First kiss – excerpt from Mary and the Marquis

If you like Regency romance, or just romance in general, here is a passage from Mary and the Marquis in the hope of whetting your appetite. Chapter 1 can be read by following My Books/Mary and the Marquis/Chapter 1 from the menu above.

 

One dark brow lifted. He’s testing me, she realised, a slow blush heating her skin, unable – or unwilling? her inner voice teased – to tear her eyes from his. As she froze, his gaze focussed and intensified. His eyes gleamed and his sensuous lips curved as Mary, still bent over him, remained transfixed, her pulse racing as his masculine scent assailed her senses and pervaded her very being. She felt as she imagined a mouse must when confronted by a crouching cat, fearful of twitching the tiniest muscle lest it prove the wrong move: the move that would trigger the pounce. Every nerve of her being quivered, every sense was on heightened alert. The stillness of the house weighed heavily, the only sounds the soft crackle of the fire and the ticking of the clock.

The slow movement of his hand broke the enchantment for a brief moment, before he enmeshed her further in his spell.His finger touchedlightly at her temple, traileda path down the side of her face and followed the line of her jaw to her chin. It then lifted to caress her mouth, tracing the width of her trembling lower lip. Mary’s lids fluttered closed as his hand cupped her chin and urged her closer, ever closer. His breath whispered across her sensitised lips as he feathered a kiss across her mouth. Desire snaked through her as his hand slid round to cradle her head. The moist heat of his lips as they moved against hers was an impossible temptation. Without volition, Mary’s hand lifted to his cheek and she leaned into the kiss, lost in the moment, her whole body awakening and responding, every nerve tingling, anticipation flowing from a tiny pinpoint deep inside until it flooded every vein in her body. She trembled, the craving for more near overwhelming her, until the distant sound of a door banging roused her from her trance and, with a gasp of horror, she wrenched her lips from his. She scrambled away, her face a-flame, her hands flying to her cheeks in a vain attempt to cover her shame.

‘My lord…’ she gasped.

The heat in those ebony eyes was undeniable. He smiled at her: a slow, seductive smile that set her quivering with desire. Her heart was pounding and she could feel the pulse jump in her neck. How had he captivated her so very quickly? How had one kiss resurrectedthose feelings she had thought dead and buried long since?

She stiffened, angry and ashamed that she had become so mesmerised by the touch of this stranger’s lips that she had responded in a way no decent woman should. And she was furious she was now unable to conceal her embarrassment. Why should she make such a fuss over a stolen kiss that was no doubt a mere passing fancy to a rake such as he? She dragged in a deep breath to steady her nerves. It would test her ingenuity to its limit, but she must disabuse him of any notion she might be available for any sort of dalliance. Taking a moment, she smoothed her hands down her skirts. She then looked him in the eye, raising her brows in a way she hoped would make her appear unconcerned.

‘Well,’ she said, willing her voice to remain light and unconcerned, ‘I cannot pretend you did not catch me off guard, or I would not have allowed that to happen. However, although your kiss was pleasant enough, my lord, I shall be obliged if you will restrain your…  more basic urges in the future. I have no wish to be constantly on my guard if I am to assist in nursing you over the next week or so. As a gentleman, I am sure you will accede to my wishes.’

‘Ah… but can you be certain I am a gentleman?’

Mary raised her chin. ‘I make no doubt you were raised as such,’ she said, ‘and, no matter what direction your life has taken since then, I would urge you to remember that. I am here to nurse you, Lord Rothley, and that is all.’

If you’d like to find out more about Mary and Lucas, there is a link to Amazon on My Books/Mary and the Marquis above.

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