Thanks for joining me this week for another First Kiss Friday. Today’s guest is Julie Johnstone who is a new author to me. Julie has a first kiss scene from Lady Guinevere and the Rogue with a Brogue. Isn’t the cover gorgeous? Happy reading and enjoy, my lovelies!
“Lord Charolton, release me!” she yelped, but instead, his lips crushed over hers.
The shock of the unwanted contact stilled her for one breath, but before she could react, he broke the contact. She staggered backward with a gasp as Asher jerked Lord Charolton away from her and then sent his fist into the man’s nose. It connected with a crunch, and Lord Charolton howled, doubling over.
Asher turned toward her, his face a mask of cold, hard fury. “Are ye unharmed?”
Was she? Her heart beat so hard it hurt her ears. She brought trembling fingertips to her bruised, throbbing lips. This was the second time in her life a man had kissed her without asking permission, but at least Kilgore’s kiss, though unwanted, had been gentle.
Asher’s gaze softened to one of concern as he looked between her and the still doubled over Lord Charolton. “Guin?” he said in little more than a whisper. “Are ye all right?”
“You mustn’t call me Guin,” she replied, her voice trembling as terribly as her hands were. She wrapped her arms around her waist and took a deep, shuddering breath. “I’m unharmed. Ash—Your Grace”—she caught herself barely in time—“I fear someone may be coming.”
“Ye have nothing to fear, my lady,” he replied before taking Lord Charolton by his collar to yank the man upright. “I redirected the two gossiping ladies headed in this direction before I arrived here.”
The relief that filled her at his words was dampened by her roiling stomach. She never had been one for the sight of blood.
“You have broken my nose,” Lord Charolton whined to Asher as if on cue with her thoughts of his predicament.
“I’ll break a great deal more than that if ye do not leave this ball immediately. And,” Asher continued, his face and tone growing threatening, “if ye ever even look Lady Guinevere’s way again, I’ll see ye over the barrel of my pistol. Do ye understand me?”
Lord Charolton, a rather peacock of a man, turned green but managed to nod. As he started for the library door, Guinevere said, “And if you ever try to ruin another lady again, the duke will also meet you with his pistol.”
Asher looked at her in surprise, and she shrugged helplessly. She could have sworn he smiled faintly, but he turned his attention to Lord Charolton once more as the man, in his haste to quit the room, knocked into the same table that had trapped her. A few grunts later, Lord Charolton was gone.
Asher, before she even realized what he intended, stepped to the library door and clicked the lock into place.
Her pulse quickened. She wasn’t afraid of him, but she had been nearly accosted moments earlier, and her nerves, which he naturally jumbled up anyway, were tight as knots. When he turned to her, aching concern showed on his face, and to her utter horror, unexpected tears filled her eyes.
“What’s this?” He closed the distance between them and brought his fingers to her cheeks to wipe away her tears.
His touch was so gentle, so tender that she forgot their past for a moment and blurted how she truly felt. “I do not care to feel so helpless,” she admitted, then bit her lip before she blabbed any more of her secrets, such as the fact that Asher’s kisses were the only ones she’d ever received that she had actually wanted. Not that wanting his kisses had done her a farthing of good, but at least she’d been a willing participant.
“I imagine ye don’t.” His thumb stroked the slope of her cheekbone so deliciously that her belly clenched and gooseflesh rose on her arms. Did he realize he was fondling her cheek?
She should tell him to stop, except it felt so wonderful, and hadn’t she imagined just this very thing too many times to recall?
“I can help ye feel better,” he said, his voice sliding over her like velvet.
Had he swayed closer? He must have. She was suddenly awash in heat. His warm breath fanned her face, making her inhale greedily and sigh. He smelled of leather, grass, and oak—so divine that her thoughts felt slippery, save for one. “How can you help me feel better?”
A slow, utterly seductive smile tugged the corners of his lips upward. “Kiss me.”
She smiled. Good heavens! She should not be smiling—or rather, it felt like she was smirking. She should push him away, remind him how improper he was being, and storm out of the room. Except she had lain awake so many nights wondering if she’d imagined how wonderful his kisses had been. His kisses had tormented her. She was quite sure the made-up memory of how perfect they were was the main reason she could not seem to gather any interest for another man. Perhaps if she kissed him now, she could finally set him out of her mind.
Guinevere’s lips started to tingle in expectation, and her heart beat at a dizzying, knee-weakening rate. She had to set her hands to his muscular shoulders so as not to drop into an embarrassing puddle of desire.
“Is that an invitation?” he asked, sounding every bit as devilish as he looked. If ever a man could lead a woman to be improper, it was him.
She couldn’t speak, her thoughts spun so quickly, but her fingers curled in silent entreaty, and the sensation in her lips moved slowly down to the pit of her stomach. She was going to expire if he didn’t kiss her.
“I need ye to show me ye wish me to kiss ye, Guin.” His voice sounded tight, as if he were just barely restraining himself. The thought that she could possibly unhinge this man filled her with a wild sort of exaltation.
“Do not be a blind fool,” she whispered, her heart jolting at the shock of her hoydenish behavior.
Something intense flared in his eyes as his hands cupped her face and his lips descended to meet hers. Whatever indifference to him she had managed to persuade herself she possessed shattered with the heat and the hunger of his strong lips on hers. He demanded a response with the slide of his tongue along the crease of her mouth, and she opened willingly, eagerly moving to her tiptoes with a desperate desire to get closer to him.
He groaned, moving one hand from her cheek to circle his arm around her back, and suddenly, she was no longer standing but pressed hard against his chest, her feet just above the ground. His mouth ravished hers, and his kiss overwhelmed her senses. His heart pounded through his clothing, and hers seemed to burst through the very chambers of her own heart. A million delicious sensations swirled through her as she returned his drugging kiss with reckless abandon. His mouth did not become softer as he kissed her; it was as if he could not get enough, which was exactly how she felt. She delved her hands into his thick hair, allowing her nails to graze his scalp, and he released a guttural sound.
Propriety was gone. The past was gone. Her anger was gone. In this moment, it was just here and now, simply Guinevere and Asher.
A knocking at the door hurtled her back to reality as hard as if she’d been dropped from the clouds to the earth. She released her breath in a whoosh as Asher broke the kiss—and all contact—and stared down at her, looking every bit as shocked as she felt.
“Guinevere, are you in there?” came Lilias’s frantic voice.
Guinevere swallowed with difficulty. Her heart felt as if it were lodged in her throat. What had she done? What had she allowed him to do? Why did her senses disappear every time this man was near?
“Guinevere?” The door rattled.
Asher opened his mouth as if to answer Lilias, and Guinevere quickly pressed a finger to his lips, her shock at her scandalous, dangerous behavior loosening its grip on her just enough so she could speak.
“I’m here,” she said, clearing her throat, which sounded entirely too husky, entirely too much like she had just been kissed senseless.
“Whatever have you been doing?” her best friend asked.
Asher’s warm brown eyes danced with wicked amusement, the unrepentant rogue! Heat flamed her cheeks and crawled its way down her neck to her chest. Egads, she wished she had a fan.
Before she could gather herself to answer, Lilias spoke again in a rush of words. “Your mother is beside herself looking for you!”
Guinevere rolled her eyes. It was most unfortunate that her mother had noted her absence from the ballroom. Usually she did not pay Guinevere much heed once they’d arrived at whatever affair they were attending, since it was Mama’s companion Miss Prichard’s job to chaperone her and her sisters, but Miss Prichard was home ill.
“I was beset with a megrim,” Guinevere said, sounding unconvincing to her own ears.
Another prick of guilt pinched her, but this one was for lying to Lilias. She never withheld secrets from her best friend, but how could she admit that she’d allowed the man who had callously thrown her over once before to take liberties again. And in a library in the middle of a ball no less! It was the very behavior ruinous scandals were made of.
“Did the megrim attack you before or after you rescued Lady Constantine?”
Asher arched his eyebrows in raffish perfection. Why did he have to be so devastatingly handsome and make her act so untoward?
“After,” she responded, giving her throat, which was still too husky, another good clearing.
“Guinnie, I think you are getting a cold.”
Lilias was such a true friend, and Guinevere felt horrid about lying. She bit her lip as Asher pushed her hand away from his lips and grinned at her, making her belly flutter.
Blast him, blast him.
“Possibly,” she squeaked. “Did you see Lady Constantine?”
“Yes, but not Lord Charolton. How did you stop his plan for Lady Constantine?”
Asher wiggled his eyebrows at her while making a pretend pistol with his fingers. The man was beyond the pale. Didn’t he comprehend that their behavior of moments before had put them a hairsbreadth from ruination?
“You know I can be very persuasive when I try,” Guinevere said.
Lilias snorted at that. “Where is he?”
“I assume he departed as I suggested.”
“Excellent. By the by, I have not seen the odious Carrington.”
Oh, dear heavens!
Guinevere cringed. Lilias was calling Asher odious as a loyal friend would, but her timing for a strong show of allegiance was most unfortunate.
All the lightheartedness disappeared from Asher’s face, and his gaze narrowed upon her. What did he expect, that he could publicly stomp on her heart five years ago and she would praise his nonexistent virtues?
“Perhaps he left, as well,” Lilias continued, unaware that the man in question was listening to her every word. Guinevere wanted to expire on the spot. “Oh, and I forgot to mention that Kilgore approached me and asked, none too subtlety, after your whereabouts. He seemed most concerned that you keep your promise to dance the last set with him.”
Asher’s stare turned positively brutal and unfriendly. She did not fool herself that if he was jealous, it was no more than him wanting her attention because she was giving it to Kilgore.
“Should you not depart and tell my mother I’ll be straight to the ballroom?” Guinevere asked weakly.
“Of course, of course,” Lilias replied, “but I think you should consider Kilgore if he is truly pursuing you this time.”
“Lilias!” Guinevere hissed, aghast.
“Fine, fine. I’ll go soothe your mother, but the subject of you and Kilgore is not finished. He may be a rogue, but I have always said—” Guinevere squeezed her eyes shut, praying Lilias would not finish the sentence “—reformed rogues make the best husbands.”
Guinevere opened her eyes with a sigh to find Asher staring at her as if she had leprosy. Lilias’s departing footsteps echoed against the hardwoods for one moment before uncomfortable silence descended. She didn’t know what to say, but it occurred to her that she did have a question.
Lady Guinevere and the Rogue with a Brogue
Scottish Scoundrels: Ensnared Hearts Book 1
By Julie Johnstone
Five years ago he humiliated her. Five years ago she betrayed him. And when fate forces them together once more, they’ll discover what burns hotter- vengeance or desire.
USA Today Bestselling author Julie Johnstone has a new release today, and it’s full of sizzle, sass, and suspense! Grab a fan before you start reading!
About the Author:
Julie Johnstone is a USA Today and #1 Amazon bestselling author. Scottish historical romance, Regency historical romance, and historical time travel romance featuring highlanders, aristocrats, and modern-day bad billionaire bad boys are her love, and she enjoys creating both with a hefty dose of twists, plenty of heartstring tugs, and a guaranteed happily ever after.
Her books have been dubbed “fabulously entertaining and engaging,” making readers cry, laugh, and swoon. Johnstone lives in Alabama with her very own lowlander husband, her two children – the heir and the spare, her snobby cat, and her perpetually happy dog.
In her spare time she enjoys way too much coffee balanced by hot yoga, reading, and traveling.
From the bestselling author of the Highlander Vows: Entangled Hearts series comes a new, richly drawn Scottish historical romance saga! The Renegade Scots series sweeps you into medieval Scotland and England and transports you into dangerous deceptions and daring feats with swoon-worthy heroes and fiery romances!
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