Today on my First Kiss Friday blog, I have the fabulous Caroline Warfield who will be sharing the first kiss scene from her novella in our Desperate Daughters box set. Caroline’s novella, Lady Dorothea’s Curate, is the first of nine stories and sets the tone of the entire anthology. We just know you’re going to love her characters, along with all the other hero’s and heroine’s that take York by storm! Read on and happy reading, my lovelies!
Ben and Doro have just been introduced as Lady Dorothea Bigglesworth and The Honorable Eustace Clarke at a ball. It is hard to say which of them was the most shocked, for it isn’t who they thought they were in Harrogate. He does the sensible thing. He asks for a dance and then whispers in her ear that they need someplace private.
Hired assembly rooms have no garden but they do, apparently, have a terrace overlooking the square below. Or so Doro—Lady Dorothea—told him when he demanded to know. She seemed to know the place well. Can this night get any stranger? Ben doubted it.
Halfway across the room, she let go of his arm, and he had to skip to catch up with her as she reached the door. He grabbed her hand, half fearing she meant to bolt.
The terrace wasn’t large, but neither was it crowded. A few people mingled near the railing. A couple engaged in intimate familiarity in the corner to the far left of the glass doors, shadowed rather less than they obviously hoped by the gloom.
When Doro stopped in the middle, Ben, who still had her by the hand, dragged her to the similarly darkened corner to the right. It provided inadequate privacy, but it would have to do.
One hard yank on her arm swung Doro into the corner, around his front, to a hard stop against his chest. His other arm anchored her fast against his body and his mouth came down on hers. No tender salute this. Passion driven by anger and frustrated desire drove him. He plundered. He invaded. He…
He felt like a cad, but he didn’t care. Besides, she kissed him back, clinging to his shoulders like she might drown if she let go. When the need to breathe forced him to pull back a fraction of an inch, Doro closed the distance and kissed him again. That’s when he realized she was crying.
“Enough.” He held both her arms and set her a bit away. Not so far that she could run off. Just enough to reassemble his scattered wits. “Do you want to explain to me what happened here?”
“You kissed me. Rather thoroughly.”
Shame over her tears warred with delight at her passionate response. “Not that! Who are you, and what game are you playing?” he demanded gently wiping the tears from her cheeks.
“Lower your voice.” She hissed at him in the gloom. “I’ll answer your questions, but keep your voice down.” Apparently satisfied that he wasn’t going to shout her deception to the rooftops, she went on. “I am Doro Bigglesworth, Lady Dorothea Bigglesworth. In Harrogate the title didn’t seem to matter.”
“This isn’t Harrogate; it is York. Why the deception?”
She snorted. No ladylike cringing for his Doro. “You know what society thinks of those of us who are forced to work for a living. I didn’t lie to you about our situation. We needed my wages at the Hampton. My father was indeed the Earl of Seahaven, but when he died, we were left with nothing; Patience struggles to support the children. All of us had to scramble to help. If word got out here, it would ruin everything, destroy my sisters’ chances.”
“So, you’re deceiving all of York instead, so the Seahaven Diamonds can latch on to some wealthy fool and enrich all of you. Are the rumors about their dowries lies, too?”
“No! We pooled all we had, the money meant for the ten of us, and concentrated it on them.” She poked him with one very sharp finger. Hard. Several times. “That is precisely what people will think if you spread gossip, and it won’t be true. Not true at all.”
He grabbed her hand to stop her from jabbing him. “I saw you supervising supper like one of the servants. One minute you’re in an apron. The next you float across the dance floor in a gown designed to send a man’s imagination where it has no business going. It’s dishonest. It’s—”
“What about you—the Honorable Eustace Clarke. Who precisely is he? You haven’t been exactly forthcoming. Sunday, you wandered the Shambles in a shabby coat and clerical collar. Tonight, my stepmother introduces you looking like the answer to a maiden’s dreams. Exactly how honorable is that? You never mentioned your brother the viscount in Harrogate either.” She had a point.
Desperate Daughters: A Bluestocking Belles with Friends Collection
Release Date: May 17, 2022
Special Preorder price of only $0.99 until release week
Love Against the Odds
The Earl of Seahaven desperately wanted a son and heir but died leaving nine daughters and a fifth wife. Cruelly turned out by the new earl, they live hand-to-mouth in a small cottage.
The young dowager Countess’s one regret is that she cannot give Seahaven’s dear girls a chance at happiness.
When a cousin offers the use of her townhouse in York during the season, the Countess rallies her stepdaughters.
They will pool their resources so that the youngest marriageable daughters might make successful matches, thereby saving them all.
So start their adventures in York, amid a whirl of balls, lectures, and alfresco picnics. Is it possible each of them might find love by the time the York horse races bring the Season to a close?
Amazon US: https://amzn.to/3qG6WGs
Apple Books: https://apple.co/3HoEVcm
Barnes & Noble: https://bit.ly/2YOhqIm
Amazon AU: https://amzn.to/3ng3cth
About the Author:
Traveler, would-be adventurer, former tech writer and library technology professional, Caroline Warfield has now retired to the urban wilds of Eastern Pennsylvania, and divides her time between writing and seeking adventures with her grandbuddy. In her newest series, Children of Empire, three cousins torn apart by lies find their way home from the far corners of the British Empire, finding love along the way.
She has works published by Soul Mate Publishing and also independently published works. In addition she has participated in five group anthologies, one not yet published.
For more about the series and all of Caroline’s books, look here: https://www.carolinewarfield.com/bookshelf/