Welcome to another First Kiss Friday! Today’s guest is Amanda Mariel who has an excerpt from her recent release One Wanton Wager. Isn’t the cover gorgeous? Happy reading, my lovelies, and enjoy!
Alex strolled beside Daphne as he spoke. “I often work alongside my tenants repairing their cottages, digging irrigation trenches, planting or harvesting crops. Repairing fences seems a never-ending task, and then there are disputes to hear and settle as well as working on my estate books. Even when in London, I usually have some sort of estate business to manage along with my house there.” He grinned. “Of course, I find an ample amount of time for pleasure as well.” He punctuated his words with a devilish wink.
She could well imagine what pleasure he referred to. Her cheeks warmed once more, her belly tightening. She averted her gaze to the fountain they were approaching, choosing to ignore his inappropriate comment. “There it is.” She sighed as her gaze roamed over the twisted roses to the spot where water flowed out to cascade back to the pool below. “Lord Chesterfield had it handcrafted as a wedding present for his wife.”
“It is a wonder.” He strolled closer, then locked his hands behind his back and studied the fountain. “Very intricate. It must have taken countless weeks to complete.” He locked his green eyes on her. “What do you see when you look at it?”
She arched a brow in confusion, thinking it a rather silly question. “A fountain, of course. Or more specifically, vines and roses wound together to form a heart over a pool of water.”
“Humm…” He turned his attention back to the fountain.
Curiosity brought her closer to his side. “What do you see?”
“Lovers. The vines are tangled together like two lovers swept away with passion. When they separate to form the heart they are reaching toward the top where they find their mutual release.” He pivoted to face her, his gaze smoldering. “I could show you what I mean.”
Daphne notched her chin, fighting the images forming in her mind. How dare he say such outlandish things to her? The man had no scruples. “I should like to return to the party now,” she said.
“You are forgetting something.”
“Am I.” She narrowed her gaze.
“Did you wish to kiss me in front of the guests?” He stepped closer.
Daphne froze, her spine stiffening as her heart beat wildly. How had she forgotten the dratted kiss?
“Of course, if that is your wish, who am I to deny you?” Alex said, his tone teasing.
“Do not be daft. I’ve no wish to be ruined.” She took a step, then hesitated as she stared at his full lips.
“Perhaps I should sit so that you can reach my lips easier?” His eyes glinted in the sun.
Her throat went dry as she squinted up at him. “Yes…and place your hands at your sides.”
He did as she bid, propping himself against the edge of the fountain, then pinned his gaze to hers.
Daphne hesitated for another moment before stepping into the opening of his thighs. “Close your eyes,” She ordered.
“I would rather not.” He raked his gaze over her. “But you are welcome to close yours.”
The devil she would. Her pulse quickened as she leaned closer to him. She pressed her eyelids shut and brought her lips to his. A quick press of their flesh to flesh, then she jerked back as though her soul had been scorched.
“Is that all?” He leaned forward. “I’ve kissed my mother with more fervor.”
Daphne shook her head. “That is all you deserve.” She turned and started down the path, finding herself more than a little unsettled from their chaste kiss. Had he experienced the same spark of desire?
More importantly, how many of his kisses could she endure before she gave in to his true wish and joined him beneath the sheets? Or worse, gave him her heart?
A young widow in need of a husband…A determined rogue…and One Wanton Wager…Can the proposal of Alex Le Bec lead to everlasting love?
A young widow in need of a husband…
Lady Daphne Summerville has grown weary of accepting the charity of her late husband’s family. No longer willing to be a burden to them, Daphne begins searching for a husband, a task that would be far easier to accomplish if not for the handsome rogue chasing her skirts.
A determined rogue…
From the moment the Earl of Bedford, Alex Le Bec lays eyes on Lady Summerville he can’t get her out of his mind. Now he’s determined to charm the attractive, witty woman into being his mistress. Too bad she wants nothing to do with an affair, and even less to do with him.
One Wanton Wager…
Not one to be easily dissuaded, Alex proposes a wager. He will fund Daphne’s future if she allows him the opportunity to woo her into something more clandestine. There is one catch–she must kiss him each time they are together. Daphne accepts the wager, confident that she can refrain from falling for the rogue.
After all, how much damage can a few kisses do?
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USA Today Bestselling author Amanda Mariel dreams of days gone by when life moved at a slower pace. She enjoys taking pen to paper and exploring historical time periods through her imagination and the written word. When she is not writing she can be found reading, crocheting, traveling, practicing her photography skills, or spending time with her family.