Welcome to my First Kiss Friday blog. You probably have seen on various social media, that the Bluestocking Belles and their guest authors have a new box set coming out next month entitled Desperate Daughters. On sale for only $0.99 during preorder, Desperate Daughters releases on May 17th. Let’s welcome Belle Jude Knight as she shares an excerpt from her novella, Lord Cuckoo Comes Home. Happy reading and enjoy, my lovelies!
They come close to kissing on the page. Very close. but they were interrupted by the horse and a monkey.
Chloe turned her head to examine his face. His eyes were firmly fixed on the road ahead, but he must have felt the weight of her regard, for he shot her a look and an anxious smile. “Did you know I was courting you? Lord Tavistock said you did not, and that I should tell you.”
“I was not sure,” Chloe admitted. I hoped so. The words occurred, but she kept them in.
Lord Dom grimaced. “I am not very good at it, it seems. I have never done this before. And then I met you.”
He turned his face to her, and must have checked the horses, for they slowed to a walk. “You probably think this is all too fast. I am afraid I am rushing my fences and will take a fall. But I am more afraid that—if I hold back and say nothing—someone else will win your regard in my place.” His laugh was a nervous expulsion of air. “Do you think… Could you tell me if I have a chance, Miss Tavistock? Maybe give me a hint about how to get better at this courting business?”
“I don’t know,” Chloe replied. When his face fell, she hastened to add, “I have never been courted before, Lord Dom. I never thought anyone would wish to marry me, but Martin insisted on this season in York.” She wanted to bounce in her seat and repeat the word ‘Yes’ over and over in fast succession. She resisted, and tested him with the question that had stymied the other two. “Can you perhaps tell me why you wish to marry me?”
“I think I can,” Lord Dom said slowly. He looked along the road ahead as he spoke. “I was attracted before we met, when I saw you across the room at the meeting. That was to be my last engagement in Yorkshire. Then you impressed me with your courage, your sense of humor, and your quick thinking, and I wanted to stay to get to know you better.”
He shot her another of those anxious glances. “But the moment of attraction came first. I don’t know if I can explain it better than to say it felt like recognition. Something in me saw you and said ‘that’s her’.” Another of those short barks of laughter. “It sounds mad, does it not? I am glad I listened, though, for every meeting has confirmed my first impression. You are the woman I can picture spending the rest of my life with.”
He looked so apprehensive that Chloe blurted what she was thinking. “It was the same with me, Dom.”
He dropped the reins to turn to her and take both of her hands. “Chloe! May I call you Chloe?” The horses, his soft control suddenly absent, tossed their heads and quickened their pace. Dom had to grab for the reins again to exert his will on them.
His soft laugh was exultant. “I lose all my senses when I am with you.”
Chloe, coming to her own senses just in time to grab at Rosario’s harness as the monkey started a flying leap for a passing tree, knew exactly what he meant.
“We turn here,” Dom told her, suiting action to word and setting the horses between two ornate gateposts. “We can talk more on the way home, Chloe. My darling.”
“Lord Cuckoo Comes Home” in Desperate Daughters
Dom Finchley only came to York as a favor to his half-brother, who asked him to attend a meeting there. After a devastating break with the Finchley family followed by ten years at war, he is keen to get the favor done and then leave to build the home he’s never had. A place to call his own.
Then he meets Chloe.
Chloe Tavistock is past the age for the marriage market, and unfashionable in her shape, her opinions, and her enthusiasms. She is not going to find a husband in York, whatever her fond brother might think.
And then she meets Dom.
Two people who have never fitted in just might be a perfect fit.
Jude always wanted to be a novelist. She started in her teens, but life kept getting in the way. Years passed, and with them dozens of unfinished manuscripts. The fear grew. What if she tried, failed, and lost the dream forever? The years since 2014 have brought 11 novels, 13 novella, 4 volumes of short stories, 3 awards, and hundreds of positive reviews. The dream is alive.