Keep reading for an exclusive excerpt from the recently released Once Upon a Kiss!
Once Upon a Kiss (Book Club Belles Society #1)
Author: Jayne Fresina
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Release Date: 3 June 2014
These Book Club Belles are ready to put down their novels and find some real-life leading men!
In the sleepy village of Hawcombe Prior, five young ladies of the local book society are reading a salacious romance called Pride and Prejudice. Upon finishing the book, the ladies race to find their own Mr. Darcy, and the handsome, mysterious Darius Wainwright is the perfect mark.
Justina Penny can't understand why her fellow Belles are starry-eyed in the newcomer's arrogant presence. But if the town's only eligible bachelor marries anyone, it should be her sweet, beautiful sister. And it's up to Justina to make it happen. How could this plan possibly go wrong?
ExcerptJustina bobbed a curtsy, aware it was too late and not in the least elegant. “Thank you, sir.”
He simply shook his head and looked away, deep in thoughts. Dark ones, too, by the look of it.
A shiver lapped over her as if a window had blown open and let in a cold draft. She hadn’t realized, until then, that his eyes held a peculiar kind of heat that, despite her damp clothes, kept her warm when he looked at her.
How strange that they should meet again. Fate, it seemed, had given her a chance to apologize for what happened in Bath. If she didn’t do something, would she regret it forever? He seemed lonely suddenly, standing in that quiet kitchen, half his face in shadow.
He didn’t smile and his words came out begrudgingly, as if rationed. No doubt this fellow would end his days the same way, unloved and alone. She knew there was no woman in his life. How could there be? A woman would have tied his cravat in a more fashionable bow. A woman would make him grow his curl out a little to soften his profile and give her something in which to tangle her fingers. A woman’s love would surely have caused a few laughter lines in his stern face.
Making another hasty decision, Justina walked to where he stood, rose up on tiptoe, and kissed him. “God speed,” she whispered with her usual flare for the dramatic. Her lips skimmed the bristles of his cheek just above his high collar.
He turned to look at her. His eyes, dark and angry, tore into her face.
Oh, why had she done that? This man was a stranger, fierce, stern, and disapproving. He had done naught but insult her, yet she’d kissed him. As if, somewhere inside, she thought she might improve his opinion of her. Impulsive fool! What on earth induced her to do it?
Mischief, of course. She never could calm those impulses. There was always a temptation to see how much she might get away with.
Suddenly his hands were on her waist. He lifted her off her feet for the second time. In that dreadful moment she thought he would toss her across the room; he seemed furious enough. But instead he lowered her again until her lips met his.
For balance, she placed her hands on his wide shoulders. Her breasts were tight against his upper chest, her head bent and tilted, her toes dangling in the air. The beat of her heart became so hard and fast that it turned into one long, loud flutter in her ears.
His lips, cold and hard, pressed hers apart in a kiss that left Justina breathless, her wits powerless. When she felt his tongue move shockingly over hers, searching inside her, she wondered if he sought there for more of her crimes. The heat of his body invaded the pores of her skin and then her bones, melting them until she was an appalling mess of a woman and only his hands around her waist kept her from seeping out of her stays like cider from a leaky barrel. She heard a low sound from deep inside him and it seemed to express everything she too felt at that moment—the surprise, wonder, delight, confusion. And desire. White hot, those flames consumed her body, devoured her, and then brought her back to life again in a new way.
Slowly, inch by inch, breath by breath, he lowered her down the length of his frame, until her toes touched stone again. There were parts of him that were just as hard as that flagged floor under her feet, and Justina suffered a burst of yearning that she feared would cause her to spend even longer writing her confessional tales that night.
His large hands spread against her spine and swept upward, pressing her even closer, her breasts crushed against him, aching suddenly. A warm heaviness took control of her body. An intense throbbing had begun between her thighs.
He swept his tongue around hers and then finally withdrew the kiss. But his hands kept her tightly imprisoned against him.
About the Author
Jayne Fresina sprouted up in England, the youngest in a family of four daughters. Entertained by her father's colorful tales of growing up in the countryside, and surrounded by opinionated sisters - all with far more exciting lives than hers - she's always had inspiration for her beleaguered heroes and unstoppable heroines.