It’s another First Kiss Friday and today I’d like to welcome Alina K. Field to my blog. Alina is sharing the first kiss scene from her novel The Duke She Despised. Happy reading and enjoy, my lovelies!
The way she was chewing her lip, he knew Mrs. Marlowe was hiding something.
“And how did Mr. Marlowe know the duke?” he asked.
She clucked her tongue. “He didn’t. He’d merely heard in the course of his work about…about the duke’s difficult demeanor.”
Andrew MacDonal had been the topic of conversation among the clergy. How odd. This was a woman with secrets.
Her gaze shifted away and then back, and the spark of defiance there stirred an urge to laugh.
Marlowe was the widow of a man of the cloth, not much used to prevaricating. The vicar’s widow was being wicked. She was lying.
A sheen of moisture appeared on her cheeks and her lips pressed together, suppressing a tremble.
She was delicious. He took a step closer and watched her eyes widen.
He left her plenty of room to retreat. She held her position.
A potent mix of curiosity, amusement, and desire brewed in him. “Your husband, the gossiping vicar, what, pray tell, caused his demise?”
“He suffered an apoplexy.”
“An apoplexy? He was elderly?”
She huffed. “He was…he had just turned one and sixty. Really, Mr. Andrews, this is—”
“None of my business? You don’t think the duke will want to know that his housekeeper’s late husband spread slander about him?”
She gasped. “That is not—”
“He values loyalty.”
“Loyalty?” She scoffed. “Hmm. And he shall have mine. Am I not trying to see to his comforts? Is it disloyalty for a servant to want to know what irritates her master and what pleases him?”
His head dipped closer and her pulse jumped as strong hands curved around her forearms.
A choking breath brought a woodsy male scent sparking shivers all the way to the soles of her half boots. Ack. He’d startled her into clumsy lies.
And she should not have mentioned that notion of pleasing. Their gazes locked.
His mouth parted. He blinked, his eyes catching the gleam of the lamp.
“Are you…are you quite all right, Mr. Andrews?”
When he drew closer, her heart took off in a wild gallop. Might he…would he…
His lips touched hers, briefly, sweetly, and then he lifted his head away, still watching her.
Warmth unfurled in her, misting her eyes. The few kisses she’d shared with her long-ago suitor had never been so gentle or caring. His look of wonder, of frank admiration heated her as much as the kiss had.
She went up on her toes, freeing her hands to thread through the wild hair at his nape, and when he hooked a hand at her waist and slanted his mouth over hers, she parted her lips for a wholehearted kiss. Desire burst inside her like the pent-up waters of a damn breaking, and the moments stretched on and on.
When he moved her head to his shoulder, his heart pounded in time with her own.
That had been a real kiss.
“I suppose that was quite improper.” The whispered breath tickled her ear. “You must think me a villain.”
He stepped back, his hands sliding along her arms as he released her.
Heat flooded her cheeks, and she blinked away tears. The kiss had been astonishing, and far too brief.
The Duke She Despised
By Alina K. Field
The new Duke of Kinmarty has lost everyone who mattered and gained naught but a title, and debt, and an old pile of a castle. When a fetching new housekeeper appears on his doorstep frantic to ready the place for the Yuletide, he seizes the chance for a respite from grieving and pretends to be the new duke’s estate factor.
With her cousin’s children due to arrive from India, a vicar’s widow hides her identity and takes a position as housekeeper to their dreadful uncle, the man who years ago sabotaged her own chance for happiness. Overwhelmed by a castle understaffed and in disarray, she forges a bond with the new duke’s charming but not very competent factor, not knowing that he’s hiding something as well.
When allies become lovers, each senses the truth may rip them apart. Can their love survive when she discovers he’s the duke she despised?
Universal Book Link: https://books2read.com/u/38Z7YV
Award-winning and USA Today bestselling author Alina K. Field earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in English and German literature, but she prefers the much happier world of romance fiction. Though her roots are in the Midwestern U.S., after six very, very, very cold years in Chicago, she moved to Southern California and hasn’t looked back. She is the author of several Regency romances, including the 2014 Book Buyer’s Best winner, Rosalyn’s Ring. She is hard at work on her next series of historical romances, but loves to hear from readers!
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