After the kiss on WIP Wednesday

canal-path-at-nightIn 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.

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Kisses on WIP Wednesday

kissing_by_splashofrainbowFirst, or one of many; gentle, passionate, hungry, demanding, or affectionate; welcome or not so much: hit me with a kiss from your work-in-progress.

Here’s mine, from the book that is with the editor and currently called Prudence in Love (which may, at any moment, become Revealed in Mist.)

Mrs. Allen was just enquiringly anxiously about whether she should hold dinner when Allen opened the door to Prue and her sister. David was in the hall in moments, barely aware of moving, but he halted, unwilling to embarrass Prue by embracing her in front of her sister and the servants.

Prue had no such qualms. She stopped in the midst of untying her bonnet and flung herself towards him, her face alight with welcome, stopping just within arms reach.

“You are here! I thought perhaps tomorrow… Oh, David, I am so glad to see you.” At that, as if she could not contain herself any longer, she held out both her hands, and he lifted them with both his own and pressed a kiss on the gloved backs, all the time drowning in the glow of her eyes.

“Let us give them a moment,” Prue’s sister murmured to the Allens, and she climbed the stairs while they went back downstairs to the service rooms.

David drew Prue into his study, and carefully shut the door before seizing her for the kiss he had been imagining this past month. She met his passion with her own, returning his assault on her lips with a bruising assault of her own, her hands meanwhile sliding up under his waistcoat to clutch him to her as if she would pull herself right inside his flesh.

He pressed her against the wall beside the door, one of his own hands cupping her buttocks and the other, at first clasped around her shoulders to hold her to him and protect her back, now creeping to lift her skirt that they might, indeed, bury themselves in one another.

Impatiently, she dropped one of her own hands to fumble at his buttons.

“Prue,” he murmured. “Oh, Prue, how I’ve missed this.”

A knock on the door froze them both. “Mrs. Allen will be serving dinner shortly, Prue,” her sister called. “Do you not wish to change? Or at least take off your bonnet and coat, and wash your face and hands?”

David met Prue’s eyes, smiling tenderly. Her redingote was in a heap on the floor behind her, and her bonnet was gone. Ah yes. There it was, tossed onto his desk on the other side of the room, though he had no memory of removing it.

“I had best take my hands off you, Prue, or I shall make us both late for dinner, and your sister shall scold.”

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First kisses on WIP Wednesday

Today, I’m featuring first kisses. With four works-in-progress underway at the same time, I have a few to choose from. Two of them are not at all far along, but I was in a party on Facebook where kisses were the theme of the day, so I wrote a kiss scene for each.

Below is the first kiss between Alex Redepenning and Ella Melville, hero and heroine of A Raging Madness, the second Golden Redepenning book. How about showing me yours?

In A Raging Madness, Alex Redepenning is rescuing the widow Eleanor Melville from her scheming relatives. Alex and Ella are fighting the attraction between them. I haven’t yet written as far as their first kiss, but I’m guessing it is going to go something like this:

“How is your leg?” she said, doing a creditable job of keeping her voice steady. Alex could not be so calm. He had nearly lost her!

She knelt beside him looking anxiously at the pernicious limb. To hell with the leg. “Ella!” She turned her head to meet his eyes. He said it again, his voice breaking. “Ella.”

Her eyes full of wonder, she lifted her hand to touch his face, and he noticed the holes in the crown of her hat.

“Your hat!” he managed. She untied and unpinned it; removed it and poked a finger into one hole and then the other.

“The bullet went through my hat!” She sounded surprised, but not alarmed.

“Too close.” Unable to bear the distance, he tugged her into his arms. “Too close, Ella.” He folded her close and tucked his face into her hair.

She pulled back, warning him, “Alex, be careful of your leg!” Her face turned up to him tempted him beyond measure, and he covered her mouth with his, the thwarted desire of a decade or more released by the fear of the last half hour.

Damn the leg, he would have said, but her mouth had risen to meet his, and he had no breath for speech; no mind with which to think. In all the universe, there was only Ella.

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First kisses

Someone I know is publishing a collection of first kisses. I love the idea, so here are a few of mine!

Farewell to Kindness

the kiss 3“I think your brandy may be ready to drink.”

Anne started to lift it to her mouth.

“No. Wait,” Rede said. “Swirl, sniff, and then sip. Here, let me show you.” He leaned forward and cupped his hand around the glass over hers.

“Swirl.” He moved her hand gently in a small, tight circle.

“Sniff.” He held the glass several inches from her nose and again swirled it slightly, then shifted it closer.

“Now sip. Just a small amount, slowly. Let it slide over your tongue.”

The kissAnne followed his directions, not taking her eyes off Rede. This time, the brandy seemed a lot smoother. The flavour filled her mouth, the fiery liquid warmed her throat.

Rede had not removed his hands, and now he leaned forward still further, his eyes holding her motionless.

He came closer and closer, slowly. He would stop if she protested. She should protest. She would not.

The first brush of his lips on hers was brief, and light as a feather. He drew back enough to look into her eyes, then leaned in again. This time, his lips landed and stayed, moulding to the shape of her mouth. After a moment, he began to move, cruising along her upper lip with tiny pecks and then along the lower. He settled again, this time his mouth slightly open. Was that his tongue, sliding along her lips? How odd. How… pleasant.

She opened her own lips, and was rewarded with a hum of approval before he dipped his tongue into her mouth. Tentatively she touched his tongue with her own, which sent a tingle down through her breasts to her belly.

He hummed again, this time almost a moan.

So he liked that, did he? She began to copy, doing to him what he was doing to her. At some level, she was conscious that he had removed the brandy glass from her hands and set it to one side. With that out of the way, he came to his knees before her chair, and she found herself widening her legs so that he could press up against her.

She was aflame with sensation, barely aware of all the ways he was touching her; his hand on the curve of her waist, pulling her into his body; his lips, teeth and tongue teasing and tasting. His other hand had somehow found its way inside her robe, and was lightly stroking its way up her breast, ever closer and closer to the nipple, which had pebbled so hard it was almost painful.

Candle’s Christmas Chair

the kiss 2And then she pressed her sweet lips to his and he was lost. With a groan he enfolded her in his arms, slid his hands up behind her head, and deepened the kiss.

It could have been a minute; it could have been months. Time ceased to exist as he explored her mouth and she followed his lead. Her tentative movements, bold and shy at the same time, intoxicated him and he was conscious of nothing but the burning need to sink into her softness. Until a piece of gravel on the path turned as he shifted his knee, and dug into his skin.

He drew away from her with a groan.

Had he done that? Her lips were swollen and red, a sleeve was pulled down baring her shoulder, and one glorious breast was nearly tipped out of her dress. Another nudge, and he’d see…

He blinked, and shook the idea out of his head. “Min, my own dearest love.” He had to be calm. She looked as dazed as he felt. Probably more so, given her innocence. If his world was shaken, hers must be reeling.

“I would help you put yourself to rights, beloved. But I don’t dare touch you.”

She straightened her dress, repinned the lace cap she wore in her hair, rewrapped her shawl around her, all the while sneaking peeks at him and colouring each time their eyes met.

Before they left the succession house, he put a finger on her now clothed arm.

“Min, will you accept my apology, beloved? I meant no disrespect, I promise you. I should never have kissed you. I know how powerfully I react when we touch.”

To his surprise, she suddenly grinned. “Ah but Ran, you forget. I kissed you first.”

Encouraging Prudence (wip)

the kiss 4“Prue?” He lifted on hand to gently stroke the side of her face, his own eyes suddenly unguarded. She responded to the concern and, yes, the yearning, leaning towards him as he moved to meet her lips with her own.

She had come home. Except for that one night five months ago, Prue had been a stranger, an outsider, living hidden in the margins all her life, but here in David’s arms she was known; she belonged.

For a long moment, she let herself revel in the feeling, but she knew it wasn’t true. She had no home. She had to remember that if David knew all, he would reject her. But — as he shifted himself closer to her chair to deepen the kiss — at least she had been wrong about his indifference to her. This close to him, she couldn’t doubt that he wanted her physically.

He was the first to draw back.

“Prue.” Just her name, but with a wealth of longing in it.

Her defences down, she spoke what she thought, “Not just friends, David,” and was rewarded by the flare in his eyes.

“Friends… and lovers too?” His voice was tentative, as if he expected to be rebuffed.

She reached for him, answering his question with a kiss, stopping only when the turnkey knocked.

David crossed the room to the door before saying, “Enter!”

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First kiss scene from Farewell to Kindness

The heroine is staying at the hero’s house. When she cannot sleep, she goes to check on the rest of her family, and meets him in the darkened hall. He invites her to sit with him in the old Minstrel’s Gallery.

bluedrink setRede set the tray down, and took the candleholder from her to light candles in a candelabra that sat with others on a shelf just inside the door.

The room was not more than eight feet from where they had entered to the opposite wall, but stretched out to her left for an indeterminable distance. The near corner of the room was lit by the candelabra Rede set on the small table where he’d set the tray. Within the circle of light was the opposite wall, only a few feet high, letting out onto a dark void.

“It looks out over the Great Hall,” Rede told her, motioning to a chair.

Anne sat. She really should not be alone with him. She was sure Ruth and Hannah would advise her to beg a candle and take herself to bed. Alone. Of course, alone.

candelabraRede broke into her thoughts. “Your sister seems very excited about the Assembly.” He passed her the drink he had poured.

She smiled, fondly. “It is a great opportunity for her.” She took a sip, and blinked rapidly.

“What is this? It is very…” She paused, trying to find words to describe how it tasted.

“Your first brandy? Don’t drink it yet. Cup the glass with your hands so that the drink warms.”

He followed his own advice, bending his head to inhale the smell from the glass as he held it in both hands.

Anne, with most of her attention on copying him, said, “It has been hard for her when the other girls are talking about coming out; knowing that she must wait.”

He tipped his head to the side and raised his brow. “You plan a come out for her, then?”

“Just in Bath. Or perhaps Cheltenham? Not this year, though. We hope for next year, but the year after is more likely.”

“She is young yet. You have time enough, surely.”

Anne shook her head. “She is already 18. But she is very lovely. I am certain that she will ‘take’.”

“Ah. You are seeking a husband for her, then.” Rede sounded as if he disapproved.

“Should I not? Someone to love her; someone she can love. And children. She would make a wonderful mother, I think.”

“Wealth and title, I suppose.” He kept his voice neutral, but she could sense the sneer. What right had he to make assumptions and then sneer?

She refused to rise to his baiting.

“A competence is a useful thing for a couple starting life together. I would not like her to be poor. Wealth, however, is not necessary to happiness, in my view.” No need to tell Rede that Kitty would bring wealth enough to any marriage. Indeed, if she could, Anne would like to keep that information from Kitty’s putative suitors.

Rede inclined his head, making no comment.

“I do not hope for a title. Quite the contrary. Those peers I have met are, on the whole, arrogant and self-centred.” She swirled her brandy, absently. The amber liquid glowed where it caught the light. “I dare say it is not their fault. They are raised to think the world owes them respect, and make no effort to be worthy of it. I cannot think such a man would make my Kitty happy.”

“Ouch,” Rede murmured.

She raised her eyes to his, suddenly realising how her diatribe sounded. “Oh, Rede. I did not mean you. You have been everything kind.” Flustered, she sought to change the subject.

“That is an unusual shawl.” In the better light, she could see it was striped, with the occasional broad red stripe and the other stripes woven blue and white, red and white, and yellow and white. The long knotted fringe swung as he moved his legs, twisting slightly as he looked down.

leg-sash“My ceinture flechée? Yes, there can’t be many of them in England. My wife’s people make them.” He ran his hand over it where it fell from the knot around his waist. “Marie Joséphe made this one for me. These are her family’s colours.”

“Marie Joséphe was your wife.”

“Hmm, yes.” He was focused on the shawl.

“What did you call it? Ceinture flechée? Arrow sash?”

“For the pattern. I think your brandy may be ready to drink.”

Anne started to lift it to her mouth.

“No. Wait,” Rede said. “Swirl, sniff, and then sip. Here; let me show you.” He leant forward and cupped his hand around the glass over hers.

“Swirl.” He moved her hand gently in a small tight circle.

“Sniff.” He held the glass several inches from her nose and again swirled it slightly, then shifted it closer.

“Now sip. Just a small amount, slowly. Let it slide over your tongue.”

Anne followed his directions, not taking her eyes off Rede. This time, the brandy seemed a lot smoother. The flavour filled her mouth, the fiery liquid warmed her throat.

Rede had not removed his hands, and now he leaned forward still further, his eyes holding her motionless.

He came closer and closer, slowly. He would stop if she protested. She should protest. She would not.

Almost_Kiss__in_Black___White_by_AshsAshsAlFalDwnThe first brush of his lips on hers was brief, and light as a feather. He drew back enough to look into her eyes, then leaned in again. This time, his lips landed and stayed, moulding to the shape of her mouth. After a moment, he began to move, cruising along her upper lip with tiny pecks and then along the lower. He settled again, this time his mouth slightly open. Was that his tongue, sliding along her lips? How odd. How… pleasant.

She opened her own lips, and was rewarded with a hum of approval before he dipped his tongue into her mouth. Tentatively she touched his tongue with her own, which sent a tingle down through her breasts to her belly.

He hummed again, this time almost a moan.

So he liked that, did he?

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