First Kiss Friday – Vain by Jill Hughey

Today’s First Kiss guest is Jill Hughey, author of historical romance Vain.  Welcome back Jill!  Here’s the first kiss between Lily and Theophilus.

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This excerpt is from Jill Hughey’s brand new historical romance, Vain, which is book three in the Evolution Series.

Lily, abandoned by her tailor father, has been forced to move out of their shop and into the household of Theophilus, Lord of Ribeauville. Theo loves clothes and is eager to try on a new tunic she has been sewing for him. He has just pulled it on and rushed to his chamber for a mirror. Gusta, the housekeeper, is very suspicious of this merchant girl being in the hall with the master.

BEGINNING OF EXCERPT

Lily remained planted in the dark. Even if he called for her, she would not go into his bedchamber with him. She startled when Gusta emerged from the kitchen. The plump housekeeper paused when she saw Lily in the shadows, then gaped when she noticed the master’s tunic and undertunic thrown across the table.

“What is going on here?” she demanded. Lily began to stammer. Fortunately, her lord saved her.

“Gusta!” Theophilus yelled. “Look at this!” He returned to them, toting the lamp and smiling broadly. “Look at what Lily has been sewing for me.”

The servant relaxed, though she glared one last suspicious warning at Lily. “No one ever doubted her ability as a seamstress,” she declared. “Can I clear the wine?”

“Yes, we are done,” he agreed.

“Then the weaver girl can go to bed,” Gusta suggested. Lily did not like the way she said weaver girl, using the same inflection she might have placed on the term Whore of Babylon.

“Not yet. We have to decide on the hem first,” Theophilus informed her cheerfully. “Go home, Gusta. It is late already.” He bent forward to study the front of the tunic where it trailed down his legs, oblivious to the reluctance of his housekeeper to leave them alone while he was dressing and undressing. Still, she obeyed, quietly gathering the urn and two cups, then retreating to her domain in the kitchen where soon all became quiet. Theophilus straightened. “Thought about it quite a bit and I think I agree the hem should be a tad above the knee.”

“That will be better, my lord,” Lily said, relieved by his decision and the return to interaction she understood between them. She had brought a stub of chalk and some needle and thread from upstairs, just in case, so she knelt in front of him to fold the fabric to the appropriate length. Even with the task at hand, the awareness of him as a man had not completely disappeared. She noticed every inadvertent brush of her fingers against his knees and thighs and was relieved when she could rise to step back to a safer distance. “Will you, uh, check that?” she mumbled.

He stared at her for a moment, as if the request did not make sense, then he went to his room. He returned quickly. “A little too short,” he said.

Having seen him walk in the garment, with the hem hiking up unattractively, she agreed with him but dreaded making the adjustment. What had happened to cause such consciousness of his body, warm and alive right in front of her? Do your job, she reminded herself. She knelt again to tug out the three tacks she’d sewn in place. She tried her best to avoid the contact with him that made her skin tingle as she lowered the hem and sewed through the fabric again. Her hands trembled.

“Are you done?” He sounded impatient.

She glanced up from beneath her lashes. He was looking down, a falcon over a mouse.

“Ah, damn.” He shocked her when he reached down to grip her elbow and pull her upright, searching her eyes with a restiveness that indicated he was indeed feeling impatient with her. His thumb traced tenderly along her jaw and over her lips, sending sparkles of…something…down into her belly. “Did Arn ever kiss you?” he asked thickly as he cradled her chin in his hand.

“Of course not,” she replied, confused. “He is a gentleman.”

Her description annoyed him. “He is a boy and a fool,” he asserted as he stared at her mouth then ran his thumb along her lower lip again. Unfamiliar intensity stiffened his posture. He leaned forward. She should have known what would follow. In her innocence, the light brush of his lips over hers surprised and paralyzed her with its novelty and gentleness. She examined the experience for a moment, liking his kiss intensely, and when his dry mouth and tickly beard pressed against her more firmly, he awakened an unfamiliar passion. Her chin lifted to bring her lips into better alignment with his. They teased one another’s mouths for a few moments. Lily wished she could spin them out forever.

He retreated slightly, studying her from behind hooded eyelids. “A complete fool,” he amended, then he pressed against her in earnest, one hand moving to her neck while the other slid to her hip. His lips caressed hers in a tantalizing motion. Her mouth opened instinctively, letting his tongue slip along her lips and slide against her tongue.

Wine and heat and longing curled through her.

END OF EXCERPT

Vain is available from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, and most other online book stores.

Thank you for letting me visit today, Laurel.

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