Title: The First Kiss
Author: Grace Burrowes
Release Date: February 3, 2015
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Classical pianist Vera Waltham is recovering from a bad break up by taking a hiatus with her daughter in the Damson Valley countryside. She’s content with her music, and has no interest in complicating her life with further attempts at romance.
Attorney James Knightley is a numbers guy who reads contractual fine print for lunch, and wants nothing to do with damsels, in distress or otherwise. Nobody is more surprised than James when he falls for Vera Waltham, and the only contract on James’s mind when it comes to Vera is holy matrimony.
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Having spent nearly a week in close proximity with his nieces, James was beginning to appreciate that parents either developed the ability to mentally multitask, or they suffered a complete annihilation of their productivity.
While he’d been out with Twyla, he’d conversed with reasonable coherence on such topics as his favorite flower, what boys liked about sports—besides swearing and slapping each other’s butts—what a lawyer really did other than strut around in court, and why Grace and Merle’s uncle Mac only ever laughed with his eyes.
All the while, James’s adult mind had also been circling around the time he’d spent in bed with Twyla’s mother.
He and Vera had talked, they’d touched, and the emotion that passed between them was different from any James had associated with sharing a bed. As Vera had put it, they’d cuddled—emotionally as well as physically.
Holding her, listening to her, having the time to pet and caress and feel her body relaxed and warm in his arms…that had been lovely. The time spent with Vera had left James with a profound sense of peace, which he would not have anticipated in the absence of sexual intimacy.
They’d shared something that surpassed a mere union of bodies, though it left James hungrier than ever for that intimacy as well.
To be Vera’s friend and her lover, not simply her convenience…the idea fascinated him.
“You’re preoccupied,” Vera said as dinnertime approached. “Was it ratios or proportions that put that look on your face?” She stirred a pot on the stove, one redolent of chocolate and calories.
James slipped his arms around her from behind. “I’m thinking of you. How are you?”
She leaned back against him. “You were right. I needed to play the piano today. Maybe having a different instrument to work on, maybe knowing Twy was adequately supervised helped, but I was still playing when Hannah and Grace arrived.”
He let her go, because the stuff on the stove was beginning to boil. “What is that? It smells good.”
“You cook it into candy, then pour it over the oatmeal and peanut butter in that bowl, and it makes cookies.”
“My house is honored to host their creation, and I will happily see to their demolition. Shall I set the table?”
“Twy usually takes that job if I don’t get to it.”
“You’d haul her in here, when we’re having a perfectly civilized adult discussion and she’s happily organizing my desk drawers?”
The mixture on the stove was bubbling madly, though Vera merely watched the kitchen clock as she stirred with a wooden spoon.
“Excellent point, and Twy has an eye for organization. James, if I asked you to play the piano for me again tonight, would you?”
“Yes.” He got out place mats and matching napkins—orange and brown, because he’d had his brothers over for Thanksgiving and to watch the game a couple of years ago. “Would you play for me?”
“Yes.” She poured the chocolate into the bowl and stirred quickly. “But not too late. I want some time to cuddle with you tonight.”
“Vera…” Place mats and napkins were a nice touch for company, but James drew the line at two forks when they were having tacos, for God’s sake. “My motives for sharing a bed with you aren’t entirely pure, You need to know that.”
They weren’t entirely clear, either, even to James himself.
Vera spooned chocolate goo onto a cookie sheet in rapid, deft strokes, and the scent was positively divine.
“My motives aren’t entirely pure either, James.” Her lips quirked up in a smile that drove James’s insides into a happy, bucking-pony dance.
Very carefully, he arranged the cutlery on the place mat. “Just so we’re on the same page.”
“I’m not sure what page I’m on, James, but I’m willing to see what develops.”
A maybe. Vera was giving him a definite, very encouraging maybe, and that was so far from ordering him off her property that James wanted to ball up the napkin and spike it into the wastebasket sitting outside the laundry room.
“I’m willing to see where it goes too. How soon can I have one of those cookies?”
She served him another Mona Lisa smile.
Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/21527240-the-first-kiss
New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Grace Burrowes’ bestsellers include The Heir, The Soldier, Lady Maggie’s Secret Scandal, Lady Sophie’s Christmas Wish and Lady Eve’s Indiscretion. Her Regency romances have received extensive praise, including starred reviews from Publishers Weekly and Booklist. Grace is branching out into short stories and Scotland-set Victorian romance with Sourcebooks. She is a practicing family law attorney and lives in rural Maryland.
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