First Kiss Friday – Once Upon a Montana Christmas by Alanna Lucas

Today’s First Kiss Friday featured guest is Alanna Lucas, author of historical romance Once Upon a Montana Christmas.  Welcome Alanna!  Here’s the first kiss between Eva Kenward and “Hunt” Strauss.

Beautiful woman

Mr. Strauss’s expression turned to stone. It was clear that he was not pleased to see her again, or hear a reprimand. He probably had never had any intention of discussing the matter of Lily with her. Even with that unpleasant expression, Eva thought him to be one of the most handsome men she had ever seen. He had the same shade of green eyes as his aunt and Lily. Set against his dark brown hair, those eyes were even more alluring. He was tall, much taller than any of the men of her acquaintance back in England. His broad shoulders and muscular physique bespoke someone used to hours of hard labor. He was more than the quintessential cowboy. She had always been fascinated with cowboys and the Wild West. Mr. Strauss was the one thing that surpassed even her imagination.

Perhaps she really had inhaled too much smoke.

Aunt Carol approached them, distracting her from her unnerving thoughts, and rubbed the baby’s head. “Shh, don’t you cry, little one. What’s her name?” she asked as she continued to try and soothe the unhappy baby.


Aunt Carol gave Mr. Strauss a knowing look before turning her attention back to the baby. Laying a hand over her heart, she asked, “May I?”

Eva stood and handed the crying baby to Aunt Carol with a great deal of reluctance. Although Eva knew she wasn’t handing Lily over for the last time, she felt the loss as if it was a stab to the heart.

The older woman pulled the blanket aside and stared at Lily. Her eyes filled with tears. “Oh, Hunt, she looks just like—”

“Take the baby to the kitchen. I want to have a word with Miss Kenward.”

Eva added rude to his growing list of faults. She was even more nervous than the day she ran away from home and embarked on this adventure. What could he possibly say to her that he hadn’t said already? She stood still, waiting as the seconds dragged out. Only when she heard Aunt Carol’s footsteps fade did she dare glance up into those perfect green eyes.

“Why are you here?” Not waiting for her to respond, he jumped into an interrogation instead. “Where is your jacket? What has happened? Is—”

Eva’s patience snapped. “If you would just shut up and listen,” Eva stopped mid-sentence. “Bloody hell,” she murmured. Losing her temper was not going to help the situation. Rubbing her sore neck, she began to explain, “The hotel burned to the ground. My trunk—” She swallowed hard. She was trying not to sound desperate, but once the words started to flow, she rambled on. “Lily’s clothes, all of our things, my money…everything is gone. I have nowhere to go, and…” She swallowed her pride and uttered the words she never thought would cross her lips. “I would like a job.”

Mr. Strauss stood glaring at her. She could not even guess what he was thinking. But the truth was, she needed him. Her dream of reaching San Francisco by Christmas was shattered. In one night, all her priorities had changed. Surviving the winter was utmost on her mind.

His features softened, and before she knew what happened, Mr. Strauss had closed the short distance between them, pulled her into him, and kissed her.

The moment their lips touched, Eva felt powerless to the onslaught of emotion. She did not know what she had done to encourage such appalling behavior. What started as a harsh kiss quickly turned into something else, something unfamiliar. When she felt his tongue flick her lips, Eva pulled back and slapped him hard across the face.






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