by Sophia Nash

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He had once been her cherished childhood companion, and then the man she lusted for in secret, but Georgiana Wilde hasn't seen recently widowed Quinn Fortesque since the day he married another woman and shattered her heart. Then fate intervenes and brings the man she dreams about each night back to her . . . .

Returning to the estate on family business, Quinn would like nothing more than to turn the land over to Georgiana and leave the memories of his former life behind. But then the brooding marquis finds himself under the spell of the beauty he once left behind. With her barely concealed passions, Georgiana melts his coolly guarded heart. Suddenly his well-ordered world is in danger of crashing down. And it all began with just one kiss . . . .

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780061231377
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 02/26/2008
Series: Widows Club Series , #2
Pages: 384
Product dimensions: 4.18(w) x 6.75(h) x 0.96(d)

About the Author

Sophia Nash was born in Switzerland and raised in France and the United States, but says her heart resides in Regency England. Her ancestor, an infamous French admiral who traded epic cannon fire with the British Royal Navy, is surely turning in his grave.

Before pursuing her long-held dream of writing, Sophia was an award-winning television producer for a CBS affiliate, a congressional speechwriter, and a nonprofit CEO. She lives in the Washington, D.C., suburbs with her husband and two children.

Sophia's novels have won twelve national awards, including the prestigious RITA® Award, and two spots on Booklist's "Top Ten Romances of the Year."

Read an Excerpt

The Kiss

Chapter One

Twelve months later . . .

"Thank goodness you're returned, Quinn," the dowager marchioness said, rushing toward the thirteenth Marquis of Ellesmere. "I'd despaired of ever seeing you again. Why, my daughters and I were certain those pagan tribesmen would kill you off and then where would we all be?"

Quinn Fortesque resisted the urge to tell his aunt that if he were dead he probably wouldn't care a whit. He also knew any attempt to educate her on the civility of the Portuguese was futile. Instead, he slowly rose from the mandarin–style desk lodged in the library of Ellesmere House, Number Sixteen Portman Square, in the most important city in the world, and ruthlessly held in check his pagan desire to cut short the false welcome. "I hope I find you in good health, madam? And my cousins?"

"Henrietta and Margaret are well enough, but I fear my nerves will never recover." She sighed as if onstage and coyly offered her hand to him.

He took care to brush his lips on her fingers instead of kissing the air above as he was sure so many other gentlemen did. It brought a blush to the former beauty, just as he had known it would. Those who had had exquisite form only to watch it depart on aged feet were the ladies who appreciated attention more so than those who had never had any beauty to begin with. He offered this kiss, this laurel branch of peace, to the woman who hadn't spared him a thought until the moment of her son's death.

Lady Ellesmere sighed and sank into the low-slung Egyptian settee near the massive fireplace.

Quinn's aunt and uncle had always had a penchant for surroundingthemselves with the most exotic, and most expensive furnishings. Upon his arrival two hours prior, Quinn had taken in the Italian silk draperies, the Chinese–influenced wall hangings, and the Grecian-themed carpeting. Why, the mansion was a veritable model for harmonious international diplomacy . . . among furniture merchants. Well, the Fortesque fortune could withstand the outrageous expense, and it was no doubt due to the machinations of the family's triumvirate comprised of a ham-handed solicitor, a stoic banker and a deceptively polite London steward.

His aunt tittered to break his prolonged silence. "Margaret and Hen are scouring the shops on Bond Street in preparation for the little season. If we'd known your ship was to arrive today, you can be sure they would've been here to greet you. We've so much to discuss." The marchioness withdrew an exquisitely embroidered handkerchief from her pocket and pressed the square of fine linen to her dry eyes. "To think the last time we were all together we were so blissfully happy and didn't even know it."

He raised one brow a fraction of an inch. Blissfully happy was not exactly the way he would have described his sentiments all those years ago when he had been lectured, whipped, and packed off to school on the back of his uncle's dogcart one cold, dark morning before the cock crowed. "I'm sorry you've been forced to suffer so, madam," he said quietly.

"Oh, you always—well, for the most part at least—behaved properly. Not that you shouldn't have, you understand. Nephews are always supposed to have impeccable manners."

Especially nephews who were penniless orphans.

"And I must thank you again for not getting yourself killed. I only wish you had come sooner to see to the marauder who has the audacity to call herself—"

"Madam, perhaps you didn't hear there was a minor problem of the colonies declaring war just after our diplomatic corps finished regrouping following the French withdrawal."

"Yes, yes, but you must remove that horrid gel from Penrose. I insist upon it. Why, she is running it to rack and ruin. The expenses are outrageous. Within a day of running us off the estate she shoved my dear, dear Anthony into a cold grave without telling us and then re-thatched the cottages of every petty laborer and tenant on the estate."

He would not interrupt her again. It would end all the sooner if he allowed her to have her say. Once.

"And she has the audacity to pass herself off as the new marchioness," she moaned. "As if someone who is intimately familiar with the barnyard has the right to sleep in my bed! The horror of it. Quinn, you must force the inquiry. It's moving much too slowly. The marriage wasn't valid. I'm certain of it. No one believes that half-cocked story she told of my dear Anthony choking during a late supper. And one of the maids hinted that the bed linens . . . well, I am too delicate to tell you more. You must question her yourself and you must see our solicitor and go before the House of Lords, and you must go to Penrose and toss that ungrateful Georgiana Wilde and her scheming family out of my room and off our land. I'll not set one foot there until every last trace of that family is removed from my home, ahem, our home." She finally paused for breath.

For a moment Quinn had feared she might expire from lack of air. He looked at her silently for a long moment until she finally recollected something.

"Quinn, you do have my deepest condolences. We were dreadfully sorry to hear about Cynthia a year and a half ago." Her expression changed. "I remember hearing how beautiful she was on your wedding day. I'm sorry I wasn't there to see it, your uncle was perhaps a bit unrelenting in your case—well . . . the columns said Cynthia wore a lovely pale blue gown with Valenciennes bobbin lace ruffles. I understand she was almost as pretty as your cousin Henrietta . . ." She had the good sense to stop when she glanced at him.

Quinn relaxed the features on his face to encourage her to prose on. It was always better to know the enemy's plans than to be caught unawares at a later date.

The Kiss. Copyright © by Sophia Nash. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

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Kiss 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 29 reviews.
janeeyre01 More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed reading this book. I had picked up one of the series at the library and then got to wondering if it was a series and it was so I then had to go find this one at the bookstore. It is a very touching book. The story is very sweet and romantic. I was in tears by the end. You just can't help feel what the heroine is feeling. There is one character that i got frustrated with though I liked her when she got her own book. Third one I think:-) I just felt she was a little dimwitted in the first two. When you read it you will see what I mean. Great book! I can't wait for the next one.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Fifteen years ago, Georgiana Wilde, Anthony Fortesque, and Quinn Fortesque were the best of childhood friends, until a tragic accident left Georgiana brutally injured and Quinn wrongly banished from his family estate. Years later, Georgiana is now the widow of her childhood friend, Anthony, the Marquis of Ellesmere. And Quinn Fortesque, the man Georgiana has passionately loved her entire life, is back and the new Marquis. Quinn has no desire to return to the family estate in Cornwall or to the childhood memories he¿d rather not recall. However, he must return to settle estate business and the mystery of Georgiana¿s marriage to Anthony. In the process, Quinn remembers the young girl he left behind and must now reconcile himself with the beautiful, passionate woman Georgiana has become. And it all started with just one, simple kiss! Sophia Nash¿s The Kiss is a breathtaking story of three childhood friends who become adults caught in a tenuous love triangle. The plot is intricate and refreshingly unique. The characters are deep, abiding, and richly three dimensional. Most importantly, Sophia Nash¿s writing style breathes life into her hero and heroine. You feel Georgiana¿s unrequited longing for Quinn, and your soul cries out for Quinn as he struggles with a past he is determined not to face. The Kiss is a pleasure to read, and read again. I can not recommend this book enough it¿s absolute perfection!
harstan More than 1 year ago
In Cornwall as children Quinn Fortesque, Anthony Fortesque and Georgiana Wilde were best friends. One day Quinn left to marry someone else without warning and a heartbroken Georgiana wedded Anthony although she dreamed of being the wife of Quinn. On their wedding night, Anthony tragically died.------------- Quinn comes home to Penrose allegedly to inspect his estate, but instead he plans to uncover the root cause of a potential scandal that impacts his and Georgiana¿s family. Georgiana expects he will dispossess her leaving her with no place to go. However, Quinn has come home not because he loathes Georgiana, but because he loves her and always has. Obtaining assistance from a merry widows group and his daughter, Quinn begins his campaign to win his beloved¿s heart unaware he already has it as he always did.------------- This is an interesting historical romance starring two obstinate likable protagonists who have a second chance at love if they take that opportunity. The story line is fast-paced once the lead couple sees each other for the first time in fifteen years and never slows down. Although somewhat typical of the sub-genre, Sophia Nash¿s strong characters especially the Wilde and Fortesque families make this a strong tale that will send new fans seeking the author¿s previous work (see A DANGEROUS BEAUTY).------------ Harriet Klausner
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Better than I expected. Really enjoyed the primary and secondary characters. Yes, the misunderstanding could have been resolved earlier, but did not have an issue with the pace of the book. Sophia was in need of a book of her own which I hope to find next.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was a sweet romantic read. I loved the journey it took. I will read more from this author.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
She loved him.....forever. He loved her ....forever. However she couldn't believe he would love her ---and he couldn't believe she would love him. Halfway through the book you just want to shake them and yell...WAKE UP ALREADY. They were not a bad couple. They were an extremely boring couple. If I had paid more then a buck for this I would be annoyed. As it is I'll chalk it up to a poor choice and keep away from this writer in the future.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Very good read. Loved the main characters, you could feel emotions between them. I was so stressed, did not know if they were going to end up together. Highly recommend.
curlyloulou More than 1 year ago
Not read many of her books but this one was entertaining.
montano on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Historical romances are dramatic by definition but authors have wide latitude in how they express said drama. Nash has created two of the most annoying protagonists ever! Misunderstandings and noble self sacrifice are time honored devices but Georgiana Wilde is the most presumptuous, irritating character I've ever had the misfortune to read. I slogged through till nearly the final climax but the incessant, unrelenting misunderstandings were just impossible to get past. I finally just threw the book down. I didn't care how it was resolved.
Jenson_AKA_DL on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Years ago Georgiana, a tenant¿s daughter, became great friends with the young Marquis of Ellesmere, Anthony, and his cousin, Quinn, until a tragic accident irreparably scarred Georgiana and destroyed the friendship between cousins. Now, Georgiana is the widow of the late Anthony and subject to Quinn, the lost love of her life come back to take over the estate. Quinn had long since given up on love, having lost everything he cared about due to the lies of those close to him. Now he cares only for his daughter, or so he tells himself, but face to face with Georgiana he cannot deny that there is one other person he wants to trust with all his heart.Sometimes historical romances rather feel like they're all the same. Even though this shares similarities with others, I do think the story stands apart. I liked the characters introduced here and despite the fact that I'm not usually fond of the "multiple misunderstanding" plotline I didn't mind it so much here. I did find Gerogiana's inability to believe that Quinn could honestly care for her a bit annoying, especially in light of everything he does for her, although it never became totally overbearing enough to turn me off from the story. I found the love scenes to be steamy without being overly graphic which I thought was nice. I liked the different animals in the story from Gwendolyn the hog, to the falcons and Quinn's cat. I really liked Quinn's daughter's name, Fairleigh, and felt her character was enjoyably precocious.Overall a very nice historical romance that I would certainly recommend to lovers of the genre.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Back again :P
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