First Kiss Friday – Shadows of the Past by Carmen Stefanescu

Today’s First Kiss Friday featured guest is Carmen Stefanescu, author of contemporary romance Shadows of the Past.  Welcome Carmen!  Here’s the first kiss between Genevieve and Andrew.

shadowsofthepastbkThinking back over her life, starting with her childhood days, Genevieve concluded she brought only misfortune to the people around her; above all to the ones she cared about: her family and her few friends, old Bertha, sister Benedicta, Francesca and Ryan. All dead.

Andrew was the first and only man she’d ever loved.  For his own good she had to reject his proposal. She must tell him she changed her mind. He’d never know the way her skin tingled under the warm touch of his hand. How her heart quickened at hearing him call her my wood anemone. He’d never know her love for him was the most beautiful thing to have ever happened to her.

If only everything hadn’t been so complicated.

No, she couldn’t risk his life too. Her presence next to him and her feelings for him might become a curse bringing him an undeserved death. God would punish him because of her. For loving her. A knot tightened in her chest. If something bad happened to Andrew it would be solely her fault.

She wouldn’t let it happen. If love meant sacrifice, she must do it. For Andrew’s sake, she ought to accept even the bitter sacrifice of her one and only love.

When they reached the manor house, she would find a moment to talk to Andrew’s mother and tell her she decided to join another abbey. It might upset and distress Andrew. He’d recover after a while, understand and forgive her, and in the end forget her. Genevieve didn’t doubt that such a piece of news might bring Andrew’s mother great relief. Her son wouldn’t leave his clerical life, bringing shame and dishonor on all his kin, at what he intended to do — leave his priesthood and marry a nun.

Genevieve shook her head in deep thought. Was she the Genevieve who years ago made up her mind never to love and trust a man? The Genevieve who took vows of celibacy? The one who considered God her bridegroom? Yes, she was probably all those Genevieves, adding to them the Genevieve who discovered love, the special feeling enlightening the spirit. Something she, no doubt, didn’t deserve.

Andrew’s horse neighing nervously startled Genevieve back to reality. She followed Andrew’s disconcerted gaze and waited.

He narrowed his eyes as if to guess the right way to follow. They’d been riding in darkness for about an hour, and Genevieve couldn’t break free from the nagging sensation they had lost their way.

The mist had cleared a bit. Dismayed she discovered they were back at the stream, a clear sign they’d moved in a circle. It meant they’d wasted precious time. The Abbess might have already noticed her disappearance. The thought that the nuns wouldn’t leave the abbey to go down to the village and ask the villagers to start a search party until morning calmed Genevieve a little.

Andrew dismounted his horse and helped her climb down too. He knelt by a hollowed oak tree, that stretched its branches over the water, and washed his face in the cool waters running between the grassy banks.

Genevieve moistened her lips and brow. The whisper of threat enveloping them became almost palpable, no matter how hard she banished the thought from her mind. She sighed, a barely audible sound of distress, still loud enough for him to turn a concerned look to her. A sickening sense of inevitability gripped her heart, warning her about the menacing stillness closing in on them. It had to do with the Abbess, no doubt.

Andrew pulled her to his chest. “Do you regret you’ve come with me?”

Passion smothered Genevieve’s doubt and guilt. “Never,” she answered, aware of her body’s response to his touch, and she succumbed to his embrace.

The moonlight bathed his face in silver light. Andrew lowered her wimple, and his fingers threaded into her curls. She swayed, enveloped by the dizzy sensation of drowning in the tumultuous ocean of his gaze. The tenderness of his touch raised in her the wish they had lived in another time and been simple, ordinary people. She longed to feel the warmth of his lips on hers. How much she’d have liked to live the rest of her life beside him and bear his children.

Aware of the track of her thoughts, she shifted uneasily, a hot flush warmed her cheeks. Drawing in a deep breath in spite of herself, calming the gnawing unease in her mind and the thought of Sister Dominica guessing she was the dough of a sinner, Genevieve repeated, “Never.”

With her eyes closed and their bodies touching she became, for the very first time, simply a woman. She melted in his embrace in spite of the invisible vicious threat breathing around them. Aware they might never be alone again, she fought hard to silence the voice of conscience berating her.

“Oh, God. Please forgive me,” Andrew muttered under his breath when he bowed his head to kiss her.

Their lips met in a passionate first kiss.

10 Responses to “First Kiss Friday – Shadows of the Past by Carmen Stefanescu

  • Hi Carmen –
    Thanks for visiting and sharing your first kiss!

  • Thank you greatly. Laurel for hosting me and my paranormal romance Shadows of the Past!

  • Love this author and her writing. Thank you for featuring her. She’s so impressive that English is her second language and she writes so beautifully. Her first book was one of my paranormal favorites of the last year. Paulette

    • Thank you, Paulette, for your kind praising words!

  • Love Carmen and her Shadows of the past, great guest Laurel… Have a FAB weekend

    • Thank you, Catalina! Love you too!

  • So sweet and lovely with a hint of the forbidden. I’ve read SHADOWS OF THE PAST, and it’s a wonderful story. This is a great glimpse of just two of the complex characters the author created. A nice treat for a Friday!

  • Thank you, Mae, for checking the post and for your lovely appreciation of Shadows of the Past!

  • What a beautiful, romantic kiss. I love this book Shadows of the Past, Carmen.

    • Thank you for commenting, Flossie!