Any day I can host my friend Jude Knight on my First Kiss Friday blog is a good day. Today, Jude is taking her back to her very first published romance, Candle’s Christmas Chair. We hope you enjoy this excerpt. Happy reading, my lovelies!
It was an odd setting for a proposal, but safe. Any place he could be sure of being alone with Min in the house was a place he’d already imagined making love to her in. He wasn’t confident that he could control himself if she accepted his proposal. Or even that he would get to the proposal before…
He had to stop that train of thought. The succession house was becoming less safe by the minute. He was already thinking of the logistics of lovemaking here in the dirt among the seedlings. His coat spread to protect her dress… No. Not here. Quite apart from the respect he owed to an innocent and his future viscountess, he had no intention of consummating his desire in front of a hundred glass panes.
“Min, you know what I want to ask you.”
“I think I do.”
“Will you, Min? Will you make me the happiest of men? Will you marry me?”
“Ran, I am not from your world.”
“I know you are too good for me,” he joked, “but I’m hoping you’re prepared to make the sacrifice.”
“Ran, I am serious. I am the daughter of a carriage maker. You are a peer. Society…”
“Min, I love you. If you love me, then Society can go hang itself.”
“I want to continue making chairs.”
“I hope you will.”
“Really? You would not mind?”
“Min, you have a gift. I want you to use it. Say you will marry me, and I’ll have the bans read. We can be wed before Christmas.”
She withdrew. She didn’t move a muscle, but he felt her pulling into herself, away from him.
His first name in full. That couldn’t be good. But he wasn’t Lord Avery again, which was a hopeful sign.
“Is that a no, Min?”
She shook her head.
“Is it a yes?”
Another head shake.
“Min?” He came up onto his knees in a single motion, and captured her face between both of his hands, looking into her grey eyes.
She collected herself then, his brave little goddess. “When I come back with the chair, I will give you your answer.”
And then she pressed her sweet lips to his and he was lost. With a groan he enfolded her in his arms, slid his hands up behind her head, and deepened the kiss.
It could have been a minute; it could have been months. Time ceased to exist as he explored her mouth and she followed his lead. Her tentative movements, bold and shy at the same time, intoxicated him and he was conscious of nothing but the burning need to sink into her softness. Until a piece of gravel on the path turned as he shifted his knee, and dug into his skin.
He drew away from her with a groan.
Had he done that? Her lips were swollen and red, a sleeve was pulled down baring her shoulder, and one glorious breast was nearly tipped out of her dress. Another nudge, and he’d see…
He blinked, and shook the idea out of his head. “Min, my own dearest love.” He had to be calm. She looked as dazed as he felt. Probably more so, given her innocence. If his world was shaken, hers must be reeling.
“I would help you put yourself to rights, beloved. But I don’t dare touch you.”
She straightened her dress, repinned the lace cap she wore in her hair, rewrapped her shawl around her, all the while sneaking peeks at him and colouring each time their eyes met.
Before they left the succession house, he put a finger on her now clothed arm.
“Min, will you accept my apology, beloved? I meant no disrespect, I promise you. I should never have kissed you. I know how powerfully I react when we touch.”
To his surprise, she suddenly grinned. “Ah but Ran, you forget. I kissed you first.”
Candle’s Christmas Chair
(A novella in the Golden Redepenning series)
Can a viscount and a carriage maker’s daughter find love?
When Viscount Avery comes to see the best invalid chair maker in the southwest of England he does not expect to find Minerva Bradshaw, the woman who rejected him three years earlier. Or did she? Older and wiser, he wonders if there is more to the story.
For three years, Min Bradshaw has remembered the handsome guardsman who courted her for her fortune. She didn’t expect to see him in her workshop, and she certainly doesn’t intend to let him fool her again. Even if he is handsomer and more charming than ever.
99c as an ebook at the following places.
Jude Knight writes stuff and then tries to figure out how to slot the story into a genre category. Historical romantic suspense? Yes, mostly. She’s mad keen on history, enjoys what happens to people in the crucible of a passionate relationship, and loves to use a good mystery and some real danger as mechanisms to torture her characters.
Since publishing Candle’s Christmas Chair in time for Christmas in 2014, Jude has followed up with six novels and a heap of shorter stories, and plans to keep going till she runs out of years. In her other identity as Judy Knighton, she is a plain language consultant specialising in contracts, insurance policies, and financial disclosure statements. Fiction is more fun.
Website and blog: http://judeknightauthor.com/
Book blurbs and links: http://judeknightauthor.com/books/
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Amazon author page: https://www.amazon.com/Jude-Knight/e/B00RG3SG7I