It’s another First Kiss Friday and today’s guest is my dear friend Caroline Warfield who has an excerpt from The Fugitive Fiancé. Happy reading, my lovelies, and enjoy!
After an autocratic baroness tries to force her into marriage to the woman’s vile nephew, Alice Pennysmith has reached the safety of Viscount Kenilworth’s home thanks to Grant Lambert. Alas, Grant has commitments and responsibilities that stand in the way of declaring his feelings. He’s determined to clear the way, but he has to leave to do that.
“It has been an exhausting day.” Thickness in his throat deepened the sound of his words. When she didn’t reply, he tucked a stray lock of hair behind her ear, removing his hand only to reach down and take hold of hers.
“I’m leaving in the morning to… Take care of some business.”
“What—” She dipped her head down. “I’m sorry. It isn’t my concern.”
He tucked a knuckle under her chin and pulled her gaze back up. “There are things we need to say, but I have much to do first— as quickly as I can. You’ll be safe here. Will you wait for me?”
Her anguish hit him as a physical blow. “I have to. Where else would I go?”
He hated that she had no choices; life could be cruel to young women. He longed to intervene, longed to protect her from all hurt, longed to have the right to do so. The sooner he left, the sooner he could come back. He took a step back.
“I won’t be gone long. When I come back I—” His voice sounded ragged even to him. “We’ll think of something. Do you trust me?”
Her eyes flew open. “Yes! Don’t doubt it. You’ve been wonderful.”
That did it. He couldn’t resist her rosy lips any more than he could resist her trusting visage, and willowy form.
He intended a gentle touch of lips, one that didn’t threaten or impose, but he didn’t expect her to rise up to meet him half way. The kiss settled into something hotter and deeper, and he struggled to be gentle. When he pulled away with the last tattered remnants of his self-control, she blinked up at him, his insides melted, and he caressed her cheek.
“We’ll talk when I get back,” he whispered when he was able. It was as much promise as he could make until he was free to ask more.
What can a penniless orphan do, when faced with a malodorous baron and an authoritarian baroness? She can run, that’s what.
Alone and without family, Alice Pennysmith puts up with a lot: an unpaid position as companion, waiting on a demanding baroness, people mangling her name, the scorn of superior servants… She almost lets herself be pushed into marriage with the vile Reggie, but his behavior is the last straw. How can she escape?
With his year of service to at an end, Grant Lambert is eager to leave his contract with Lord Reginald Buffton, Baron Albright——a foolish agreement to settle a bet. He already found far better, well-paying, respectable employment. He just can’t bring himself to leave the charming Miss Pennysmith in the clutches of his despicable employer. There’s only one thing for it—he’ll have to take her with him, even if he has to “borrow” the baron’s carriage to do it.
This kiss is from The Fugitive Fiancé, a gift for subscribers to Caroline Warfield’s newsletter. Subscribers receive 2-3 stories a year. To obtain this story and others, sign up now:
About the Author
Traveler, would-be adventurer, librarian, technology manager, Caroline Warfield has many things, but she is above all a romantic. Someone who begins life as an army brat develops a wide view of life. She reckons she is on at least her third act. When she isn’t off seeking adventures with her Beloved or her grandson down the block, she works happily in an office surrounded by windows where she lets her characters lead her to even more adventures in England and the far-flung corners of the British Empire. She nudges them to explore the riskiest territory of all, the human heart.
For more about the series and all of Caroline’s books, look here: