Welcome to my First Kiss Friday blog! Today’s guest is Caroline Warfield who will be sharing an excerpt from her novella The Tender Flood found in the Bluestocking Belles’ box set Storm & Shelter. The boxset is currently on sale at a special preorder price of only $0.99. Grad your copy before the price increases. Release date is April 13th! Read on and enjoy this excerpt, my lovelies.
In THE TENDER FLOOD a coachman who believes himself beneath an earl’s granddaughter tries to keep his distance. He fails. This is their first kiss.
“I’ll check the barn one last time. Be ready to go.”
Patience groaned. Her heart fell, forcing her to admit she had hoped for a declaration—of affection of—she refused to think farther than that. She grabbed up the few things she meant to take in a sack, including a jug of milk for Hercules. A sound at the door drew her attention; he had come back and stood holding the door jamb with both hands.
Before she could speak, he crossed the room and pulled her into a crushing embrace, taking her mouth with his until her knees failed and she had only his embrace to rely on.
Insanity born of hope. Zach could think of no other explanation for his behavior. When she responded to his kiss with sweet passion, coherent thought eluded him. One dainty hand slid up his neck and into his hair as if to pull him closer. The other clung to his shirt. He pulled his mouth away forcing himself to gentle the kiss, only to nibble the corner of her mouth and kiss his way across her cheek to her ear.
She groaned and followed his lead, the difference in their height, enabling her to kiss his neck just above his collar. An urge to tear his shirt off to give her access shook him, bringing him to his senses. He removed the hand that had somehow migrated to her round little behind and the one around her back anchoring her to him, gripping her by her upper arms instead.
He held her away, but not far, their mouths still inches apart.
“A gentleman would have offered for you first thing this morning, before Banks even arrived. This display of behavior—”
“Are you saying you aren’t a gentleman, Zach?” She wrinkled up her nose, teasing him adorably.
His laugh tasted bitter on his tongue. “I’m no man of leisure, wealth, or title. Isn’t that the definition of a gentleman?”
“If behavior matters, you’re more gentleman than all the social climbing fops who thought to pursue my uncle’s favor by courting me.”
That startled him. It cooled his heated blood like an ice bath. “Is that what happened? Why you aren’t married?”
She nodded shyly, dipping her forehead to his chest. “It was long ago.”
“Fools the lot of them,” he muttered, kissing the top of her head. “Come sit. We need to speak rationally, and I can’t with you this close.”
ABOUT THE TENDER FLOOD
Neither battle nor loss of his leg destroyed Zachery Newell. Working as a coachman, he tries to build a life in spite of his injuries, while he plans for the sort of life he knew in childhood, happy and content above his father’s print shop, but when a woman races out of the storm and into the stable yard of The Queen’s Barque with a wagon full of small boys, puppies, and a bag of books, he is enchanted.
Dismissed by a charity school, Patience Abney struggles on her own to create The Academy for the Formation of Young Gentlemen to give every boy a happy and productive life. Now the roof has caved in. Though she managed to get her boys to the safety of an inn, she has no idea how she will rebuild.
Zach knows Patience, the granddaughter of an earl, is far above the touch of shopkeeper’s son. He tries to keep his distance, but when the two of them make their way across the flooded marsh to her damaged school in search of a missing boy, attraction grows into passion, complicating everything.
ABOUT STORM & SHELTER
Eight Authors, Eight Heartwarming Novellas, One Catastrophic Storm
When a storm blows off the North Sea and slams into the village of Fenwick on Sea, the villagers prepare for the inevitable: shipwreck, flood, land slips, and stranded travelers. The Queen’s Barque Inn quickly fills with the injured, the devious, and the lonely—lords, ladies, and simple folk; spies, pirates, and smugglers all trapped together. Intrigue crackles through the village, and passion lights up the hotel.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Award winning author of family centered romance set in the Regency and Victorian eras, Caroline Warfield has been many things, and believes she is now in at least her third act. She works in an office surrounded by windows where she lets her characters lead her to adventures in England and the far-flung corners of the British Empire while she nudges them to explore the riskiest territory of all, the human heart.
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