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Authors: Karla Darcy

Tags: #Romance, #Historical

The Five Kisses

BOOK: The Five Kisses
7.44Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

Table of Contents

The Five Kisses

The First Kiss

The Second Kiss

The Third Kiss

The Fourth Kiss

The Fifth Kiss


About the Author:






Presented By:
Glades Publishing


Readers love Karla Darcy


Fans of Downton Abbey and Jane Austen (without zombies) will adore this book. Karla Darcy makes us remember why we lose sense and sensibility for a sexy Regency hero and captures the era with a glorious and colorful voice!”

Roxanne St. Claire,
New York Times
Bestselling Autho


“Karla Darcy weaves one fabulous Regency Romance after another. Wise, witty and wonderful. Move over Jane for another Darcy you will love!”

Mary Alice Monroe,
NY Times
author of
Beach House Memories


“… creates a particularly attractive heroine to captivate both the hero and the reader alike. Darcy is winning a large readership with her diverting novels in this most competitive genre.”

Romantic Times


“Karla hooks readers and carries them along to a wonderfully satisfying ending.”


“…writing is graceful and witty, plotting is clever, added to this are two characters who will charm and delight you.”


“The humor and tenderness give this book heart and authentic details and great sexual tension make for a great read.”


“…. weaves her magic spell once more in this intricately plotted gem of a book.”



The Five Kisses
is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.


Copyright 2012 Karla Darcy

All Rights Reserved


Published by:
Glades Publishing


License Notes:

This ebook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This ebook may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each person you share it with. If you’re reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, then please return it and purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.


Publisher’s Note:

The publisher does not have any control over and does not assume any responsibility for author or third-party websites or their content.


No part of this book may be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any printed or electronic form without express written permission from the publisher. The scanning, uploading, and distribution of this book via the Internet or any other means without the permission of the publisher is illegal and punishable by law. Please do not participate in or encourage piracy of copyrighted materials in violation of the author’s rights. Purchase only authorized editions.


Published by: Glades Publishing

Visit the author website:




Original cover design by:
Tara O’Shea










The Masked Heart


The Marriage Wager


The Scandalous Ward










For Diane Capri

None of this would have been possible without your help and encouragement.

Every writer should have a writing mentor like you.






The Five Kisses



Gillian Foster stabbed the poker into the logs and sparks rose like fairy dust to dance up the chimney. Heat from the fire pinked her cheeks. She reached up to refasten a chestnut curl that had come loose from the Psyche knot. Her eyes swung to her bedroom window and in the gathering darkness, she could make out the crenelated roofline of Maynard Hall, country seat of the eighth earl of Elmore, Lord Chadwicke Kendale.


The vision of dark, piercing eyes appeared in Gillian’s mind and her heart beat faster. The very vividness of her reaction to the apparition was daunting. To break the spell, she cast her eyes on the travelling cape lying across the green velvet chaise longue. Picking up her candle, she headed for the door. The black skirt of her mourning dress swirled around her with the gentle hiss of silk. She left the bulging portmanteau leaning against the oak wardrobe and, without a backward glance, went out into the hall.

Even after two months, the emptiness of her father’s room jolted her; each day she awoke with the expectation that it had all been a nightmare. But, when she passed the open doorway she was reminded anew that her father was gone forever and she tried to take comfort from her memories of the scholarly, absent-minded man who had raised her. Some days the pain was less intense. She set the candle on the table beside the bed. Stroking the soft nap of the brown velvet edging on the comforter for the last time, she blew out the candle and left the room, closing the door firmly behind her.

She tried not to think about the evening ahead but as, she stood at the top of the stairs, her eyes were drawn to the kissing bough suspended in the center of the foyer. Apples tied to the red satin ribbons dangled from the circle of rosemary. The candle she had left on the hall table flickered and the shiny apples swayed, caught in the errant draughts of the hallway. Her hand tightened on the walnut handrail as she stared at the mistletoe nestled in the heart of the greenery.

The kissing bough and apples and Chad. She had fought all day not to think about him but he was wound up so inexorably with all her memories. The tall case clock in the drawing room chimed six. If he were coming tonight, he would not arrive until much later. Gillian sat down on the top step, tucking her skirts around her for warmth. Perhaps she needed to think about the past before she took the fateful step that inevitably would seal her future.






The First Kiss



Gillian swung her feet over the edge of the hayloft. Squire Bassington’s barn was cold but she was not uncomfortable since she was out of the cutting sting of the December wind. Her father had chuckled when she offered to go to the squire’s for some apples for the kissing bough. Knowing it was her favorite fruit, he suggested she take two baskets.

She bit into the apple, sighing as the sharp flavor filled her mouth; she ate slowly savoring every bite, her mind floating in pure sensation. When she finished it, she licked the last of the juice off her fingers with businesslike precision. She inhaled deeply, feeling contented. She loved the musty, pungent odors of the old barn. The squire’s land was close enough that even in winter she could slip away to the barn when she needed to escape the confinement of the schoolroom. Both the squire and her father knew she used the hayloft as her hidey-hole. It was a place to be alone, a place where she could think and plan and, best of all, a place to dream.

She heard the creak of the side door and stilled the motion of her feet. The voices were muffled beneath the loft and she hugged the basket of apples in her lap as she leaned forward to see who had entered. Recognizing Lester Wheatley, the son of the innkeeper, Gillian shrank back. She hoped he would not discover her presence. The heavily built boy was a bully, delighting in teasing the smaller village children until they cried.

The other boy came out from under the loft and she immediately identified the black hair and gangly body of Chadwicke Kendale, son of the Earl of Elmore whose land adjoined her father’s small holding. Chad was older than Gillian, thirteen to her nine. She did not know him well, although her father had tutored him before he went away to school.

“What have you got in there?” Chad asked, pointing to the cloth bag in the bigger boy’s hand.

“Wait’n you’ll see.” Lester opened the top of the bag. He reached in and brought out a small animal. Gillian caught her breath as Lester tied a long thong around the neck of a shivering kitten. Holding the loose end of the strap, he dropped the animal on the ground.

“Be careful. It’s just a babe,” Chad said, kneeling down to get a closer look.

“Don’t be such a gudgeon. It’s only a cat, that’s what.”

“I can bloody well see that. Wizard! Look at those ugly black patches on its back.”

Bent on mischief, Lester was unimpressed with the outward appearance of the animal. He reached for a pitchfork leaning against the wall and tied the kitten’s tether to the end of the handle. Gillian bit her lip, knowing she could not sit quietly in the loft and watch the boys hurt the cat. Her hand brushed the basket, forgotten in her lap, and her eyes narrowed. Her fingers tightened around the largest of the apples. Satisfied that she was well prepared, she waited calmly for the right moment to spring her attack.

“Have a care,” Chad cautioned as the bigger boy tugged on the leather leash. “Don’t pull on that!”

“Stubble it! I want to see if the cat can fly.”

He raised the pitchfork and as the thong tightened on the kitten’s neck, Chad threw himself at Lester, knocking the implement from his hand. For a moment the boy remained still, the only sign of his anger, the flush of red that rose to his face. Then with a bellow of rage Lester’s fists flashed out in a flurry of blows that knocked the slimmer boy to the ground. From the hayloft above, Gillian could see the dazed look in Chad’s eyes and knew the fight was nearly over.

As Lester brought his fist back for one more punishing blow, she raised her hand and threw the apple with all her might. She heard the bully cry out as the projectile hit him but she did not wait to assay the damage. Reaching into the basket for another apple, she launched each missile with deadly accuracy, smiling grimly as finally the boy threw his arms over his head and raced out the open barn door.

“Oh, I say, that was well done,” Chad said, voice tinged with awe as he looked up at the loft from his position on the ground.

“Are you all right?” she called down.

“Bloody nose is all.” He brushed the tumble of black curls out of his eyes, his forehead furrowed as he stared up at her. “Who are you?”

“Gillian. Gillian Foster.”

“Professor Foster’s daughter?” At her nod, he grinned. “I remember you now. You used to have long red pigtails and your front teeth were missing. Can you still spit so far?”

BOOK: The Five Kisses
7.44Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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