riot of chestnut curls.
Sorry, we’ve become a bit presumptuous in the last century. Hope my next question isn’t too personal. Do you rely on your physical prowess or your intelligence to attract a lover? I suspect I wish the answer was the latter, but in truth I fear it is the former. Women can so easily become victims of unscrupulous men and in my day and time need a strong man to defend them. Such strength would be therefore attractive to women in distress. Knowing how to use both weapons and my hands for defense, I do rely on those things to attract ladies more often than intelligence.
Is there a specific type of woman that attracts you? Does your current lover meet the criteria? I would have told you that a petite figure with blond hair and sky blue eyes were the most attractive of features. However, upon further reflection, a tall, curvaceous shape with long chestnut curls and bright blue eyes seems most attractive to me. I do not have a “lover” at the present time, although I will confess that Miss Crowley is possessed of an exquisite pair of blue eyes, long shining chestnut curls, and luscious red lips. I would not refuse the chance to “run the mistletoe” with her.
Well that pretty much sums it up Mr. Isley. Thank you for patience and answer such personal question. My author knows best. In fact she left an excerpt for your readers. I hope you enjoy.
“Aunt Arabella, what is this running the mistletoe Lady Celinda told me about? I’ve not heard of it before.”
“Well, that is a bit of a story.” Her aunt laughed and linked arms with her. “It’s a particular custom in Marbury’s family. His mother is German and when she married, she brought a lot of those customs to England. That’s why we celebrate Christmas with a Christmas tree.”
“I’d wondered about that,” Jenny said with a smile. “Mama thought it very odd when she first heard of it.”
“Many people do, although Queen Charlotte had one for many years.”
“Yes, I’d heard that as well. And we are to decorate it this afternoon, aunt?” It sounded like a fun time. “And the Snapdragon? We will have that as well, won’t we?”
“Of course.” Aunt Arabella stopped to look around. “This way,” she called to the larger party following behind them and pointed to several large evergreen trees on her left.
“But what is running the mistletoe?” Jenny had almost forgotten about that mysterious event.
Aunt Arabella laughed, a ringing sound in the crisp air. “You know what mistletoe is?”
Jenny nodded. She’d seen sprigs of it hung over the doorway at home at Christmas and caught her parents kissing under it a time or two.
“Well, when we come to cut greenery for the house, we also find a ball of mistletoe to take back as well.” Her eyes twinkled. “Be careful going through the doorways for the next couple of weeks, Jenny. You don’t know who you’ll meet coming the opposite way. I suspect you’ll end up collecting a lot of little white berries.”
“What do you mean, aunt?” Collecting berries? How odd.
“For each kiss, the gentleman cuts off one of the berries and gives it to the young lady he kissed.”
Jenny’s cheeks heated despite the nipping cold, and her aunt laughed.
“But since the ball we find out here is high off the ground, we do something different in the woods. The story goes that several generations ago, in the Dowager Viscountess’s family, an earlier Viscount Marbury arrived with letters of introduction from England. According to family history, he was out in the woods with a large party, searching for a Christmas tree to cut down. He spied some mistletoe high in a tree, directly above a pretty young lady of the family. He gave a great shout and began to chase her. She screamed and ran, but he caught her underneath the mistletoe and kissed her hand.” Aunt Arabella smiled. “Marbury’s family has continued this tradition, although it’s changed a bit from that original run. Now the participants line up and the young men dare the ladies to run underneath the mistletoe. They give them a five count start and if they can catch them by the time they reach the mistletoe ball, they can claim a kiss.” Her aunt grinned and whispered, “That’s how I met Marbury.”
“Really, Aunt?” Jenny’s heart beat a little faster. Would she fall in love with someone who caught her under the mistletoe?
A Kiss Beneath the Mistletoe is available at
Jenna Jaxon is a multi-published author of historical and contemporary romance. She has been reading and writing historical romance since she was a teenager. A romantic herself, she has always loved a dark side to the genre, a twist, suspense, a surprise. She tries to incorporate all of these elements into her own stories. She lives in Virginia with her family and a small menagerie of pets. When not reading or writing, she indulges her passion for the theatre, working with local theatres as a director. She often feels she is directing her characters on their own private stage.
Jenna is a PAN member of Romance Writers of America as well as President of Chesapeake Romance Writers, her local chapter of RWA.
She has equated her writing to an addiction to chocolate because once she starts she just can’t stop.
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