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Every princess should be kissed. And by a man who knows what he’s doing. Beatricia had been enjoying just that with Farris Turner when she was caught. But running only drives her into the arms of a stranger. A man who wants to offer her one night together, to offer her the experience her life and duties in the city of Sun-Airor–a place set out of space and time–have denied her. It’ll be her only chance before she’s forced to enter a loveless marriage...but who exactly is her stranger? And what will kissing him reveal?
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Every princess should be kissed. And by a man who knows what he’s doing. Beatricia had been enjoying just that with Farris Turner when she was caught.
But running only drives her into the arms of a stranger. A man who wants to offer her one night together, to offer her the experience her life and duties in the city of Sun-Airor–a place set out of space and time–have denied her.
It’ll be her only chance before she’s forced to enter a loveless marriage…but who exactly is her stranger? And what will kissing him reveal? Previously released on Entangled’s Flirt imprint - February 3, 2014.
"A sweet romance, with a surprise at the end and interesting sci-fi tones! Well worth a read!" ~ A Reader Lives a Thousand Lives
Kissed is everything I like about Kim Knox's books, excellent writing, good world building, great chemistry and a very unique plot line. She also excels in everything being short and concise, which as a fan, makes me scream for more and for those who are starting to just read her books, this litt... ...more
Kissed by Kim Knox was a steamy short novella that was a tad science fiction. I don’t normally do to much sci-fi but by the description I didn’t think it was but once you get to reading it you learn she is not human. I thought Kissed was a quicky sexy read that was fun and entertaining and someti... ...more
A very interesting concept is introduced in this novella. Branching is the ability to cross worlds that is embedded in the royal family's genes and is activated through skin. That's why touching is forbidden to princess Beatricia. That's why she's so alone and craves for love. Duty to her people... ...more
I live on an ancient boundary line, once marked by a Neolithic burial tomb. The tomb's now a standing stone circle-thank the Georgians for that one-and stirs my mind with thoughts of history and ancient myths. I mix the essence of the past into fantasy, along with the essential mix of magic and sex. I also writes science fiction romance, pushing out into the far future with effortlessly sexy men and the women who can't resist them.
You can find me in all these places:
Bea hadn’t meant to branch worlds that way, but her heart was overriding sense. That very first New Year with Turner had been a brief moment of bliss. She’d never have it again. She knew that. Even with her abilities, it was impossible to cross back into her own past. Still…she ran through parallel worlds, picking out similar New Year’s parties like jewels against the rest of space-time.
She lifted her chin and let the swell of this new party wash over her. The scent of perfume, cologne, and the lingering odors of dark chocolate and strawberries filled the warm air. A group moved past her, the casual, lingering stroke of a man’s fingers down the bared spine of the woman in front of him. His body leaning in, lips brushing her ear, spoke of a wantonness Bea had never experienced.
She toyed with the stem of her flute, watching the glass sparkle from the candlelight. Every New Year’s seemed to smell the same, overlaid with anticipation. And more than a hint of lust.
She sipped her champagne and let the tart taste and bubbles distract her. The sexual heat in the room meant nothing to her, even as it rose with good food and free-flowing alcohol. Only one party—so similar in style to the one she now attended that it was almost a physical pain in her chest—had ever found her caught in a rush of want.
And she wasn’t thinking about that night. Or him. Much.
Commander Farris Turner. A bodyguard to the Royal House of Denys-Ilona. Her bodyguard.
Bea traced a droplet of moisture down the glass and pulled in a slow breath. The tightness of her corseted gown pressed against her ribs, and for a second, she felt the ghost-memory of his large hand against her spine. But not like the couple she’d just witnessed. That wasn’t allowed.
He’d guarded her for six years, following her into other worlds as they gathered resources for their hidden city. His humor, often twisted, could make her groan. Make her laugh. He’d stood in front of her as she—and others—held open the bridge between worlds to get their people home. Sometimes so close to touching her, she could feel the heat from his skin…
No. Enough. It was time she found something more sane than branching from event to event, hunting for the fleeting sensation of joy. Of finding a hint of the party from which she’d fled and imagining that Turner was there, somewhere in the laughing crowds.
She glanced at the time. She only had an hour left in this reality. Her ability to fix in a new world was finite. And she’d pushed herself hard in the last few days. Already, the tug, the strain on her flesh, beat against her thoughts. The call of her prime reality. It was only a matter of days before that need—no matter how hard she fought it—would drag her back. She could never avoid her duty. Or her fate.
She straightened…and turned into the solid chest of a man.
He gripped her arms, his fingers flexing against the silk of her long gloves, and smiled.
Bea’s heart stopped. For a micro-second, she saw Turner. His familiar, dark, and rugged beauty that had held her for too many years. But she blinked, and the illusion was gone. Simply wishful thinking. She slid on the mask she’d worn since she was a child. Turner called it her royal face. “If you’ll excuse me, please?”
The stranger’s thumbs brushed against the edge of her silk gloves, and a little prickle of awareness chased along her nerves. “You’re not leaving?” His voice was deep, smooth, with a hint of an accent she knew. But that was impossible. There’d been no time to observe the culture, as she’d only been in this reality for half a day. She hadn’t pushed the translator agents in her brain to learn the nuances, and for a brancher, it was an inexcusable lapse. Still, the flow of his voice. It was Turner’s. “I think it’s the law that you have to stay until midnight.” He glanced to the light clock with its hands ticking against the darkened glass of the long windows. “And you have at least another hour.”
She thought about pulling free of his hold, but the warmth of his touch, his height, even something in his scent kept her still. His life-fabric—the energy that formed him and tied him to his reality—was somehow…familiar. The insane thought ran that maybe, through some quirk of branching, she’d found this world’s Farris Turner. “Why do you think I’m leaving?”
“The suddenness of movement. The flush to your face. The little jump in your pulse…there.” His finger hovered over the pulse point in the dip above her collarbones, so close to touching her that she shivered. “All tell me you were about to run.”
“And what would be my reason to stay?”
He smiled, a deliciously sexy smile that forced her stomach to perform a strange, little flip. “Me.”
His fingers slipped down her arm to take her hand. “Dance with me.”
Her feet were already moving before her brain kicked in. What was she doing? He was a complete stranger. She didn’t simply fall into following men she didn’t know. Despite the bizarre feeling that she somehow connected him with Turner, he wasn’t that man. He couldn’t be.
His hand tightened around hers. “Second thoughts…?”
“Claudia.” She gave him one of her numerous middle names. The name she preferred was the one Turner had given her, and she let no one else share in it.
“Claudia…” He rolled the name around, seeming to taste it. “It suits you.”
“Thank you.” She squeaked as he drew her against him, his hand hot on her waist. “What…?”
A waiter gave them a nod and a soft thank you as he moved past, a tray of drinks balanced on his hand.
“Saving the silk of your dress,” her stranger murmured, but his hand lingered, his fingers stroking the curve of her hip. A light touch, but one that burned through to her bare skin.
“Thank you, again.” She had to move, but the sly dip of his fingertips across her pelvis fluttered warmth in her belly. Was his similarity to Turner enough for her touch-starved body? Was she really that shallow? “You wanted to dance.”
He pushed a path through the knot of bodies crowding the edge of the dance floor. The heavy rhythm of the music beat through her blood. Yes, there were some differences to this party and the one from which she’d run. Her mother would never have stood for the loud, discordant thumping, nor the wild arm waving and gyrating of the couples and groups in front of her. No excess. The Head of the Royal House of Denys-Ilona liked her world to be…contained.
It was symbolic of their isolated land. A small city-state encased in a cocoon her mother designed—separate from space and time—hidden and unknown. So secret, her people were only a myth. Everything was held together by the DNA of the Royal House and the incredible bio-technology the queen had wrought from her own blood. And her royal descendants.
Royal. Bea held back a smile. Her mother was a self-styled queen and had not a drop of blue blood in her. Simply a rogue gene and genius tied to a towering ego. But her talent—and her children’s—made opening doorways into every conceivable world all too easy.
Her stranger smiled down at her, breaking into her thoughts. “Not your style?”
Bea stared at a group of women shrieking and shimmying, ample breasts barely contained by tight corsets. Their freedom was terrifying. She could never allow so much skin to be on display. Her gut clenched. This was a bad idea. She had to branch out. Time was thinning. She had to forget about recreating a bliss-filled moment with Turner.
“Mine, neither.” His large warm hand curved over her waist and eased her to him, his palm settling on the small of her back. His other clasped hers, long fingers dwarfing her hand and holding it to his chest. Pressed against the length of his body, his strength, the firmness of muscles, made her heart match the pace of the music.
“Who are you?”
He turned her away from a woman’s flailing arms. “Aidan Marshal.”
“What am doing I here?” The half-whispered question was more for herself. She had no idea what she was doing, allowing a stranger to…surround her so quickly.
“They call it dancing.”
His head dipped to hers, his lips touching her forehead. The sacrilege of it ran through her, hot and quick. No one touched the skin of a princess of the Royal House. Her skin held her power, the ability to branch from world to world. Anyone touching her could share in it. See the bright specks of other worlds. Little pricks of light on reality. Or so she’d always been told. This Aidan seemed…oblivious.
Bea closed her eyes and let herself be held. Just for a moment. He wasn’t Turner, but he was about as close as she was ever going to get again. Was this what she had been hunting for through so many worlds? A Turner substitute? One who could easily touch her?