Welcome to my First Kiss Friday Blog. Today’s guest is one of my favorite authors and a dear friend. Please enjoy this excerpt from To Claim the Long-Lost Lover which releases today! Happy reading, my lovelies!
In this excerpt from the novel To Claim the Long-Lost Lover, the hero and heroine have met after seven years apart. He wants a second chance. She is reluctant to trust him again. You’ll have to read the book to find out more.
“Until tomorrow.” Sarah gave in to the impulse to offer him her hands again, and this time he pulled her close and lowered his head, stopping when his lips were no more than an inch from hers. She waited a moment. He stayed where he was, the terrible man. Sarah raised herself that inch, her mouth tentative on his.
Odd. She thought she remembered his kisses. But she had forgotten the sweetness of it, the way his lips softened, the touch of his tongue asking her to open, the way he stroked into her mouth. With each moment, as the kiss deepened and his gentle persuasion became more insistent, more urgent, the memories flooded back.
That summer, they had discovered a hundred ways to kiss, a thousand. Different touches, different pressures, different positions. This, hand in hand, nothing but their mouths connected, was tame compared to some of their explorations, but there was nothing tame about the impact.
Cold? She could do with some cold. A dip in ice would not put out the conflagration.
When he pulled away, she whimpered.
His voice was strained as he stepped back, using his grasp on her hands to hold her at arm’s-length. “Dearest heart, have mercy. I am on fire, and if you are not going to invite me to stay…”
Oh. Her face heated. She dropped her gaze to his fall and blinked.
“Indeed,” he confirmed, with a short laugh. “I thought I had acquired considerable control over these past seven years, but you are fast demolishing it, my lady. Let me wish you a good night while I am still sane enough to be a gentleman.”
He was correct again, though for a wild moment she had not been able to think of any reason not to invite him to continue what they’d started. “Tomorrow, then,” she managed.
Nate gave her hands a final squeeze and released them. “Tomorrow,” he confirmed, with a bow.
Sarah followed him to the door and watched him cross the entrance hall where a footman waited to let him out. Four, she said to herself as the door closed behind him. One more point for that kiss, and another for stopping.
To Claim the Long-Lost Lover by Jude Knight
The beauty known as the Winderfield Diamond hides a ruinous secret. Society’s newest viscount holds the key.
Sarah’s beloved abandoned her seven years ago, leaving her to face the anger of her family and worse. And now he is back, more compelling than ever. Sarah is even lovelier than when she was a girl, but what did she know about her father’s revenge on Nate: forcible enlistment into the navy and years of servitude?
Have you ever wanted something so much you were afraid to even try? That was Jude ten years ago.
For as long as she can remember, she’s wanted to be a novelist. She even started dozens of stories, over the years.
But life kept getting in the way. A seriously ill child who required years of therapy; a rising mortgage that led to a full-time job; six children, her own chronic illness… the writing took a back seat.
As the years passed, the fear grew. If she didn’t put her stories out there in the market, she wouldn’t risk making a fool of herself. She could keep the dream alive if she never put it to the test.
Then her mother died. That great lady had waited her whole life to read a novel of Jude’s, and now it would never happen.
So Jude faced her fear and changed it–told everyone she knew she was writing a novel. Now she’d make a fool of herself for certain if she didn’t finish.
Her first book came out to excellent reviews in December 2014, and the rest is history. Many books, lots of positive reviews, and a few awards later, she plans to keep publishing until she runs out of years.
Welcome to this weeks First Kiss Friday blog! My guest today is April Holthaus who will be sharing an excerpt from her upcoming novel Heart of the Highlands: The Raven. April is also offering a giveaway so be sure to read all the way through the post in order to be in the running. Happy reading, my lovelies, and good luck with April’s giveaway!
“Why do ye look at me so?” she whispered.
“When ye gaze upon a work of art, do ye no’ stop to admire it?
“I am fair, nothing more.”
“Ye are much more. Ye may keep your head down when you walk, but there is a beauty about you that, no matter what you do, can ever be hidden. A rose can no’ hide its beauty for it will always be a rose.”
Eamon leaned in close to her, expecting her to retreat, but she did not. Her eyes called to him like the sea called to a ship’s captain. Eamon knew it would be best to keep his feelings at bay, but the more he was around her, the more he ached to touch her. Would it be a sin to glide his hand across her cheek, or comb his fingers through the locks of her hair? If he did, would it be enough to satisfy his desire, or would he starve for more?
Eamon wasn’t just a man, and she wasn’t just a lass. Had it been that simple, he would not be questioning the validity of his actions. He had to remind himself that Adelyn was the king’s cousin and a daughter of royal blood. He was a warrior and a son of a traitor. He could never afford to have a wife. For what sort of a man could leave his wife or his children defenseless?
They each held onto the moment, stretching the seconds, like watching the very last grain of sand fall inside a time piece. Had he been a blind man, he may have missed the look of disappointment in her eyes as he began to retreat. Though his heart yearned for her, he had an unbreakable vow to his king. He took a reluctant step back out of her embrace.
“I bid ye good night, Lady Adelyn.”
With a slight bow of his head, Eamon turned toward his chamber. Behind him the door handle to her room jiggled as she turned the knob. He could hear the creak of the door swinging open on its rusty hinges, followed by the light patter of her footsteps as she entered the room. Eamon stopped and stared aimlessly through the blackness of the empty hall.
He couldn’t walk away.
“Damn the consequences!”
He did not know if it was the pull of his heart or the whiskey that gave him a fool’s courage, but he quickly turned on his heel. Rushing forward, he stopped the door from closing with his hand. Grabbing her arm, he swung Adelyn around, and pressed her up against the wall. He cupped his hands along the side of her face and pressed his lips to hers in a hard and passionate kiss.
Her lips were as warm as sweet wine. A soft sigh escaped her as he pressed his body against hers. Lifting her arms around his neck, she grabbed onto a fistful of hair, deepening the kiss. Trailing kisses down her neck, his hands explored the curves of her body. As he touched her, her breaths came in deep, heavy pants.
Desire melted all sense of duty and obligation. Pressing his forehead against hers, they shared the same air as their racing hearts began to calm.
“Tell me ye feel this. Tell me that I am no’ the only one who feels whatever this is,” she breathlessly whispered.
“Ye cannae imagine how badly I want ye. Just being around ye is maddening. Every time I am near ye I feel unhinged. But ye are no’ mine to have,” he openly admitted.
“I dinna want ye to go. I only feel safe when I am around ye.”
“I must go.”
“Promise me I will see ye again.”
Holding her in his arms, he placed a gentle kiss to her forehead.
Heart of the Highlands: The Raven By April Holthaus Release Date: August 1, 2021
She’s accused of murder. He’s accused of treason. When faced with those who convict them, will they be able to escape or will they be punished to death?
Forced to wed a ruthless English Lord, Adelyn Scott welcomed death over marriage, but had no idea her wish would come true until she discovered her husband’s body lying dead in his chamber on the night of their wedding.
As commander for the king’s personal guard, Eamon MacLeish’s loyalty has never been questioned. Until the day a mysterious woman arrived seeking an asylum and stole his heart.
As Adelyn and Eamon piece together clues surrounding her husband’s murder, Eamon must choose between his loyalty or his heart. For one path would ultimately lead to her death, and the other path leads to his.
April is an Award-Winning Author for her Scottish Historical Romances. For more than a decade, she has worked full time in the direct marketing and printing business, but developed a passion of historical romances through her love of reading, history and genealogy. When she is not working or writing, April loves to spend time with her son and traveling.
April is running a giveaway for a signed paperback as well as a digital copy of the 1st book of the series Heart of the Highlands: The Beast. To be in the running, just comment below and April will choose a random comment as the winner over the weekend. Good luck!
I’m so glad you’re joining me for another First Kiss Friday. Today’s guest is Caroline Warfield who has an excerpt from her next release this month! Enjoy this scene from The Wayward Son that releases July 22nd. Happy reading, my lovelies!
Rob Benson didn’t mean to stay in Ashmead, but when Lucy Whitaker was threatened, he had no choice. When she wandered to the edge of Willowbrook in pursuit of lost sheep and was accosted, he went after the villain. His mission was not successful; danger still lurked. But he did find one wooly refugee. In reaction to danger, passion flares.
“You came back,” she breathed.
A grin, lopsided and dear, lit his face. “You waited.”
She scrambled back so he could enter, embarrassed by her foolish words, and noticed for the first time that the bundle he carried had begun to squirm.
He saw the direction of her gaze and his grin widened. He offered her the bundle, its movement becoming frantic. A wooly head peeked out the opening, and her heart swelled.
“You found it!” She took the lamb from him, but the creature struggled until she put it down, and it wandered into the darkened dining room. “Agnes will have a fit if she finds that animal in the house. We best give it to Vincent. He can see that it gets to his mother in the morning.”
He caught her arm when she started after the animal and pulled her back. Whatever he meant to say stuck in his throat. His hand slid up her arm to her shoulder, and his heated gaze stole her breath.
“Oh, bloody hell,” he murmured as his mouth found hers and his arm snaked around her to pull her close. When he loosened his grip to allow her to move away, she clung to his shoulders to pull him back, and he kissed her again, caressing her mouth with his, seeking and finding entrance to deepen it. She lost herself in the embrace. Only when he pulled away to breathe, his breath hot against her mouth, and began to slide gentle kisses in the corner of it and down her chin did she realize how she clutched his neck with one arm while her other hand had tangled in his hair, feathering it between her fingers.
“Oh God, Rob, what—”
“What indeed,” he whispered against her mouth, kissing her again and driving out reason.
When he moved to explore her ear, his tongue sending shivers down her spine, she moaned and tried to pull him closer. “I was so afraid. You’re safe, you’re safe,” she said between kisses to the side of his face.
At her words he pulled back. “Safe? I think not. Not here; not now.” He dropped a swift kiss to her nose and loosened his hold.
She dropped from her toes, her body sliding down his, rested both hands on his chest, and leaned her forehead against him to hide her heated cheeks.
“A gentleman would apologize. I won’t. I wanted that too badly. A gentleman would—”
Her head still on his chest, she raised her hand to his lips to silence him. “Don’t. Don’t go all honorable now.” He stilled and she pulled away. “Tell me about Miller.” Her piercing gaze dared him to finish the speech he had begun.
“He got away. Clarion and Gibbons will question the Caulfield tenants tomorrow. The earl plans to send for Spangler too. Happy?”
She shook her head. “Not if he got away.”
Rob put one knuckle under her chin and drew her face up to look at him. “We need to talk about this.” He didn’t have to clarify “this.” He didn’t mean Miller. They stood like that for several breaths. He tried to hold her eyes, but his gaze dropped to her mouth, and she swallowed convulsively. When he bent to kiss her again, she rose to meet him. His restless hands began to explore her neck, her shoulders, her back—when they reached her derriere he stilled.
He gripped her shoulders with both hands and set her a few inches away. “We have to stop; we can talk in the morning. Things are clearer in the light.” He dropped one last kiss to the top of her head and stepped back. “I’ll check on the guards and sleep down here.”
About the Book, The Wayward Son
Sir Robert Benson’s life is in London. He fled Ashmead the day he discovered the man he thought was his father had lied to him, and the girl he loved was beyond his reach. Only a nameless plea from his sister—his half-sister—brings him back. He will not allow a ludicrous bequest from the earl who sired him turn him into a mockery of landed gentry. When a feisty little termagant with flashing eyes—and a musket—tries to turn Rob off the land—his land—he’s too amused and intrigued to turn away. But the longer he stays, the tighter the bonds that tie him to Ashmead become, strengthened by the powerful draw of the woman rooted on land he’s determined to sell.
Lucy Whitaker’s life is Willowbrook, its land, its tenants, its prosperity, but she always knew it wasn’t hers, knew the missing heir would come eventually. When a powerful man with military bearing rides up looking as if he wants to come in and count the silver, she turns him away, but her heart sinks. She can’t deny Rob Benson his property; she can only try to make him love the place as she does, for her peoples’ sake. A traitorous corner of her heart wishes Rob would love it for her sake.
His life is London; hers is Ashmead. How can they forge something lasting when they are torn in two directions?
Award winning author Caroline Warfield has been many things: traveler, librarian, poet, raiser of children, bird watcher, Internet and Web services manager, conference speaker, indexer, tech writer, genealogist—even a nun. She reckons she is on at least her third act, happily working in an office surrounded by windows where she lets her characters lead her to adventures in England and the far-flung corners of the British Empire. She nudges them to explore the riskiest territory of all, the human heart.
Thanks for joining me for another First Kiss Friday. Mary Morgan is no stranger to my blog as you’ve seen her here and also on Medieval Monday’s. Today Mary is sharing an excerpt from Rorik from The Wolves of Clan Sutherland. Enjoy and happy reading, my lovelies.
Rorik reached for her hand, placing the flower within her palm. “Did you not feel the air warm around us, or the shift in the colors of the land—from the flowers to the sky? If you are silent, they will speak to you.”
“But ’tis a rare gift to sense the ancients within the land,” she returned, glancing down at the offering he presented to her.
“You once said,” Rorik began tentatively, “that I was nae better than my father, but you forgot, my mother belonged to a lineage of seers and druids. Even now, many across these lands still believe in the Pict Gods and Goddesses. I carry part of my mother’s gift inside me.”
Embarrassed to have him mention her words from the past, Ragna turned away. There were so many bitter words between them. How could they manage to have any hope of a conversation with all they had done to each other? Her intention was not to demean his own power, nor to dishonor him. She was simply shocked at his declaration.
What shall I do, Goddess?
A soft breeze caressed her cheek, and her gaze followed the path of a small butterfly. It flitted along without a care in the world. A rare beauty as it disappeared from her vision. The tension in her eased, and she swallowed.
It is time to close the door on the past. Choose your words and make amends.
Turning around, she gave Rorik a weak smile. “Forgive me. I had forgotten about her. Your mother left this world too soon. My mother spoke her praises often when I worked with her on the land collecting herbs and flowers. Once, she mentioned you had been gifted with the sight, but it was not a path for you. You were destined for the brotherhood.”
Rorik cupped her chin—the contact sent a jolt of pleasure over her skin. Lifting her head, she stared into his emerald eyes, studying his intent. With his other arm, he grasped her around the waist.
Her mind screamed to step out of his embrace. Nevertheless, her body betrayed her.
Lowering his head, he murmured. “There is nae need to make amends, Ragna.” His breath was warm against her skin. She shivered from the roughness of his light beard against her cheek. If she turned her head slightly, his lips would be against hers. The air warmed more, leaving her dizzy.
Gently, Rorik guided her lips to meet his. The first brush of his mouth sent a stirring of desire coursing throughout her body. Ragna wrapped her arms around his neck, twining her fingers into his thick hair. He drew forth her moan and answered with one of his own, kissing her more deeply. The savage intensity of her passion for him consumed her, and Ragna surrendered fully to him.
His kiss became urgent as his tongue sought entry into her soft mouth. His hands gripped her waist firmly, and he slowly walked her backward until her back hit the rough bark of a tree.
Breaking free from her mouth, he placed his forehead on hers. His breathing came out in small gasps.
Ragna’s body burned for this man—only him. No other. Did he have regrets for kissing her? She grew weary of the battle between them. She understood who and what he was—seducer and wolf.
Raising her hand, she brushed her fingers across his full lips and was rewarded with another moan from the man. She dared to meet his heated gaze. Lust shimmered back at her within his eyes, along with confusion.
“Kiss me again, Rorik,” she challenged.
He bent his head and trailed a path with his tongue from below her ear down along her neck. “You dare to tempt me further?”
Even though she ached for more from the man, she responded, “I only asked for another kiss.”
His smile came slowly as he cupped her face within his hands. “One more kiss. Anymore and I shall strive to give you more pleasure, and my restraint is failing.”
RORIK, The Wolves of Clan Sutherland, Book 2 by Mary Morgan
The Dark Seducer is known throughout Scotland as a man who charms many women into his bed. Pleasure is his motto as he obtains information for his king. Yet Rorik MacNeil harbors one secret buried beneath his heart of steel. An unfulfilled conquest plagues both man and his inner wolf, and Rorik would rather suffer death’s sharp blade than confront his greatest fear.
As the Seer for the Orkneyjar Isles, Ragna Maddadsson confronts an unknown destiny when she travels across the North Sea to Scotland. In her quest to deliver a message from a powerful vision, she fears the warrior will not listen. If Rorik ignores her warning, Ragna must find a way to forestall his impending death. If unsuccessful, she risks having her heart cleaved in two.
To unravel their true fates, Rorik and Ragna must trust in the power of the wolf.
Award-winning Celtic paranormal and fantasy romance author, Mary Morgan resides in Northern California with her own knight in shining armor. However, during her travels to Scotland, England, and Ireland, she left a part of her soul in one of these countries and vows to return.
Mary’s passion for books started at an early age along with an overactive imagination. Inspired by her love for history and ancient Celtic mythology, her tales are filled with powerful warriors, brave women, magic, and romance. It wasn’t until the closure of Borders Books where Mary worked that she found her true calling by writing romance. Now, the worlds she created in her mind are coming to life within her stories.
If you enjoy history, tortured heroes, and a wee bit of magic, then time-travel within the pages of her books.
Welcome to my First Kiss Friday blog. Today’s guest truly doesn’t need an introduction but this is one busy author! Please welcome my dear friend Caroline Warfield who has an excerpt from The Price of Glory. You’ll see Caroline again in a couple weeks since she has not one but TWO books releasing this month. Honestly, I don’t know how she does it but anything she writes in a winner in my book. Happy reading, my lovelies, and enjoy!
Richard Mallet came to Egypt with dreams of academic glory. He will be the one to unravel the secrets of the ancient Kushite language. But his journey up the Nile to Khartoum takes him past fabulous ruins. He has enticed his traveling companion, Ana Cloutier to explore Karnak by moonlight. Ana travels for very different reasons. She is a healer with a mission to fulfill, but she can’t resist the lure of the ruins and the moon. The outcome was inevitable.
When he paused next to a massive depiction of Amun-Ra carved into a wall, she leaned her head against his arm. “This place astounds me. Thank you,” she said.
He recalled his earlier thoughts. What did you hope would happen?
Who did he mean to deceive? Of course, he knew the answer. You invited her for this, he thought, turning her to face him, tipping her chin up with two fingers, and caressing her cheek with his thumb. He leaned closer and inhaled her breath as it came rapidly.
“I didn’t come for this,” she whispered, her unconvincing words floating away in the night air.
“No?” He paused, but she didn’t pull away, and he closed the distance touching his lips to hers tenderly. Again, he paused, and wasn’t disappointed when her lips moved to caress his.
He slid the hand at her chin around her neck, ran it up her nape to tangle in her hair, and put his other arm around her waist to bring her closer.
“Aeneas,” she sighed against his mouth and he smiled against hers. Somehow the hated nickname delighted him when it came in her voice. He dove for another quick kiss.
She moved her mouth to his then, lips moving along the seam. His entire body vibrated with the desire he held in check. Not here, not now, he told himself. And yet, with this woman, this moment might be all he had. He ran his tongue across per lips, probing gently, and finding entrance on her sigh. His hand moved to her bottom, pulling her up tight against him and lost himself in the feel of her.
He had no idea how long the kiss lasted, but when her hand came up between them, he eased his mouth back inches from hers.
After a moment, he loosened his hold, caressed her cheek, and tucked an errant curl behind her ear. “If I’m to be Aeneas, you are Sekhmet,” he whispered.
Her eyes peered up into his, and her voice shook with laughter. “Sekhmet? The lion-headed goddess of war?”
“War and healing?” Her face leaned closer.
“Fierce and powerful,” he murmured, breathing her in.
About the Book, The Price of Glory
Richard Mallet comes to Egypt with dreams of academic glory. He will be the one to unravel the secrets of the ancient Kushite language. Armed with license to dig, he sets out for Meroë, where the Blue Nile meets the White. He has no room in his life for dalliance or entanglements, and he certainly doesn’t expect to face insurrection and unrest.
Analiese Cloutier seeks no glory—only the eradication of disease among the Egyptian women and children of Khartoum. She has no interest whatsoever in romantic nonsense and will not allow notions about a lady’s proper role to interfere with her work. She doesn’t expect to have that work manipulated for political purposes.
Neither expects to be enchanted by the amorous power of moonlight in the ruins of Karnak, or to be forced to marry before they can escape revolution. Will their flight north take them safely to Cairo? If it does, can they build something real out of their shattered dreams.
Soon on Kindle Unlimited or pre-order for July 7 release.
Award winning author Caroline Warfield has been many things: traveler, librarian, poet, raiser of children, bird watcher, Internet and Web services manager, conference speaker, indexer, tech writer, genealogist—even a nun. She reckons she is on at least her third act, happily working in an office surrounded by windows where she lets her characters lead her to adventures in England and the far-flung corners of the British Empire. She nudges them to explore the riskiest territory of all, the human heart.
I’m so happy you’ve stopped by my website and my First Kiss Friday blog. Today’s guest is my friend and fellow Bluestocking Belle Cerise DeLand. Cerise has an excerpt from Ravishing Camille for your reading pleasure. Enjoy, my lovelies!
“How would you kiss a woman you loved?” Oh, yes. She was a fool to ask.
But in her curiosity, she knew power. Because he blinked and yet he did not pull away, she had the control. Instead, he stood immobile as she stepped against him. She lifted on her toes, for he was so tall. And she slanted her head to one side, her gaze fastened on his, her mouth a heartbeat away from his. “How would you?”
“Camille.” Her name was not a sound.
She heard it as a warning, but took it as an appeal. One she’d waited for nearly half her life. One she would take advantage of now. For if anything, she was a woman of action. And in regard to him, she’d always been a woman of desire.
She sought purchase with her fingers going round his upper arms. “Shall I kiss you on the cheek?”
He gave a small shake of his head.
Accepting his feeble answer, she put her lips to his nose. A peck. An acknowledgment of affection. “Like one gives a child.” Or a brother.
He seemed to vibrate beneath her hands.
Beneath her fingertips, he went still as death. Her time grew short and so she pulled away ever so slightly and said, “But I would want more from a man I cared for. Much more.”
Her education in the art of kissing was poor. She’d had weak precedents. A wet thing from a twelve-year-old boy who’d come to visit with his parents. A grasping thing from an Eton lad who petted her with clammy hands before he tried to stick his tongue down her throat. A ravenous thing from a sullen lord who should have known better than to seize her as if he were a pirate and she his booty. Only once had she been swept away by the artfulness of a man who knew his way around a bedroom and a woman. She’d enjoyed the kiss…or rather kisses, but later, refused the man his suit.
So it was her imagination and her eternal curiosity about Pierce as a lover that led her on. A frantic seizure of the minute, the night, the topic, led her to brush her lips on his and stifle the moan that rose in her throat.
She took his broad firm mouth with her own in a grand claim that had him drawing her near and allowing her the range of his lips. He was hers, faintly groaning in objection or passion, she did not know. But he pulled her flush to his torso and she surged with triumph at the rigid expression of his lack of control.
Surrendering to what she wanted, she slid her hands up his shoulders and cupped his nape. Her fingers wound through his satin hair. He hauled her closer, his cock harder, slipping against the hollow between her thighs as he kissed her.
His lips were warm, reverent. At once, he pulled back and stared at her, shock his first emotion. But need was his next as he cupped her cheek, sighed her name and took her mouth once more. This time, he savored her mouth in lazy caresses. She clutched him closer and he darted the tip of his tongue between her lips. But with one touch, he gasped and was gone.
She hung in his arms, triumph rushing through her veins.
He stared down into her eyes.
He searched her expression. Of course, he did.
He searched for himself. For his motivation. For definition of his own desire.
She let him do as he wished, but regarded him with languor, for she had no such query.
She knew what she wanted.
Him. Always him. Ever him.
And she had him in this moment. As she had always wanted the fullness of his passion. The madness of his attentions.
“Forgive me.” He stepped back even as he braced her arms to ensure she stood upright.
Well. Just barely. But gentleman that he was, and lady that she had been born to be, she would stand and she would forgive.
He cleared his throat. “That was…”
“I apologize, Camille. That should not have happened.”
I wanted it to. “I’m the one who started it.” And I won’t apologize.
He gave her a watery smile. “We will forget this.”
Not if I can make you remember.
With a few quick steps, he strode away.
RAVISHING CAMILLEby Cerise DeLand Book 5, THOSE NOTORIOUS AMERICANS, Book 5, Steamy Family Saga of the Gilded Age
She’d wanted him for years…and denied she cared.
As a step-brother, he’d loved her.
But she’s older now and even more delectable. Should he walk away? Can he?
Pierce Hanniford returns to England after tripling his fortune in China. He’s come for business. Not pleasure. And definitely not for love.
Camille Bereston decided years ago that Pierce was not for her. He’s her step-brother, famous, restless, a savvy Shanghai taipan and a menace…to her heart.
She has ambitions to marry. Funny that none of her candidates seems good enough.
Yet Camille excites him as no woman ever has and he must have her, no matter the cost.
But should she take an older, experienced rogue as her lover…and should she claim him forever as her only love?
If you love swoon-worthy historical romance, starring endearing heroes, sassy heroines and a family of irresistible charmers, this book is for you! Buy RAVISHING CAMILLE to begin your journey!
RAVISHING CAMILLE is the fifth book in THOSE NOTORIOUS AMERICANS series but can also be read as a standalone novel.
Book 1: Wild Lily (Lily and Julian)
Book 2: Daring Widow (Marianne and Remy)
Book 3: Sweet Siren (Liv and Killian)
Book 4: Scandalous Heiress (Ada and Victor)
Book 5: Ravishing Camille (Camille and Pierce)
Book 6: If You Were the Only Girl in the World (Katrina and Nate)
Book 7: Let Me Call You Sweetheart (Giselle and Dylan)
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!
Welcome to my First Kiss Friday Blog! Today’s guess is Karen Michelle Nutt who has an excerpt from her time travel novel Two Worlds Collided. Be sure to read to the end to grab some free audiobook files while they’re available. Happy reading, my lovelies!
His eyes were closed as he became one with the music. “She should spread her wings and soar.” His deep timber seemed to lure her closer. “Free, so free. She lifts my spirits. She’s like a butterfly, free and graceful.” He sang the chorus, “I want to see her fly. Fly higher and higher. Come fly with me. Come fly with me…” The song slowly came to an end with the last notes played on the keyboard.
This was a song he’d written for his solo album that never would be officially released, but a decade later it had been leaked through the media. Someone had found a raw recording of it and loaded it to the Internet.
He turned in his seat and found her. “Come sit by me,” he said and scooted over on the bench. He reached for his cigarette, burning in the ashtray. His glass had vodka in it, his beverage of choice tonight, not water. She didn’t have to taste it to know. It had been documented on one of the many biographies broadcasted on TV.
She sat next to him; his body warm against hers. She liked the way he felt, maybe a little too much. It was one thing to be infatuated with the legend, but quite another thing to be up close and personal with the man. She liked him. Really liked this broken soul. He was funny and though he pretended to be crude at times, she understood the reasons why. It was a shield to keep people at arm’s length, to keep them from seeing the turmoil roaring inside of him.
“I hope you weren’t bored out of your wits.” He regarded her curiously as he puffed on the cigarette.
“I enjoyed every minute. Thank you.”
“For what?” He balanced the cigarette between his lips and leaned his elbow on the flat plane of the keyboard, while with his other hand his fingers lightly caressed the keys with a slow melody.
“For allowing me to be here tonight.”
His fingers went for the cigarette once more and with one final puff, he put it out in the ashtray. “I should probably be thanking you.” He gave her a brief smile then changed the subject, leaving her to wonder what he meant. “Do you play?” He gestured toward the keyboard.
“What? The keyboard?”
“No.” She half chuckled. “Well, I do know how to play chopsticks. I’m quite good at it if I do say so myself.”
He sat up straight then. “Give it a whirl, Darlin’.”
“I couldn’t,” she said and shook her head.
“Sure you can. We’ll play the duet and I’ll join in when you’re ready.” He kept gesturing toward the keyboard with his adorable, lopsided grin plastered to his face and she finally gave in.
She started out slow then gained confidence as Bellamy’s sure fingers joined in. She hadn’t had so much fun in a long time. She dated of course, but she hadn’t felt a connection with anyone, and the relationships never lasted. It was as if their frequencies were off and they never managed to be in sync. Not that being with Bellamy tonight constituted as a date.
She met Bellamy’s gaze and laughed again when the little ditty came to an end.
“My word,” he said. “You are amazing.”
“I did warn you.”
“So you did.” His gaze caressed her, and he scooted closer, so close their lips were only inches apart. She wanted him to kiss her. God, she really, really wanted him to, but then his gaze left hers and she felt as though he’d severed the connection, they’d been sharing all evening, leaving her feeling slightly off-kilter. “It’s late,” he said, his voice seemed off, deeper, raspier. “You should go to bed,” he told her and for some reason he wouldn’t look at her.
“You should also. It’s been a long day for you.”
Though the rehearsal had gone on all night, food was brought in and placed on a banquet table so the crew could help themselves. She watched Bellamy. He drank heavily, smoked like he couldn’t remember the last time he had a cigarette, but he picked at his food. Munched on nuts and grapes, but as for a full meal, he left his plate virtually untouched.
She stared at his profile. Strong jaw, nice straight nose, and she wondered how he managed not to have it broken with so many fistfights he found himself in. However, his eyes were the telltale sign she was looking for. He was tired, the tender flesh darker than the rest of his complexion.
“When was the last time you slept?” she asked, curious to know. He couldn’t have slept last night, not much anyway with the condition she’d found him in this morning.
Bellamy let out a sigh. “I haven’t slept for ages.”
She believed him. He still mourned his father’s death, he couldn’t kick his cocaine habit, not that she thought he even wanted to, and he drank hard liquor like it was the next best thing to water.
“You know sometimes when you talk to a friend, it helps,” she offered.
He gave her a sidelong glance. “Friends? Some call me friend, but it’s difficult to know who really is one.”
She rested a hand on his. “I want to be your friend if you’ll let me.”
He gave her a long searching look as if he were trying to judge for himself if he could trust her. “You really do, don’t you?” he said, his voice raw with emotion and a bit of surprise. Then he broke down and told her, “I killed my father.” His eyes held her prisoner, daring her to look away in disgust. “What do you think of that…friend?”
Evie didn’t move or say anything. She knew he hadn’t really killed his father, not with his hands, but he blamed himself for his father’s death all the same. She waited. If he had thought to scare her off, he was sorely mistaken.
He must have finally come to the conclusion she wasn’t going anywhere and continued, “I needed help. I was using, heavily,” he added, and she wondered how much more he’d been using, than what she’d witnessed already. She thought this morning he’d been a mess, but perhaps that was only a glimpse of how bad off he’d been in the past.
“I called my father, my strong sensible father. Mind you, he wasn’t a tall man, but he was a fierce Romanian-born man, who you would want on your side.” He glanced at her. “I don’t mean fierce in the sense he was abusive. I mean he was strong of mind and purpose. I called him because I couldn’t take the pressure anymore. The demand for the tours, the demand to write the next song better than the last, the demand to always be in tip-top form for all those fans… The media never lets up either.” He scrubbed his hand over his face. “All of it was sucking the life out of me, but then there was this freak accident to put another nail in my coffin.” He shook his head. “If you can believe it, I wasn’t even high or drunk when it happened. I was at a baseball game with– it doesn’t matter who I was with. A foul ball hit me in the head, knocked me out cold and I fell hard.” He touched the back of his head. “I can’t smell anything. I can’t taste anything. It’s like I’m shut off from the world.” A small frown slipped across his face. “Believe me, I know others have it so much worse off than I do. It’s not like I’m missing a leg or an arm. Right?” He paused as if looking for the right words. “You know something? I’d give up a limb for the chance to taste and smell again.”
She comprehended what he was saying, not because she understood what he was going through. She didn’t. No one could know without experiencing it for themselves. However, she did understand the concept. “Scents are all around us,” she said. “They can conjure a memory. They can comfort. They can arouse.” She nudged him and gained a semblance of a smile.
“I miss the smell of a woman. God, how I miss that the most.” Then he gave her a curious look that she didn’t quite understand, and it seemed he wasn’t willing to share it with her either and glanced away.
“So you called your father,” she encouraged him to talk.
“He lives…lived in Murrieta, it’s a long drive from there to Malibu.”
She knew Bellamy had a home in Malibu. The tabloids spoke of the wild parties he held there.
“He said he was coming to get me. I told him not to come. It was late. I should have never called him.” He closed his eyes. “He didn’t see the road construction sign. He missed it somehow and his car went over the side of the road, down a ravine. I told him not to come,” he repeated.
“He was your father. He loved you.”
Tears burned his eyes, but he blinked and turned away to hide them from her. “Yeah, look what loving me did to him. My mother can’t even look at me when I go home to visit. She blames me. I blame myself.”
She placed a hand on his shoulder. She wanted to hug him but didn’t know if she should. He turned toward her then, surprising her as he suddenly drew her close, his hands in her hair, his mouth hot and desperate on hers. She gripped his arms and kissed him too. He tasted of cigarettes, booze, and something more, something more primitive. God, what this man did to her senses and it proved difficult to ignore the hard hum of lust in her veins.
He pulled away if only to allow them to breathe and her gaze snared with his and her pulse flickered and leaped at what she witnessed in his eyes. He wanted her. He wanted her to say yes, but the doors to the ballroom opened with the light from the lobby pouring in. The hotel crew strolled inside with carts. Apparently, they were there to clean the room. Bellamy let her go without voicing his desires.
“I need to use the restroom,” Evie said, in order for her to take a well-needed break and rethink where this was going between her and Bellamy. She told her brother she had no intentions of being just another woman Bellamy bedded, but how did she rein in her feelings for him? She wanted to be with him. She was an adult and knew sleeping with him wouldn’t give her forever in his arms. The future was still so uncertain where Bellamy was concerned anyway. Could be for anyone, come to think of it. There were no guarantees. She could only be true to herself, live life to the fullest, and see what tomorrow brought her way.
Bellamy didn’t say anything as she rose and headed away, but she knew he watched her, heavy-lidded with desire. She’d be lying if she didn’t experience a little thrill inside of her in knowing he did.
What the hell was he doing? Bellamy scrubbed his face with his hands, inhaled deeply, and let it out again in a whoosh of frustration as he stared at Evie’s easy sway of her hips as she headed for the lady’s room. He reached for his glass and was disappointed to find it empty.
You can’t sleep with her, he reminded himself. It would be a big mistake. A huge mistake, and yet he couldn’t stop himself from imagining how he’d take off every stitch of her clothes and lay her down on his bed, naked and willing as he pinned her beneath is hard, aching body… “Shit.” He repositioned his pants.
The sound of giggles drew his attention toward the two hotel employees. Both women were eyeing him as if he were a delectable treat. Maybe he could stop himself from taking Evie upstairs and fucking her senseless if he sabotaged it. He hated to do it this way, but he was weak. What could he say? His body knew what it wanted, and it wanted Emerson Violet Reid in a very, very, bad way. Better Miss Book Marm thought him a dick tonight then in the morning after he had his way with her. Tonight, he’d let her walk away with her pride intact.
Two Worlds Collided by Karen Michelle Nutt
A fangirl nurse. An ill-fated rocker. When she steps back in time to save him, will their affections spell happily ever after? 2007. Evie Reid has dedicated her life to helping others heal. Aspiring to return to school and become a doctor, the full-time caregiver spends her few spare moments as president of a now-defunct rock band’s loyal fan club. But she never imagined her two passions would crash together with a single chance to travel ten years into the past and prevent the troubled lead singer’s shocking suicide.
1997. All Bellamy Lovel feels is cavernous loneliness. Still blaming himself for his father’s death years prior, the frontman masks his pain with the cocky flash and fly aloofness everybody expects. And the last thing he needs is some lame personal assistant to keep him on the clock, especially not the wacko that practically tackled him just for standing too close to a ledge. Thrust into the thankless position of keeping her idol out of trouble and on schedule, Evie struggles to hide her intentions and suppress her growing feelings. And surprised to find a woman who actually keeps it real, Bellamy can’t help making space amidst the darkness in his heart for her warm tenderness. Has tragedy already been written into their love story, or will their passion prevail as an all-time number-one hit?
Two Worlds Collided is the standalone first book in the exhilarating Rock Star Romance series. If you like fascinating personalities, touching compassion, and hilarious shenanigans, then you’ll adore Karen Michelle Nutt’s backstage ballad.
Buy Two Worlds Collided for a hopeful encore today!
Karen Michelle Nutt resides in California with her husband, three fascinating children, and houseful of demanding pets. Jack, her Chorkie, is her writing buddy and sits long hours with her at the computer.
When she’s not time traveling, fighting outlaws, or otherworldly creatures, she creates pre-made book covers to order at Gillian’s Book Covers, “Judge Your Book By Its Cover”. You can also check out her published cover art designs at Victory Tales Press and Rebecca J. Vickery Publishing.
Whether your reading fancy is paranormal, historical or time travel, all her stories capture the rich array of emotions that accompany the most fabulous human phenomena—falling in love.
I’m celebrating the news that Love Will Find You is a finalist for the 2021 RONE award! Thank you to all my wonderful readers who voted for my medieval/time travel novel. It’s now off to the judges and the winner will be announced in October at the InD’Scribe conference.
Since it’s First Kiss Friday, how about the first kiss scene with Killian and Ella? I hope you enjoy this excerpt from this older couple who are searching for love!
Ella had known the moment Killian had picked her up that something had shifted inside her world. Surely such a sensation was caused by her despair at seeing her son for the first time in many years. She could not deny Faramond’s presence had rattled her wits. What kind of a mother was she that she was afraid of her own flesh and blood? How had she failed him?
But thoughts of her son drained away the instant Killian pressed his lips against her own.
Their breaths mingled on a heartbeat. Soft. Gentle. Searching. ’Twas an exploration of two beings trying to find one another while a rush of excitement shivered within their souls. A groan escaped her parted lips as she drew in her next breath. Never before had she felt such a deep yearning as she did now.
She knew what it was to live on the outside, yearning for the romance that had passed her by. This kiss was outside of her experience.
Killian must have taken the sound as encouragement for his arms wrapped around her bringing her closer. She reached out to cup his cheek, feeling the stubble of growth across her fingertips, while her other arm snaked around his neck. Her fingers curled into his hair as though she were holding onto him for support. She could feel his hand as it made its way through her hair with a caress. Slanting her head, he took full advantage of the opportunity presented to him as his tongue plunged into her mouth to dance with her own.
If Ella had not been sitting down, she surely would have fallen to the ground in a heap of pleasure. Wave after wave of desire coursed through her as though she had craved this man’s touch her entire life. He made her forget everything but this moment. She cared not when he lifted her once again and she found herself sitting upon his lap. His arms wrapped themselves around her once more and she felt as if she were secured in a cocoon of warmth and comfort. He made her feel safe for the first time in more years than she could remember and she gave herself completely to this man who had addled her wits with just one kiss.
She gulped in air when his lips traveled to her neck. How long had it been since someone had actually made her feel? She whispered his name and all the sensations coursing through her body came to a screeching halt. He pushed her from his lap and Ella opened her eyes to stare at him in confusion. Her eyes widened when she realized her mistake.
Killian quickly stood and stepped back. The space between them was far greater than the few footsteps he had taken to distance himself from her. “I am not Henry,” he muttered through clenched teeth.
Love Will Find You The Knights of Berwyck, A Quest Through Time (Book Four) By Sherry Ewing
Sometimes a moment is all we have…
Ella Fitzpatrick is a woman with a secret. As she comes and goes from Berwyck Castle, seeking refuge within its gates, she yearns to be reunited with the one for whom she crossed time from the twenty-first century. She has lived another lifetime in the twelfth century waiting for the date of their reunion and it is almost upon her. But how could she have known the man she believes she loves is not the person she needs?
Killian of Clan MacLaren has been infatuated with Ella for many a year but has guarded his heart, knowing her affection lies with another. When Ella must flee Berwyck, Killian vows to escort her to her encounter with destiny. But passion flares between them and there is no doubt the bond they have is far greater than either of them expected.
Their time together is running out. Killian has a decision to make that might give him and Ella a future together. If you could change someone’s past, would you seize the moment?
Love Will Find You can be read as a standalone novel. If you love action-packed time travels, adventurous medieval romances, and swoon-worthy characters then you’ll love Sherry Ewing’s Knights of Berwyck series.
Thanks for dropping by my First Kiss Friday blog. I hope you have something fun planned for the holiday weekend. Please welcome my friend Anna St. Claire who has an excerpt from her story The Earl of Shefford . Be sure to read all the way to the end to be in the running for her giveaway. Happy reading and enjoy, my lovelies!
“As we have just become betrothed, I am inclined to seal the proposal with a kiss.” Without waiting for her agreement, he slanted his head and captured her lips with his.
At first, Nora was speechless. Yet his lips felt so soft and wonderful. He pulled her closer and a strange headiness took over her senses. This kiss! Nora had known nothing like it in her life. She craved more. A sense of need thrilled and overwhelmed her. She relaxed and circled her arms about his shoulders, fingering the dark brown curls at the base of his neck. Nothing she had known had prepared her for this. He nipped gently at her closed lips and she opened them to admit his tongue, which swirled around her own and touched the sides of her mouth seemingly to gain her participation. Nora could not resist the temptation he offered and met his tongue with her own, dipping and swirling together as if in a dance. Their breaths mingled with a ferocity she had never imagined. Everywhere his hands touched, even merely sliding down her arms, sent incredible bolts of sensation to her core. She savoured the stir her body was experiencing and wanted to stay in this moment forever, but propriety dictated…she stop.
Half-heartedly, she pulled back. They both stood there, panting.
“I apologize…” he said before breaking off.
“No, please… There is no need to apologize. I… have never been kissed before… of course… and… I-I would not wish such… such a first kiss not to have been meant,” she whispered, obviously shaken.
“I was not apologizing for kissing you,” he said. “I was merely about to express my regrets for not having kissed you sooner.
Her heart gave a little flip.
Earl of Shefford By Anna St. Claire
Colin, Earl of Shefford visits a building he has won in a wager, having determined its address to be an excellent location for a new club. Discovering not only a fully functioning orphanage but a beautiful headmistress, who refuses his offer of an alternative establishment, he suffers a pique of temper. Irritated by her immunity to his charms, he foolishly succumbs to his intense attraction and brashly offers her a choice. Either she must accept him in a marriage of convenience or provide proof that the orphanage has value to him.
Impoverished and needing to restore her fortunes, Miss Honoria Mason despises the members of the ton for their extravagance and blames them for her family’s loss of home and fortune. However, Nora’s life takes an eventful turn when the handsome Lord Shefford becomes the orphanage’s landlord and presents her with an ultimatum. Either she proves the orphanage’s worth to him in two weeks or becomes his convenient bride in order that he may produce an heir. She refuses to lose the orphanage she has worked so hard to preserve and so accepts his offer to marry.
Sparks fly as proximity forces them together, the better to know each other. How can romance bloom when resentment has withered their hearts?
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.
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.
Welcome to another First Kiss Friday. Today’s guest is my dear friend Veronica Crowe who is celebrating her next release The Viscount’s Heir. We hope you enjoy this first kiss scene. Happy reading, my lovelies!
Alexandra closed her eyes and lost herself in the magic of her first kiss. As his lips touched hers, a peculiar emotion bloomed in her chest, burrowed under her skin, and spiraled through her soul.
Awareness. Recognition. Acceptance. They seized her sanity, cajoled her to take small steps—one at a time—then pushed her into uncharted waters.
Her senses reeled. Discovering, learning—as she curiously waded across a river of uncertain depths. Would the undercurrent sweep her away? Should she deny its persuasion—refuse to venture further and be afraid?
Then she realized, to her utter amazement, that she craved the sweetness of its crystal stream.
She wanted to surrender.
To the taste, to the scent, to the feel, to the elation of discovering something different—raw—new. Something foreign to her orbit, to her stubborn single-mindedness—yet what her body responded to, yearned for.
She had forgotten where they were, the hour of the day, and even her very name.
Who would have thought that a kiss could be like this? Magical, mystical—and with the right man at the right time, gloriously divine?
She sent a silent wish to the fairies. Please, let it go on forever—pray, let it last a lifetime.
But he pulled away and ended the kiss—breaking the spell, casting the enchantment to the winds.
The Viscount’s Heir By Veronica Crowe
The Viscount’s Heir: Book 2 of the Heirs of Cornwall Series tells the tale of two stubborn personalities determined to escape the matrimonial trap.
Allayne Carlyle, the only son and heir of Viscount Rose, is in a conundrum. All his friends are happily married, and his mother has decided it is time for him to do the same deed. But Allayne has no intentions of entering the parson’s mousetrap. He is wealthy, handsome, and free. The world is at his fingertips. He is not done sowing his wild oats, and frankly, he wants to keep sowing said oats for the next decade. Or two. Why would he want to get leg-shackled, when there are too many alluring widows to bed, and even more beautiful actresses to pursue?
Lady Alexandra Davenport, the only daughter of the Earl of Weston, is in a similar predicament. She has been cleverly avoiding the matrimonial trap, but now that her twenty-fifth birthday has come around, her father has finally put his foot down. He had threatened to confiscate her most treasured possessions: her horse and her pistols if she does not come around and accept one of her many suitors. But Alexandra is in no haste to get betrothed. She would rather spend her days participating in her charities, practicing her shooting and fencing skills, and if truth be told, she could not bear to leave her father and live elsewhere with a husband she doesn’t truly adore. Why would she want to marry some wretched man who would take her money, when she is happy and content where she is at?
Unbeknownst to our hero and heroine, their parents have been scheming. What will happen when these two stubborn personalities collide? Will they chase each other with a hatchet, or will the sparks fly?
Join Allayne and Alexandra, as they conquer the mystery of that little word, they have been trying their best to avoid: Love.
Veronica Crowe is the author of the Heirs of Cornwall series for Dragonblade Publishing. If you like laugh-out-loud Regency romance full of romantic entanglements, hilarious misadventures, profound, heartfelt moments, and grand happy endings, this series is for you!
Heirs of Cornwall Books: The Wrong Prince The Viscount’s Heir My Only Earl