From Gayle: A first kiss is always such a fun scene to write. They’re usually filled with conflict and chemistry and confusion—the three Cs!
Riona shivered, but it wasn’t from the bathwater’s chill. It was from the frightening realization that there was something powerful between them, something that called to her, that made the risks Hugh had taken to have her for himself seem arousing, not just self-serving. There was a place inside her she’d never sensed before, surely a recklessness, a weakness.
“Ye’re strangely quiet, lass,” he murmured.
His gaze lazily moved over her face, dipping to her breasts, where the upper curves were displayed above the soapy water. Her skin felt … prickly, sensitive, even inflamed.
“I’m not done fighting you,” she said at last, almost wincing at how breathless she sounded.
A slow grin curved his mouth, even as he reached his hand to cup her face and tilt it toward him. The shock of his warm palm settling so gently on her skin made her tense, but she didn’t pull away, as if that would show that she’d given up, that she was afraid of what he could do to her … what he could make her feel.
He leaned over the tub and kissed her, his palm guiding her head. She wanted to show him he didn’t move her, that this display meant nothing to her. But his lips were warm, and glided over hers with purpose, parted gently as if he wanted to taste her. She’d never been kissed … She felt her head swim at the sensation that seemed to travel down her body, to her breasts, to the pit of her stomach and between her thighs as if he’d touched her in her most secretive places.
When his tongue traced her lower lip, she jerked back in surprise. He didn’t laugh, just studied her with those gray eyes that were considerably warmer. He kept his hand on her face, and his thumb caressed her cheek over and over.
“Our first kiss bodes well for the future,” he said.
He glanced down to her breasts again, and she stiffened. With a faint smile, he let her go and stood up.
“Dry off,” he said, back to ordering her around. “We have things we need to discuss.”
Not the topics she wanted to discuss, apparently, but she didn’t argue. He turned his back and went to the window, while she hastily dried herself and pulled on a dressing gown Mrs. Wallace had laid out for her, trying to forget the feel of his mouth on hers, and how instead of being afraid or disgusted, she’d felt … aroused. Her cousin Cat had told her one could feel overwhelmed when in intimate situations with a man, and Riona hadn’t been able to understand what she meant. She did now, and felt a new kind of fear—fear of her own reaction and response to this compelling persuasion of his.
Though stories that use the “big misunderstanding” usually don’t work for me–especially when the main reason for the misunderstanding is one (or both) character’s refusal to listen to/communicate with the other, in this case it actually made sense. (Well, as much as kidnapping a bride in the middle of the night fits the “makes sense” label, that is ;)) Of course Hugh’s going to believe that Riona will insist she’s not the right person, and it does sound pretty out there that 1) there are two cousins with exactly the same name and 2) Riona’s uncle not only sent the “real” Catriona away on purpose but he also equally on purpose set up Riona to be kidnapped by his own daughter’s jilted betrothed.
I know, sounds pretty crazy. But somehow it all works. And, thank goodness, works out in the end. Because oh my goodness, I so wanted Riona and Hugh to get to their happy ending. I loved, loved loved watching them grow closer as the book went on–both of them resisting it but unable to stop what was happening. Ms. Callen did a great job of showing how an improbable start can end in a fantastic love story, and I loved every minute.
This was my first book by this author, but it won’t be my last. I absolutely can’t wait to find out what’s going on with Maggie and Owen in the next book– The Groom Wore Plaid !
Rating: 4 stars / A-
I received a complimentary cop in exchange for an honest review.