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.


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?

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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:

First Kiss Friday with Jude Knight


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Welcome to my First Kiss Friday blog. You probably have seen on various social media, that the Bluestocking Belles and their guest authors have a new box set coming out next month entitled Desperate Daughters. On sale for only $0.99 during preorder, Desperate Daughters releases on May 17th. Let’s welcome Belle Jude Knight as she shares an excerpt from her novella, Lord Cuckoo Comes Home. Happy reading and enjoy, my lovelies!

They come close to kissing on the page. Very close. but they were interrupted by the horse and a monkey.


Chloe turned her head to examine his face. His eyes were firmly fixed on the road ahead, but he must have felt the weight of her regard, for he shot her a look and an anxious smile. “Did you know I was courting you? Lord Tavistock said you did not, and that I should tell you.”

“I was not sure,” Chloe admitted. I hoped so. The words occurred, but she kept them in.

Lord Dom grimaced. “I am not very good at it, it seems. I have never done this before. And then I met you.”

He turned his face to her, and must have checked the horses, for they slowed to a walk. “You probably think this is all too fast. I am afraid I am rushing my fences and will take a fall. But I am more afraid that—if I hold back and say nothing—someone else will win your regard in my place.” His laugh was a nervous expulsion of air. “Do you think… Could you tell me if I have a chance, Miss Tavistock? Maybe give me a hint about how to get better at this courting business?”

“I don’t know,” Chloe replied. When his face fell, she hastened to add, “I have never been courted before, Lord Dom. I never thought anyone would wish to marry me, but Martin insisted on this season in York.” She wanted to bounce in her seat and repeat the word ‘Yes’ over and over in fast succession. She resisted, and tested him with the question that had stymied the other two. “Can you perhaps tell me why you wish to marry me?”

“I think I can,” Lord Dom said slowly. He looked along the road ahead as he spoke. “I was attracted before we met, when I saw you across the room at the meeting. That was to be my last engagement in Yorkshire. Then you impressed me with your courage, your sense of humor, and your quick thinking, and I wanted to stay to get to know you better.”

He shot her another of those anxious glances. “But the moment of attraction came first. I don’t know if I can explain it better than to say it felt like recognition. Something in me saw you and said ‘that’s her’.” Another of those short barks of laughter. “It sounds mad, does it not? I am glad I listened, though, for every meeting has confirmed my first impression. You are the woman I can picture spending the rest of my life with.”

He looked so apprehensive that Chloe blurted what she was thinking. “It was the same with me, Dom.”

He dropped the reins to turn to her and take both of her hands. “Chloe! May I call you Chloe?” The horses, his soft control suddenly absent, tossed their heads and quickened their pace. Dom had to grab for the reins again to exert his will on them.

His soft laugh was exultant. “I lose all my senses when I am with you.”

Chloe, coming to her own senses just in time to grab at Rosario’s harness as the monkey started a flying leap for a passing tree, knew exactly what he meant.

“We turn here,” Dom told her, suiting action to word and setting the horses between two ornate gateposts. “We can talk more on the way home, Chloe. My darling.”

“Lord Cuckoo Comes Home” in Desperate Daughters

Dom Finchley only came to York as a favor to his half-brother, who asked him to attend a meeting there. After a devastating break with the Finchley family followed by ten years at war, he is keen to get the favor done and then leave to build the home he’s never had. A place to call his own.

Then he meets Chloe.

Chloe Tavistock is past the age for the marriage market, and unfashionable in her shape, her opinions, and her enthusiasms. She is not going to find a husband in York, whatever her fond brother might think.

And then she meets Dom.

Two people who have never fitted in just might be a perfect fit.

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Meet Jude

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.

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First Kiss Friday with Anna St. Claire


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Happy First Kiss Friday! I’m excited for you to read this excerpt from My Lord, My Rogue by my friend Anna St. Claire that releases next week. Enjoy, my lovelies!


Benjamin watched her lips as she talked, mesmerized by their soft, bow shape. “You are exquisite, Honora. And I realize that there are impediments to our relationship. There is Oliver’s guardianship. I feel sure that Lancaster’s influence, together with your father’s, will have a great bearing in the Court of Chancery. Their rolls are usually fairly bogged down, but he will use their connections, including his with the regent, to move it forward. At least, that is his hope. He cannot promise any outcome, of course.” 

“That would be wonderful, should he be able to help me with Oliver. It is my biggest fear that the dowager will maneuver a way to grab him from me.”

“No. That will not happen.” Quietly, he removed to the chair next to her. Benjamin cared not a fig for what her maid was doing, watching or otherwise. He wanted a kiss. “Would you mind if I kiss you, Honora?”

A smile turned up the corners of her mouth. “I would like that very much, Benjamin.” 

Hearing her say his name sent a idyllic feeling though him. Despite the awkwardness of the table, he leaned in and pulled her closer to him. Leaning in, he feathered her lips with small kisses before gently kissing her. His tongue touched her lips, cajoling her to allow more. She opened her mouth, and he quickly pressed his advantage tasting the sweetness of her mouth and swirling his tongue with hers in a dance of pleasure. Reminding himself they were not alone and not wishing to give her anything to regret, he pulled away slowly, lingering a moment to kiss the tip of her nose. 

“How was that, Lady Aster?” he asked, covering her hand with his.

“That was nice.” Her teeth bit down on her lip. “I confess I would enjoy another kiss, but only if I can get you to call me Honora.” A smile flickered across her lips. “You have not called me Honora since I was twelve.”A smile creased his face. “It would be my pleasure, if you call me Benjamin,” he replied, feeling a fissure of pleasure shoot through his body.

My Lord, My Rogue
Noble Hearts, book 4

By Anna St. Claire
Release date – March 15, 2022

Entangled in a web of danger, espionage, and deception, can he find love with the woman he thought long dead? Or will the danger deprive them of a chance for love and happiness?

Lady Honora Radcliff was betrothed to the most sought-after man of the Season— just not the man she loved. Too much champagne and too many dances with a handsome stranger leaves her life in tatters and she finds herself married to an abusive man whose only interest is the dowry her father refuses to release. Desperate to save her life and that of her unborn child, she fakes her death and disappears. 

Lord Benjamin Crewe, the Marquess of Willington, planned to enjoy the Christmastide season relaxing. Instead, he accepts a dangerous assignment from the Crown and while working it, comes face to face with the woman he always wished he had married. Only she has been thought dead for three years. 

Needing answers, he pursues her at the same time a treacherous enemy of England surfaces, and the two of them become tangled in a web of danger, espionage, and deception. 

Can Honora and Benjamin survive the danger in which they find themselves and gain a chance for love and happiness?

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About the Author:

Anna St. Claire is a big believer that nothing is impossible if you believe in yourself. She sprinkles her stories with laughter, romance, mystery and lots of possibilities, adhering to the belief that goodness and love will win the day. 

Anna is both an avid reader author of American and British historical romance. She and her husband live in Charlotte, North Carolina with their  two dogs and often, their two beautiful granddaughters, who live nearby. Daughter, sister, wife, mother, and Mimi—all life roles that Anna St. Claire relishes and feels blessed to still enjoy. And she loves her pets – dogs and cats alike, and often inserts them into her books as secondary characters.

Anna relocated from New York to the Carolinas as a child. Her mother, a retired English and History teacher, always encouraged Anna’s interest in writing, after discovering short stories she would write in her spare time. 

As a child, she loved mysteries and checked out every Encyclopedia Brown story that came into the school library. Before too long, her fascination with history and reading led her to her first historical romance—Margaret Mitchell’s Gone With The Wind, now a treasured, but weathered book from being read multiple times. The day she discovered Kathleen Woodiwiss,’ books, Shanna and Ashes In The Wind, Anna became hooked. She read every historical romance that came her way and dreams of writing her own historical romances took seed.

Today, her focus is primarily the Regency and Civil War eras, although Anna enjoys almost any period in American and British history.

First Kiss Friday with Maddison Michaels


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Welcome to my First Kiss Friday blog! Today’s guest is Maddison Michaels who has a first kiss scene from her story The Bachelor Betrayal. Isn’t the cover gorgeous? Happy reading and enjoy my lovelies!


“If we’re entering into an agreement together, we should seal the deal with a kiss,” he murmured. “It’s the polite thing to do.”

“Sealing the deal with a kiss is how my friend Olivia ended up marrying the Bastard of Baker Street,” she said, annoyed her voice sounded slightly breathless. “I’ve no intention of following the same path.”

“Oh, don’t worry, my lady. Neither do I,” Marcus all but purred. “I will never marry again. You’re safe from me in that regard. Unless, of course, you’re scared of a kiss?”

“I’m scared of no man’s kiss.”

“Then show me.”

The deep timber of his voice sent a shiver through her body and all she could do was nod. What harm was there in a kiss? It might satisfy her curiosity and put the unaccountable sensations she was experiencing in his presence to rest once and for all. “Very well.”

She raised her head and pressed her lips softly against his. Almost immediately, a heat began to curl in her belly from the touch, his lips scorching in their intensity. She moaned as he nudged open her mouth with his, and his tongue flicked against hers. Mirroring the movement, she did the same to him and was rewarded with his deep groan as they began to kiss each other with an unrestrained passion she didn’t think was possible for her.

Instinctively, she pressed herself closer to him, reveling at the sensations of pleasure coursing through her from his very touch. He was strong and so masculine it made her feel delicate and feminine, which she rarely ever did.

His hands circled around her waist, before sliding lower and cupping her buttocks, pulling her in, tighter against him. Kat nearly gasped when the hardness of his manhood pressed into her lower belly. It was wicked. It was wanton. It was addictive, and she wanted more.

She wound her hands up and around his neck and kissed him back with unrepentant fervor, pressing her breasts more snugly against the broadness of his thick chest. Never had she tasted such sublime wonder as was Marcus.A throat being cleared from behind them had Kat wrenching away from Marcus and spinning around to face the threat. It was Cantfield and Etta. How mortifying. And Kat never felt mortified by anything, though she’d never been kissed so thoroughly before either, or caught in the act.

The Bachelor Betrayal
By Maddison Michaels

He wants justice

Underestimating Marcus Black is the last thing his enemies ever do. After all, the respected Earl of Westwood is a deadly threat… when her Majesty needs him to be. And his only goal is to avenge his brother’s murder. Which would be much easier if the viciously-skilled Lady Kaitlyn Montrose wouldn’t swoop in, knee him in the bollocks, and then run off with his only lead…

She wants revenge

Kat is determined to avenge her beloved uncle’s murder and nothing will stop her. Especially not the devastatingly handsome, and equally lethal Marcus Black. The fact that he’s after the same target is a complication she hadn’t planned on.  And as much as she enjoys taunting him, she has a job to do—one that doesn’t include sparring with the infuriating man at every turn. Except Kat has a new plan… one that Marcus will just hate.

Now they’ll have to work together… if they don’t kill each other first

Individually, Marcus and Kat are deadly. If they worked together, they could be unstoppable. But when attraction gets in the way of vengeance, it’s more than hearts on the line. And only one person can win…


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About the Author:

Indoctrinated into a world of dashing rogues and feisty heroines when she was a teenager and picked up her first ever historical romance, Maddison Michaels has been a prolific reader and writer of historical romance ever since. She is the bestselling author of six books, including THE DEVILISH DUKE which won the 2019 RWA Australia Historical Romantic Book of the Year.

Writing historical romance is Maddison’s way of time traveling back to Victorian London to experience a cornucopia of intrigue, romance and adventure all from the comfort of her living room! She also loves incorporating her previous 16 years experience as a police officer into the mystery and suspense elements of her books.  She lives in Sydney, Australia with her own handsome hero, beautiful daughter and fur baby, and she always starts her day with a cup of liquid gold…coffee – just quietly, she’s addicted to the stuff!

Maddison absolutely loves to hear from her readers and you can find her at or on most social media platforms!



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First Kiss Friday with Cerise DeLand


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Welcome to another First Kiss Friday. Please welcome my guest Cerise DeLand who has an excerpt from If You Were The Only Girl In the World. Happy reading and enjoy, my lovelies!

Intro from the author:

In the spring 1916, American Katrina Schubert arrives in London awaiting confirmation that she can cross the Channel in a packet. She’s a young doctor, in Europe on her own to help the war effort. Because she has learned the American Army will not enlist female physicians if or when the country goes to war, she decides to take her inheritance and serve at her own expense. 

What she does not realize is that since the last time she was here, Europeans have drastically changed. Paris a city under seige. There is no place to hide from the war, no place to run, no place for gaiety. As she tries to secure passage across to France, one night she is attacked in the London streets. But she is saved by a young British colonel whom she remembers all too well saved her once before.

When she finally gets approval to cross the Channel, Nate Langston, the Earl of Crabury, takes her to Dover along with his good friend and distant cousin, Dylan Hanniford. Here we find them in Dover, saying goodbye.


She took Nate’s hand to aid her out of the taxi that he and Dylan had engaged at the train station. She stared at the small hotel was quaint with its ivy covered stone and young white rosebuds climbing the walls. But the building was sad as the weather. Tilting to one side, the three-story building seemed to have held itself up along the old and winding street for a century or more. Its sign swinging from an iron hook banged against the stones in a mournful cry. 

She refused to glance at the port once more. The first sight of armored ships, their guns pointed toward the water and the French coast, the grey drizzle, the bone-deep chill combined to make her teeth ache.

Nate and Dylan hailed the porter, an elderly fellow who should not be doing such heavy lifting. But young men were a rarity. Even Dylan in civilian dress as he was, was scrutinized by those in the train station. Men in uniform had a special disdain for him. One glance to see he was in the company of a British Colonel assuaged a bit of their irritation as well as inspired their curiosity. They found it even more strange that a young woman was accompanied by two men and gave Katrina a once-over that was less than kind.

The three hurried inside the hotel where a fire burned in warm and crackling welcome.

Dylan signed in at the desk with the proprietress. A lady of rectitude as rigid as her posture, she was curious about the woman who was next.

“I have a reservation. My name is Dr. Katrina Schubert.” The woman softened at the word ‘doctor’ but resumed her stiff demeanor at the sound of Katrina’s last name. As Katrina handed the lady her passport, she went on, “I go on to Paris to work there.”

Nate stood to one side of her. Dylan the other. Both of them gave the lady twinkly little smiles as she checked her ledger and sought the keys from her pegboard behind her.

“Room twenty-two, Madam Schubert.”


“Of course.” The lady glared at her, then gave Dylan his key.

Angry at the slight, Katrina grasped the large iron key and debated if she should reprimand the woman. She was so very tired of others who judged her for her profession. Or her male company. Or her lack of female company.

Nate’s fingers squeezed her waist.

Dylan gave her a knowing lift of his brows and in hearing of the proprietress said, “I’ll see you down here for dinner, Katrina. Seven o’clock, sound fine?”

“Absolutely.” She toyed with the key. Here, ready to leave England, she felt her blood pressure kick up. She spun toward Nate as he picked up her two suitcases. “I’ll take those.”

“I’ll carry them up for you.”

She shook her head and widened her eyes in warning. “You’ve done so much for me.”

He tipped his head. “And you for me.”

She gave a laugh. “How can that be?”

“I need to talk to you. Alone. Let me take these up. Give me you key, eh? Stay here. She will think what she will. Then we’ll get Dylan and we three will go find a tea room or a pub. Some place to have a decent meal.”

“No.” Tears threatened and she hated that she’d dissolve in front of him. “Please don’t argue. I need to be alone.”

“Do you?” he asked, regret alive in his tone. “I don’t understand—“

“I need to summon my inner warrior, Colonel. You have coddled me these past few days and I must put on my armor, sir, for the crossing.”  Embarrassed, she shook her head, pushing aside her loss of him. “Sorry. I’m being a ninny.”

“I’d say you’re been damn brave.”

She bucked up at that and admired his handsome face for one of the last times. “Oh, Nate. I’m realizing what a wild decision I made to come here. That’s not brave. That’s pitiful.”

He pulled her to the side of the room and into an alcove secluded from the lobby. She had presence of mind to note two chairs and a settee and rejoiced at the privacy at this last vital moment with him. He put her suitcases to the floor and reached for her. Once more, as the night he had saved her from those thugs, he was her comfort as he drew her gently into his arms.

She went, falling against his shoulder like a rag doll, her arms clutching him around his waist, the smooth wool of his uniform on her cheek, a comfort to her tattered mind.

He ran his hands down her spine and she sighed into him.

“I’ve wanted to hold you for days,” he said on a little laugh.

“I wanted to be held,” she admitted to his shoulder and hugged him like she’d never let him go. “I cannot tell you what a help you’ve been to me.”

He pulled away, and smiled wickedly as he lifted her chin. He had tears in his eyes and he was not hiding them. “I remember the first night we met. You were brave then.”

She gave laugh. “Oh, that’s not true. I was angry.”

“You had good cause.”

“I did,” she acknowledged.

Katrina pulled back in his arms to examine him. The subject she thought of for years, the dumbest she had not broached with him, suddenly seemed the most important one she had to clarify before they parted. “What happened to her?”

“Who?” he sounded lost as if he had no idea who she spoke of.

“Did she die? Your fiancé. Your wife. You told me you have a son but no wife.”

He brushed away a tear from her cheek. “I didn’t marry old Whats-her-name. After you showed me what I should be doing that night, I called off the engagement. I didn’t marry her. I married another girl. From my village. A sweet young woman who died giving birth to our son.”

“Oh, Nate.” She cupped his jaw. “I am so sorry.”

“He’s a fine boy.”

“I’m sure.”

“And I wouldn’t have him if it were not for you.”

She demurred. “Oh, I doubt—“

“No. You see that night you saved me from what would have been disaster.”

That he would credit her struck her as magnanimous and much maligned. “I think you knew what it was before you spoke to a stranger on the veranda.”

“Did I? A few words. A casual observation. Two strangers on a veranda speaking the truth. My marriage would never have worked.”

“Nor mine.”

He grinned. “I do believe we saved each other.”

“Put like that?” She nodded and grinned. “We did.”

He brushed his thumb over the curve of her bottom lip. “I’ll come to Paris. I don’t know when or how. But I will. I’ll write but the mail across the Channel is irregular. But I will come to call. Will you have me?”

She hugged him close, her heart breaking that she’d never see him again, that he’d die or forget her. “Have you? Of course. Nate, when you do, I might never let you go.”

“Kate,” he said as if he couldn’t believe she’d want him. And then he bent to put his firm hot lips to hers. His kiss was fast, hard, every claim she’d ever imagined from a man who truly could not live without her. He crushed her near again and his next kiss was a brand of heat and chaos. He traced her lips with his tongue and she opened, wanting his possession. He skimmed her cheek. “Don’t forget me.”

She caught his chin. “I never did. I thought so often about you. A gallant man. I’d known only a few. I wondered too in the still of many nights when I was weary or I had lost someone, if you remembered me. Or how you’d be if you were mine.”

He sucked in a breath. “Oh, Kate, we’ll discover that together, shall we, eh? Soon. I’ll come to Paris.” His gaze ran over her in question and in a look that was our possession. Then he kissed her once more, a claim of lips and tongue and teeth.

He stepped back and she gasped in objection.

So full of his endearments, she reached up and brushed his mussed hair into better form. “Paris, yes. A promise.”

He lifted her hand and kissed the back. “Doctor, you are brave. Go. Save many. Be safe. Au revoir, darling.”

Slowly he turned away, straightening his coat, and with a heave of his shoulders, he strode away.

If You Were The Only Girl In The World
By Cerise DeLand

One starlit night, he saved her from tragedy and she saved him from disaster.

Years later, on a moonless night, he rescues her again—and they discover a love affair they cannot resist. 

Now during the nightmare of war, each must decide if they’ll abandon all they worked for to claim the only person in the world they could love.

Katrina Schubert rejected what her father’s millions could buy—a title, a castle, a man who’d marry her for her money. Instead, she wanted to use her intellect and become a doctor.

Nathaniel, the Earl of Carbury, didn’t want what his family insisted he needed—a good woman who proved to him how beneficial a loving partner could be.

But one starless night in war-torn London, Nate saves Katrina from tragedy, the same way years before, she’d saved him from disaster. What began as friendship turns to a love affair they can’t resist.
Dare they risk their hearts to take all the riches enchantment can bring them?
Or will they reject the possibility that each remains alone, remembering the only other person they could adore?

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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, and blog

First Kiss Friday with Meara Platt


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Thanks for stopping by my First Kiss Friday blog. Today’s guest is my friend Meara Platt who has an excerpt from Lyon in the Rough. We hope you enjoy this first kiss scene. Happy reading, my lovelies!


The vast expanse of sea shimmered before them as the sun fell across it.

But it paled to Beatrix’s splendor.

Perhaps this is why poets went on about women sparkling like diamonds. Beatrix was a vision of loveliness. Her gown, a soft, dove gray, picked up the soft gray of her eyes and accentuated the blue in them as well.

She stole his breath away every time he looked at her.

Even now, his heart was beating faster, as it would with the thrill of a first encounter. He had been in close quarters with Beatrix for over a week now and that heady feeling had not faded.

It galled him that Bessie had recognized she was a perfect match for him.

He had not met Beatrix until that morning at the Lyon’s Den. It seemed a lifetime ago. And yet, he felt as though he had always known her.

Perhaps his heart had known her and simply been waiting for her to appear.

Anam charaid.

The love of his soul.

This was going to be a problem if her father had truly promised her to that dunce, Greenock.

Lucas had no intention of giving Beatrix up.

If she wanted him, then he was ready to move heaven and earth to have her.

Why should he not put himself forward and offer for Beatrix’s hand in marriage? He had excellent connections. He was a Lyon of Mar and had the birthmark on his buttocks to prove it. Indeed, the red splotch in the shape of a lion was the mark of every Lyon. He and his brothers all carried it.

But he knew a birthmark to prove his lineage would not overcome the biggest hurdle to gaining her father’s approval. The problem remained, he was not a peer nor was he ever likely to become one by inheriting the dukedom of Mar. It would require the death of his two elder brothers and any sons they might sire. Cheyne already had a son, a newborn babe hardly a few months old.

Lucas did not wish for any bad fate to befall them. No, he wished only good health and happiness for all of his family.

Beatrix inhaled lightly and squeezed his hand, distracting him from his thoughts. “Look, Lucas! There is something moving in the water.”

She began to hop excitedly beside him. “Is it a whale? Oh, there! I think it is an entire family of whales.”

He chuckled and kept tight hold of her hand. “Aye, lass. Aren’t they a magnificent sight?”

She turned to face him. “Everything is magnificent about this moment. Do you feel it, Lucas? This contentment. This sheer perfection.”

“Aye, lass. I do.”

When would they ever have such a day again?

A cooling breeze rippled off the water to swirl around them as they stood on the heights.

The sun shone down upon them and glistened across the waves. The sea was bluer than Lucas had ever seen it, and clear enough to provide an unimpeded view of the pod of whales gliding beneath its surface.

Beatrix had her mouth slightly open as she stared in utter fascination.

He mostly kept his gaze on her.

Anam charaid.

Yes, she was that.

As they watched, one of the larger leviathans surfaced and blew a spume of water out of its spout.

Beatrix squealed in delight. “Do you think he noticed us and decided to put on a show?”

“Perhaps, lass.” Why should not all creatures be enchanted with this girl? She was the loveliest part of this day.

Poseidon wagged his little rump and barked at the whales, unable to contain his excitement. Lucas kept firm hold of his tether, tugging him back each time he skittered to the edge to announce his dominion over these creatures who were a thousand times his size.

Beatrix turned once more to look up at him, happiness shining in her eyes. “Lucas, thank you for sharing this with me. I have never seen anything so beautiful.” 

“Lass,” he said in a raw whisper, wanting so badly to draw her up against his body and crush his lips to hers. She was the beauty in this moment. The sun, the wind, the azure water and majestic gray whales all paled next her. “It is my pleasure.”

He tucked a finger under her chin to hold her gaze to his.

She closed her eyes. “I am making a wish.”

“What are ye wishing for?”

“I dare not say.”

“Why? Is it too sinful?” He only meant to tease her, for he could not imagine this girl as anything other than innocent.

“It is, Lucas. Well, perhaps not sinful by your standards, but not anything I ought to be wishing to do.”

Her eyes fluttered open as she spoke, the blue in them seeming to melt into the blue of the sky. Her lips were the pink of the windblown flowers that grew in abundance on this outcropping. “What is it ye wish, Beatrix?”

He knew what he would wish for in this idyllic moment, in this perfect slice of a day. In the heat of the sun shining down on them and the roar of the waves pounding against the shore.

She took a deep breath. “It will not come true if I tell you. Perhaps it is for the best that it doesn’t.” She inhaled again and then let her breath out slowly. “I wished that you would kiss me on this perfect spot amid this perfect day. Would you consider it, Lucas?”

He gave a raw laugh. “Blessed saints, Beatrix. It is a terrible idea.”

Her cheeks turned a bright pink. “Oh, I see. Of course. This is why I should not have told you. Because…what you must think of me…that is, I just assumed…because men…I am so sorry.”

“Dinna be sorry, lass. It is a terrible idea because it is one that has been preying on my mind throughout this journey. Ye’re an angel. I have ached to put my lips to yours from the moment I met ye. How can ye not know it?” He drew her up against him, for this burning need to kiss her had grown unbearable. “I canno’ promise ye anything beyond this kiss.”

She nodded. “I am not asking for anything more.”

In truth, he would give her anything she wished because he was already lost to her. He was so far gone in love with this lass, he would give up everything without need for her to request it. “Verra well. One kiss. Is it yer first?”

She nodded.

“Och, then it must be special. Close yer eyes, Beatrix.”

She held her breath and shut her eyes.

He stifled his laughter, not merely for her obvious innocence but also for the way his heart was responding. Puffed with pride. Touched to the core. He had yet to kiss her and he already knew her lips would taste of heaven. “Breathe, lass. It is permitted.”

She released her breath with a light groan. “Oh, Lucas. I have no idea what I am supposed to do.”

“Ye’ll be just fine. Let me do the work. Ye need only follow my lead.” He brought his mouth down on hers and pressed lightly upon her lips, careful to keep the kiss gentle despite the savage heat coursing through him.

He did not want to scare her off with his ravenous longing.

Give me strength.

Liquid fire coursed through his veins, but he held the flames in check. This was her first time with a man and he dared not overwhelm her.

Nor did he intend to be tepid, for he could never be indifferent to this girl who turned his body molten.

He slowly began to deepen the kiss.

Och, he had to stop thinking each step and just go with what felt right. But she meant so much to him, he wanted their first time to be perfect.

Fool, it will no’ be if ye measure every step.

He set aside his thoughts and simply allowed the heat building up inside of him to flow naturally through his body.

Lord, it came at him like a wall of flames.

He lifted her up against him, drawing her tight to him so that her feet were off the ground and the length of their bodies were seared to each other. He felt the plumpness of her bosom against his hard chest and ached to explore her lovely mounds with his hands and lips.

Not this first time.

Some restraint was required or he would scare her off.

His tongue teased along the seam of her lips to draw them open. He delved in when she responded, tasting the sweet velvet of her mouth.

She moaned and slipped her arms around his neck, leaning into him so that there was no space between their bodies, not a particle of distance between them as their legs entwined and arms held each other in a desperate clench.

He felt the wild beat of her heart.

Blessed saints, she was made for him.

He could tell by the sweet heat of her skin that she was aroused by him.

Was it any different for him?

He poured all of his heart and longing into their first kiss, for it represented so much more than the wild press of two mouths or the hot touch of two bodies.

His was stripped raw, no barriers remaining.

He loved this girl.

She was his heart and the light in his soul.

Mo anam.

My soul.

She had to be his, even if her father had betrothed her to Greenock.

He could not bear to think of it.

“Beatrix,” he whispered, feeling her body shudder with a desire they both felt. “Lass, we canno’ go further.”

“I know. Oh, Lucas,” she said breathlessly, “I am trying so hard to hold back my feelings.” She still had her arms around his neck while the length of her body remained pressed to his, the softness of her breasts such sweet perfection against his chest.

He kissed her again.

His body was on fire and the flames consumed them both.

Lyon In The Rough
By Meara Platt

Lucas Lyon is leaving London to head back to his home in Edinburgh when his meddlesome aunt, Bessie Dove-Lyon, decides he also needs to deliver the lovely Lady Beatrix MacGlory to her father. Along for the ride are Beatrix’s overly perfumed aunt and her aunt’s little pug, Poseidon, who is about the size of a hedgehog but thinks he is a lion. Lucas is not happy about this arrangement, until he finds himself falling in love with Beatrix. However, she is returning to Edinburgh for an arranged betrothal to another man. Since when has that stopped a Lyon from claiming what he wants? If you love Scottish heroes, road trip romances, or simply enjoy laughter, you’ll have fun with Lucas and Beatrix as they fall in love in Lyon In The Rough.

Lyon in the Rough Link

Author Bio: 

Meara Platt is a USA Today bestselling, award winning author, and an Amazon UK All Star. Her Regency romances are infused with humor and heart, and her fantasy/paranormal stories add just enough darkness to keep her readers intrigued. For Meara, romance is a journey of enchantment, so whether you are looking for funny, uplifting escapes in her Farthingale series or Book of Love series, or wish to be transported into edgier Fae/dragon realms as in her Dark Gardens series, or something in between, take the journey and enjoy!

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First Kiss Friday with Sherry Ewing


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Welcome to my First Kiss Friday blog. I’m still celebrating the release of Before I Found You: A de Courtenay Novella (Book Three). I can’t being to tell you how much I just adore this cover (thank you Period Images!). I had a great time writing this novella that was originally in the Bluestocking Belles’ box set Storm & Shelter. It took a certain hero for Miss Miranda de Courtenay to finally find what matters most in life and that certainly wasn’t a title. Please enjoy this first kiss scene between Miranda & Jasper. Happy reading, my lovelies!


She at last remembered herself and backed up a step. He, in turn, stepped forward and continued to do so until they were out of sight of the front of the manor. It wasn’t until she felt the brick wall upon her back that she realized she had nowhere else to turn.

“I had to see you one last time,” she murmured in a breathy whisper. She leaned her head back just so she could once more stare into his eyes.

“I’m certain our paths will cross often, Miranda, at least when I’m on shore,” he said, coming so close she could feel the very heat of him radiating from his body. She almost moaned but as she placed her hands upon his muscular chest, instead a gasp escaped her. Her action was meant to halt him from coming any closer but it had the opposite effect when he pulled her into his arms.

“I don’t see how that will be possible,” she managed to say, while attempting to hold him off. Her pulse quickened and every fiber of her being craved to be held in his arms forever more. She must remember her goal, and Jasper could never fit into her plans.

“Anything is possible, Miranda. We just need to have a little patience. Time will eventually be on our side. I won’t always be at sea.” He ran a finger down her cheek, causing her to shiver in pleasure.

“It’s not about time, Jasper, because all the time in the world won’t change anything.”

He bent forward until his forehead touched her own. “I know we have only just met but, for whatever the reason, I feel drawn to you. Was I mistaken that you feel the same way?”

Her breath caught in her throat to hear his words. “No,” she said honestly. “You weren’t mistaken.”

He cupped her face so she had no choice than to give him her undivided attention. “Then, hopefully, you’ll forgive me if I do something I’ve been craving to do since last night.”

She gulped. Oh no… please don’t let him kiss me. “What’s that?” she asked instead, even though she knew what was coming.


His lips gently slid across her own as if testing to see if she would accept the gift of his kiss. She should have pulled away but how could she deny what she herself wanted just as badly? She tilted her head to give him full access to her mouth and, when his tongue slipped inside, Miranda was completely lost. Shivers of delight swept across her entire body until she found herself wrapped in Jasper’s arms. Her hands made their way up into his hair and her fingers tangled into the soft length. He deepened their kiss without any protest from Miranda until she thought her feet would never again touch the ground.

How long their mouths danced with one another, she could not say. For one brief instant, Miranda never wanted the kiss to end. She never wanted to leave Jasper’s arms or his life. But when a soft moan escaped from her lips, the reality of what this man did to her finally penetrated her numb mind. She broke off their kiss and yet their mouths lingered near as their breaths mingled together. She may want him, but he could never offer her the life of her dreams.

Before I Found You: A De Courtenay Novella (Book Three)
By Sherry Ewing

A quest for a title. An encounter with a stranger. Will she choose love?

Miss Miranda de Courtenay has only one goal in life: to find a rich husband who can change her status from Missto My Lady. But when a handsome stranger crosses her path at a Valentine’s Day ball, her obsession with titles dims. Might love be enough?

Captain Jasper Rousseau has no plans to become infatuated during a chance encounter at a ball. He has a new ship to run, passengers to book, and cargo to deliver. But one look into a young lady’s beautiful hazel eyes, and he becomes lost. Does love at first sight really exist?

Their paths continue to cross until they are both stranded in Fenwick on Sea. Their growing connection is hard to dismiss, despite Miranda’s childish quest for a title at all cost. But what if the cost includes love?

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Happy Release Day!


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Any day an author can release a new book into the world is a good day. Before I Found You: A De Courtenay Novella (Book Three) is now available for individual sale after being in the Bluestocking Belle’s box set Storm & Shelter. I hope you enjoy reading Miranda’s journey to finding what truly matters most in life and that certainly isn’t the title she’s been craving her entire life!


She was not sure what to expect. Being outside alone with a man she did not know was a bold move. If she needed reinforcements, she could easily call out for help, but that would hardly do her reputation any good. It had barely recovered from her last scheme. Society’s memory was short, remembering scandals only until something new came along for them to gossip about—or until something happened to remind them. She couldn’t afford to give them new fodder to chew on.

She could not resist. Miranda took the remaining few steps until she stood next to him, and he rose to his full height, his hair tousled by the evening breeze. She suppressed the urge to push back the lock of hair across his brow that refused to stay in place. Oh my, but the man was tall!

Miranda did not even realize she offered him her hand until he leaned down and kissed the air between her knuckles. His fingers were warm even through the silk of her gloves. How would they feel if her hand was bare? Good heavens! What was coming over her?

Mademoiselle,” he whispered in a husky French accent, causing goose bumps to rise on her arms. His voice was utterly divine!

“Miranda,” she said offering only her first name. It was hardly appropriate, but she did not wish to see his disinterest when he learned she was a “Miss” and not a “Lady”.

Although it might not matter. Many gentlemen present this evening were on the lookout for a well-dowered heiress to enrich their estate. The man before her could be one of them. Even though she could not attach “lady” to her name, she was still wealthy in her own right… or would be when she finally wed.

Love had nothing to do with what really mattered in life—marriage to a husband within the nobility, one with enough wealth to keep her and her children in luxury. Not for her a boring life as a country matron, with nothing to do or to talk about beyond counting sheets and breeding children. She wanted a glittering life as a Society hostess! It would be an adventure. Or so she had always thought, and she would not allow her heart to rule her head.

She bit her bottom lip before she realized she had done so. The man before her could not know it was an automatic reaction when she was worried. She watched his brow arch in surprise before a grin turned up at the corner of his lips.

“Jasper,” he finally replied in return, examining her reaction to his touch. “The evening has become brighter now that you have joined me for a breath of fresh air. Look how the stars above beam in approval that they may gaze down upon you.”

Miranda’s lips twitched at the compliment. Very nice, though she sensed that he used this phrase often. She realized he still held her fingertips and she reluctantly pulled them away before waving her hand towards the crowd inside.

A quest for a title. An encounter with a stranger. Will she choose love?

Miss Miranda de Courtenay has only one goal in life: to find a rich husband who can change her status from Missto My Lady. But when a handsome stranger crosses her path at a Valentine’s Day ball, her obsession with titles dims. Might love be enough?

Captain Jasper Rousseau has no plans to become infatuated during a chance encounter at a ball. He has a new ship to run, passengers to book, and cargo to deliver. But one look into a young lady’s beautiful hazel eyes, and he becomes lost. Does love at first sight really exist?

Their paths continue to cross until they are both stranded in Fenwick on Sea. Their growing connection is hard to dismiss, despite Miranda’s childish quest for a title at all cost. But what if the cost includes love?

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First Kiss Friday with Jude Knight


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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.”

Paradise Triptych
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.

Paradise Regained

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.

Paradise Lost

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).

Meet Jude

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.

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First Kiss Friday with Elizabeth Ellen Carter


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Today on my First Kiss Friday blog, I have the fabulous Elizabeth Ellen Carter who has a new series looming on the horizon. Isn’t the cover lovely? We hope you enjoy this excerpt from Deceiving the Duke that releases on February 4th. Happy reading, my lovelies!


She approached the desk and glanced down at the papers there – drawings, lots of them. She recognized the complex web of warp and weft threads suspended on a loom.

“You recognize what this is?”

Ruby started.

“I… ah, yes… my father took an interest in textiles and how machinery operated. He would show me how each pattern would be set up.”

She made the mistake of looking into his eyes. He was interested in what she had to say, and she’d said too much.

Thank goodness it was he who broke the spell by priming another lamp. Apparently, he was uncomfortable as she with this new intimacy.

She took the second lighted lamp from the desk and picked the farthest corner of the library to conduct her search.

Poetry. Perhaps the duke had a romantic soul after all – presuming he had a soul.

As she browsed the titles, she listened to Seth returning to his work. The pen scratching on paper and the whispered sigh of pencils as they shaded in his diagrams.

This was ridiculous! Mooning over a man who could mean nothing to her.

She grabbed a book, only glancing at it, intending to return directly to her patient. It was a book of poems by Pierre de Ronsard. With her focus on the door, she did not hear her name called. 

A touch on the arm stilled her.

“Don’t go… not yet.”

She should go. Oh, how she should go. But she made the mistake of looking at the earl… Seth

Those eyes seemed to see deep into her soul and found its twin in the loneliness.

He must have heard the answering call because he removed the book from her hand and placed it on the small side table by the door. His face was half in shadows, but she could see his eyes clear enough. They searched her face and seemed to know what was in her deepest heart. 

He lowered his lips to hers slowly, giving her time to escape from him if she wished.

But she didn’t wish.

Her eyes fluttered closed as his lips met hers. Never had she felt such emotion in so small a touch. She could taste the isolation, the need. She responded with a need of her own.

Seth responded by sliding his arms around her waist and pulling her into his embrace.

The kiss was all too brief, but his hold lingered. She had no idea how much she craved his touch until that moment.

Deceiving The Duke
By Elizabeth Ellen Carter

Hate brought them together. Will love tear them apart?

Welcome to book 1 in the exciting new series from USA Today Bestselling Author Elizabeth Ellen Carter.

William Musgrave, Duke of Auchen, is dying. When he goes to his grave, he will take with him the opportunity to right a wrong that has left Lady Ruby McAllister impoverished.

Ruby has the contract that pledged her father a one-third share in a successful Scottish textile mill. But Auchen never made good on his promise before Ruby’s father died. Now Ruby has lost her beloved Strathaird, home to the McAllisters for centuries. Her only hope is to confront the duke before he dies. And her chance comes when a vacancy arises for a new night nurse in his London household.

Standing in her way is Seth Musgrave, the duke’s estranged son, who despises his father for deriding him as an imbecile. In truth, Seth is the driving force behind his father’s successful enterprise. William Musgrave has heeded no one in his life except for his wife. She died twenty years ago, but Ruby hears him call for her in his nightly delirium.

What if Ruby answered his call, pretending to be the only woman who could ever persuade the duke to do the right thing?

How long can Ruby keep her secret when Seth is trying to distract her with his kisses? And what if Seth learns the woman he’s falling in love with is deceiving the Duke?

Available Amazon and Kindle Unlimited

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About Elizabeth Ellen Carter

Elizabeth Ellen Carter is USA Today bestselling author and an award-winning historical romance writer who pens richly detailed historical romantic adventures. A former newspaper journalist, Carter ran an award-winning PR agency for 12 years. The author lives in Australia with her husband and two cats.

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