Welcome to my First Kiss Friday blog.
I’ve been featuring authors from the upcoming Desperate Daughters, a Bluestocking Belles with Friends Collection, available for preorder for only $0.99. Today let’s welcome one of the Bluestocking Belles’ guest authors, Alina K. Field, who’s sharing an excerpt from her novella, Lady Twisden’s Picture Perfect Match. Enjoy!
The hero, Augustus Kellborn, has just handed Honoria Twisden his sketch of her:
Her breath caught. The subject was a lady, shown in three-quarter view, her attention directed away, Tendrils of hair dangled at her neck and over her cheek. “It’s meant to be me.”
“She’s too… That is how you see me? Well, the work is very precise, but to say that this is me…” She stood and he rose with her. “This lady is pretty.”
“Yes. That is how I see you. You’re pretty, Honoria.” He tucked a lock of hair behind her ear and the heat rising in her cheeks rolled downward. “Shall I list your attributes? You have a straight little nose, full lips, hair the color of dark honey with the sun streaming through it, and rosy cheeks that seem to grow pinker when I’m around. A man notices a thing like that. And your eyes shine with intelligence and good humor. Yes. You are very pretty.”
Speechless, she forced her mouth closed. Pinned under Augustus’s dark gaze, she grew even warmer.
His big hand cradled her cheek, surprisingly gentle. “And I like your painting of the Minster. In fact, I should like to take it home with me to Whitlaw Grange and hang it over the mantel in my study. I should very much like to have you at Whitlaw Grange as well.”
“My painting?” Over his mantel? She wasn’t sure she wanted to part with it.
“Yes. And you must come as well. You can make sure it’s correctly displayed.”
“You want me to visit you? If you have ruins, perhaps I could paint… What? What are you doing?”
Augustus had dropped to one knee, sliding his hand down her arm to grasp her hand. Sancho bestirred himself and stretched.
“I don’t want you to come for a visit, Honoria. I want you to come as my bride. Will you marry me? Will you make me the happiest of men?”
Marry? Marry Augustus Kellborn?
His dark gaze pulled at her like a magnet, the desire in his eyes matching the heat rising in her. Her head dipped. Just a few inches more and…
She straightened and tried to get hold of herself. “We’ve had but one outing together.”
“And one dinner and luncheon. And don’t forget we attended church together.”
“You rescued me, and now you are being chivalrous. You’re acting in haste, and there is no need.”
His eyes twinkled. “I’m chivalrous? I rather like that.”
“You’re smiling now. That is better. Now, please, get up.”
He complied, still holding her hand. “You haven’t answered my question, Honoria. Will you marry me?”
Heart hammering, she stared up into his dark, intent gaze. “Augustus, you must agree this is precipitate. You cannot mean… you’ll meet a bevy of young women looking to marry.”
“It’s you I want.”
“But… but.” He’d shown no interest beyond what was polite and appropriate for a house guest. “Until now, I had no notion… no hint of any interest on your part.”
“I escorted you on your outing. I sat next to you at church. I would have snared your hand for a private stroll away from the picnickers today if you’d gone along with us. When I saw that Ripton had disappeared, I had a suspicion he’d be coming back here, so I returned in all haste only to find you rescuing yourself. And now, I want to make my intentions clear.”
He nodded. “Yes.”
Did he feel the same wicked heat rising as she did? There was humor in his dark eyes, not lust.
She shook her head. “I don’t think you can be serious, Major Kellborn. Offering marriage when you haven’t so much as tried to kiss—”
“Kiss you? Why so I haven’t.” He leaned close and brought his lips a hair’s breadth from hers. “May I, my lady?”
Her heart threatened to melt into a puddle. He was letting her decide.
A spurt of madness lifted her heels, tipping her forward.
Her lips touched his in a featherlight connection. He angled his head and brushed a kiss over the corner of her mouth, over her cheek, and jaw, and down to her neck where his touch sent a ripple of need through her. Such softness, such tenderness, from such a hard man—it was a marvel, one that sent her hand sliding around his waist, and her other groping for his shoulder. She raked through the dark curls of hair at his collar and when he brought his lips back to hers, sighed and gave herself up entirely.
About Lady Twisden’s Picture Perfect Match:
After years of putting up with her late husband’s rowdy friends, Honoria, Lady Twisden, has escaped to York where she can paint (even if badly), investigate antiquities, and enjoy freedom.
Then her stepson appears with a long-lost relation in tow.
Promised York’s marriage mart and the hospitality of his cousin’s doddering stepmother, Major August Kellborn is shocked to find that his fetching hostess is the one woman who stirs his heart.
Where to find it: Lady Twisden’s Picture Perfect Match is one of nine novellas included in the Bluestocking Belles & Friends collection, Desperate Daughters, to be released on May 17, 2022.
About Desperate Daughters: 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 they start their adventures in York, amid a whirl of balls, lectures, and al fresco picnics. Is it possible each of them might find love by the time the York horse races bring the season to a close?
Available for Pre-order: https://books2read.com/u/bMwL17 for $0.99. The price goes up after the book’s May 17, 2022, launch day.
About the Author:
USA Today bestselling author Alina K. Field earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in English and German literature but prefers the happier world of romance fiction. Her roots are in the Midwestern U.S., but after six very, very, very cold years in Chicago, she moved to Southern California where she shares a midcentury home with a gold-eyed terrier and only occasionally misses snow.
Amazon Author Page https://www.amazon.com/Alina-K.-Field/e/B00DZHWOKY
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