In a romance, so various mentors have told me, the sexual tension builds and builds until at last the couple kiss. And if that moment is not at the end of the story, when all the conflicts and plot twists are resolved, than the writer has a problem.
We’ve got them together. Now how do we pull them apart? For the tension to continue, their relationship can’t stay in calm waters. Our readers need to feel their longing. After the kiss comes the slap, or the fight, or the pull between loyalties, or some other interruption to their courtship.
This week, I have another excerpt from A Raging Madness. It comes when my couple’s first kiss, began almost accidentally but continued with enthusiasm, has been interrupted by external noises.
She dropped her hands from his shoulders, tried to cover her breast and pull down her hem, blushed furiously in the dark. “I am so sorry, Alex,” she said. Though whether she was sorry to stop or sorry that they had ever started, she had no idea.
After a moment, he pulled away, swinging his legs around so that he sat beside her on the bed.
“I am not that kind of woman,” she said, trying to sound convincing to herself when her whole body was screaming to complete what they had begun.
“Right.” He sounded strained. She could hear him sucking a breath in, then letting it slowly out through his teeth.
“I cannot apologise enough…” Ella began, but Alex interrupted, his voice as courteous as ever, though she could hear the strain in it.
“The fault is mine, Ella. I meant only to salute you for the gift of my future, and I forgot myself. I..” He stopped, and took another deep breath. “I cannot bring myself to apologise. For any impression of disrespect, yes, indeed. I beg your pardon with all my heart if I have offended. But for offending you, not for kissing you.” He stood, and moved away from the bed. She could not make out what he was doing, but he had not returned to his own bed on the other side of the cabin.
“It was everything I have dreamed this age,” he said, almost under his breath. This age? He had been dreaming of kissing her this age?
But she had to correct his misconception. “Each other,” she said.
Whatever he was doing—it sounded as if he was putting on his boots—he stopped. “Each other?”
“We kissed each other,” she explained.
The amusement was back when he replied. “We did, and very nicely too.”
“And we cannot do it again,” Ella warned, hoping her regret was not obvious.
“No, I suppose not. I am going to take a short walk, Ella. I won’t go far, but the cold will be— beneficial.”
He had opened the hatch and was leaving before she spoke again, giving him a gift of words in return for his.
“It was better than I dreamed.”
His only response was a catch in his step before he continued, but a few minutes later she could hear him begin to whistle as he walked the canal path.