Welcome to another First Kiss Friday! It’s always a pleasure when I can welcome back my dear friend Jude Knight. Today Jude has an excerpt from her novella A Dream Come True that will be found in Storm & Shelter. Enjoy this excerpt and take it away, Jude!
In this excerpt from A Dream Come True, a novella in the Bluestocking Belles’ box set Storm & Shelter, Barney finally does what he has been yearning to do for weeks. You’ll have to read the book to find out more. Storm & Shelter is our first collection ‘With Friends’ — four of the Belles have been joined in this book by Grace Burrowes, Mary Lancaster, Cerise DeLand and Alina K. Field. Eight wonderful novellas, all set in the village of Fenwick on Sea during a stormy February.
Behave, Barney told himself, as Theo landed so close that her thigh brushed his. Her delectable mouth, open in surprise, was within kissing distance, if he just leaned a little sideways and bent his head.
He could see her collect herself. She closed her mouth, swallowed, and looked down at her hand, still trapped in his. “I have overstepped,” she admitted. “I should have sent Daniel to ask you.”
“No!” He reached for her other hand and captured it. “You did exactly right. Theo, darling Theo, don’t you know how we feel about you? Daniel has adopted you as his aunt. Annie prefers you even to Daniel when she has a bruise or is tired. And I love you.”
Theo looked up at that. “You love me?”
His heart sank at the note of surprise, but he carried on. She needed to know how little he had to offer. “I am not much of a bargain. I am only my father’s curate, with a very poor income, and, once my father finds out that I have taken in my sister’s children, I am likely to lose even that. I will have to find another position, perhaps tutoring, or secretarial work, or assisting a physician. Will you wait for me until I have an income to support a wife? Will you be the children’s aunt in truth?”
Theo was silent, tears welling in her eyes and trickling disregarded down her cheeks.
Barney’s heart landed in his boots and kept falling. “My turn to overstep.” He let go of her hands and shifted a few inches away from her along the sofa. “I am sorry I upset you. I thought you… Never mind. We shall pretend all of that unsaid, shall we?”
A smile was spreading across Theo’s beloved face, and she retrieved Barney’s hands. “Foolish man,” she scolded, fondly. “Don’t you know that I love you, too? I am just surprised because I never believed that dreams could come true.” With that, she moved closer and tilted her head for a kiss, and brought into reality one of his most cherished dreams of the weeks since he’d met her.
How long the kiss, or perhaps the kisses, lasted, Barney could not have said. The bang of the front door followed by thudding of feet in the hall gave them a second’s warning to spring apart, though anyone with eyes would have known exactly what they were doing. They had only to look at Theo’s swollen lips, mussed hair and disarranged clothing. Barney assumed he looked no more reputable.
Daniel flung open the door and burst into the room. He was breathing hard. “Auntie Theo; Uncle Barney, we’ve got trouble.”
A Dream Come True
The tempest that batters Barnaby Somerville’s village is the latest but not the least of his challenges.
Vicar to a remote parish, he stretches his tiny stipend to adopt his orphaned niece and nephew and his time to offer medical care as well as spiritual. A wife is a dream he cannot afford.
But the storm sweeps into his life a surprising temptation—a charming young woman who lavishes her gentle care upon his wards—and him.
God knows, he will forever be richer for having known her, even if he must let her go.
For more about Storm & Shelter, including preorder links, see: https://bluestockingbelles.net/belles-joint-projects/storm-shelter/
About Jude Knight
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.