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It’s First Kiss Friday and my guest today is Amy Rose Bennett who is sharing an excerpt from her novel, The Ice Duchess. Get a fan out, my friends. This one will spark all kinds of feels… Happy reading and enjoy!

The Ice Duchess: Scandalous Regency Widows, Book 2 by Amy Rose Bennett

The First Kiss

“I’d heard that you hardly ever lose, Your Grace. I’ve come to offer my apologies for spoiling your run.”

She sensed the undercurrent of smug amusement in his voice. Yes, he was definitely an arrogant peacock.

Steeling herself against any further errant physical reactions, she angled herself toward him and summoned a slight smile that she hoped conveyed a lack of concern. “It’s no matter,” she lied.

His wide mouth tilted into a smile. “Hmm… Your brother didn’t think you’d feel that way.”

She bristled. “So Jonathon put you up to this,” she accused, unable to hide the sharp note of irritation in her voice. “Well it won’t work you know. I’m not interested in engaging in flirtatious banter as you make a futile attempt to woo me.”

Markham lifted a dark eyebrow and the corner of his mouth quirked. “So cynical, Your Grace. But I like a challenge.” He slid a little closer to her and sought her gaze. Even though the terrace was only dimly lit by patches of light spilling through the salon’s main door and the softly glowing lanterns placed at strategic intervals around the garden, she thought she detected a sincere light in his dark gray eyes. “However it seems I have put you out. Again I apologize.”

He paused and leaned a little closer, his shoulder touching hers, the tantalizing scent of his expensive cologne wrapping around her. His breath warmed her ear. “Perhaps I could even offer you some recompense for ruining your winning streak. Make it up to you.”

He was much too close. Georgie’s mouth went dry and she fought the urge to take another sip of champagne. Instead she placed the flute on the balustrade and faced him, readying herself to quit the terrace. “I assure you that’s not necessary, Lord Markham. Besides I’m certain that I wouldn’t be interested in anything you had to offer.”

“Are you sure?” His gaze pointedly fell to her lips before returning to her eyes.

She only just repressed a most unlady-like urge to snort. “It sounds like whatever you have in mind would be rather more for your benefit than mine.”

His mouth curved into a slow, sensual smile. “I’m sure it would be mutually beneficial. In fact, I promise you that you’ll thoroughly enjoy what I’m offering.”

Damn him. She realized that despite her urge to berate him for his audacity, part of her knew she probably would enjoy what he was so clearly proposing to do.

His gaze roamed over her face before dropping to her mouth again. He angled his head a little, moved imperceptibly closer. He was going to kiss her she was sure of it.

But then he drew back. Frustration as well as an unexpected surge of desire flared. “You’re teasing me, Lord Markham.”

“Just heightening your anticipation, trying to turn the odds in my favor. Besides, I’m still waiting to hear if you’ll actually accept my offer of recompense. You won’t be disappointed.”

She shot him a heated, hopefully withering look. “You are so cock-sure of yourself.”

He smiled and shrugged a wide shoulder, clearly unperturbed. “So?”

“So what?”

“May I kiss you, Your Grace?”

Georgie narrowed her eyes, resisting the urge to let her gaze drop to his suddenly all too tempting mouth. “I’ve a mind to say no.”

“But you won’t.”

No, she wouldn’t.

Markham knew it too. That utterly enticing, languorous smile appeared again and she felt breathless. Almost lightheaded. She grudgingly acknowledged that it had been a long time since she’d been so affected by a man. Been kissed by a man.

She was such a fool to crave something that could only be bad for her.

Markham closed the small distance between them and raised a hand to wind one of her brown curls around one long finger. “Beautiful,” he murmured, watching it slide off before he gently brushed the back of his hand across her fevered cheek. Her breath caught and his gaze returned to hers. “You’re nervous,” he said, a note of surprise in his voice.

Georgie swallowed. Yes, she was. But she didn’t want to acknowledge the real reason why. “We… I need to be discreet that’s all,” she lied.

He frowned. “Of course.” He glanced over to the salon door before he gently reached for her arm and drew her into a dark corner behind a screen of potted firs. Even that simple touch—his hand on the bare skin between her sleeve and glove—sent a strange shiver of heat through her.

Heaven help her. She mustn’t be in her right mind to be letting him do this, drawing her closer, his large hands on her all but bare shoulders. And how strange that she suddenly wanted him to kiss her so very much. She closed her eyes—raised her hands to his wide chest, and then felt his firm, warm lips angle across her own.

His kiss was surprisingly light at first, undemanding—it was almost as if he was anticipating she would change her mind. But it wasn’t enough. It wasn’t what he had promised. He was holding back, teasing her, provoking her.

Arousing her.

Without conscious thought, she leaned closer into him, inviting him to take more. At last one of his hands rose to cradle the back of her head and he drew her closer still—she willingly yielded to the increase in pressure against her mouth.

Yes. Her lips parted on a sigh and his tongue entered to softly taste her. Warm, drugging desire began to heat her blood, pulse insistently between her legs. Now even this gentle exploration wasn’t enough.

She could scarcely recall ever feeling this way before.

Needy, hungry. Insatiable.

She realized she wanted more. So much more.

Her hands curled into the lapels of his superfine jacket and she felt the kiss change again. Markham groaned against her mouth and pulled her hard against the long, hard length of his body. Then pushed her up against the wall. His tongue plunged farther, deeper and this time she answered with a bold sweep of her own tongue. Then another. Her hands tangled in his hair.

He tasted like cognac and heaven. He tasted like everything she used to desire.

Foolish, Georgie.

She abruptly pulled her mouth away, panting. Markham was breathing heavily too, the look in his eyes soft yet smoldering like hot, dark smoke.

He had been right about one thing. She hadn’t been disappointed.

“So, Your Grace,” Markham removed his hand from her nape and ran a finger along her undoubtedly kiss-swollen lower lip. His gaze was intent, his voice a soft caress in itself. “Did I succeed? Are you appeased?”

Appeased? Georgie felt anything but appeased. She felt restless and ruffled. Reluctantly aroused. She pressed her lips together, not willing to concede her enjoyment. The man was already far too conceited for words. “It was just a kiss, Lord Markham.”

Blurb for The Ice Duchess (Scandalous Regency Widows, Book 2) by Amy Rose Bennett:

Georgiana Dudley, the ‘Ice Duchess’, has just emerged from mourning after a nine-year marriage of convenience to the Duke of Darby, her twin brother’s lover. Deeply hurt by a scoundrel a decade ago, Georgie swore she would never turn her head for any man, let alone another rakehell. But then she encounters the wickedly handsome and all too charming Rafe Landsbury, the Earl of Markham and against her better judgment, her interest is reluctantly aroused. An affair may be impossible to resist but dare she trust Lord Markham with her most intimate secrets… and her heart?

Society believes Rafe to be a diplomat but for many years he has been working on the Continent as a spy for the Crown. Leaving the shadowy world of espionage behind, he returns to London with the intention of finding a wife. When he is paired with the frosty yet fascinating Duchess of Darby at the piquet table during a ton ball, he is intrigued. Do-or-die man that he is, he’s certainly not going to let her cool demeanor dissuade him from pursuing her.

When Rafe’s dark past returns to endanger Georgie, he is determined to protect her at all costs, even if that means hiding who he once was. With the stakes so high, both Georgie and Rafe must decide if love is a risk worth taking…

Heat Level: Steamy to hot. This story is a Regency romance with open-door love-making scenes and frank language is used.

Additional information: This novel can be read as a stand-alone but is part of a loosely linked series, Scandalous Regency Widows.

Buy Link: The Ice Duchess can be read for free through Kindle Unlimited or buy here at Amazon 

About the Author

Amy Rose Bennett has always wanted to be a writer for as long as she can remember. An avid reader with a particular love for historical romance, it seemed only natural to write stories in her favorite genre. She has a passion for creating emotion-packed—and sometimes a little racy—stories set in the Georgian and Regency periods. Of course, her strong-willed heroines and rakish heroes always find their happily ever after.

Amy is happily married to her own Alpha male hero, has two beautiful daughters, and a rather loopy Rhodesian Ridgeback. She has been a speech pathologist for many years but is currently devoting her time to her one other true calling—writing romance.

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