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Welcome to my First Kiss Friday blog! Today’s guest is my friend Kate Moore who is giving us a wonderful first kiss scene from her novel Winterburn’s Bride. We hope you enjoy this scene. Happy reading, my lovelies!

Excerpt:

Leigh woke to a throbbing head and knew he must not open his eyes. He concentrated on the sharp beat of pain, learning its rhythm, waiting for a lull. Somewhere, far from the hammering in his head, his body lay cold and still. Then he felt a warm, light touch on his right hand. He opened his eyes and for one confused moment saw Rosalind Merrifield bending over him, her eyes closed as if in prayer, her bright hair framing her face. He had a fleeting recollection of the rose and the light and the wheel, then his lids fell, and the pain mastered him.

An indefinite stretch of time passed before he opened his eyes a second time. The ache was now a dull constant, permitting his wits to work. A fine ceiling stretched high above him. A fire hissed and snapped nearby. A cold floor pressed against his back.

“Where am I?” he asked.

Her eyes opened, and she smiled at him. “At Merrifield. Jeremy Braithe brought you.”

Her hand started to slip away from his, and he caught it in a firmer grip.

The curve of her cheek blossomed with extraordinary pink delicacy. “What happened?” she asked in a strained voice.

“Awdry’s wagon was stuck in a ditch.”

“You went into a ditch to help?”

He would have laughed at her surprise, but his head would not allow it. “My boots must be muddying your floor.” The words made him conscious of his feet, bare and warm, his body’s nakedness. There was a wet cloth on his forehead, and he released her hand and brushed the cloth away.

She pressed her hands together in her lap, staring at them. “Jeremy Braithe removed your clothes,” she said. “I fear they’re ruined.”

“How long have I been here?” He could feel his bare chest, his damp drawers clinging to his loins. He was naked on his back with Rosalind Merrifield. Heaven certainly mocked his pretensions to be a man of the cloth. “Braithe brought me here?”

She nodded. “Nan and I covered you.”

“Observed the proprieties, did you?”

He’d made her uneasy, and her gaze shifted away from him. “We were trying to bring you round.”

“You were waiting again, Miss Merrifield.” He liked the way she stiffened, offended at his tone. He wanted to kiss her in spite of his aching head. “You did not think to wake me with a kiss?”

She took a quick breath. “You heard.”

It was a slip, not the full admission he wanted. He turned his head carefully to the right. “You thought about it.”

“No.” Her mouth was a firm, tight line of denial, but her eyes betrayed her.

His chin was just below her knee. It was an odd position for a man considering a seduction, even a minor one. Her skirts smelled of crushed grass and lavender. “Think about it now.”

Her glance, wary and fascinated, flickered over him once.

“There’s no need now. You are awake.”

“There’s more need now.” He struggled to raise himself on one elbow and stopped, dizzied by the effort.

She lifted her hand and gently pushed him down, a sturdy competent hand, brown from the sun, the palm lightly calloused from work. His heart beat madly in answer to the touch. “A mistake, Miss Merrifield,” he whispered.

She knew it. Her eyes grew big with the knowledge. Her fingers curled against his chest. She was tempted, so tempted. He spoke before she could gather the strength to break away. “You could find out what more there is to want.”

Rosalind withdrew her hand from his chest. It was unbearable not to know. He made it unbearable. He offered a mysterious knowledge beyond all the knowing of her familiar world, an understanding of the deepest mystery of herself.

“Why you?”

“Why not a sensible choice?” He guessed her thought. “Why not Vernon, who takes his duties seriously?”

A wry smile crossed her face. “Well, not Mr. Vernon.” She lowered her gaze briefly and raised it again. “There was a naval captain once, and a young duke who invited my parents to explore his ruins,” she confessed.

“Why not one of them?” His throat felt tight. He did not want to answer the question as it had been answered for him in his father’s favorite brothel years before. Because love is an illusion. Because we are base creatures ruled by lust.

A moment passed. He ought to warn her, but she was simply looking at him with open curiosity.

“It makes me so impatient not to know. Does it make you impatient?”

“You have no idea.”

Rosalind leaned forward. He lay dark and unyielding, his face marked by lines of mockery, his gaze heated. Her senses played tricks on her. She thought she saw generosity in his mouth, veiled hope in the depths of his eyes.

She touched with permission now. The smallest details of his person required her attention. A hollow under his lower lip invited the tip of her finger. The smooth gleam of his cheekbone and the rough, dark edge of his jaw drew her palm. As she studied him, she grew self-aware, conscious of a tight pull in her breasts, the heated surface of her skin, a dizzying plummet somewhere deep in her person.

She braced her hands on the cold marble tiles, bent lower, and pressed her mouth to his. His pent breath, released, mingled with hers, a recognition of wanting. His lips parted and hers opened in response. He pushed up, compelling her acceptance of their openness to one another with all its lack of reserve, its danger and exhilaration. It led her on. She moved with him, following his lead, finding the fit between them. His hand came up and slid into her hair, binding her to him, ensuring the union of their mouths.

Then his tongue touched hers, a taste of undreamed intimacy, wicked knowledge. She would have drawn back, but his hand at her nape held her to him. At her faint hesitation he made a low, aching sound in his throat and withdrew his tongue. She regained her courage. His warm mouth on hers stirred the consuming impatience to know more. His hand slipped from her neck down her shoulder to cup her breast, his thumb brushing the peak, sending aching spirals of longing through her. A tiny gasp escaped her. As if in answer, he reached up and pulled her down to him so that she lay along his length.

His hands trailed down her back and locked around her waist, while he raised tiny kisses to her brows, her eyes, her chin. Her limbs melted against his without resistance, and he claimed her mouth again. Then some realization seemed to take him, and he slid from under her, releasing her. She pushed herself up, conscious of the disorder of her senses and her person.

Winterburn’s Bride
By Kate Moore

Kate Moore, award-winning author of twenty novels and novellas, brings readers the first e-book version of Winterburn’s Bride. Set in the lush English countryside and brilliant salons of London in the last days of the Napoleonic Wars, Winterburn’s Bride is the story of Rosalind Merrifield’s desperate efforts to hold onto her home as her brother games away his fortune and Leigh Nash’s efforts to resist his family’s demands that he marry for wealth and power. If you’re a fan of the Poldark stories or of angsty heroes like Sydney Chambers from Grantchester, you’ll root for wounded veteran Leigh to outwit his scheming relatives and Rosalind to save her home even if it means staging her own bride sale.

Buy Link: Amazon

About the Author:

A native Californian, Kate studied English Lit near Boston and returned to California to teach generations of high school students, who are now her Facebook friends, while she not-so-secretly penned Romances. In Kate’s stories honorable, edgy loners meet warm, practical women who draw them into a circle of love whether in Regency London or contemporary California. A Golden Heart, Golden Crown, and Book Buyers Best winner and three-time RITA finalist, Kate lives north of San Francisco with her surfer husband, their yellow Lab, a Pack ‘n Play for visiting grandbabies, and miles of crowded bookshelves.

Website: www.katemoore.com

Facebook Author Page: www.facebook.com/KateMooreAuthor

Twitter: www.twitter.com/MooreKate0

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Kate-Moore/e/B000APE8YE/ref=dp_byline_cont_pop_ebooks_1