Welcome to my First Kiss Friday blog! I’m so happy you’ve stopped by and if you’ve been joining in on our Medieval Monday blog you’ll have seen posts from author Sophia Nye. Sophia is joining us today with a fist kiss scene from her story A Wild Winter. We hope you enjoy this excerpt. Happy reading, my lovelies!
Scene Set-Up: Gemma and Aidan are being pursued by English knights intent on taking custody of Gemma. Gemma decided that Aidan was being foolish, so she left him to hide on her own. But, as she’ll soon realize, her relentless rescuer doesn’t give up quite so easily…
At the bottom of the ravine, Gemma found precisely what she’d hoped. A deep overhang, and with it the promise of protection from anyone looking down from the road above. Such low areas of the forest held water, which made them the most densely foliated places, even in winter. Piles of leaves and six foot high stands of bramble safely hid her from the dangers lurking nearby. She wagered there was enough cover to hide even a horse for a short time.
The knights had come upon Gemma early that afternoon while patrolling the forest and recognized her. Concerned over her state of disarray after traveling on foot through the Kingswood for the better part of the night, they were insistent on accompanying her home. Had she been left to her own devices, Gemma knew she could have convinced them to leave her be. Then the Highland trio had turned up, done battle with the king’s men, and generally mucked up the situation.
The sound of shuffling leaves drew Gemma’s attention sharply from her thoughts. Something was approaching the ravine from the bottom, directly in front of her. In the dark, ‘twas difficult to see until Aidan was so close she could almost grab him. He hadn’t spotted her yet.
Conflict wracked Gemma. Her instincts told her to pull him into the safety of her hiding spot. Her mind observed that this was the perfect opportunity to be free of him and continue alone toward freedom. She could reach Banesberie and shelter there until she decided what to do next. And there wouldn’t be a Highlander to interfere.
Aidan led his horse along on foot, clearly searching for her. White moonlight bounced off his wild head of dark waves. Then he turned so that she could clearly see the expression on his face. He was worried. His narrowed eyes scoured the bottom of the ravine, a deep frown etched into his face.
Gemma relented, filled with pity for this man trapped in unexpected peril, tracking down a woman he hardly knew to make good on a promise to a friend. Though she still had every intention of abandoning him as soon as possible, her heart ached at the look on his handsome face. He was worried about her.
Quick enough that she couldn’t change her mind, Gemma reached out of her hiding spot to grab him. Taking the reins from him yet again, she settled his horse into the bramble, tying it to a fallen log. When she looked up, Gemma realized that Aidan’s head was sticking out of the top of the bramble. Nothing was ever easy with him. She gave his arms a good yank to pull him lower.
He didn’t budge. The look of shock at his quick change of scenery gave way to anger.
“Are you mad, woman?” he hissed much too loudly. “You could have been killed!”
Gemma couldn’t care less about his tirade. She needed to get him sitting down or they’d be caught in minutes. Though she continued pulling his arms down at his elbows, a motion she thought should be perfectly clear, he persisted in his monologue.
“They might have found you before me! Gemma, are you even listening?” he paused a breath as though he might let her get a word in, but then he kept speaking.
During the brief moment of quiet, Gemma heard hoof beats approaching on the road atop the ravine. She was running out of time.
“And we are going to have words about you stealing my horse, lass,” he began.
Out of ideas and unable to talk over of him, Gemma placed her hand on his lips.
Instantly, he grew silent.
Gemma leaned closer to him, knowing the English would be nearly above them by now. “You must lower yourself,” she whispered in his ear, keeping her hand over his lips until she knew he understood. “They’ll see you.” She looked upward without moving her head, indicating the road just above them.
Aidan’s eyes followed hers, and she could see the understanding in them. He knelt before her, now only several inches taller than her instead of half a person. His piercing blue eyes held her gaze. A change came over his face, a look she had not seen before in those eyes. A look so unfamiliar it took her several seconds to place it. Desire.
Gemma’s heart thundered louder than the horses overhead. She realized with surprise that she liked it when he looked at her that way. She also realized that her fingers were still on his lips. Her hands slid down to his chest, resting there on the rough linen of his shirt. Their breath mingled in wisps of steam in the cold night air. Before she gathered the courage to look into his eyes again, his lips were on hers.
The searing kiss melted away any lingering chill in the frosty winter night. All of the tension, all of the fear, all of the frustration of the last day evaporated. Only this kiss remained. Aidan’s hands gripped her waist, bringing her up against him with an urgency that thrilled her.
Gemma grabbed the edges of his heavy woolen cloak, pulling it around the two of them like a blanket. She matched his passion with her own. As icy moonlight poured over their stolen kiss, deep within Gemma a fire ignited.
Aidan broke the kiss at the sound of voices from above. He checked to be sure they were safe before looking at Gemma again. Then he swallowed hard, his eyes straying over every inch of her as she stood before him.
When Cadwal had looked at her in her cottage, Gemma felt as though she would empty the contents of her stomach. As Aidan’s eyes roved her, a fluttery feeling erupted within her, and she thought she herself might be able to fly.
Gemma’s fingers traced the chiseled lines of his square jaw, working from one side to the other as she studied his masculine beauty.
“You’re going to be the death of me, lass,” he whispered.
A Wild Winter
By Sophia Nye
A Highland rescuer, a runaway princess, and their journey to escape a royal problem…
Aidan MacMaster has never felt at home in his Highland clan. Always on the lookout for excuses to leave his family in search of adventure, Aidan gets more than he bargained for when he agrees to go off in search of a missing woman.
Gemma FitzRoy, illegitimate daughter of King Henry and a Welsh princess, finds herself standing face to face with her worst nightmare: an arranged marriage to a monster of a man. After an unpleasant encounter with her would-be betrothed, Gemma takes off into the wilderness in search of a new future.
Swept away together on a journey of discovery and intrigue, Gemma and Aidan must decide between the pasts they left behind and the future they imagine together. Will one wild winter together free them from the past or freeze their hearts forever?
Buy link for book: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08WC78772
About the author:
A historian and archaeologist turned writer, Sophia has been making up stories since she could talk. When she isn’t working on her next novel, you can find her in the garden. Sophia lives in Indiana with her husband, two children, and their menagerie of pets.