Dear readers, we present a bit from a purloined diary regarding a similarly stolen kiss.
Wednesday—29th July, 1763… This afternoon, while removing ink stains from shirts, I watched that meddlesome miss from the house across the field, Miss Henrietta Smith, kiss Marcus Hardwicke. Just the thought of it brings me fits of giggles that leave me hiccupping. I know I should feel sorry for her, but the look on Marcus’s face can never be unseen. Instead of closing his eyes like he taught me last summer, his eyes grew twice as large as turkey eggs. He stood there, stiller than the statue at the center of town, arms like oak limbs stiff and hanging at his sides, and pallor as pale as putty.
I can’t keep my quill from shaking, I’m laughing all over again.
You could tell by the enthusiastic way she leaned into him, color high on her cheeks, she intended the kiss as a conquest. It lasted, and lasted, and lasted, to the point where I almost stepped away from my chores to save them both from the misery of it. At long last, she released him. Poor girl had a face like a kicked kitten—and now I’m feeling sorry for her! Miss Smith took a step back, and then retreated. She lifted handfuls of her skirts and ran all the way home. (I would have done the same, had I been soundly rejected. But when I kissed Marcus, I was kissed back!)
Now I suppose we won’t be seeing the likes of Miss Smith around here anymore. No loss for me, that’s for sure. Doubtful it’s a loss for poor Marcus either.
The Laundress, Jean-Baptiste Greuze, 1761
About the Book
Henrietta Smith was fifteen when she stole a kiss from Marcus Hardwicke. Over a decade later, she’s still waiting to be kissed back…
Henrietta learned the hard way that when you get what you pay for you might end up with a British soldier quartering in your home threatening your friends, an enormous dog tracking mud through your house and stealing the chickens, and Marcus Hardwicke disrupting your uncomplicated life by trying to improve it. And to think she just wanted her roof fixed.
Marcus, wickedly handsome carpenter and rebel rogue, fell off Henrietta’s leaking roof. He can’t leave until his broken ankle heals, giving him plenty of time to consider his past mistakes, including Henrietta’s indelible kiss from a lifetime ago. But Henrietta could lose more than her home if she doesn’t encrypt British secrets, and the latest puts Marcus in the crosshairs.
The first installment in debut author Hallie Alexander’s steamy Sons of Neptune Series introduces readers to a band of heroic rebels at the brink of the American Revolution.
Available on Amazon & KindleUnlimited: amzn.to/2ZxZqhJ
“Hetty Betty, a man couldn’t easily forget you. But you haven’t been Hetty Betty Smith in a long time, have you?”
“It’s Caldwell. Is. Was.” Henrietta rolled her eyes. Sam died last year, and she still hadn’t mustered the emotional resources to mourn.
“My condolences, Mrs. Caldwell.” Marcus bowed theatrically over an extended leg.
“Don’t be a fool.” She swatted him with her fan as if the last thirteen years hadn’t shaped them into adults. When was the last time she joked?
His face brightened with a wide grin. Nice to see he had all of his teeth. Was he assessing her too? For a woman nearing thirty, she could look a lot worse. Would he see her that way, or would he recall the mousy girl he had rejected?
“Pretty Hetty Betty.” He shook his head, clicking his tongue.
Dear God. He remembered everything, didn’t he? The one time she took a risk.
“Stop. No one’s called me that since childhood.” Since playing tag by the pond in the shade of the old great barn. Since stealing a kiss not meant for her.
About the Author
Hallie Alexander’s debut historical romance, A Widow’s Guide to Scandal, was published in 2020 by Soul Mate Publishing. It was a finalist in the 2019 Cleveland Rocks Romance Contest. She writes steamy, feminist historical romances that take place in America with heroines who become the heroes of their own story as their swoon-worthy partners work to deserve their love. She is a Northerner living in the South with her husband, three children, and Doodles of Mayhem™, Bruno and Willow.
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