First Kiss February – Dance of Love by LH author Anna Markland

Today’s Special First Kiss February featured guest is Anna Markland, author of historical romance Dance of Love.  Welcome Anna, my fellow Love Historicals author!  Here’s the first kiss between Farah and Izzy.


Background: Farah is a survivor of imprisonment by Saracens in Jerusalem, freed by Crusaders, who has accompanied the old soldier who saved her life home to die in Normandie. She is a learned healer, conversant with the teachings of Islamic physicians. She uses her knowledge to help Izzy de Montbryce, who suffers from arthritis in his hands.


Farah’s heart swelled at the improvements in Izzy’s health. It was plain to see that his disposition had also changed for the better. The level of respect he had earned from the people who lived and worked in Giroux Castle was admirable. She was in awe of his prowess with her shamshir. (note: a lightweight curved Persian sword she brought from the Holy Land)

But Giroux Castle remained a dark, dismal, and increasingly unpleasant place to live. She would be leaving soon. What did it matter to her if they lived with dirty rushes upon the stone floors, cobwebs, mouldy food, and animal droppings everywhere? Yet it did. The odours were worsening. A harem might not offer freedom, but it was a place where cleanliness was prized and filth punished.

Steward Aubin was efficient in organising provisions, meals, horses, rents and the like, but had never married and seemed to have no inkling of the domestic improvements that needed to be made.

Farah hesitated to mention her concerns to Izzy. He might be offended, or he might dismiss Aubin. She had no wish for such an outcome.

However, she could hold her tongue no longer when Izzy inadvertently stepped in a pile of dog excrement on his way to the evening meal in the Great Hall. His disgusted embarrassment was evident. She had to smile at his boyish grimace as he scraped off his boots on the rushes.

“Good thing it wasn’t King Henry who stepped in it,” she teased. Izzy had shared with her his hopes and dreams for the castle’s future.

“Huh!” he replied, his face reddening. “You’re right. This place needs cleaning up.”

He glanced around and she suddenly knew he had no idea how to accomplish such a thing. “May I gather some of the women of the castle to improve matters?”

Izzy protested. “You are a king’s daughter. I won’t have you working as a servant.”

Farah laughed. “Izzy, being the bastard daughter of a king means nothing to me, but living in filth does. Let me help you make this castle a place where people will want to live.”

He sniffed the air, apparently noticing the odors for the first time. “Filth, eh?”

She feared she had offended him, but then he smiled, sending the usual shivers of desire scurrying around her body. “My mother called it porquería. There was lots of it to be found in Jerusalem after the siege.”

Bien!” he roared, throwing his arms wide. “We will have no porkereea in this castle!”

Farah burst out laughing. He laughed too, taking hold of her hands and pressing them to his chest. “Do your worst, milady María Sancha!”

She held her breath. No-one except her mother had ever called her by her Spanish name. Izzy’s deep voice made it sound right. She stood on tiptoe and brushed her lips against his, not caring if people in the Hall gawked. The smile left his face and his eyes blackened with desire. He put his hands on her waist and drew her to his body. He kissed her deeply, thrusting his tongue into her mouth. She twirled her tongue around the tip of his and threaded her fingers through the hair at his nape. For the first time in her life, she felt a man’s hard arousal pressed against her. It filled her with a longing she had never known before.

When they broke apart, both breathing heavily, she became aware people watched, but smiles rather than censure marked their expressions. Izzy leaned his forehead against hers. “Forgive me. I forget myself in your presence.”

“There is nothing to forgive, Izzy de Montbryce,” she whispered.

He took her hand and led her to the dais. “Careful where you step,” he quipped.



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