Welcome to my First Kiss Blog! I’m so happy you’ve joined me and my guest author. Today’s returning guest is the fabulous Collette Cameron who is sharing a lovely first kiss scene for your reading pleasure from Loved By A Dangerous Duke that releases on July 20th. Enjoy, my lovelies!
“My dear,” Pennington said. “I’ve promised Asherford he might a few moments alone with his betrothed before the other guests arrive.”
Ophelia’s gaze flew to meet Stan’s before she swiftly dropped her attention to her tightly clasped hands.
A most reluctant bride.
His gut wrenched. Could he go through with the marriage when Ophelia so obviously didn’t want to? The Dangerous Duke wouldn’t have hesitated. But Stan didn’t want to be that man anymore.
Ophelia had changed him.
No. She’d made him want to change.
That question echoed in Stan’s mind as the duchess slid her sister an inquisitive glance. If Ophelia wanted her to stay, he had no doubt she would, despite her husband’s polite request.
When Ophelia summoned a smile and a nod, her grace extended her hand toward Pennington. “I need to look in on cook in any event. I’ve asked her to try a new recipe for lemon queen cakes. Theadosia vows they are the best she’s ever tasted, but Cook was worried about the amount of lemon required. She feared they’d be bitter.”
Theadosia was the Duke of Sutcliffe’s wife. She was also a bosom friend of Ophelia and her twin. Stan made a point to know such details.
At the door, her grace turned. “We’ll be back shortly, Ophelia. You aren’t wed yet, and we don’t want any more scandals. I shall leave the door open.”
“Of course,” Ophelia said though color stained the delicate slope of her cheekbones.
The duke and duchess took their leave.
Stan waited until their footsteps faded in the corridor before he crossed the room and, after a slight hesitation, sat beside Ophelia on the navy-blue and gold silk striped settee.
“How are you, Ophelia?”
“I am well.” She brushed a curl away from her ear. “Thank you for the lovebirds. Oh, and the chocolate and flowers, of course.”
The indecipherable mask slipped away, and hazel eyes twinkling, she grinned. No coy smiles or seductive upward sweeps of her lips. Ophelia expressed emotions without artifice.
“The birds are in my chamber. They are the sweetest pair. I’ve named them Orsino and Viola from Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night.”
“But didn’t Orsino love Olivia while Viola secretly loved him?” Stan teased. “And he thought she was a man, to boot?”
Ophelia pulled a playful face at him. “I refused to name them something as cliché as Romeo and Juliet.”
“Or Cleopatra and Antony?” he quipped.
“Indeed, not. Those tragic characters killed themselves.”
Tilting her head at an endearing angle, she narrowed her eyes in mock retribution.
“If you’re not careful, Your Grace, I shall name them something genuinely horrendous like Englebert and Ernestine. Or Hildegarde and Hortensio.”
“Enough of that ‘Your Grace’ nonsense,” Stan gently admonished. What would she do if he pulled her onto his lap? No. It was best to wait until she was less skittish. “We are to be wed. You know my name and have used it before. I would not have that formality between us.”
Her expression grew mischievous, and she giggled. “Or I could name the birds Frederick and Florencia.”
Stan chuckled and then formed an artificial scowl of disapproval. Pretending affront, he said in his most imperious tone, “I’ll have you know, one of my middle names is Frederick.”
“I know,” she said the lowered her voice to a solemn tone. “Stanford Julius Frederick Bancroft, Duke of Asherford. My name is much prettier. Ophelia Audrey Summer Breckensole.”
At that moment, a piece of his hard heart melted. He’d wrongly believed Ophelia would be sullen or cross, or at the very least, despondent about their upcoming nuptials. But, instead, she jested with him.
“You are a remarkable woman, Ophelia Audrey Summer Breckensole.”
He bent his head and whisked a kiss across her smiling pink lips.
Going perfectly still, she inhaled sharply but didn’t pull away.
Her perfume, bergamot and orange blossoms, and perhaps a hint of vanilla, wrapped around his senses in a heady miasma. She smelled incredible, and it took all of his willpower not to nuzzle her neck and lick the tender flesh there to see if she tasted as good as she smelled.
Stan cupped her cheek and kissed her again, lingering a trifle longer this time. Sweet didn’t begin to describe the taste of her mouth. Desire was too placid a word to define the raging inferno that had erupted in his blood at the touch of her mouth against his.
Stan had chosen Ophelia to be his bride for rational reasons. He hadn’t expected all-consuming passion to overtake him with one kiss. That reaction wasn’t logical or practical.
Mindful that the Pennington’s were due to return shortly and that sporting a cockstand mightn’t be the best way to ingratiate himself into the good graces of this future in-laws, he drew back.
Mouth slightly parted and delightfully red, Ophelia searched his eyes. “Why did you kiss me?”
“Because you tempt me beyond self-control, my little dove.”
“I thought you were always in control.”
What an odd thing to say, and a great misperception too. “I’m flattered you should think so,” Stan said. “I strive for that appearance.” He paused, then shook his head, his expression rueful and a trifle self-conscious. “No, I used to endeavor for that. No longer.”
Loved by a Dangerous Duke
Seductive Scoundrels, Book 1
By Collette Cameron
Release date 7/20/21
Is she desperate enough to marry a man she loathes? Sadly, yes…
He always has his way…
Stanford is aware of his nickname, The Dangerous Duke—and it suits him just fine. Inheriting a bankrupt dukedom and rebuilding it taught him just how useless niceties were. Except now, he’s ready to choose a duchess, and the only one he deems suitable (and enticing) enough despises him. Perhaps he should reconsider the value of niceties…
She’s a most reluctant bride…
Ophelia Breckensole knows what she wants, and it is not Stanford. But fate plays into his hand when she finds herself unwittingly compromised. Now, she must wed or face ruination—and Stanford is only too pleased to help. So, she’ll marry him, but she won’t love him. Or so she keeps telling herself…
But Stanford and Ophelia have much more to overcome on their path to happily ever after than his austere nature and her vow to never love her husband. Stanford’s enemies are determined to make him pay for his past, and they’re willing to use Ophelia to do it. Can this fragile union survive such an onslaught?
About the Author:
USA Today Bestselling, award-winning author COLLETTE CAMERON® scribbles Scottish and Regency historical romance novels featuring dashing rogues, rakes, and scoundrels and the spirited heroines who reform them. Blessed with an overactive and witty muse that won’t stop whispering new romantic romps in her ear, she’s lived in Oregon her entire life. Although she dreams of living in Scotland part-time. A confessed Cadbury chocoholic, you’ll always find a dash of inspiration and a pinch of humor in her sweet-to-spicy timeless romances®.
Amazon Author Page: http://amazon.com/author/collettecameron.com/
Collette’s Chèris VIP Reader Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/CollettesCheris/