Welcome to my First Kiss Friday blog. Today’s guest is my dear friend (and fellow Bluestocking Belle) Cerise DeLand who has an excerpt from her latest release in the Lyon’s Den Connect World entitled: A Lyon’s Share. Just look at that cover. I wonder if he needs any assistance with his bath? Happy reading and enjoy, my lovelies!
The quietude of friendship was a quality Adriana had hoped for in her second marriage. That it arrived so quickly and effortlessly surprised and pleased her.
“You’re smiling,” Sidney remarked from his seat across from her in his town coach. He appeared at his ease, his regard of her casual. Yet his dark eyes continuously roved over every inch of her.
His regard sent gushes of wet heat through her. The physical desire she felt startled her. Suppressing the tempting sensation and pushing the memory away, she tipped her head and offered him an eager nod. “Thank you for all you have done. I am happy.”
“Ever my goal.” He ran long fingers through his black curls. That silver streak would never stay put above his forehead.
She longed to thread her fingers through it and push it back. Yet even when young, he had been composed. Controlled. Never disconcerted. The only sign of his disorder had always been that errant shock of hair.
“When we arrive home, I have a few questions for you.”
What did he plan? If he wished to discuss their sleeping arrangements, she had forgotten her anxiety of them in the rush of the ceremony and the joys of well wishes from her family. But his sentiment drained away her peace and filled her with doubts. “Why not ask them now?”
His eyes grew hard, and she could not tell if he was insulted or angry. “Don’t trust me, do you?”
She was ashamed to respond.
“You have evidence to the contrary, Adriana. Years of it.”
“I do. And I apologize. I shall reform.”
He crossed one leg over the other, long muscles rippling in his sleek-fitting breeches. The fawn wool accentuated his roaring good health. So did the superfine emerald of his morning frock coat and the complementary azure and green satin of his waistcoat. His crisp cravat, tied to an extravagant bow, was certainly all the crack.
That wash of desire flooded through her again. Odd. She’d not desired any man in so very long. Fruitless, too, to nurture aspirations of affection for him. He didn’t want her. Not as anything more than a friend. His proof was that he had agreed to her conditions. Her unusual conditions…
She pasted on a grin. “I must admit that I do adore what your tailor has done for you.”
“Like a well-dressed man, do you?” He arched a curious brow.
“Always. Rarely do I see one. Many men have little sense of cut or color. You do, I see.”
“Does this mean you will be proud to be seen with me?”
She caught the more important meaning in his question. “With the Hound of the Guards? Even without those accolades, Sidney, I have always been proud to be your friend. And now, in addition, I am pleased to be your wife.”
Throughout her response, he had trained his gaze—umber and mysterious—on her mouth. The even breaths he took had grown deeper and his mood more somber. “I will take that as a compliment, Adriana.”
“Do,” she said and meant it without qualification.
The coach slowed.
“I believe we are home,” he said with more gusto than necessity. Then he reached for his hat and got out as soon as the footman had the door open and the step down to the ground.
She followed and took his proffered hand.
But at once, he swept her up into his arms. His gaze straight beyond at the entrance to his townhome, she wound her arm around his shoulders.
“You needn’t do this,” she said in a low voice, though she loved the chivalry of him. To touch his power, to feel his strength, stimulated her blood better than good red wine. A man could enchant a woman with his prowess. That she had forgotten.
“Custom,” he told her on a laugh. “I wish to. I’ll not have anyone talk.”
That shook her. Staring at him, she noted his superbly Roman profile. The intensity of his solemn deep brown gaze upon the house, their future…and their reputation.
“Good. Thank you for that,” she told him, for she would not wish to have others think less of him. He was a man with need for respect. To let it be known that he had agreed to a loveless and merely friendly marriage would make him a laughing stock. He deserved more than she had offered him, and it stung her that she deprived so worthy a person of his dignity—and his due.
Thus, in a sign of her gratitude—and yes, for the show of it—she kissed his cheek in public.
He shot her a look that spoke of his surprise and pleasure.
She chuckled and hugged his shoulders as he continued up the steps into their new home.
The Lyon’s Share
By Cerise DeLand
She’d spend every last penny to marry again for security, comfort—or even friendship.
He’d win her wager, possess her, keep her for himself—even if he’d never win her love.
Adriana, Lady Benton, has many regrets—and one hope. To wed a good man to gain a life to which she is entitled. One free of sorrow, penury and ridicule. Appealing to Mrs. Dove-Lyon, Adriana hopes to attract one man who may appreciate her assets. But never need her love.
Colonel Sidney Wolf, once hailed as the ruthless ‘Hound of the Horse Guards’, vows to end Adriana’s hardships. He’s home from the wars and faces the daunting task of filling his father’s role as the Earl of Middlethorpe. Believing only Adriana will do as his helpmate, he strikes a deal with Dove-Lyon that brings him the one woman he admires. The one woman he tells himself he can live with—and never touch.
But the nearness of his funny, charming, beautiful bride drives him mad. Knowing she will never love other than her first husband, can he keep his hands—and his heart to himself?
And if he doesn’t, can she ever forgive him?
Buy Link: https://amzn.to/3bc6ri3
About the Author:
Cerise DeLand loves to write about dashing heroes and the sassy women they adore.
But I bet you knew that!
Did you know that she’s known for her poetic elegance and accuracy of detail?
That she’s an award-winning author of more than 40 novels and was first published in 1991 by Kensington, then Pocket Books, later by St. Martin’s Press and independent presses?
That her books have been monthly selections of the Doubleday Book Club and the Mystery Guild? Right. And she’s won awards. Lots of them. Need details? Write to her. She’ll send you the list!
To research, she’s dived into the oldest texts and dustiest library shelves. She also travels abroad taking good walking shoes, trusty notebooks and pens, plus camera! She visits chateaux and country homes she loves to people with her own imaginary characters.
And at home every day? She cooks. Never dusts. (That can be a problem.) She goes swimming or pumps iron once a week and tries (desperately) to grow vegetables in her arid backyard in south Texas!
Cerise DeLand’s Website: www.cerisedeland.com
Cerise DeLand’s Delicious Doings Blog: http://cerisedeland.blogspot.com
Cerise DeLand’s Amazon Author Page:
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Cerise DeLand’s Delicious Newsletter! http://www.cerisedeland.com