The moment I crack open a new book, I always rush through the beginning, the budding relationship between the hero and heroine, and anticipate that spontaneous moment when one of them makes their move. The First Kiss. The first turning point in every story.
Every week here on the blog, I’ll be sharing First Kisses from my books and those of other authors.
“Why did you come back?” Lucas stared down at her intently. Her pulse quickened in response to his heated gaze. His hands still rested at her waist.
“I couldn’t let Black Sparrow kill you, just like I couldn’t let you kill him,” she whispered. Her eyes locked with his.
Lucas’ eyes narrowed. “Black Sparrow caught up with you?”
“Yes.” She laughed softly, and lowered her gaze to the ground. “He asked me to be his wife.” She raised her head and glared at him. The warrior hadn’t exactly asked. It had been more of a demand, but Lucas didn’t need to know that. “I wasn’t going to go with him any more than I was going to go with you.”
Lucas’ expression changed. His hard stare softened, and he smiled broadly. “I wondered why he came back to camp without you. Since he left you alone, you must not have refused him outright.”
How could this man be so perceptive . . . and arrogant to think she wouldn’t accept Black Sparrow’s proposal?
“I had to stall him.” She lifted her chin. What was it about Lucas that raised her temper while at the same time he brought out feelings of longing and even tenderness? “At least he gave me a choice,” she added heatedly, angry at the mixed emotions this man evoked in her.
Lucas scoffed. “How noble of him.” He held her stare for a moment. “You know you can’t return to your cabin now, Tori. Or ever.” Lucas’ eyes hardened again.
“Yes, I’m fully aware of that,” she hissed, then pulled away from him.
His hand snaked out and grabbed her arm. Lucas spun her to face him, and stepped up to her. His hands reached up and framed her face just before he brought his mouth down on hers. Tori stiffened at the unexpected assault. Heat raced through her the instant his lips touched hers. Her hands reached up to grip at his forearms, even as her body leaned toward him. Lucas’ hands worked their way behind her head, his fingers weaving through her hair, holding her firmly to him.
Abruptly, he broke the kiss. Tori sucked in a lungful of air, and stared wide-eyed up at him.
“What was that for?” Her voice trembled. He still hadn’t released her, and the feel of his strong fingers kneading the back of her head sent ripples of desire through her that left her breathless.
“That was for running off and leaving me without my clothes,” he said in a sultry tone. His eyes never wavered from her face, and all smugness left his features.
“You kissed me for stealing your clothes?” Tori rasped. Her forehead wrinkled in confusion. The slight pressure at the back of her head compelled her to lean up toward him.
“I’ll admit, it was a smart thing to do,” Lucas whispered in a low voice. “And so is this.” He lowered his head again. A quiet whimper escaped her throat just as his mouth touched hers again. Soft and gentle, his lips teased and tasted, and Tori loosened her grip on him. Her arms reached around his middle, and she leaned in closer.
Lucas adjusted his mouth fully over hers, coaxing her to respond. Tori parted her lips beneath his. Renewed exhilaration raced through her, the fatigue from earlier forgotten. A strong arm reached around her waist, pulling her up tightly against his solid torso.
Tori’s world spun precariously, and if he hadn’t been holding her up, the weakness in her knees might not have supported her weight. She closed her eyes, giving in to the wonderful sensations of warmth and protection that coursed through her. Forgotten was the cold night, and fearing for their lives, the endless months of loneliness and constantly looking over her shoulder.
Right now, there was only Lucas and his fierce embrace, the possessive yet tender contact of his exploring mouth, and the feelings his touch stroked to life in her. She gripped his shoulders and leaned into him. The arm behind her back tightened, drawing her even closer against him, his fingers kneading and caressing languidly along her waist.
All too soon, Lucas loosened his hold. His lips lingered softly on hers before he drew back fully. Tori opened her eyes, gazing up into the smoldering depths of Lucas’ stare. She fought to pull enough air into her lungs. Her lips pulsed to match the wild beating of her heart.
Lucas’ mouth widened in a lazy grin, but there was also something else. Tori didn’t dare put a name to the look that was written in his eyes. His palm cupped the side of her face while his thumb slowly stroked along her cheek.
“That was for saving my hide,” he rasped hoarsely, apparently as out of breath as she was.
Life for Lucas Walker is a constant adventure, a daily game to be won in the vast Teton wilderness. Facing every challenge head-on, he values the freedom to go where he wants, when he wants, and without attachments to any one person.
She is known to the native people of the land as Ghost Woman. Hiding from a terrifying past, she has lived alone and under conditions too harsh for even the hardiest men. Trusting another person is something she can’t do. Forced to put her life in the hands of a man who dares her to confront everything from which she’s tried to escape, she struggles to protect the walls she has built around her identity . . . and her heart.
Brought together through life or death situations, Lucas and his unwilling charge find themselves fighting dangers only found in the untamed mountains. Their battle for survival teaches them the ultimate lesson in how to trust and love someone. When the past catches up to them, they discover that the heart can’t always be protected; sometimes the only way to be safe is to open it.
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About Peggy Henderson
Peggy L Henderson is a laboratory technologist by night, and best-selling western historical and time travel romance author of the Yellowstone Romance Series, Second Chances Time Travel Romance Series, and Teton Romance Trilogy. When she’s not writing about Yellowstone, the Tetons, or the old west, she’s out hiking the trails, spending time with her family and pets, or catching up on much-needed sleep. She is happily married to her high school sweetheart. Along with her husband and two sons, she makes her home in Southern California.
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