It’s another First Kiss Friday and my guest today is Katherine Lowry Logan who is sharing an excerpt from The Sapphire Brooch. I hope you enjoy this excerpt as much as I did! I may now have to grab the whole series! Happy reading, my friends, until next week!
Excerpt from THE SAPPHIRE BROOCH (Book 3 in The Celtic Brooch Series) Time Travel Historical Romance set in the present and during the last year of the Civil War. Charlotte Mallory is a 21st century surgeon. Braham McCabe is a Union officer. Charlotte saved his life when she took him to the future for surgery. They are now back in Washington in 1865.
A knock on Charlotte’s bedroom door startled her awake. Her eyes popped open to see Braham standing in the doorway. “You left the door ajar. It’s allowed all the heat to escape the room. And you look uncomfortable on the loveseat. Why don’t you sleep in your bed?”
She yawned, shivering. “Jack stopped by to talk. I must have dozed off after he left.” Although smoldering ash of a dying fire scented the air, he was right, there was no heat coming from the red, yellow, and orange embers. “I’m surprised you’re here. I didn’t expect to see you again.”
“And I thought you’d be gone, too.” His voice was low and husky.
“I don’t make it a habit of disappearing into the night like some people I know.”
He leaned back against the doorframe, wearing only a pair of trousers with suspenders dangling down his legs. Damp hair reaching his shoulders dribbled glistening drops of water onto his bare chest. The whiskers she’d seen earlier had given way to a smooth-shaven, expressionless face, but she sensed the roiling going on inside of him. He closed the door and sidled over to the fireplace where he added wood and poked the dying embers, coaxing it to reluctant life. He then turned to face her, the furrows in his forehead deepening.
“I had to leave Jack at the hotel tonight. I didn’t want him to follow me.”
She reached for a shawl tossed over the back of the loveseat and draped the warm velvet around her shoulders, snugging the ends close to her body. “Am I going to read about Booth’s murder in the morning paper?”
He set the poker aside and picked up the bellows. A whoosh of air stirred the embers even more, until red-gold sparks burst into brilliant flames. “If you do, it won’t be my doing.”
He turned, and those kindling eyes of his pierced her soul, deeper than they had any right to penetrate. She squeezed hers shut, pushing away his intrusion. Could he see her defenses crumbling? Because they were. Like sand castles when the tide comes in. She couldn’t speak; tears were too near the surface.
She took a breath and looked at him once more, saying softly, “Why are you here?”
Although the burning logs sizzled and popped, he poked at them again somewhat absentmindedly. “I didn’t want our earlier meeting to be my last memory of you.”
Unsure of him, and definitely unsure of herself, she asked, “What kind of memory would you prefer?” Heat radiating off of him, imagined or real, nonetheless warmed her. She loosed the ends of the shawl.
He set down the poker. “That’s not a smart question to ask a man going off to war.”
“Are you…” Her voice cracked, and she tried again. “Are you going off to war?”
He crossed the flat woven carpet defining the edges of the small sitting area in her bedroom. She patted the sofa cushion, inviting him to sit. His shoulder brushed her arm, and his face was but inches from hers. The expression he wore was soft, eyes unguarded. With surprising tenderness, he stroked her cheek with his fingertips, up and down like a narrow brush, painting the essence of her.
He laughed softly. “It’s my job.”
She leaned toward him with her arm along the back of the love seat. “You scared me when you left the plantation. I imagined all sorts of things had happened to you, and almost all of them would have been better than what actually happened.”
His large hand traced the muscles of her arm with unsuspected gentleness. He brushed the shawl off of her shoulder and pinched a bit of her gown between his thumb and forefinger, toying with it softly. His eyes roved over her hungrily.
“I’m sorry.” There was a still, smooth tone to his voice, lulling.
The stew of her emotions came to a boil. “Now I understand how you can go into enemy territory and do what you do. It was no small feat to drive a car almost five hundred miles when you’d never driven before. You have nerves of steel.”
“Sometimes.” He let go of her gown and picked up one of her ringlets, carefully. “You looked beautiful tonight, elegant. I’d never seen you in anything other than scrubs and jeans.” The fingers of his other hand swept seductively across her chest below her collarbone, above her breasts. “Your décolletage—” he raised an eyebrow, “—is not for cads to view. Next time, I suggest you wear scrubs. If there is a next time.”
Heat rushed to her cheeks. There was nothing particularly revealing about the dress she’d worn tonight, at least by twenty-first century standards. Was it her imagination, or was he truly attracted to her? Did he find her desirable? Was his heart beating to the double-time cadence of a drummer like hers? “And now?” she asked, her voice soft, and she anchored her attention on him, careful not to move or blink or think beyond this moment. “How do you see me?”
“Very desirable.” His mouth twitched with the tiniest and briefest of smiles. He dropped the curl and picked up another one close to her ear, bushing her neck with the back of his hand. “I like your hair falling down around your face and shoulders.” He pulled the curl to his nose and sniffed, smiling.
She was silent for a long time, and so was he, seemingly content to listen to the wind. Embers fell apart and sparks floated like fireflies in the dimness of the room. She returned his gaze, waiting to hear the unspoken whispers hovering in the air. To say them would strip away all vestige of hope. He let the curl fall back into place, and, instead of picking up another one, he touched her cheek again. His scent was fresh and clean from the Proctor & Gamble white soap he had used, but there was an underlying scent—his own male musk—the kind of scent that pulled on a woman at a primal level. His thumb slid over the curve of her cheek, the line of her jaw, stopping at her mouth, gazing at her with a visual caress.
“I came for one last memory of you.”
“So you said,” she realized she sounded a bit breathless. “What you didn’t say was what kind of memory you would prefer.”
He nudged her chin up with his thumb. “I didn’t, did I?”
She touched his arm, which was warm beneath his shirt, and a shudder went through him. It went through her, too, pulsing and vibrating, and she moaned with a rush of desire. It seemed so natural to slip into his arms and share a kiss. His mouth came down slowly, tentative at first, then he kissed her full on the mouth, pulling on her bottom lip with his teeth, lightly and erotically. His large, gentle hands stroked her face. When their tongues touched, she tasted sweet whiskey on his warm breath. His tongue moved against hers, tantalizing her mouth with thorough, languid movements. She kissed him back, astonishing herself with a depth of passion she had not believed possible.
He leaned back with a groan, pulling her with him until she lay on top of his sprawled body. Only the thin silk of her gown and the wool of his trousers separated their tightly strung bodies, each molding against the other. Braham gripped the curves of her buttocks and nudged her ever closer. The hard outline of his pulsing erection pressed against her almost bare thigh.
And she desired him as feverishly as he wanted her. She skimmed her hand down the side of his face, tracing the lines of his chin, his neck, to the hollow of his throat, and kissed him there. He shifted his fingers through her curls from her nape to her crown. He nudged her chin up and coaxed her mouth to stay open.
He tasted wild and fresh, and the touch of lips seemed like something other than kissing—more urgent, more relentless, eroding her balance. She clutched his shoulders, curving her fingers over the long plane of bone and muscle to the hard nape of his neck. If she could crawl inside his skin and know him, know the flesh and blood of him, know his thoughts, she would go now, this very instant, and never look back. She threaded her fingers through damp, satiny hair, cradled his head, and kissed him intensely. A desperate ache burst low in her belly. Responding on her need alone, she pressed his hand against her breast.
“Do you feel the beat of my heart, the hum of my soul?” she whispered.
His fingers drifted over the round shape, cupping the top of the slope until her nipple ached sweetly.
“Yes.” There was a slight quiver in his voice.
“You’ve crumbled the defenses I created so long ago to keep from loving and wanting this much,” she said.
As their looks entwined, her hands moved to his buttons, longing to feel skin against skin, and aching to show him, silently, the depth of her desire for him.
He held her tightly against him, slowing her hands, and whispered in her ear words she did not understand—Gaelic words, she suspected—words making the candle he had lit in her heart flicker with hope.
With a soft breath she asked, “What’d you say?”
“I’ll live with your absence every day.” He eased curly wisps of hair behind her ear. “You’ve bewitched me with your eyes, your touch, and yes,” he squeezed her breast tenderly, “your heart. I thought you might have feelings for me though not so much as this. I care about you so much I canna take you now, knowing I must leave. And Jack would be a wee bit angry with me, too.”
“My life is my own. He won’t be angry. Come back with us.”
He shook his head. “You know I can’t.”
She laid her head on his chest, relishing the warmth of his hand still cupping her breast. His heart thumped against her cheek, solid and steady, relaxing some of the frozen bands of fear plaguing her since he’d left.
She had saved his life, unaware this moment would come. But even if she had known he might break her heart, she would have handed it to him gladly, wrapped in a package tied with hope and longing. Strands of dread coalesced into the cold shudder snaking down her backbone and coiling in her belly, twisting and knotting her insides. Would the knots ever untangle? She doubted it. Desire for him would hold her captive, and she would continue to dream there would one day be a time and place for them.
Bio and Social Media
Katherine graduated from Rowan University in New Jersey, where she earned a BA in Psychology with a minor in Criminal Justice. Following college, she attended the Philadelphia Institute for Paralegal Training before returning to Central Kentucky, where she worked as a real estate and tax paralegal. Katherine is a marathoner and lives in Lexington, Kentucky. When she’s not running or writing romance, she’s enjoying her five grandchildren: Charlotte, Lincoln Thomas, James Cullen, Henry Patrick, and Meredith Lyle. Please stop by and visit Katherine on her social media sites, or drop her an email. She loves to hear from readers.
I’m A Runner (Runner’s World Magazine Interview)
THE CELTIC BROOCH SERIES THE RUBY BROOCH (Book 1) Kit MacKlenna and Cullen Montgomery’s love story – Oregon Trail 1852
THE LAST MACKLENNA (Book 2 – not a time travel story) Meredith Montgomery and Elliott Fraser’s love story
THE SAPPHIRE BROOCH (Book 3) Charlotte Mallory and Braham McCabe’s love story during the Civil War 1864-65
THE EMERALD BROOCH (Book 4) Kenzie Wallis-Manning and David McBain’s love story during the week prior to D-Day, London 1945
THE BROKEN BROOCH (Book 5 – not a time travel story) JL O’Grady and Kevin Allen’s love story
THE THREE BROOCHES (Book 6) Mystery, suspense, and romance during a reunion with Kit and Cullen in San Francisco in 1881
THE DIAMOND BROOCH (Book 7, Spring of 2017) Jack Mallory and Amy Spalding’s love story in New York City in 1909.
THE PEARL BROOCH (Book 8, Fall of 2017) More brooches to come…
If you would like to receive notification of future releases, sign up today at KatherineLLogan.com or send an email to KatherineLLogan@gmail.com and put “Sequel” in the subject line.