Friday, June 27, 2014

First Fight Friday: The Scandalous Love of a Duke by Jane Lark

Goats solve their differences head-on. They don’t give the silent treatment or yell, they butt heads, and then it’s over.
Cowboy Marvin has learned humans resolve issues differently especially those romantically involved. His curiosity sparked, he has invited authors to stop by on Fridays and share a first fight from one of their books.

Fellow Harper Impulse author,
and a Fire Writer for multiple 
Written Fireside stories.
Check out her Fire Writer Friday interview with Cowboy Marvin

Jane Lark      

    is here for ...

First Fight Friday 

with a scene from 

The Scandalous Love of a Duke

A rush of pain and longing spilled from
Katherine's heart into her limbs. 

It was so long since she'd seen John but her reaction was the same as it had been more than half-a-dozen years before. 

She loved him, 
without hope, 
but a chasm of years and status stood between them.

His gaze clung to her, sweeping over her figure. She wore a thin muslin dress beneath a faded light blue spencer. Her arms were slender. His gaze trailed upwards from her narrow waist to see her bosom lift and fall as though she was short of breath.

Her face was in the shadow of a broad-rimmed poke straw-bonnet, while her hands were covered by the same kid leather gloves she’d worn in London, which must feel excruciatingly hot in this heat.

He halted the animals, set the brake, looped the ribbons across the rail and jumped down.

He had come out in unseemly dress; he’d not intended speaking to anyone. His black waistcoat hung open and his shirtsleeves were rolled up. He probably looked like a labourer, but he had wished to be the man from Egypt again today and not a duke.

“Katherine?” he said again, approaching her.

She hadn’t said a thing, or even moved since she’d turned, but as he neared, she took a step back.

She looked as though any minute she might turn and run.

He reached out and caught her forearm to stop her.

“What on earth were you wool-gathering over?”

Those wide blue eyes, which did not show their true colour when hidden in the shadow of her bonnet, questioned his existence.

His hand slid down her slender arm and felt her muscle judder from the intimacy. Then he gripped her fingers and lifted them to his lips.

He would rather have kissed her skin than her worn leather glove.

He let her hand fall.

“You should have heard the horses yards back.”

She was blushing again, and her eyes glittered with a starry look, as though she was shocked, or…

The air left his lungs.


He knew that look of want. He’d seen it in a hundred women’s eyes.

Without thought, one hand released the bow securing the ribbons of her bonnet, while the other cupped her nape. Then as her bonnet tumbled down her back and fell into the dust, he kissed her mouth.

He burned for her, and the uncertain pressure of her fingers gripping his shoulders was sublime as she opened her mouth under the pressure of his lips. His tongue invaded, taking as she gave, claiming what he suddenly desperately wanted to be his.

She arched against him and his other arm came about her waist to pull her body nearer.

A tender, desperate and shocked sound came from her mouth and then she was pulling away, and pushing him back. An instant later she gave him a stinging slap across the cheek.


His hand covered his cheek, but instead of feeling regret or guilt it was laughter which rose inside him and a feeling of relief, as though a cork had just blown from an effervescent bottle and let emotion spew out.

She was clearly not amused by his laughter and her cheeks flamed red, while her eyes burned a bright turquoise. It was a look of insulted pride.

Yet, a moment ago, her eyes had said quite clearly kiss me, and far more, and she’d been pliant and willing when he’d accepted that unspoken offer.

His heart thumped steadily. He had been too long without a woman.

He dragged in a deep breath and smiled, genuinely. He could not remember the last time he had smiled from emotion and not merely made the correct face.

The horses whickered behind him.

Both his hands gripped her waist.

She stepped back, out of his reach, almost treading on her bonnet.

He bent and picked it up.

Katherine’s heart raced. What had she done! What had she let him do! Why had he done it?

She had not even known John was there. She had not even known he was in the county. His only greeting had been her name.

She took another step back, longing to distance herself from the tug she felt towards him as he stood straight again, gripping her bonnet in his hand.

Why had he kissed her? She was mute with anger and embarrassment. She felt appalled. Why would he do that? Why had she let him?

“John!” she said as his hand reached out towards her again, while his other gripped her bonnet. She stepped back once more, avoiding him, but at the same time lifted her hand to claim her bonnet.

He pulled it out of reach.

“What did you think you were you doing?” she thrust accusingly at him.

“Saying hello.” He laughed again, as though kissing her on a public highway was a joke.

There was warmth in his eyes though, which had not been there on the day of the funeral, and her heart ached to see it, no matter that she was angry. She saw a glimpse of the old John there.

“Let me have my bonnet?”

He lifted his arm so she would never be able to reach it, and merely smiled.

“John! Do not be a brute!” She didn’t understand what was going on, and she lifted her hand to slap him again, but his free hand caught her wrist. “The weather has touched you in the head, John?”

“Not the weather, Katherine.” He grinned. But then his smile slipped away and an austere look came over him.

Her heartbeat rang like a hammer on an anvil. Did he think it was acceptable to just kiss a woman like that?

A dark light suddenly glowed at the heart of his pale eyes.

Her hand shook as she reached out for her bonnet again. She felt sick.

When he lifted it away once more, she said, “Let me have it, John,” feeling suddenly desperate and a little afraid of him.

“So you can cover up that pretty face. These things are a crime. Someone ought to make a law against poke bonnets. Perhaps I shall propose it in the house – every woman’s bonnet must let a man see her face.”

He was being ridiculous. “John!”

Katherine,” he mocked.

She could not believe he was doing this. Nor that he had kissed her so crudely.

She had done nothing but worship him for nearly a decade and he was busy ridiculing her. She hated him suddenly. “Give me back my bonnet, John, and let me go, and you are not to come near me again. I am not something for you to play with, Your Grace.” Fool. You fool, Katherine.

His manor changed almost instantly and his hand let her arm go, as his other fell to offer her bonnet.

“It was not an insult, Katherine,” he said as she gripped it.

“Then you kiss every woman you see walking alone on a road, I suppose?” Of course he would not. Only the ones who were foolish enough to love him, and only the ones who had no family to protect them.

His fingers tightened on her bonnet again, crushing it, before she could free it from his hand.

“Not every woman, Katherine, just the ones who look at me with azure blue eyes that say they long for it – just you, Kate.”

She felt herself turn pink but refused to play tug of war for her bonnet and let it go again.

“Give it to me,” she stated gruffly.

“No, not until you admit you wished it so.”


“I’ll not beg your forgiveness,” he answered in a hard pitch. “You wished for it.”

“And you’ve grown arrogant, John Harding.”

“Perhaps so,” he said in a low harsh voice. “But you wished for it. You did. I know.”

“You cannot know.” There was anguish in her voice and, in answer, his eyes softened again and he held forth her bonnet once more.

“Katherine, you held me and kissed me back, you cannot deny it.” The words were gentle but they cut into her heart. She still craved him. It was almost desperation which she felt.

Tears rushed into her eyes. She had longed for it. But not like this.

His pitch softened further. “Your eyes expressed desire before I even kissed you.”

She lifted her hand to slap him again, but he caught it once more and raised his eyebrows.

She felt ashamed. They both knew what he’d said was true. She had turned and faced him, and her heart had leapt into her throat. His attraction was fierce today. He was half undressed, unshaven and he wore no hat, and he was simply, essentially, masculine – tall, strong, agile and assertive.

Was this what her natural mother had felt for her father, this desperation?

Katherine had wanted to be kissed, and if that desire was to be fulfilled, how else might it be done if not like this? He would hardly choose to marry her. There was a world between them, not simply miles. If she wanted kisses from him, they would have to be kisses like this.

She did not try to pull either her arm free, or her bonnet from his hand, she felt calm suddenly. “Give me back my bonnet, Your Grace. Please?”

“Say that you wished for it?” There was a cold hard look back in his eyes.


“Say it.”

When she did not, his grip firmed on her arm, though it was not painful. “Say it!”

His voice rang with determination.

No, John.”

His hand suddenly left her arm and then it was back at her nape bracing her neck and holding her firm as he pulled her mouth to his.

His kiss was a hard pressure against her lips. She had not imagined kissing to be like this. Her heart raced, and her fingers clawed into the muscle of his arms to steady herself. She felt faint and hot and liquid-boned.

It was brief, barely an instant long, but when he pulled away his pale eyes shone like glass with triumph. “You wished for it,” he whispered over her lips. “Say it.”

“Yes,” she answered, knowing she turned crimson as she did so. She felt the provincial idiot she was, gauche, weak and base born.

He said nothing, his eyes boring deep into her soul.

Copyright © Jane Lark


The Scandalous Love of a Duke by Jane Lark  

Isolated by life and choice, John Harding, the Duke of Pembroke, sees an angel in a pale mauve dress across a room and is drawn closer as lust grips firm and hard in his stomach.

The wheat-blonde hair escaping her dull dove-grey bonnet and caressing her neck lures his eyes to a spot he'd like to kiss.

She speaks with animation her hands moving. Then as if she senses his gaze the stranger turns and looks at him.

The Scandalous Love of a Duke

is available on

Amazon   Barnes & Noble   iTunes   KOBO 

The Scandalous Love of a Duke

is book three in Jane Lark's Marlow Intrigues
a best-selling kindle Regency romance series!

About Jane:

Jane is a writer of authentic, passionate and emotional Historical and New Adult romance and author of a No.1 bestselling Historical Novel,'The Illicit Love of a Courtesan', as well as a Kindle overall top 25, bestselling author in the United States of America. 

She began her first historical novel at sixteen, but a life full of adversity derailed her as she lives with the restrictions of Ankylosing Spondylitis. 

When she finally completed a novel it was because she was determined not to reach forty still saying, I want to write. 

Now Jane is writing a Regency series as well as contemporary, new adult, stories and she is thrilled to be giving her characters life in others' imaginations at last. 

You might think that Jane was inspired to write by Jane Austen, especially as she lives near Bath in the United Kingdom, but you would be wrong. Jane's favourite author is Anya Seton, and the book which drew her into the bliss of falling into historical imagination was 'Katherine' a story crafted from reality. 

Jane has drawn on this inspiration to discover other real-life love stories, reading memoirs and letters to capture elements of the past, and she uses these to create more realistic plots. 

'Basically I love history and I am sucker for a love story. I love the feeling of falling in love; it's wonderful being able to do it time and time again in fiction.' 

Jane is also a Chartered Member of the Institute of Personnel and Development in the United Kingdom, and uses this specialist understanding of people to bring her characters to life.


Follow Jane Lark online

Thanks for sharing Jane!

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