It’s First Kiss Friday and I’m very excited to have my dearest friend Jude Knight on my blog today. I will admit, I’ve been waiting for this story to be told and Jude has finally done it! I do so enjoy an older couple romance, don’t you? Please enjoy this excerpt from Paradise At Last and happy reading, my lovelies!
This excerpt is from Paradise At Last, in which my widowed duchess and widowed duke are finally free to marry thirty-five years after their families broke up their courtship. Except that a disagreement has torn them apart. It takes a stern talking to from relatives and a kidnapping to bring them together again.
James continued his circuit of the house, and decided Eleanor must be on the upper level—a sloping roof that might contain a bedroom or two as well as storage space. He saw no one else. He should still be cautious in case of other confederates. Though would the couple in the kitchen be indulging as they were if others were in the house?
In his circuit, he had found a window with a broken catch. It was a moment’s work and nearly silent to break it still further. Inside the room, he listened, but nothing disturbed the peace except the increasingly enthusiastic noises from the kitchen.
Carefully, checking each space before he moved to it, James made his way upstairs. Three doors. The first opened to an empty room, with nothing in it but dust and spiders. The second was certainly the major bedchamber of the house. James guessed that the kidnappers had coopted it as their own, given the male and female clothing strewn around. So why they were not putting the bed to use, he could not imagine.
The third was locked, but he’d seen a key on a table beside the bed in the second room, so he fetched that and opened the door, his heart in his mouth, ready to attack a guard, fearing she was secured somewhere else.
Eleanor was there, alone, and unharmed. Relief froze him in the doorway, but he recovered quickly when she threw herself into his arms. He maneuvered her backwards, closing the door with one hand, while the other explored her to make sure she was real and unharmed.
The door shut, he crushed her to him and took her lips with his own, wild with relief. She was very real—a fragrant armful of human female, uncorseted and returning his kiss as enthusiastically as he could ever have imagined.
He was struggling to remember why he should pull away when she suddenly came to herself. “James, how did you find me? No! There’s no time for that. Let’s get away.”
By Jude Knight
Release Date: March 15, 2022
Long ago, when they were young, James and Eleanor were deeply in love. But their families tore them apart and they went on to marry other people.
James Winderfield yearns to end a long journey in the arms of his loving family. But his father’s agents offer the exiled prodigal forgiveness and a place in Society — if he abandons his foreign-born wife and children to return to England.
With her husband away, Mahzad faces revolt, invasion and betrayal in the mountain kingdom they built together. A queen without her king, she will not allow their dream and their family to be destroyed.
But the greatest threats to their marriage and their lives together is the widening distance between them. To win Paradise, they must face the truths in their hearts.
In 1812, the suitor Eleanor’s father rejected in favour of the Duke of Haverford has returned to England. He has been away for thirty-two years, and has returned a widower, and the father of ten children.
As the year passes, various events prompt Eleanor to turn to her box of keepsakes, which recall the momentous events of her life.
Paradise Lost is a series of vignettes grounded in 1812, in which Eleanor relives those memories.
Paradise At Last
Now Haverford is deceased nothing stands between the Duchess of Haverford and the Duke of Winshire. Except that James has not forgiven Eleanor for putting the dynasty of the Haverfords ahead of his niece’s happiness.
Can two star-crossed lovers find their happiness at last? Or will their own pride or the villain who wants to destroy the Haverfords stand in their way?
Paradise Triptych contains two novella and a set of memoirs: Paradise Regained (already published), Paradise Lost (available free to my newsletter subscribers) and Paradise At Last (new for this collection).
Jude always wanted to be a novelist. She started in her teens, but life kept getting in the way. Years passed, and with them dozens of unfinished manuscripts. The fear grew. What if she tried, failed, and lost the dream forever? The years since 2014 have brought 11 novels, 13 novella, 4 volumes of short stories, 3 awards, and hundreds of positive reviews. The dream is alive.