Any day I can introduce this marvelous author is indeed a great day. Today it’s my pleasure to have on First Kiss Friday my wonderful critique partner, Tricia Linden. Tricia is the first person (outside of family and close friends) who made me feel like a real author. We hope you enjoy this first kiss scene from Until We Meet Again. Happy reading and enjoy!
She was about to give up and return to her room when she heard a floor board creak out in the hallway. Her eyes flew to the gap beneath the door. Whoever was out there was sure to see the light from her oil lamp shining under the doorway and be likely to investigate. She looked around for a way to explain her presence in Mr. Stevenson’s room; something to hide the fact that she had been snooping. She spied a short stack of books on the side table next to Robert’s overstuffed reading chair. She grabbed the top book, plopped into the chair and opened the book as if she had been reading. Though she was trembling with nerves, she nearly laughed out loud when she read the title of the book; The Gilded Age: a Tale of Today by Mark Twain and Charles Dudley Warner. It was too perfect.
A second later, the door opened and in stepped Robert looking truly displeased, and perhaps a bit surprised.
“Miss Winters? What the hell are you doing in my bedroom?”
“Oh my god, Robert, you scared the begeebers out of me!” she said with a start. “I was looking for something to read and didn’t want to go all the way down to the library. I saw this book by Mark Twain and thought I would give it a go, but it’s perfectly awful. How can you read this stuff?” She was familiar enough with the novel to know it was one of Twain’s less successful efforts.
The anger in his eyes dimmed but his stance remained wary. “I enjoyed Twain’s Prince and the Pauper and wanted to give it a try, but it doesn’t compare. However, I don’t recall giving you permission to enter my room.”
“You’re quite right, of course, but since I knew you had moved to a guest room, I didn’t think it would be a problem and I was hoping to find a quick read before going to bed.”
She sat the book down on the side table with the others and stood to leave, but Mr. Stevenson held his place between her and the door. He glanced down at the pile of books for a quick second, and then returned his gaze to her, eyeing her from head to toe. He was no doubt questioning why she had taken the liberty of making herself at home in his room when she was dressed for bed. It probably looked as though she’d been lying in wait to seduce him, except she hadn’t expected him to return to his room. She’d been snooping, not planning seduction.
Silence crept up between them and expanded, robbing the air from her lungs. She really should leave. It was the only right thing to do. Making a fast and hasty retreat, no matter how guilty she appeared, was better than trusting her ability to resist Mr. Robert L. Stevenson. The look in his eyes had turned naughty and enticing; a toxic combination.
“So you felt it was acceptable to come into my room because you were looking for something to read?” His raised brow indicated a high level of disbelief.
“Yes, I was looking for something—something special. Something I didn’t expect to find in your library.” She wanted to tell him more, so much more. She wanted to come clean, to confide in him and bare her soul, but she couldn’t; the risk was too great.
“Really? Tell me about it.” He spoke with a lazy smile, leaning against the door frame, waiting. She could practically hear the thoughts zipping through his brain. In that respect, they were much alike. Rarely, was she able to turn off the constant chatter and indulge in the silence of the moment.
“It’s late. I should go,” she said.
“It’s never too late when you’re looking for exactly what you need. In fact, the way I see it, this is perfect timing. Since you’ve ventured into my bedroom in the dark of night, it only seems fitting that I should offer you a drink,” Robert said in that smooth double-o-seven voice of his. It appeared he’d already had a drink, or maybe three, probably while entertaining his clients at dinner. He closed the door behind him with a click. The crystal door knob glinted in the glow of the lamp light, mocking her thoughts of escape.
He shrugged out of his overcoat and hung it on a hook at the back of the door. Next, he removed his tie and cuff links before starting on the pearl buttons at the neck of his shirt.
Victoria watched in shocked fascination as his fingers deftly undid the top buttons of his shirt, one by one. She held her breath, wondering if he would continue to undress, hoping he would, knowing he shouldn’t. Her normal breathing resumed when he stopped and motioned to the liquor tray sitting on a sideboard.
“Will you join me?”
“For a drink?” Yes, a drink would do her good about now. Then, when she let him ravish her body, as she so wanted him to do, she could claim it was the fault of the liquor. “What do you have?” What was she thinking?
“Brandy, cognac, and port; which do you prefer?”
For hard spirits, she preferred shots of tequila, but was fairly certain the Mexican brew hadn’t yet made its way into many homes in nineteenth century New York. She really should say, “No, thank you,” and walk away, but instead she considered her options. “Brandy sounds interesting. I think I’d like to try that.”
“You don’t drink?” His brows quirked upward.
“No, of course not. I’m a governess.” The lie slipped easily from her lips. Everything about her was a lie; the way she pretended to be from this time, and that she wasn’t attracted to him. But this was wrong, so very wrong. She was the governess to his daughter and he was her employer. She should leave, and she would if he wasn’t blocking the door, and looking so sexy, and offering her a drink.
“I’ve seen you drink wine with dinner.” He moved away from the door and slipped off his suit coat which he draped over a ladder-back chair.
“Yes, but not hard spirits.” She shouldn’t be here in her night gown, accepting a drink from her employer while his shirt was nearly half unbuttoned, once again exposing a glimpse of his enticing chest. Perhaps it was time to use her position in his house as her shield against his enticements. Then again, since he was no longer blocking the door, perhaps she should just make a run for it. It was a great idea, if she wanted to look like a scared ninny.
He poured a generous amount of brandy into one glass. She wondered if that was for him or for her. He surprised her when he took a swallow and then handed her the glass.
“Are we expected to share?”
“I thought it best to see how you’ll react to something you haven’t tried before.”
She tilted her head in consideration. “Probably not a bad idea.” What was she saying? This whole thing was a bad idea.
She accepted the glass and sniffed. Smooth, not harsh. She guessed it to be expensive. She took a small sip to taste—very pleasant—and then another larger one. It burned, but not overly. The heat of the brandy felt good going down as it spread quickly through her body, leaving a comfortable blanket of warmth in its wake.
She handed him back the brandy and he drank the rest. “Would you like more?” he asked.
She wanted to say yes, but shook her head no, not trusting herself to speak.
“As you wish.” He set down the empty glass. The room hummed with sexual tension. He stepped close to her and paused, but only for a moment before he kissed her, leaving her no time to think, only react. He smelled of drink, with the sweetness of brandy lingering on his lips. She should be pushing him away. She should be slapping his face. Instead, she wrapped her arms around his neck and let him draw her tighter into his embrace, his body perfectly aligned with hers. This was all his fault. He was too darn sexy and she was too darn horny. But this was more than just hormones raging out of control. This was passion, damn it.
Heated passion spread through her body, melting her core and softening her resolve. She’d felt it before but she wouldn’t allow herself to feel it again. Horny was one thing—horny happened and then it was gone—but desire stayed tucked in a breast pocket, ready to dole out despair in moments of weakness long after the moment had ended.
Until We Meet Again
Victoria Winters doesn’t regret her affair at Woodstock, or that she returned from the past pregnant with a daughter who would never know her father. Maggie is the light of her life and her only desire is for the two of them to live happily ever after, but she’s deeply indebted to the Maestro, a mysterious man who saved her life in exchange for becoming his time-traveling courier. Victoria has spent the last four years caring for her daughter, but she still has time to pay, and now she’s being recalled into service to travel to Manhattan in 1888 to retrieve a lost Stradivarius violin.
The Maestro has tracked the missing violin to Robert Stevenson, a successful investment banker living the good life in the gilded age of Manhattan. After his wife’s untimely death he seeks to employ a new governess for his eight year old daughter. When Victoria shows up at his front door, it’s obvious she’s the perfect candidate for the job, even though he suspects there’s much more to Miss Winters than she’s willing to tell.
If Victoria can find the violin in three short weeks, she’ll earn a great reward, shaving years off her ten-year contract with the Maestro. If she fails, she risks losing her daughter, and possibly her life. Before her assignment is over, she’ll be forced to choose. What is she willing to lose to have everything she ever wanted?
Buy Link: http://amzn.to/2rAFpoC
An International Banker by trade, and a romance writer by desire.
In this lifetime, I’ve lived in five states, on two islands, and on a farm, and am now living in Northern California. My travels have taken me to Guam, Canada, Mexico, Australia, Hong Kong, England, Scotland, several countries in Europe, and several states in the US. Besides my love of reading and writing romance, I have a great fondness for zydeco dancing, classic rock and best of all, Pink Flamingos. Over the years, I’ve gathered a rather large collection of the fun pink birds.
I believe in life, love and the pursuit of romance and am living happily ever after with my soul-mate in Northern California. “My life is magical, I am truly blessed.”