Welcome to my First Kiss Friday blog. I’m welcoming back my dear friend Caroline Warfield. The third book in Caroline’s Ashmead Heirs Series, The Forgotten Daughter is available for pre-order now for 99 cents. We posted her first kiss here two weeks ago.
Book One in the series, The Wayward Son, remains 99 cents in the meantime. Here’s a kiss from Book One, in which the hero has returned from a dangerous attempt to track a murderer. Along the way he stumbled on something she thought lost. Rob Benson didn’t mean to stay in Ashmead, but when Lucy Whitaker was threatened, he had no choice. 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 Ashmead Heirs
When the old Earl of Clarion leaves a will with bequests for all his children, legitimate and not, listing each and their mothers by name, he complicates the lives of many in the village of Ashmead.
One sleepy village
One scandalous will
Four tormented heirs
The first of them grew believing he was the innkeeper’s son. His life is London. He has no intention of letting the unexpected bequest tie him to Ashmead, but concern for Lucy keeps him there. Rob is The Wayward Son. Still 99 cents https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B09484DC1D/
He called his only legitimate daughter defiant, and sold her to a man twice her age. He left her nothing, but she won’t give up her freedom now that she’s a widow. Brynn Morgan has other ideas. Madelyn is The Defiant Daughter. https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B09GL6PT1J/
He forgot one daughter entirely and left her out of the will. Now she’s determined that the new earl’s steward make it right. Eli will fix it, if he has to die trying—and it may come to that. Never underestimate a quiet hero. Fanny is the third heir, The Forgotten Daughter. Preorder for 99 cents by January 27. Price reverts to retail after launch. https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B09PGSYJ3Q/
In a fit of spite, the old earl left his heir a tarnished title and a bankrupt estate stripped of every unentailed asset. Somehow the new earl has to care for all of them and still find his own happiness. A shocking new neighbor may help with that. David is The Upright Son, and his story is coming in May 2022.
You can find more about The Ashmead Heirs and all Caroline’s books at https://www.carolinewarfield.com/bookshelf/
About the Author
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.
Find Caroline here: