First Kiss Friday with Jude Knight

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Welcome to another First Kiss Friday! Today’s guest is my dear friend Jude Knight. This excerpt is from Farewell to Kindness, the first novel in the series The Golden RedepenningsFarewell to Kindness is on special until the end of June, price reduced to 99c. In the excerpt, Rede, the Earl of Chirbury, has taken Anne and her family into his house after the roof of her cottage collapsed. They have encountered one another late at night, and he is showing Anne how to drink brandy. Happy reading and enjoy!

Excerpt:

“No. Wait,” Rede said. “Swirl, sniff, and then sip. Here, let me show you.” He leaned forward and cupped his hand around the glass over hers.

“Swirl.” He moved her hand gently in a small, tight circle.

“Sniff.” He held the glass several inches from her nose and again swirled it slightly, then shifted it closer.

“Now sip. Just a small amount, slowly. Let it slide over your tongue.”

Anne followed his directions, not taking her eyes off Rede. This time, the brandy seemed a lot smoother. The flavour filled her mouth, the fiery liquid warmed her throat.

Rede had not removed his hands, and now he leaned forward still further, his eyes holding her motionless.

He came closer and closer, slowly. He would stop if she protested. She should protest. She would not.

The first brush of his lips on hers was brief, and light as a feather. He drew back enough to look into her eyes, then leaned in again. This time, his lips landed and stayed, moulding to the shape of her mouth. After a moment, he began to move, cruising along her upper lip with tiny pecks and then along the lower. He settled again, this time his mouth slightly open. Was that his tongue, sliding along her lips? How odd. How… pleasant.

She opened her own lips, and was rewarded with a hum of approval before he dipped his tongue into her mouth. Tentatively she touched his tongue with her own, which sent a tingle down through her breasts to her belly.

He hummed again, this time almost a moan.

So he liked that, did he? She began to copy, doing to him what he was doing to her. At some level, she was conscious that he had removed the brandy glass from her hands and set it to one side. With that out of the way, he came to his knees before her chair, and she found herself widening her legs so that he could press up against her. 

She was aflame with sensation, barely aware of all the ways he was touching her; his hand on the curve of her waist, pulling her into his body; his lips, teeth and tongue teasing and tasting. His other hand had somehow found its way inside her robe, and was lightly stroking its way up her breast, ever closer and closer to the nipple, which had pebbled so hard it was almost painful.

She moaned, asking for something, but what she did not know.

Rede seemed to understand. His lips left her mouth, and skimmed their way down her throat, pausing for a moment to nibble and lick at the nape of her neck, then continuing downwards. He must have nudged the robe and her nightgown aside, because all of a sudden his tongue was laving one nipple while his clever fingers gently rolled and squeezed the other.

Then he began to suck.

“Rede!” She pressed closer, desperate for the feelings to stop, to continue, to go away, to go further. She didn’t know, but Rede did. “Rede?” she said again, a question this time.

“I have you, Anne,” he soothed, and bent back to his task, changing to give his intimate attentions to her other breast.

Meanwhile, his hands slipped lower, one now cupping her buttocks and the other—surely he didn’t mean to touch her there? 

He did. His fingers stroked her most private place through the fine lawn of the nightgown, sending the biggest shockwave of sensation yet cascading through her body. 

“Ah, Anne,” he whispered, his voice husky, “you are wet for me.” His voice was warm with approval. He bent to lave her nipple once more, before straightening, grasping her buttocks in both hands and pulling her hard up against him. 

The length of the male part Hannah had described now rubbed where his fingers had been a moment before. It was bigger than she expected. 

“See how hard you make me?” he murmured. He kissed her again. She squirmed, unable to resist rubbing against him. The same amazing shock drowned her still deeper in sensation, and she moaned again.

“I have dreamed of this,” Rede said. “I’ve dreamed of holding you like this, kissing you like this. Of spreading you beneath me and bringing you to pleasure such as you’ve never known. Oh, Anne,” he groaned as he kissed her again, and that same questing hand began to inch her nightgown up her thigh.

At that moment, a door opened at the far end of the gallery. Anne looked around Rede’s shoulder. Susan was there, holding a candle.

“Oh!” Susan said. “I beg your pardon. I heard a noise. Please, just carry on. I am going back to bed now.” The last said as she shut the door.

Rede sat back on his heels, his expression wry. “I suppose you do not wish to take her advice?” 

Anne, recalled to herself, was blushing furiously again. Honestly, she blushed more in Rede’s presence than she could remember doing for years.

“I think I had better go to bed now,” she told him. “Alone,” she added, so that there should be no doubt, and blushed even deeper.

Silent, he stood and offered her a hand to her feet, then gave her the candleholder. He followed her out into the hall, but said nothing till they turned the corner after Ruth’s room.

“I am sorry, Anne,” he told her. “When I kissed you… I stopped thinking. I should not have kissed you in a place we could be interrupted. I would not embarrass you for the world. I won’t say I am sorry I kissed you, though. It was everything I dreamed and more.”

“What Susan must think!” Anne said.

“Do not worry about Susan. She will not betray us. Next time…”

She spun back to face him. “There will be no next time, Rede. I have to think of Kitty, and Ruth and Daisy too. It would take very little to make a scandal, and a scandal could destroy them. I cannot do this.”

He nodded. “I know, I know. I do not mean to threaten your reputation or endanger your family. I promise.”

“How can you understand? You are a man. And a peer.”

“I am. But nonetheless, I understand. I will not harm you, Anne. Tonight… I have thought of you for so long. When I kissed you, I lost control. I will not steal another kiss, I promise. Not until I can find a way for us to safely be together without risk to your reputation.”

“There is no way.”

He denied that with a shake of his head. “I will find a way. What we have together, it is extraordinary, Anne.”

It was her turn to shake her head. “It does not matter. Kitty matters. Daisy matters.”

She turned back to finish the walk to her room, and he continued to follow her.

She refused to look at him until they reached her door, then he caught her hand and held it for a moment to his heart. “See how it beats? It beats for you. Go to bed now, and know that I am three rooms away, lying in my bed, remembering how you taste, dreaming of tasting you again.”

“I cannot do this.” She could. She could take his hand and pull him into her room, and no-one would be the wiser. 

What nonsense. She shook her head again. Early in the morning as it was, the servants would soon be up and about. Or one of the other members of the house party might wander the halls as she had herself. She had to think of her family. 

“You mustn’t be afraid, Anne.”

How could she tell him that it was not him that she feared? It was herself. 

As if he could hear her most wanton thoughts, he took her hand again; but then he pressed her glass into it. “Here. Finish your brandy. It will help you sleep. Goodnight, Anne. Lock your door.”

He waited until she was inside and closing the door, watching him through the diminishing opening. He was turning away when she spoke, in barely a whisper. “Rede. I am not sorry, either.”

She closed the door before he could reply, and went to bed. She should be horrified at what had happened, at what had nearly happened. But she found herself smiling. At least she had the answer to whether or not this inconvenient desire was one-sided.


He thought he had buried his heart with his children. He was wrong.

Hidden from the earl who hunts them, Anne and her sisters have been accepted into the heart of a tiny rural village. Until another earl comes visiting.

Rede lives to avenge the deaths of his wife and children. After three long years of searching, he is closing in on the ruthless villains who gave the orders, and he does not hope to survive the final encounter. Until he meets Anne. 

As their inconvenient attraction grows, a series of near fatal attacks draws them together and drives them apart. When their desperate enemies combine forces, Anne and Rede must trust one another to survive.

Farewell to Kindness is Book 1 in the series The Golden Redepennings. Read more about the series at: http://judeknightauthor.com/the-golden-redepennings/

Kobohttps://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/farewell-to-kindness

iBookshttps://itunes.apple.com/us/book/farewell-to-kindness/id974225678

Barnes & Noblehttp://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/books/1121346576

Smashwordshttps://www.smashwords.com/books/view/522691

Amazon Kindlehttp://www.amazon.com/Farewell-Kindness-Golden-Redepennings-Book-ebook/dp/B00TXRW4KA/

About Jude Knight

Jude Knight’s writing goal is to transport readers to another time, another place, where they can enjoy adventure and romance, thrill to trials and challenges, uncover secrets and solve mysteries, delight in a happy ending, and return from their virtual holiday refreshed and ready for anything.

Website and bloghttp://judeknightauthor.com/

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/JudeKnightAuthor/

Twitterhttps://twitter.com/JudeKnightBooks

Pinteresthttps://nz.pinterest.com/jknight1033/

Emailjude@judeknightauthor.com

Come celebrate my newest release!

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On Sunday, June 26th in my public Facebook Group, The Historical & Time Travel World of Sherry Ewing, my guest authors and I will be celebrating my latest release Promises Made at Midnight. I’d love for you to join me for fun and games along with my Rafflecopter giveaway! Party times are from 1:00 p.m. to 8:00 pm EDT (10am to 5pm PDT). Keep reading to learn more about Promises Made at Midnight and how to join my group and giveaway!

Join my group here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/356905935241836/

Enter my giveaway here: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/ce7bfc2a36/?

About the book:

Promises Made At Midnight:
The Knights of Berwyck, A Quest Through Time (Book 6)
On Sale for only $0.99!
Release Date: June 28, 2022

Sometimes all it takes to find your heart’s desire is to make a wish…

After a series of failed relationships, Bridgette Harris would like a fresh start. If only she could escape her ex-boyfriend since they participate in the same renaissance fairs. While gazing at a granite statue of a handsome knight—her dream man—at one such fair, a mysterious elderly Scottish woman offers her a coin to toss into the fountain and make a wish. Bridgette can’t resist, but nothing prepares her to suddenly slip through time.

Sir Ulrick de Mohan does not have time for love. He is charged with training possible recruits to become worthy guardsmen for the Devil’s Dragon. The woman who magically appears out of thin air and falls into his arms must be one of those future ladies who continue to show up at Berwyck’s gate. But she can’t be for him.

Fate has brought two people together despite the centuries that should be keeping them apart. Will the growing love between them be enough to keep Bridgette in the past or will Time return her to where she should belong?

Buy Links:

Amazon US | Apple Books | Kobo | Nook Books2Read

Amazon AU | Amazon BR | Amazon CA Amazon DE Amazon ES Amazon FR | Amazon IN | Amazon IT | Amazon JP | Amazon MX | Amazon NL | Amazon UK | Angus & Robertson | Thalia | Vivlio

First Kiss Friday with Kate Moore.

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Thank you for dropping by for another excerpt for my First Kiss Friday blog. Today’s guest is my friend Kate Moore who is celebrating Christmas in July. Keep reading for an excerpt from Saturday Santa. Take it away Kate!

Hi Sherry, I know this isn’t my usual Regency historical story, but it’s definitely the sort of “fallen” hero I love to write. Jack Ryker and Mari Lynch have surprising things in common with the hero and heroine of my RITA finalist Regency Sweet Bargain from years ago. 

“Christmas in July” 

First Kiss Scene: It’s late on Thanksgiving evening at the beach. Jack’s alone in his fortress house when Mari brings him a Tupperware tub of leftover yams and he convinces her to sit with him in the dark on the big charcoal-colored sectional sofa in his lofty living room above the beach. …

“Tell me something,” he said. “Why did you come tonight?”

It was her turn to fall silent. He could sense her figuring out what she wanted to say. He didn’t know what he hoped. He lifted his arm from the back of the sofa and took her hand in his, resting their joined palms against his thigh. It was a bold move, but she didn’t resist.

“Something draws me to you. Well.” She laughed. “Something besides the obvious. I’m trying to understand it. And I want a ‘do-over,’ even if we still don’t …work.”

“Because of Huntington?” He had to ask.

He felt the little shake of her head. “Something he said got me thinking. But mainly because of you. You aren’t like ordinary men, you know.”

That didn’t sound good, but he had to ask. “I’m not?”

“Well, for one, you’re not watching a Thanksgiving football game with a beer in one hand, yelling madly at the TV as a herd of behemoths pushes on odd-shaped ball back and forth on a patch of artificial turf.”

“Right.” He didn’t think she minded that difference too much. 

“And for two, I can’t imagine bringing you home to my family. There are expectations, you see.” She sighed.

He didn’t see. No woman had brought him to meet her family.

“I think you’d bolt when Mom put garlic mashed potatoes on the table. Or when Uncle Larry told a loud joke and everyone snorted with laughter.” She squeezed his hand as she spoke. He didn’t despair, but she was right that meeting her family would be a challenge for him.

“You brought other … dates home? Non-bolting dates?”

He had to wait an interminable time for an answer.

“You should know. There was someone in my life for two years. Until last January, I lived with him in a condo in the marina.”

It was a rushed little confession. And she left out how it ended. He wanted to know more. He wanted to find the guy and maybe rearrange the architecture of his nose.

“And you?”

“No one in the last two years,” he said.

She slipped her hand from his and twisted toward him, sitting up away from the sofa back. Her knee brushed his thigh, causing his brain to shut down briefly as sensation overwhelmed him. “That,” she said, tapping him on the chest, “is so you. Honest and utterly … uninformative.”

She swung around, lowering her feet to the floor.

“Wait.” He’d missed some clue. There was something he should have said.

“I have to go now, but I’m not walking out on us. We’re not done.” She stood and snatched up her coat. Soldier stirred at the door.

“I’ll see you again?” He sounded pathetic. He hadn’t been pathetic in a mud cell with guys beating him. “I know places we can meet in daylight. Private places.” He had to slow her down, borrow time to get off the sofa.

She shrugged into her coat. “Alone? Or with your…guards?”

He managed to get to his feet. “Security matters. Bradley will get you home tonight.”

“I’m working. I have to go to the mall.”

“Bradley will get you there.” Jack wasn’t going to back down on that point. Bradley could get her out of the house without anyone seeing her or seeing where she went.

“Fine.” She didn’t look at him as she spoke.

He took her by the shoulders and turned her around. “Mari.” Her name came out in a voice he barely recognized as his. “You asked me what I was thinking about tonight.”

She tilted her face up to his, her eyes big and dark with the question.

“This,” he said. He leaned forward and kissed her, and everything went still, her mouth soft and smooth under his, open in surprise. His heart paused, waiting long milliseconds to beat again. Then she kissed him back, leaning in, hanging on, her hands gripping his shirt, bunching the wool over his ribs. The box at his waist shifted, alerting his team.

The door opened. Light spilled in, and they broke apart. She stepped into the hall and spoke to Bradley in a cheerful, unaffected voice. The door closed, and Jack was alone again in the dark with the dog—and hope.


Book Blurb:  

Saturday Santa is the climactic final romance of Kate Moore’s Canyon Club series about three millionaire former school mates who find love in LA. It’s a “Beauty and the Beast” story set at Christmas story with a twist of suspense. 

A prince of privilege, Jack Ryker returns to LA determined to stop an enemy he unleashed from his past. Christmas is the last thing on his mind when he takes refuge in a house high above the ocean guarded by a team of security experts. Scarred and trapped in a specially made chair, every day from his beachside window Jack watches a beautiful woman coax a faltering old man on their daily walk. Jack doesn’t know why, but he’s determined to meet her.

Mari Lynch loves her job directing events at an upscale mall, especially at Christmas. This year her cheer plummets when a stroke prevents her grandpa from being the mall’s favorite Saturday Santa. Forced to find a replacement, she’s at a loose end.

Jack and Mari’s worlds collide and he topples her ideas about dating while she thaws his frozen heart. The truth about his past stands between them, and could cost Mari her life. When Jack’s enemy comes after the woman he loves in the mall as kids gather to see Santa, Jack knows now he truly has everything to lose.

Buy links:

Apple | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Smashwords

About the author:

Kate was not orphaned. She never worked in a shoe-blacking factory or lived in an isolated country vicarage. Other than the threat of atomic annihilation, her childhood was an agreeable one in houses full of books in a family ready for adventures along the California coast, and magically on the island of Oahu. Her people were storytellers, fascinated with history, news, and gossip. While teaching Jane Austen to tenth grade boys, she saw her world in a new way and began to write stories of falling in love standing up (mostly fully clothed) in the midst of family. Many books, lots of writer friends, and a few awards later, Boroughs Publishing Group released her 19th Romance—Saturday Santa. Kate lives in a wooded canyon north of San Francisco with her surfer husband, their yellow Lab, a house full of toys for visiting grandkids, and miles of crowded bookshelves.

Find Kate Moore at:

Website: www.katemoore.com

Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/KateMooreAuthor

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/KateMooreAuthor

Medieval Monday with Sherry Ewing.

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Hello, my lovelies, and welcome to Medieval Monday! I haven’t done a post in a while and since I’m leading up to my next release on June 28th, I thought I’d go back to my very first medieval/time travel with an excerpt from For All of Ever. It was never my intention to write in this genre but those pesky characters are bound to have their way when they voice their opinions far into the wee hours of the nights. So, sit back and enjoy this glimpse into Katherine & Riorden’s journey through time! I have to admit, they’re still my favorite characters.

Excerpt:

He placed his hand upon the latch to his chamber to open the door, but halted. He knew with every fiber of his being she was inside. He could feel her presence, as if she were waiting for his arrival. He opened the door, closing it behind him, and went to the hearth to rekindle the embers into a low flame. He exhaled slowly, more to get his thoughts together than to appear as if he could not handle a situation such as this. Truly, what was there really to be afraid of?

He turned and looked towards his bed. She stood there, touching one of the posts admiringly, just as he had seen her the first time but days ago. He had the pleasure of idly watching her, since it appeared she as yet did not know he was here. In truth, to his way of thinking, he had never seen a woman as lovely as she. Her beauty did not come from an outside appearance that may have appealed to him with other women in his past. Nay…hers came from the depths of her soul and from being good at heart.

His contemplation of her only intensified whilst she closed her eyes and leaned her head back. It appeared as if she was looking towards the heavens and the guardian angels above to at last come and claim her soul. He did not want to admit it, even unto himself, but he did not wish for her to leave as yet to join God, for with her nearness, he felt a soothing comfort fill him as never afore.

Riorden reached for a nearby pitcher of wine and poured some into a chalice. His nervousness must have shown, for he almost tipped over the now filled cup. It rattled upon the table and at last drew Katherine’s attention towards him. Her face transformed to one of pure radiance, and he felt he could stare into her glorious eyes for a lifetime, if the chance were given to them.

Riorden took a long drink of his wine before giving her a small bow. “Glad tidings to you this day, mademoiselle.”

Katherine nodded her head. “And may I wish you the same, Sir Knight.”

He watched her standing there, seeming to drink in the sheer sight of him, as he continued to take several deep sips from his chalice.

“You know, if you continue downing that in such a manner, you’re going to have a nasty hangover in the morning.”

He frowned at her strange words and took a deep breath. “I know not what you speak of, my lady,” he declared, watching her every move.

She rolled her eyes and gave him an impish grin that surprised him. Apparently, she must have realized her words confused him, for she touched her finger to her forehead and tapped it. “You’ll have a bad headache.”

“Your speech is passing strange,” Riorden commented. He put the cup back down on the table and placed his hands behind his back. Neither of them made any further comments whilst an awkward silence persisted between them. They only stared one unto the other. She, at last, came closer to stand afore him. He found that, for the life of him, he could not move away. Instead, he stood his ground, wondering what she would do next.

“You look so very real today,” she declared softly.

“As do you, Lady Katherine,” he said, giving her a small grin.

The smile she gave him in return was most serene. Even her eyes lit up at the reference to her name as it passed his lips. She reached up to touch him. Neither of them should have been surprised when her hand went right through him. She stepped back sadly and put her hands inside some odd fabric sewn into her hose.

Seeing her sorrow, he took a hesitant step towards her. Holding his hand palm up to her, he watched in fascination as she removed the white glove she had been wearing. She seemed uncertain, ’til she at last gave in to the impulse. Ever so slowly, she placed her hand but inches from his own. A tingling occurred in his palm, and from her expression, she must have felt it too, since she wrenched her hand back and rubbed her fingers together.

“What I would give to feel your heartbeat next to mine.” She gasped when the words left his mouth, afore he realized he had said them aloud. Once suggested, the words hovered in the room, as if to give them some semblance of hope, even as both realized ’twas obvious they could never be together. ’Twas too late to recant his hastily spoken words, but he would have done so, if only to lessen the hurt flashing momentarily in her eyes.

“I would cross time itself, if it were possible, just to find you, Riorden de Deveraux.”

“You know my name,” he drawled the obvious.

“Yes.”

“Who are you?” he asked solemnly.

Her face lit up again whilst she gazed upon his face. “I’m someone who loves you.”

He kept his features expressionless. “I guessed as much, my lady, and yet you know nothing of me.”

“That’s true, and yet I’ve dreamed of you my entire life, enough to know you pretty well, I’m guessing.”

He was taken aback. “How is this possible?”

“I feel we are connected somehow,” Katherine began hesitantly. “I think perhaps our souls were meant to be together, but the centuries of time between us are keeping us apart.”

“Centuries? Surely, you jest, mademoiselle,” Riorden said with a raised brow of disbelief.

“I would never joke…err…jest about something as important as this. The fact we see each other as spirits speaks for itself, don’t you think?” Katherine asked quietly.

“Are you attempting to tell me you are from the future?” he questioned aghast.

Katherine smiled slightly. “Yes, I suppose I am, from your perspective.”

“Impossible,” Riorden said gruffly.

She shrugged her shoulders. “Apparently, it’s not as impossible as we may think, given we’re both having a conversation with a ghost.”


For All of Ever: The Knights of Berwyck,
A Quest Through Time Novel (Book One)
By Sherry Ewing 

Sometimes to find your future you must look to the past…

Katherine Wakefield has dreamed and written of her knight in shining armor all her life. Never finding a man to measure up to the one of her imagination, she and her three closest friends take a vacation to England. Yet strange things begin happening while visiting Bamburgh castle, but how could they have known they’d find themselves thrown back more than eight hundred years into the past?

Riorden de Deveraux travels to Bamburgh answering the summons of King Henry II knowing his past life is about to catch up with him. But nothing prepares him for the beautiful vision of a strangely clad ghost who first appears in his chamber, let alone the fact he begins having a conversation with her.

Centuries are keeping them apart until Time gives them a chance at finding love. But there are obstacles threatening the fragile bit of hope that Riorden and Katherine can remain together. Will the past of one consume what their future may hold, or will Time take the decision from them and hurdle Katherine forward to where she truly belongs?

Buy Links:

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First Kiss Friday with Caroline Warfield

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Happy First Kiss Friday and welcome to my friend Caroline Warfield who is sharing an excerpt from The Upright Son. We just know you’re going to love the next novel in her Ashmead Heirs series! Enjoy.

David Caulfield, Earl of Clarion is The Upright Son, so horrified by his father’s profligate life that he spent his entire adult life doing what is proper and correct. At friends’ urging he has been pursuing a perfectly proper young woman, Lady Estelle, to be his countess. The only problem is, no sparks fly, even when he kisses her. For once in his life, he is determined to do what he wants rather than what the world expects. Now the woman he wants, Delia Fitzwallace, has run from the ballroom.

Excerpt:

A waltz! What was David thinking? The last waltz should have been Estelle’s. Not his gauche neighbor’s. A friend, as Delia claimed to be, should have curbed his inappropriate impulse. Except David did not act on impulse. Ever. What then? Only one thing was clear. She could never be simply his friend.

Hints of whisper followed her. One voice rang clear out of the cloud. Lady Cranwick. “One has to question the man’s judgement. If he thinks he can aspire…” The sound faded away as Delia stepped into the hall and attempted to breathe, one hand clutching her breast bone. Oh David, what have you done?

She ducked into the breakfast room, dark and abandoned, leaned against the wall, and let common sense take over. Whatever people saw or thought they saw back in that ballroom, it was only a dance. David was a man and an earl. He would be forgiven his impulse. Lady Cranwick and her ilk had no real power to hurt his chances. They would savage her, of course, with Awbury’s venom poisoning her standing, but that didn’t matter. It wasn’t even particularly new.

She walked to the window, staring out into the courtyard garden, lost in shadows. It might be best if she stayed away for the rest of the party. Jeffrey would, of course, still attend and people would think it odd. There would be talk either way. Which would hurt David least?

“I thought I saw you come in here.” David’s rich voice vibrated through her. The door clicked closed behind him.

“What are you thinking?” she hissed. “Your guests expect to see you presiding over the gathering with dignity, not chasing after Awbury’s hoydenish daughter-in-law.” Her voice faltered as he came closer.

“Maddy has led them to a spectacular midnight dessert display, Brynn is entertaining all and sundry with an amusing story, and Lucy has Irma Barrington and Hester plotting sedate Sunday games for tomorrow while slyly implying they will be anything but. The older ladies are torn between outrage and laughter. The gentlemen are fixed on the food and champagne. No one will miss me.”

He stood very close now, his face lost in shadows, and Delia froze to the spot, unable to move. Tender fingers brushed her cheek driving the rhythm of her heart to a gallop.

“You mustn’t, David,” she whispered.

His hand brushed over her ear and touched her hair. “Why?” he asked.

She tipped her head to avoid his hand but couldn’t walk away. “Be sensible. Lady Estelle will make you a perfect wife. Carrying on with me may not bring you scorn, but…”

“Carrying on, Delia? Is that what we’re doing.” He raised her chin with the crook of a finger.

“No! Nor will we. I won’t be your mistress. I can’t.” Her voice broke on the last word.

“I know. It is one of the things I respect about you.” He ran his thumb over her lips. “One of the things I love.”

He covered her gasp with his mouth, their breaths mingling. He nibbled her lower lip and ran his tongue along the upper, and Delia melted with each touch until, boneless in his arms, she accepted what he offered, opened to his exploration of her mouth, and returned his kisses.

He kissed from the corner of her mouth to her ear, tickling her with his tongue. Hot and restless, her hands moved of their own volition under his coat, frustrated by his embroidered waistcoat. When his mouth moved down her neck to her shoulder, she began to undo the buttons.

Her gown gapped, and she realized the ties in the back had become loose. When did my oh so proper earl become so skilled at undoing ladies’ garments? Before she could consider it, he pulled her neckline down, exposing her breasts and all rational thought fled. He saluted one with gentle fingers and an urgent mouth and then the other, sending her into a maelstrom of sensation before crushing her against him, her aching breast against the heat of his fine linen shirt, as he devoured her mouth with his.

“No, ladies. I’m sure this is the other door to the dining room,” Lady Cranwick chirped, just outside the breakfast room, her voice shattering Delia’s world.


About the Book

A notorious will left David, the very proper Earl of Clarion, with a crippled estate and dependents. He’s the one left to pick up the pieces while caring for others—his children, his tenants, and the people of Ashmead. He cares for England, too. Now that the estate has been put to right, he is free to pursue his political ambitions. But loneliness weighs him down. Then he meets his new neighbor.

Her uninhibited behavior stuns him. Why can’t he get her out of his mind?

Happily widowed Lady Delia Fitzwallace revels in her newly rented cottage, surrounded by flowers and the wonder of nature, thrilled to free her three rambunctious children from the city of Bristol and let them enjoy the countryside to the fullest. If only she can avoid offending her very proper neighbor, the earl, when their children keep pulling her into scrapes.

She has none of the qualities he needs in a countess. Is she exactly what he needs as a man?

Learn more at https://www.carolinewarfield.com/bookshelf/the-upright-son/

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/

Happy Release Day, Desperate Daughters!

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It’s always a good day when you send a new book baby out into the world. Today, the Bluestocking Belles and our guest authors celebrate the release of our Desperate Daughters boxset. With over 770 pages of reading, we know you’re going to have a book hangover come the morning. Don’t forget about our contest that is still active. There’s more information below. We hope you enjoy our characters and their journey to finding love. Happy reading, my lovelies!

Desperate Daughters: A Bluestocking Belles & Friends Collection
On sale still for only $0.99!

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?


A Countess to Remember
By Sherry Ewing

My contribution to the set! I just know you’re going to love Richard and Patience!

Blurb:

Sometimes love finds you when you least expect it…

Patience, Dowager Countess of Seahaven cares for a bevy of stepdaughters and a Season for each to find husbands seems out of reach. With her own young daughter to care for, there’s been no chance for romance for herself. She’s been so busy worrying about putting food on the table, that finding love is the last of her concerns.

Richard, Viscount Cranfield is in York to see to his sister’s Season. He has no desire to find a wife despite his parents prodding him to do so. A chance encounter with a countess leaves him wondering what spell she has cast around him.

Will Patience and Richard find enough time to allow love to fill their hearts?

Desperate Daughters: A Bluestocking Belles Collection with Friends

Buy Links:

Amazon US: https://amzn.to/3qG6WGs

Apple Books: https://apple.co/3HoEVcm

Barnes & Noble: https://bit.ly/2YOhqIm

Google Play: https://bit.ly/3Cr5GLm

Kobo: https://bit.ly/3qL5GlH

Books2Read: https://books2read.com/u/bMwL17

International Links:

Amazon AU: https://amzn.to/3ng3cth

BR: https://amzn.to/3qUFBkf

CA: https://amzn.to/3Fmf0Ab

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UK: https://amzn.to/30z5vz5

Thalia: https://bit.ly/30q8dqI

Vivlio: https://bit.ly/3qGqxqc

Help spread the word about Desperate Daughters.

Help to share Desperate Daughters and be in the Draw

Share our contest page and our Bachelor and other memes to any of your social media accounts. Each share gets you an entry into one of the weekly draws and the Grand Prize draw.

Learn more on our website here: https://bluestockingbelles.net/belles-joint-projects/desperate-daughters/giveaway/

An excerpt from A Countess To Remember:

The unseen woman was still in the carriage, as if she was still preparing to collect whatever had been left behind. A small dainty shoe poked out onto the edge of the step and Richard heard her heavy sigh that she made no attempt to mask.

Richard stepped forward, offering his hand. “May I be of assistance, my lady?”

“You are most kind,” the lady inside said. She put her hand in his and Richard swore he felt a tingling sensation rush up his arm.

“Where are my manners?” Lady Barbara exclaimed. “May I introduce my stepmother, Patience, Lady Seahaven. Patience, this is Lord Cranfield and his sister Lady Josephine.”

Richard was prepared for a matronly woman to reveal herself as she alit from the carriage. But when she lifted her head once upon solid ground to acknowledge their introductions, he was unprepared for the young beauty he faced. Blue-grey eyes that could rival the sky above met his. Wisps of strawberry blonde hair had escaped her bonnet while her porcelain skin was set in a lovely round face. But when her small bow mouth turned up into an enchanting smile, Richard became lost.

“Lord Cranfield,” her voice reached into his soul. “It’s a pleasure to meet you.”

Richard bowed, completely bewildered in the spell she had captured him in with just one glance. At a loss for words, he could only stare at the woman before him, even while he continued to hold her hand in his. What had she done to him?

First Kiss Friday with Cerise DeLand

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Thanks for joining me today on my First Kiss Friday blog! Today’s guest is fellow Bluestocking Belle Cerise DeLand who is celebrating a new release. We hope you enjoy this first kiss scene from Lady, Behave. Happy reading, my lovelies!

Excerpt:

Sitting beside him, Addy held his hand, no matter propriety. He needed her. She knew enough of his malady to sit for many minutes without a word between them. He recovered himself, but slowly. And when a footman approached with a tray of wine or whiskey on offer, Gyles would have taken one.

“Do not,” she admonished. 

He stared at her. “No?”

“Spirits will only aggravate your condition.”

He looked away, but grimaced at the bright light of candles in a nearby sconce.

“Close your eyes. Turn toward me.” She stroked his hand and wrapped her fingers around his wrist and counted. “There. Your heart beat slows. You will be well. Give this a few minutes.”

He did as she bade him and in his time, he opened his eyes to consider her with quiet appreciation shining there. “You know my condition.”

“Bold sounds. Bright lights. Alcohol. Late nights. Exertion. They all contribute to your headaches. How long have you suffered them?”

He exhaled. “Since I was imprisoned by the French when I was young.”

“I see.” She squeezed his hand in sympathy. About that, she would learn more but not tonight. He had to recover first before he relived the cause of his distress. “You should not be at balls, sir. But home where you can be quiet and untroubled.”

“But if I did not attend here tonight, I would not have found you again.”

She bobbed her head to and fro. “We might have met in more sedate gatherings.”

“Perhaps. I would have chanced missing you.”

She had never been so sweetly entranced by a man who confessed to his liking for her in so unique a manner. “My sisters and I are in Brighton specifically to enjoy the Season. We will be…” she said as she circled a hand in the air, “everywhere.”

“Addy, How may I press my advantage?”

“You made an impression on me yesterday, Gyles. I will not soon forget you.”

He grasped her hand tightly. “Don’t forget me at all.”

“I won’t. How could I? You like my syrup.” She had to tease him and make him smile.

“I do. Among other things.”

She nodded, compassion in her heart for so afflicted a darling man. “Perhaps my dancing, too?”

“Indeed,” he said. “I’d like to kiss you for it.”

She gave a shocked little laugh. Since Grandpapa died and she knew she’d have to find a husband soon, she’d taken to kissing any man who appealed. Alas, she’d found none. But now, she was not only complimented but tempted to kiss this man. “Not here.”

“No. But somewhere and soon. With my thanks for the syrup, the dance and the laughter.”

Oh, my. Was he much too chivalrous? Was he a rake of no morals? A man who complimented women? Women like her? Young and naive. For all her good looks, for all her pride in them and understanding of them as a tool to attract men, she was still untried, uninformed of much of the physicality of mating. She could be all too easily influenced by a practiced man’s charms. Of that she had always been on guard. 

“A kiss for relief from a headache? Oh, surely that would be—”

“Bliss,” he vowed. “I will try for it tomorrow.”

“When you come for tea?”

“I come for you, Addy.”

He lifted her hand and pressed his firm lips to her glove in a stunning kiss. Had he blessed her bare skin with his mouth, she would have taken him to an alcove in the hall and tasted the flavor of his desire and called herself barely satisfied.

“Tomorrow then,” she whispered and longed to taste his lips on hers.


Lady, Behave
Naughty Ladies, Book 2
By Cerise DeLand

She was a Diamond with a few very tiny flaws—and the desire to be good.

He was a rogue with the sense to reform—and to help her to be bad.


Adelaide Devereaux flabbergasts most men she meets. She’s a Diamond, petite, mild-mannered—the perfect picture of a demure lady. She has one ambition—to kiss every man she likes until she finds one whose lips make her hear church bells chime. 

In Brighton, she meets confirmed bachelor Gyles, Marquess of Heath, who is felled by her charm. Though he vows to kiss her until she’s felt the earth turn on its axis, he cannot claim her unless he fixes his parents’ refusal to accept her. They’re too high in the instep to accept a wayward Irish lass who’s the granddaughter of a notorious rascal.

Pride might stall their romance, and lust might motivate a scoundrel to try to carry Addy away, but when love is the only passion that matters, do not all objections fall before its power?

Note: 
This series is part of Dragonblade’s Flame line, so this is a sexy, steamy, and scorching-hot read with multiple sex scenes. Be advised.

Amazon – https://amazon.com/Lady-Behave-Naughty-Ladies-Book-ebook/dp/B09WXVNCTR

Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/60543686-lady-behave

Books2Read – https://books2read.com/u/4DPXAr

Affiliate link – https://amzn.to/3qVM4uo

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! 

Do visit her website, http://cerisedeland.com and blog http://cerisedeland.blogspot.com

Also visit her YOUTube Channel for her videos of her research travels here https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCba82P_Q1kUrJUVVW0CwJmw/

First Kiss Friday with Sherry Ewing & a contest!

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Welcome to my First Kiss Friday blog. Today I’m featuring my novella A Countess To Remember that is my contribution in the Bluestocking Belles’ box set Desperate Daughters. We’re also running a contest so be sure to read to the end to learn more. I hope you enjoy this first kiss scene between Richard and Patience. Happy reading and good luck in the contest, my lovelies!

Excerpt:

Their eyes met across the room, and he gave her the briefest of nods before walking through the open doorway and out onto a terrace. It was a silent invitation and one she wanted to accept. Patience knew she shouldn’t follow him, but all common sense seemed to leave where Richard was concerned. Besides, no harm could be done to meet him outside for only a few moments. Who would miss her?

Trying to keep her pace casual was harder than she thought. She skirted the outside of the dance floor making her way through the crush of people who watched on the sidelines or carried on their own conversations. She saw her girls being watched over by Barbara and she was again grateful that they were being looked after. With no further thoughts except her own personal agenda, she strode through the balcony doors and peered into the shadows to see Richard waiting for her. He held out his hand for her to take and she had a moment of hesitation, as prudence seemed the better course of action.

“Do you trust me?” His hushed baritone voice caused her to shiver in the moonlight and this had nothing to do with being cold.

“Richard… I—”

“Patience… I am asking for you to trust me,” he calmly said. “Do you?”

“Yes,” she answered him and she could barely make out his smile.

“Then come with me,” he said before whisking her away into the night.

He seemed to know where he was going as he went down several steps and onto a garden path. She gazed back over her shoulder wondering where he was taking her.

“My girls—” she began before he interrupted her.

“We won’t be gone long or go that far.”

“Promise?” she whispered into the night.

“Yes. I promise. You are perfectly safe with me, my dear,” he exclaimed and, true to his word, he halted near a gazebo awash in the moonlit sky. A romantic setting that caused Patience’s heart to race.

“This is a lovely place, Richard, but—”

He turned her into his arms, and Patience couldn’t object, not when she had been envisioning this in her dreams for the past several days. “I know this is sudden, Patience, but I’ve been dying to do this ever since we met,” he said brushing a lock of her hair behind her ear before cupping her cheek.

She leaned into the palm of his hand. “What have you been wanting to do?” she asked hoping he wouldn’t find her undesirable but also praying he would kiss her no matter that they had just met.

“This…”

She held her breath while his mouth slowly descended upon her own. At first, gentle, exploring to see just how much she might allow. A nip at her lower lip to tease her caused her gasp of surprise giving him the opening he had apparently been waiting for. His tongue dipped in to take hungry possession of her mouth, and she was more than willing to learn this new dance together.

She wasn’t new to the intimacies between a couple but Richard’s kiss flared into a burning flame in the pit of her stomach. Henry had never bothered with such affections, and yet, with Richard, she wanted to explore every aspect of what he could bring her. Did this make her one of those wanton women?

He deepened their kiss, and Patience wound her arms around his neck to play with the edges of his hair at his collar. His groan would have caused her to smile if she had been able to perform such a task. He brought her tight against his chest, and she could not mistake his arousal. She should have been shocked but this only made her want more of this man than he could obviously give her standing in a garden.

Whether he could read her thoughts or he just realized how entirely inappropriate their situation could become if they were found, he ended their kiss, leaving her wanting to return to his arms. He placed both hands on her cheeks, running his thumbs over them before giving her another quick kiss.

“Better than I could have ever imagined,” he murmured before he bent down to place his forehead to her own.


Desperate Daughters: A Bluestocking Belles and Friends Collection
Release Date: May 17, 2022
Preorder Sale for only $0.99!

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?

Buy Links can be found on our website at: https://bluestockingbelles.net/belles-joint-projects/desperate-daughters/


Help to share Desperate Daughters and be in the Draw!

Help spread the word about Desperate Daughters.

Share our contest page and our Bachelor and other memes to any of your social media accounts. Each share gets you an entry into one of the weekly draws and the Grand Prize draw.

Congratulations to Catherine Maguire, winner of our week 1 draw.

Enter the Week Two draw here:http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/bb92b0a65/?

Find memes here: https://bluestockingbelles.net/belles-joint-projects/desperate-daughters/sharing/

Weekly prize

Every entry goes into the draw to win:

We’ll draw a winner each week for four weeks.

Grand prize

Every entry also goes in the draw to win:

  • $100 gift card
  • a made-to-order story. The winner gives Jude Knight some ingredients for a story (one character, a plot trope, and an object). Jude writes the story and the winner gets an ecopy at least three months before it is published anywhere else, and their name in the dedication at publication.

First Kiss Friday with Alina K. Field

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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:

Excerpt:

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.”

“Yes.”

“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.”

“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 itLady 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 DaughtersLove 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-orderhttps://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.

Website: https://alinakfield.com/

Amazon Author Page https://www.amazon.com/Alina-K.-Field/e/B00DZHWOKY

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/alinakfield

Twitter: https://twitter.com/AlinaKField

BookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/alina-k-field

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/alinak.field/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7173518.Alina_K_Field

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/alinakf/

Newsletter signup: https://landing.mailerlite.com/webforms/landing/z6q6e3

First Kiss Friday with Caroline Warfield.

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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.

Excerpt:

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?

Buy Links:

Amazon US: https://amzn.to/3qG6WGs

Apple Books: https://apple.co/3HoEVcm

Barnes & Noble: https://bit.ly/2YOhqIm

Kobo: https://bit.ly/3qL5GlH

Books2Read: https://books2read.com/u/bMwL17

International Links:

Amazon AU: https://amzn.to/3ng3cth

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CA: https://amzn.to/3Fmf0Ab

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UK: https://amzn.to/30z5vz5

Thalia: https://bit.ly/30q8dqI

Vivlio: https://bit.ly/3qGqxqc

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/