It's a "Sneak Peek Sunday" excerpt from my regency romance novel, The Marriage Market.
"After a time the light began to fade, and Wovington set his documents aside. He had been concentrating on his work so heavily that he had forgotten about Victoria. Glancing at her now, he saw that she had fallen asleep. He eased the papers back into his case and tucked it under the bench before stretching out his cramped legs. The evening had grown quite chilly, and he fastened his coat up to his throat. He noticed that the blanket had slipped from Victoria’s waist, and pulled it back over her lap, tucking it carefully around her. In the stillness of the carriage, he could hear Victoria’s soft breathing and smell her light floral scent.
He turned sideways to study her peaceful face. He had not been alone with Victoria since business had taken him away from Bath before her engagement to David. While away, he had decided that he was more in love with Victoria than with any other woman he had ever known, and had come back determined to woo and win her. How shocked he had been to discover that he was too late; that his good friend had already captured Victoria’s heart. Out of loyalty to David, he had tried to shut away his feelings and replace them with brotherly affection, but he found it less painful to avoid Victoria’s company whenever possible. Today was an aberration, but he had intended to form a barrier between them with a briefcase of legal papers and meaningless chatter. He had not anticipated this intimacy.
She had removed her bonnet and a curl had worked its way loose from the others. He reached toward it, hesitated, and then picked up the strand between his thumb and forefinger. He caressed its softness and brushed it away from her face as he had seen David do just a few hours before. Her skin felt soft and warm to his touch. He watched her in the fading light, her chest rising and falling rhythmically, her lashes brushing rosy cheeks. He leaned toward her, feeling the warmth of her breath upon his face. Victoria sighed in her sleep. Pausing for a long moment above her, the last of his resistance crumbled. Bracing one hand on the wall behind her head, Wovington lowered his face and kissed her tenderly upon the mouth.
Victoria dreamt that she was under the fir tree in the garden with David again. The air was cool, but she was warm in his arms. He kissed her. She wrapped her arms around him and returned his kiss, her body swaying with the motion of the carriage. Sudden realization flooded her mind. She was not in the garden with David. She was in the chaise headed home to Eston House, and the man kissing her was not her husband! Her eyes flew open and she arched back into the seat with a gasp. Bracing her palms against Wovington’s shoulders, she pushed him away with all her strength. He fell into a corner of the seat and remained there, immobile in the shadows. Neither said anything for a shocked moment. Only their ragged breathing was audible.
Regaining her ability to speak, Victoria said, 'Mr. Wovington, are you mad?'"
The Marriage Market, published by "Books We Love," is available as an e-book from Amazon, All Romance eBooks, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, and other e-book retailers. Smashwords also publishes a version that can be read online or as a PDF if you don't own an e-reader.