Just a Kiss ONLY
an It's in His Kiss novella by Ally Broadfield
Charlotte Lightwood has one season to find a husband or she’ll be forced to marry her guardian’s loathsome cousin. With no title or dowry, she doesn’t have much hope of making a good match. Sebastian Wilkinson, the Earl of Marley, has been the most eligible bachelor on the marriage mart for more years than he cares to count and is very aware of his duty to marry a woman who will add to the wealth and stature of his title.
Sebastian makes Charlotte an offer she can’t refuse: he will pretend to court her to help her attract more suitors in exchange for her advice about which ladies he should pursue. As they work together, their mutual attraction grows. When they realize they just might be perfect for one another, they must decide whether to bow to the dictates of society or follow their hearts.
Novels in It’s In His Kiss series by author Ally Broadfield:
Book one: Just A Kiss
Book two: One Last Kiss
Title: Just a Kiss
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An Excerpt from:
Just a Kiss
by Ally Broadfield
Copyright © 2014 by Ally Broadfield. All rights reserved, including the right to reproduce, distribute, or transmit in any form or by any means. For information regarding subsidiary rights, please contact the Publisher.
Sussex, February 1811
Sebastian Wilkinson, the Earl of Marley, paced the lengthy corridor outside his grandmother’s bedchamber while he waited for the doctor to finish his examination. Moments later, the door creaked open and he braced himself to receive the diagnosis.
“She is out of danger,” Dr. Young said.
Sebastian relaxed his shoulders, grateful at long last to be able to inhale deeply again.
“However,” he continued, “she is still frail and therefore more susceptible to illness. You must take measures to prevent her from becoming ill again.” He linked his fingers together and held his hands against his ample stomach. “She should rest frequently, and you must not allow her to become chilled. I recommend she stay inside in front of the fireplace on rainy days. That was a virulent fever and if shehas another, she will not survive.”
The doctor continued with his instructions, but
Sebastian was no longer listening. He was anxious to see Gran. Dr. Young had served as their family physician since before Sebastian was born, and he always gave the same instructions for care. Holding his palm up to stop the doctor’s inane chatter, he opened the door to Gran’s bedchamber and beckoned to her maid. “Margaret, please come and attend Dr. Young. He will go over the instructions for Lady Marley’s continuing care.”
“Yes, my lord,” Margaret said, slipping past him into the corridor.
Sebastian stole into Gran’s chamber and settled into the chair next to her bed.
Her lids fluttered open, and she focused unerringly on him. “It’s about time you came to visit me.”
He took her warm, dry hand, thankful it was no longer cold and limp. “I took tea with you not two hours ago. Doc didn’t mention that your illness left you deranged.”
Gran fumbled about on her bedside table.
“May I be of service in—” He yelped when her closed fan connected with the side of his head. Yes, she would definitely recover. Suddenly exhausted after being relieved of the weight of worry, he allowed himself to slump into the chair next to her bed.
Gran pulled herself up against the headboard and squared her shoulders. “Doc has given me permission to travel within a fortnight. We’re already at a disadvantage since the season has started without us, but I trust you will apply yourself to finding a suitable bride this year.”
He leaned his head against the back of the chair and
studied the molding on her ceiling. “What if I don’t wish to have a suitable bride?”
“I certainly don’t countenance you taking an unsuitable one.”
He lifted his head. “Gran, I’m serious.”
“So am I.” She slapped her palm against the headboard. “It is high time for you to take a wife and produce an heir or two. I want to see you make an advantageous match before I die, and I could go at any moment.”
Sebastian rolled his eyes. “You needn’t be so melodramatic.”
“Apparently, I must. You don’t seem to be taking me seriously.”
He studied each wrinkle and dark spot on her face. After singlehandedly raising him following the death of his parents, she had earned each of those marks, just as she’d earned the right to see him settled. And she wouldn’t truly relax until he married. He owed her that much and more. “All right, Gran. This is the season in which the Earl of Marley will find a wife.”