Today on First Kiss Friday, we welcome Sandra Masters and an excerpt from her Historical Romance novel, “One Night With a Duke,” the fifth book in her Duke series.
Reclusive, cold as ice, the politically powerful Raven, Duke of Ravensmere, denies love after the tragic deaths of his duchess and baby. He is bound by his vow never to allow love to enter his heart again. Samantha Winston permits him to seek refuge in her carriage in a time of need, and what started as a kiss in the name of safety, becomes something more pleasurable and not so safe after all. In spite of every caution, his interest escalates into unexpected desire.
First Kiss Excerpt
The distraction had Raven cling to the walls that shadowed him. Raven moved carefully to the end of the alleyway to round the corner of Langham Place and another corner to Regent Street, which held a more fashionable row of homes. A few meters down the pavement, through the muddle, he spotted a carriage with lanterns lit. The street seemed deserted, but the men’s clamors a short distance behind sounded in the night hour. The desolate area offered a perfect opportunity for them to do damage if they caught up with him.
Raven cat-footed his way to the coach aware the coach driver stepped down to steady the horses. With the driver occupied, he opened the door, entered the carriage, closed it, and dropped on the brocade seat. A well-dressed woman seated there gasped. She held her reticule high, poised to strike him.
He gripped her arm. “Bravo,” he whispered, a grin curling his lips. Nonetheless, he kept his voice low to allay her fear. “I’m a gentleman in dire straits whose life is in danger. May I share your company for a moment? I will not harm you.” He removed his top hat, placed it and his cane on the shadowed opposite seat.
“You frightened me with your abrupt presence. Pray tell, sir, what are your intentions?”
Outside the coach driver’s voice pierced, “Git away, rowdies, or I’ll take my whip to ye. No need for trouble if ye leave.” One of the louts climbed on the conveyance, and it swayed.
Raven slid closer to the woman. She didn’t move, so he embraced her and placed his cheek against hers. “If you scream or shout, our lives will be in jeopardy.” He bent his head to capture the woman’s lips, pressing her against the seat. Raven sampled the sweet mint taste of her mouth. Her lemon fragrance pleased his senses, a rare combination of forbidden pleasure and danger that caused his groin to ache. He lingered in enjoyment. True, his lips held the kiss longer than the moment required. What started as a kiss in the name of safety became something more pleasurable—and not safe at all.
Raven placed his gloved finger to his mouth. “Shush.” The brunt of her shoe connected to his shin, and he held back the profane words he wished to say. “Place your arms around me now. Perhaps if we pretend to be lovers, they will leave us alone,” he whispered. He paused and spoke a word a duke would never utter. “Please.”
Her arms encircled him as she dropped her reticule to the floor. His broad back shielded her from outside harm should anyone attempt to enter. Her generous breasts against his chest had his blood surging through his veins until the sensation settled uncomfortably in his loins—a long ago forgotten desire. The naiveté in her kiss reminded him how jaded and bored he’d become. A delicious awareness invaded and reeled his senses. The touch of her hands to his hair tingled his scalp. Damnation, her fingers were magical. A purring moan escaped through her racing breath.
The ruffian peered through the curtained window and chuckled. “No one here ’cept some clod with his doxy,” the mob spokesman shouted and he jumped to the pavement. “Let’s move on to better pickin’s.” They surged away down the street.
Raven’s heartbeat pulsed at his temples, not from fear, but from potent desire. He broke the kiss for a moment and moved his body a whisper-breath away to better study her. He savored all he saw, as did his male parts. He moistened his suddenly dry lips. “I don’t hear voices, but it would be best to wait to make sure the mob has gone, my lady. Nor do I want to attract attention to your coach by my departure. It could place you in danger.”
“I’m sure it’s best to be cautious,” she said. “However, you should be aware, I don’t usually entertain strange men in my carriage. The driver has held the horses against the ruffians and the commotion. Explain yourself, or I will summon help.”
“My boot sheaths my knife, and my cane is also a sword. Have no fear. I would have kept you safe.”
She arched one brow in a challenge, and simply held his gaze. Her devastating smile ensnared him. “And who will protect me from you, sir, and the marvel of your rakish kisses?”
“Dear lady, I would guess we’d protect each other. The magic of your hands fingering my hair must have presented quite a lover’s sight. Wherever did you—”
“I read it in a penny novel. I presume it sufficed? I have limited experience in that regard.”
“Indeed.” His grin contradicted his serious tone.
“One Night With A Duke” is available through: