It’s always a pleasure to have my dear friend Jude Knight as a guest author for First Kiss Friday. It’s even better when we get to help her celebrate a brand new release! Don’t you just love everything about this cover? This excerpt is from House of Thorns. Bear has asked Rosa to marry him, and she has requested time to consider. Happy reading!
In the early dawn, when she served him coffee and a plate loaded with food to fuel his morning’s work, he did not pester her for a decision, but he returned early for lunch, driven home by a heavy shower.
“Have you had enough time to think, Miss Neatham?” he asked, as he entered the kitchen door and interrupted her bread making.
“Yes, Mr. Gavenor.”
He stripped off his rainwear and advanced on her with hands outstretched. “Yes, you have had time to think? Or yes, you will marry me?”
Rosa blushed, and allowed him to capture her hands.
“Yes, I will marry you, Mr. Gavenor.”
He bent from his great height and brushed her lips with his. “Then you had better call me Bear, as my friends do. Or Hugh, if you prefer. My great aunt used to call me Hugh.”
“Hugh, then. Thank you, Hugh. I shall try to be a good wife.”
He kissed her again, another butterfly touch of the lips, then put his hands on her waist and lifted her to sit on the dresser. Now her face was level with his.
“That is better,” he murmured against her mouth. Then his lips met hers again, not a mere brush this time, but a gentle and inexorable advance, setting her lips tingling and taking her breath. His hands slid behind her, pulling her against his chest, so he stood between her open knees, his body pressed tightly to hers.
No, just one hand hugged her, for the other came up behind her head, and tipped it slightly, holding it in place as his lips moved against hers and his tongue swept the seam of her shut mouth once, twice, and again. He hummed with satisfaction when she parted her lips a little, letting his tongue dart inside, and her whole body hummed with pleasure.
Pelman had subjected her to a kiss once; an awkward, embarrassing thing, with her twisting to escape and him boxing her into a corner and pawing her body while he slobbered on her face. The new Lord Hurley, who had also propositioned her when he first arrived at the Hall, had respected her refusal. In fact, he had rather avoided her, and had left again not long after the will was read.
Pelman laughed when she said ‘no’ and waylaid her when she was alone. It had, until now, been her only experience of the pastime, and she had not seen the appeal.
It was very different being the focus of Bear’s undivided attention, the recipient of his tender passion.
She lost herself in the new feelings, grasping his shoulders to bring herself closer to his body, trying her best to imitate the movements of his mouth and tongue.
He pulled away, and rested his forehead on hers, still holding her close. “We had best stop, Rosabel. You are to be my wife, and worthy of all respect, and I have no intention of tupping you on the kitchen dresser. At least, not until we are wed.”
Rosa reluctantly let him go, and he stepped back a little so he could lift her down to the floor. She was pleased to see he looked almost as dazed as she felt. “Would you call me Rosa?” she asked.
“If you wish, though Rosabel suits you. Beautiful rose. My beautiful Rosa.” He still held her waist, and he leaned forward to drop a kiss on her hair. “I will move to the village this afternoon, Rosa, and will ask the rector to post the banns tomorrow.”
His rose thief comes with a scandal that threatens to tear them apart.
Retired exploring officer Bear Gavenor has fled the marriage mart for the familiarity of his work; restoring abandoned country manors to sell to the newly rich. He doesn’t expect to find a potential wife stealing his roses.
Lying gossip has driven Rosa Neatham from respectable employment, and now she has been turned out of her home to make way for the new owner. But a fleeting return to collect some roses for her ailing father changes her fortunes.
In a marriage that offers more inconvenience than convenience, can this unlikely couple beat gossip, misunderstandings, and their own self doubts to find happiness?
About Jude Knight
Jude Knight’s writing goal is to transport readers to another time, another place, where they can enjoy adventure and romance, thrill to trials and challenges, uncover secrets and solve mysteries, delight in a happy ending, and return from their virtual holiday refreshed and ready for anything.
Website and blog: http://judeknightauthor.com/