Today is First Kiss Friday and this is the last novella being featured from the Bluestocking Belles holiday box set, Holly and Hopeful Hearts. Please welcome author Amy Rose Bennett and her characters from Dashing Through the Snow. Happy reading!
Dashing Through the Snow, by Amy Rose Bennett
Miss Kate Woodville, teacher and bluestocking, enjoys her independence, thank you very much. But when a very determined viscount insists she accompany him on a mad dash through the snow to Gretna Green to stop his younger sister, Violet, eloping with Kate’s own brother, she has little choice but to go. She’ll risk the ruin of her own pristine reputation if it means she can save Freddie from Lord Stanton’s wrath.
As they race along the road north and then back to Hollystone Hall in Buckinghamshire for a New Year’s Eve charity ball, hearts and wills are certain to collide. But will anyone—Freddie and Violet, or Kate and Lord Stanton—find the path to everlasting love?
First Kiss Excerpt
Kate Woodville, confirmed bluestocking, and Lord Stanton have found themselves—quite unexpectedly—sharing confidences late on Christmas Eve…
The heavy silence extended between them until Kate scraped up the courage to murmur, “Forgive me, my lord. Perhaps I have been too frank. It seems the wassail has loosened my tongue.” And made me fanciful.
“There is nothing to forgive,” said Lord Stanton. He gifted her with a warm smile that made her pulse dance oddly. “Thank you. For confiding in me. It cannot be easy to share such private matters.”
“No…” The moment stretched and Kate found that her gaze was trapped with Lord Stanton’s. The mood had shifted again, had become even more intimate. Tender yet also taut. Filled with expectation. It was too much to take in. If she stayed too much longer, she might begin to believe Lord Stanton cared for her which was utterly ridiculous.
She needed to go.
Kate stood and was taken aback to find she was a little light-headed from all the wassail and wine she’d drunk; she put a hand against the brocade covered back of the settee to steady herself. “I think I should retire.” She glanced at the mahogany longcase clock beside the door leading to the Great Hall and the stairs. It was almost midnight. “It is quite late.”
“Yes.” Lord Stanton rose also, a frown of concern creasing his brow as he regarded her. Perhaps he’d noticed she was slightly unsteady as he said, “Let me escort you.”
However Kate shook her head. “No, that won’t be necessary. Good night, my lord.” She crossed the room to the open doorway but as she took a step over the threshold, her slipper caught on the edge of the hall runner and she tripped. Gasping, she clutched at the doorframe but then strong male arms caught her and she found herself pulled up against Lord Stanton’s tall muscular frame, her back to his front.
“Careful now,” he murmured against her hair. His breath teased the hair at her temple, the curve of her ear, raising pleasurable goose-bumps along the exposed flesh of her neck.
“I… I’m not usually so clumsy.” She turned in his arms and attempted to take a step back so she could thank him eye to eye but Lord Stanton’s hold about her waist firmed.
“Well, well,” he said, his voice as rich and potent as the wassail punch they’d just been drinking. “Look where we are, Miss Woodville.” He glanced above their heads before his eyes met hers again. “Or may I call you Kate?”
“Whatever do you—?” Kate tilted her head up and then swallowed, her mouth suddenly dry. Oh, no. A large garland of mistletoe—a kissing bough—hung from the carved wooden lintel right above them. “We don’t have to hold to tradition,” she whispered, her gaze returning to Lord Stanton’s.
“Oh, I think we most definitely do.” He pushed one of her curls behind her ear. “It’s Christmas Eve. It would be most remiss of us not to.” His gaze, as soft as moonlight on water caressed her face. Her lips. “May I kiss you?”
Oh, my goodness. I must be dreaming. Kate’s pulse thrummed with anticipation and her heart swelled with unexpected pleasure. Lord Stanton wants to kiss me. Before she’d even thought through the consequences her wassail-addled brain formulated a response and she whispered, “Yes.”
Lord Stanton’s mouth tipped into a devastating smile just as the longcase clock began to chime the hour of midnight. “Merry Christmas, sweet Kate.”
He raised a large hand and cupped her cheek as if he were touching something as delicate as a Christmas rose. Holding her breath, her gaze dropped to his mouth as he tilted his head then oh, so slowly lowered it. And then she stopped thinking as overwhelming sensation swept her away. The slick brush of warm yet firm lips over hers, the sliding caress of Lord Stanton’s other hand up her back to her nape, the push of his fingers into her hair as he angled her head slightly and claimed her whole mouth, the intoxicating scent of his cologne wrapping round her, the rush of tingling heat through her whole body, all of these things sent her spiraling high, so high until she felt like she was flying.
When the tip of Lord Stanton’s tongue swiped boldly across her lower lip, she gasped at the decadent sensation, the unexpected, wicked, earthly pleasure of it. Her lips now parted, he took the opportunity to explore her further, his tongue slipping inside her mouth, stroking and tasting her until she was moaning, gripping his wide shoulders, pushing herself shamelessly against his hot, hard chest, seeking more, wanting something else from him. She hardly knew what that was until Lord Stanton’s skated his hand from her neck down to her shoulder then his fingers slid beneath her spencer and gently covered her breast. Desire flared hotter, brighter. All these years she’d been a spinster she’d never known that this was what she’d been missing. Never dreamed a kiss could be like this. Her first kiss—
“What the bloody hell are you doing with my sister, Stanton? Unhand her this instant.”
About Amy Rose Bennett
Amy Rose Bennett has always wanted to be a writer for as long as she can remember. An avid reader with a particular love for historical romance, it seemed only natural to write stories in her favourite genre. She has a passion for creating emotion-packed, racy stories set in the Georgian and Regency periods. Of course, her strong-willed heroines and rakish heroes always find their happily ever after.
Amy is happily married to her own Alpha male hero, has two beautiful daughters, and a rather loopy Rhodesian Ridgeback. She has been a speech pathologist for many years but is currently devoting her time to her one other true calling – writing romance.
Find Amy at:
About Holly and Hopeful Hearts
Release date: November 8, 2016
When the Duchess of Haverford sends out invitations to a Yuletide house party and a New Year’s Eve ball at her country estate, Hollystone Hall, those who respond know that Her Grace intends to raise money for her favorite cause and promote whatever love-matches she can. Seven assorted heroes and heroines set out with their pocketbooks firmly clutched and hearts in protective custody. Or are they?
Holly and Hopeful Hearts is a Bluestocking Belles Christmas collection, with a novella from each Belle and a bonus novelette. For more than 684 pages of holiday reading, preorder now. The Belles support the Malala Fund, with 25% of proceeds from this publication.
A Suitable Husband, by Jude Knight
As the Duchess of Haverford’s companion, Cedrica Grenford is not treated as a poor relation and is encouraged to mingle with Her Grace’s guests. Surely she can find a suitable husband amongst the gentlemen gathered for the duchess’s house party. Above stairs or possibly below.
Valuing Vanessa, by Susana Ellis
Facing a dim future as a spinster under her mother’s thumb, Vanessa Sedgely makes a practical decision to attach an amiable gentleman who will not try to rule her life.
A Kiss for Charity, by Sherry Ewing
Young widow Grace, Lady de Courtenay, has no idea how a close encounter with a rake at a masquerade ball would make her yearn for love again. Can she learn to forgive Lord Nicholas Lacey and set aside their differences to let love into her heart?
Artemis, by Jessica Cale
Actress Charlotte Halfpenny is in trouble. Pregnant, abandoned by her lover, and out of a job, Charlotte faces eviction two weeks before Christmas. When the reclusive Earl of Somerton makes her an outrageous offer, she has no choice but to accept. Could he be the man of her dreams, or is the nightmare just beginning?
The Bluestocking and the Barbarian, by Jude Knight
James must marry to please his grandfather, the duke, and to win social acceptance for himself and his father’s other foreign-born children. But only Lady Sophia Belvoir makes his heart sing, and to win her he must invite himself to spend Christmas at the home of his father’s greatest enemy.
Christmas Kisses, by Nicole Zoltack
Louisa Wycliff, Dowager Countess of Exeter wants only for her darling daughter, Anna, to find a man she can love and marry. Appallingly, Anna has her sights on a scoundrel of a duke who chases after every skirt he sees. Anna truly thinks the dashing duke cares for her, but her mother has her doubts.
An Open Heart, by Caroline Warfield
Esther Baumann longs for a loving husband who will help her create a home where they will teach their children to value the traditions of their people, but she wants a man who is also open to new ideas and happy to make friends outside their narrow circle. Is it so unreasonable to ask for toe curling passion as well?
Dashing Through the Snow, by Amy Rose Bennett
Headstrong bluestocking, Miss Kate Woodville, never thought her Christmas would be spent racing across England with a viscount hell-bent on vengeance. She certainly never expected to find love…