First Kiss Friday – Rogues Hostage by Linda McLaughlin

Today’s First Kiss Friday featured guest is Linda McLaughlin, author of historical romance novel Rogues Hostage.  Welcome back, Linda!  Here’s the first kiss between Jacques and Mara.


(Note: This excerpt starts with Jacques lacing Mara’s bodice because she injured her wrist.)


When he’d finished lacing her bodice, Corbeau took her chin in his strong brown hand and tipped her face up to meet his gaze. “Do not be too proud to ask for help when you need it.”

She glared up at him, her eyes narrowed with anger. “I don’t want you touching me. Not after yesterday.”

Gently he stroked her face. “I never meant to hurt you.”

She pulled away from him and held up her bandaged wrist. “What do you call this?”

A spark of anger flashed in his eyes. “I call it self-defense. Have you forgotten that you tried to kill me?”

“You forced me to do it,” she said defiantly. “You should have let me go.”

“Never. Not if I have to sleep with my back to a tree from now on.”

He advanced on her and she retreated, her alarm growing.

“Will you try to stab me in the back next time?”

“No,” she insisted, shaking her head wildly. “I don’t want to hurt you. I just want to be free.”

He stalked her until she was backed up against a tree with no room to maneuver. He moved closer, looming over her, heat emanating from his body. “I have no wish to hurt you either, madame,” he said in a husky voice.

“Then what do you want?” The moment the words were out, Mara wished she could snatch them back. She saw his intent in his eyes as his gaze focused on her lips.

She pushed against the hard muscles of his chest but to no avail. Easily he encircled her in his arms, one hand at her waist, the other tangling in the hair at her nape, pulling her head back. She couldn’t miss his musky smell as he pressed closer to her. Her knees were weakened by the quivering of her limbs, and she fisted her hands in the rough linen of his shirt.

“What do I want,” he whispered as he lowered his head, his breath hot against her face. “This. This is what I want.”

Jacques stared at her through half-closed eyes. The anger, frustration, and desire that fired his blood merged into an overwhelming need to kiss her. He claimed her mouth with his own, smothering her lips, knowing the kiss was rough and aggressive, but unable to stop. He wanted to silence her, subdue her, and make love to her all at once.

Her hands beat against his chest in time with the wild drumming of his heart. Then she went still, enduring his embrace, lips clamped tightly together.

Desire won out over anger. He eased the pressure of the kiss, letting his tongue trace the fullness of her lower lip, coaxing her mouth to open. His hand loosened, let go of her hair, and stroked the back of her neck.

“No,” she whimpered, wrenching her mouth away from his

He drew his head back, his chest heaving, his breathing harsh and ragged.

“Why?” she asked. “What was that for?”

“That, madame, was my reward.”

Mara stared at him for a moment before finding her voice. “Reward? For what?”

Jacques glared at her. “For saving your life after being shot by your husband. For worrying about a woman stupid enough to run off into the wilderness and get lost.” He took a deep breath before adding. “In short, for behaving like a gentleman.”

Releasing her, he turned and walked away, but on hearing her hoot of laughter, he stopped, his shoulders stiff, and spun around to face her.

“Gentleman?” she sputtered. “Libertine, you mean.”

He glared at her until she quit laughing. “You would do well to guard your words, Madame Captive.”

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