Writing that first kiss scene in a romance is one of the things I find most difficult! I write, revise, revise again, edit a few times, and then wait to hear what my editor says before deciding to tackle it again.
Today, I’m humbly sharing an excerpt from The Counterfeit Lady, which you can pre-order now for the April 3, 2018 release. (I’ll share buy links below!)
The hero, Fox, has caught up with the heroine in the stables:
Her lungs froze. Fox had opened that door soundlessly.
Chestnut shuddered and shifted around, nostrils sucking in the air that Perry couldn’t seem to find.
She sensed him moving through the dark and mustered a breath. “Go away. I’ll not ride away in my nightclothes.”
His dark form appeared next to her, silent and hulking.
Chestnut looked him over, remembering. She flicked her tail and nosed his hand.
“Traitor,” Perry muttered.
Fox didn’t laugh. His hand, that large hand with its long fingers, slid over the horse, stroking and soothing, the action pulling the warmth through her own flesh, soothing the hair on her neck and the tension behind her eyes.
She straightened her shoulders. “You’ve no doubt come to tell me again how dangerous it is here. How I shouldn’t be out in the stables at night.”
“It is dangerous, my lady.”
His lady. The words stirred her tension into a hot knot of unshed tears. She swallowed them back and made herself snort. “Ah, yes. Dangerous country. Smugglers and such.”
“You shouldn’t make light of it.”
“I don’t. I’m not unprotected. I have my knives and my pistols.”
“Would you use them?”
“I’ve been tempted to use them on you several times this night.”
His hand stopped. “Lady Perpetua, your government is cracking down on smugglers. Desperate men do desperate things. There is but one of you and many of them.”
“There’s a riding officer in these parts. There’s a baronet justice of the peace down the road. I will look them up if there is trouble.”
“And if they’re part of the smuggling organization?”
Her mind froze around the idea.
But of course. She was not so naive that she shouldn’t have realized—smuggling corrupted all of the locals. Though in all fairness, the smuggling in these parts had not been on her mind at all when she came here.
Fox pulled both of her hands into his. She dropped her gaze to them. “They won’t bother me. I am the daughter of the powerful Earl of Shaldon.”
He tensed at that and when he spoke his words were a scold. “They could make you disappear and no one would know. You ran away, didn’t you? You left London without telling anyone where you were going.”
“I wasn’t in London. Charley married. I was at his home in Yorkshire.”
“He will be frantic.”
She almost laughed. “You don’t know Charley, do you? And even if he were the type to worry, he thinks I’m visiting a friend.”
“So, you see. No one would know.”
Anger rippled through her and tightened her chest. “You would know, Fox. You would know. Unless you’re also part of it.”
“What if they’d killed me?”
She pulled her hands away. “No. You’re not going to muddle me again. I’m not leaving.”
He moved closer, towering over her. “No matter whose daughter you are, it’s not safe here for a beautiful young woman—”
“Stop.” She slapped his hands away. Chestnut sidestepped, and Perry took a breath. “I am simply one woman. One spinster well on the shelf. Not young, and not beautiful.”
“You are beautiful.” He clipped out the words, harshly, but those strong, long fingers curled over her shoulders, working their artist’s magic, sending tendrils of bright-colored feeling streaming into her, as if he could flick his brush and make her handsomer than God had made her.
She tried to swallow against a sudden dryness. She knew the truth. “Long Meg.” She breathed deeply. “Horse Face. Bluestocking. Ape Lead—”
His lips pressed to hers and for a moment she couldn’t find air. He used that moment, pulled her closer, flattened all of her against hard muscles, wrapped her in his long arms. His hands cradled her, his fingers dancing and doing things to her neck and her back that sent her nerves spinning. She sobbed, caught a breath, opened her mouth against his, and surrendered.
This story includes a rebellious heroine, a determined spy, a meddling father, a vicious villain, a cast of free-thinking free-traders and possibly a ghost or two.
There are more kisses also! The heat rating is four teakettles.