First Kiss Friday – Unbidden by Jill Hughey

Today’s First Kiss Friday featured guest is Jill Hughey, author of  romance Unbidden.  Welcome Jill!  Here’s the first kiss between David and Rochelle.

This excerpt is from Jill Hughey’s historical romance, Unbidden, which is book one in the Evolution Series, set in Charlegmagne’s empire.  David, who has suffered debiliating headaches since being wounded in a battle, has just been assisted by Rochelle, the woman who unwillingly became betrothed to him a few days ago. They are journeying with a group of people toward her home when of his headaches strikes and, recognizing his distress, Rochelle follows David off the road to give him some herbal remedies, providing the first helpful treatment he has received since his injury eighteen months before.   They rest in the shade for awhile, at first with David resting and then talking quietly in their first non-contentious conversation.  Eventually, it is time to go.

 

EXCERPT

 

“Are you sure you are ready to move?” Rochelle asked.  “I can feign something.  A stomach ailment, my monthly, something so that you do not have to ride until tomorrow.”

“You would do that?”  David asked incredulously.

“Of course.  I know your pride does not allow you to admit to your affliction – which is rather silly when it stems from having a blade embedded in your skull – but everyone expects a woman to be weak.”

“I was not under the impression you hide behind other’s expectations of you.”

“I do not,” Rochelle replied with an impish smile.  “But I will allow you to, if it spares you the suffering”

David began to rise, taking longer than necessary to withdraw his hand from beneath her leg.  She involuntarily sucked in a breath at the pressure of his fingers sliding along her thigh.  Her heart skipped in her chest.  God in heaven, what was happening to her?

He knelt next to her, staring intently at her face.  She thought he was gathering his strength to stand.  But then he spoke.  “I have many plans for us, many ideas of exactly whom will be doing what for whom.  But in none of those are you providing protection for me.”

He leaned forward, softly pressing his lips to hers as casually as he’d just touched her.  And his kiss felt as natural as breathing, as wonderful as the sun on her face, as exhilarating as riding Denes at a full gallop on a winter morn.  His mouth lingered then he withdrew.  His calloused hand cradled her cheek and he let his thumb rub across her slightly parted lips.

“I will always tell you the truth, Rochelle.  No matter how you dislike it.  But this is a truth you should enjoy, based on your reaction to my touch a moment ago.  I long for you.  I desire you and could easily while away this entire afternoon learning every curve and every need of your body.  And that, my lady, is saying plenty since you yourself know my condition when this interlude began.  You are apparently a temptation beyond all physical pain.”

“Temptation!” she cried.  Oh Lord, here she was, as simple-minded as her housemaid Ruthie lying in the straw of Alda’s stable.

“Aye, temptation.”

“Oh, no, no, no, this is all wrong,” she wailed.  “Oh, what have we done?”  She swatted his hand from her face then shoved against his chest, finding it maddeningly unyielding.

He pressed her hands to him with one of his own.  “We have done nothing.  We will do nothing improper until the time comes for you to marry me!”

“I am not going to marry you!” she shouted, her nose inches from his.

“Yes, you are.  You are able to help me when no one else has. You ministered to me.  You are my succor against this pain.  I am not a particularly religious man but even I can see this is providential.  You are obviously meant to be my wife!”

“You are confusing my knowledge of healing with some higher message.  If I married every man whom I have cured of one malady or another I should be the greatest polygamist in history!  There are at least ten for whom I have lanced boils alone!”

“So you lump me in among your tenants with boils?”

“I do not lump you anywhere.  I cannot even think rationally about you at all,” she cried, then bit her lip, knowing she had revealed too much, knowing he had seen the truth by the way his eyes softened and his hand slid first to her shoulder then to her neck to cradle her jaw.

“Stop that,” she protested weakly.

He kissed her forehead tenderly then whispered against it.  “Have you ever tried not thinking for half a minute?”

“I have not,” she replied sharply.  But she could not stop breathing in the superb scent of him.  She had never thought of what a man should smell like, but here it was:  earth and soap and horse and temptation, she supposed. “And I will not let you make me start now.  I will not!”  She drew a shuddering breath of resolution.  “Besides, we should go.  The others are waiting.”

 

END OF EXCERPT

 

Unbidden is also available in a bundle with book two of the Evolution Series.

 

Any readers who want to visit with Jill Hughey more can find her on Facebook, Twitter, or on her blog.

 

Thank you for being such a great hostess, Laurel!

 

 

 

 

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