All Categories

  • All Categories
  • Kindle Unlimited
  • What's New
  • Coming Soon
  • Holiday
  • Christmas
  • Easter
  • Halloween
  • Hanukkah
  • Kwanzaa
  • Thanksgiving
  • Valentines
  • Yule
  • Editor's Choice
  • Collections
  • Anthology
  • Bundles
  • Cravings
  • Divorced Divas
  • Noted
  • Route 66
  • Scorched Souls
  • Valentine's On Venus
  • Holiday Countdown
  • Holiday Countdown 2016
  • Holiday Countdown 2017
  • Holiday Countdown 2018
  • Twelve Days of Christmas 2019
  • Twelve Days of Christmas 2020
  • Summer Shorts 2017
  • Summer Shorts 2018
  • 2017 Mile High City collection
  • Mainstream Fiction
  • Bizzaro
  • Contemporary
  • Erotica
  • BDSM
  • Fantasy
  • Historical
  • Horror
  • Mystery and Suspense
  • Paranormal
  • Science Fiction
  • Romance
  • Contemporary Romance
  • Erotic Romance
  • Fantasy Romance
  • Historical Romance
  • Horror
  • LGBTQIA+ Romance
  • Paranormal Romance
  • Romantic Suspense and Mystery
  • Science Fiction Romance
  • Omegaverse
  • Young Adult
  • (YA) Contemporary
  • (YA) Historical
  • (YA) Mystery and Suspense
  • (YA) Paranormal and Urban Fantasy
  • (YA) Romance
  • (YA) Science Fiction and Fantasy
  • Juvenile
  • Foreign Languages
  • Dutch
  • Italian
  • Spanish
Advance Search

A Kiss in the Dark

Published by: eXtasy Books

Author : Lark Westerly

ISBN :978-1-4874-4016-9

Page :78

Word Count :20317

Publication Date :2023-12-29

Series : Tanqueray#1

Heat Level :

Available Formats : A Kiss in the Dark (epub) , A Kiss in the Dark (mobi) , A Kiss in the Dark (pdf) , A Kiss in the Dark (prc)

Category : Fantasy Romance , Paranormal Romance , Romance

  • Product Code: 978-1-4874-4016-9

Ancella Tanqueray and Pomeroy Harcourt had been sweethearting ever since Ancella’s first braid ball. They never said so, but everyone knew. Why, then, was Ancella so reluctant to open Pomeroy’s New Year gift?

Ancella and Emelie are best friends. Together, they played games in the ash-key wing of Tanqueray Manor. This was where ancient Aunt Zerenity told them about the dance called Kiss-in-the-Dark. It sounded romantic and not at all proper, but Ancella and Emelie never expected to dance it themselves.

Years later, Ancella is being courted by Pomeroy Harcourt. After his amazing New Year gift to her, she has almost decided to accept his proposal if he ever gets around to making it. Why not? Her family likes him. So does her dog, Glory. Emelie seems less than impressed, but at the New Year ball Emelie arrives with a handsome beau of her own. The scene is set for a night of romance, music, annoying brothers, misunderstandings and the late Aunt Zerenity’s desire that the young folk should dance Kiss-in-the-Dark.


Ancella Tanqueray gazed at the gift hanging from the highest horizontal bough of the family December Tree.

Her mother, Célène, who was always correct, called it the Arbre de Décembre, but Ancella preferred the name old Aunt Zerenity used.

The gift had Ancella’s name on the dangling tag. She’d been trying not to look at it for what seemed a bit like forever.

At least it’s small.

She wasn’t sure if that was a good thing or a bad thing. Her brothers were waiting patiently, lined up like four overgrown calves staring at a rosebush and wishing the prickles away. They had opened their gifts, and they had less interest in their sister’s gift than calves had in roses for anything other than sustenance.

That was an unkind thought, but the mental image wouldn’t go. Nor would her brothers.

The boys were all fair-haired in some degree, and they all had blue eyes. Ancella thought they would be good-looking men once they got over the stage of eating anything that wasn’t tied down and, in the case of the younger two at least, bringing unsuitable things into the manor in their pockets or stuffed inside their shirts. Some aunt or other had bullied, persuaded, or bribed them into tidy breeches or short pants and maize-coloured linen shirts for the upcoming ball. Ancella wished whoever had done it had thought to pick different colours. That way no one would think she—or he—was seeing in quadruplicate.

Horry, for example, would do better in dark red. That would absorb the cherry-stains he would no doubt acquire during his engagement with the supper table. Guy might look good in plaid. She frowned, wondering why she thought so, then shrugged it off.

Just one of those peculiar notions.

The other two…Ancella mentally threw up her hands. Her brothers’ sartorial choices had nothing to do with her.

 Next year would bring differences in any case. Rupert and Robert, the unfortunately named twins—what had Maman and Papa been thinking?—would be stepping out in men’s attire, having tipped over the edge into adulthood. For now, they were dressed just like their younger-by-three-years brother, Guy.

Horry, the youngest, not yet into his teen years, had short pants that cleared his unusually clean knees. He shuffled his boots.

Ancella noted they were his everyday ones. Even authoritative aunts had their limitations. Pity help the poor young maiden who agreed to dance with Horry in those clodhoppers. He would dance. It was a family ball, and it would look odd if he didn’t. Besides, he enjoyed it.

Guy, the next brother up, caught like his twin brothers between boyhood and almost-a-man, tried an elbow to Horry’s ribs. “Shush.”

Rupert and Robert, at the top of the pack, looked bored. No doubt they wanted to be somewhere else, in someone else’s company.

Well, Ancella did, too.

“Just open the thing, Cella!” Guy muttered.

Don’t call me Cella! 

The diminutive was all right on its own, but her brothers were too likely to add a salt in front or a door behind.

Ancella still stared, mesmerised, at the dangling gift. It was wrapped in—what? She couldn’t tell, but it must be a substance the donor had made, or found, or invented, or converted.

“Ancella, please do open your gift,” her mother said with the slightest edge to her voice. “The rest have been tidied away and the guests will be here soon.”

“I don’t think I can reach it,” Ancella said, crossing her ankles and folding her hands in her lap.

Her mother gave her a look. It spoke volumes. Don’t you try that on, my girl… Of age you might be—three years past—but while you’re under our roof…besides, you’ve been able to conjure these ten years…

Horry bounced forward like an over-excited puppy and sprang at the tree. He caught the package in one hand, snapping the ribbon that suspended it and making the horizontal bough swing wildly. Three delicate blown glass nouvelle année ornaments lost their grip and pinged off into space.

Célène Tanqueray rescued them before any damage was done.

Bringing up five children born over the span of a decade had made her reactions faster than seemed possible.

“Thank you, Horatio,” she said pleasantly to her youngest. “Hand the gift to your sister.”

Horry turned to Ancella with his most disarming grin. “Here, Salt Cellar.”

“Must you?”

“Salt Pig then. Papa says that’s a viable alternative.”

You little horror.

Ancella rose from the settle. She grinned back at him with as much menace as she could muster. She took the gift with a curtsy and thanked him mendaciously.

“It’s not from me, Cella,” he said. He rolled his forget-me-not blue eyes. “It’s from Pomeroy.” He drawled the name. He was being annoying for the sake of it, Ancella thought. He liked Pom. They all did. He was like an extra brother who fitted in above the twins. Sometimes, in fact, Ancella suspected Horry liked Pom more than he liked her.

“I know who it’s from,” Ancella said.

Rupert, the elder twin by ten minutes, said quietly, “Why don’t you just get it over with? And what’s the grand to-do about anyway? Everyone knows he’s been courting you forever.”

So he had, in an absent-minded fashion, though not exactly forever.

Three years is not forever. Not nearly.

“It’s because it’s going to be peculiar,” she said, surprised into truth.

“So? Pom’s a peculiar chap.” Rupert paused.

The words, Must be, since he wants you for a sweetheart boomed in the silence. Visibly, Rupert held them back. He said instead, “Peculiarity is interesting and unexpected. And it’d be peculiar if he didn’t give you a peculiar gift.”

“Very true.”

“You’re expecting it, so you won’t be too much shocked.”

“I hope it’s a beetle,” Horry piped up.

Write a review

Note: HTML is not translated!
    Bad           Good

Related Products

Tags: Romance, Fantasy, Paranormal