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I Wish for Your Kiss

Christmas Lites

The Wild Rose Press

Heat Rating: SWEET
Word Count: 16,410
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Justin Wexley, Marquess of Rockton has decided he doesn't want to be married. He has come to this conclusion after many uncomfortable experiences with young women who were thrust upon him by their domineering mothers as possible candidates for the position of his future wife and Marchioness. He is tired of discussing the weather with these silly, nitwitted girls. He is perfectly happy taking care of his large estate with the knowledge that one day his cousin, a smart and diligent young man, will one day inherit his title and property.
Miss Catherine Simms arrives at her friend's home in the country to celebrate Christmas with her and her family. She discovers that the Marquess of Rockton has also been included in the invitation. Catherine has heard the rumors about Lord Rockton's aversion to marriage. She finds him to be intelligent as well as handsome and greatly enjoys the time spent with him. Regrettably, they part under less than ideal circumstances on Christmas day.
Fate works its magic and the two of them meet again two years later. Can Justin and Catherine forget about their less than ideal experiences from the past and begin to make lovely, happy moments together in the present?

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“My lord, take these for your hands.” Grayson appeared at his elbow holding out a pair of worn gloves.

“You don’t want to ruin yours on the prickly holly bushes.” Edward called as he climbed into the carriage. “I had my man get you an old pair from the stables. There is also some gardening scissors inside the front compartment to cut the thicker branches with.”

“Follow us,” Mary added from her seat as she handed the baby to her husband. “We’ll stop at a spot where it’s easier for the children to reach the greenery. The place where you two should collect is just beyond.”

“I understand.” Justin took the old gloves from Grayson and looked for a place to put them. There wasn’t much extra room inside the tiny vehicle. He was aware of a soothing, warm sensation inside his chest he guessed was caused by the heat radiating from Catherine’s body just inches from his side.

“I’ll take them.”

Catherine reached across, and their gloved fingers tangled together for a brief second. Justin heard her muffled gasp as she swiftly moved her hand away and dropped the gloves in her lap.

“We’re off.” A sudden thrill of pleasure went through him as he noticed Catherine’s reaction. Could it be she was affected by their close proximity as well? It should prove to make their outing a very interesting one if that was the case. He flicked the reins and urged the horse forward to follow behind the carriage.

As soon as they rounded a corner and moved away from the house, Catherine yanked the hat off of her head and pulled the scarf down from her nose and mouth. “There. That is so much more comfortable.”

Out of the corner of his eye, Justin saw her straighten her glossy curls with a gloved hand. He had a sudden image of his own fingers stroking the silky strands. His heart pounded erratically, and he took a deep breath in an effort to calm himself. “Promise… promise me that you will cover up again if you get cold.”

“Of course, I promise. But I’m certain there will be no need.” Her joyous laugh rang out. “Oh, it’s so nice to be outdoors in the fresh air. Look, there is not a cloud in the sky!”

As he urged the mare forward, Justin realized that anyone would be hard-pressed to stay gloomy in her company for long. Not only was she obviously a happy person, she was intelligent and a lively conversationalist. It was a joy to be around her.