Friday, February 11, 2011

Is a Kiss a Kiss?

by Tracey Devlyn

I’ve really enjoyed reading everyone’s first kiss excerpts this week, but it got me to thinking about what qualifies as a first kiss. Is it the melding of lips, a buss on the cheek, or a flick of a man’s tongue on the lady’s hand, neck, breast…? Well, you get the point.

So, for my example, I’m going to use something a little more subtle, but no less effective. At least, I hope you’ll find it effective. Beware though. The scene below is unedited, so please forgive any newbie mistakes you might find. :)

A Lady’s Revenge hits the shelves, e-readers, etc. October 2011!

“Good morning, Dinks,” Guy said.

The maid curtsied. “That it is, my lord.”

Guy stepped into the bedchamber—and stopped dead in his tracks.

“Oh!” Dinks exclaimed, crashing into his back. “I’m right sorry, my lord. Didn’t expect you to be standing in my path like that.”

Guy ignored the maid’s rebuke. His nostrils flared as the fragrant, moist air of a recent bath reached his nose. But it was the sight of Cora standing near the breakfast table that held him captivated.

A silky blue dressing gown hugged the contours of her body, concealing the affects of her captivity, and a matching hued ribbon wound through her shorn hair. The effect was stunning in its simplicity. With her regal stance and fading bruises, she reminded him of a wounded angel.

“Your hair.”

Turning her damaged cheek away, she lifted her hand to tug on the ends of her hair. “It will grow out… eventually.”

“It’s beautiful.”

Startled, her eyes caught his. “W-What?”

He moved to stand before her and, without thinking, reached out to touch her rich, brown waves. The soft locks slid through his fingers like the downy end of a feather.

Bending forward, he kissed her cheek. “Beautiful.”

He heard her sharp intake of breath, saw her stiffen and lean away. “Guy, I—”

His hand fell to his side. “It’s all right, Cora.

Little by little, touch by touch he would help her overcome her trepidation. “One step at a time, remember?”

She nodded and chanced a glance at him.

Her vulnerability washed over him, and Guy’s stomach clenched against the impact. He recovered enough to send her a feigned smile. “I have no doubt cropped hair will soon be all the rage amongst the ton ladies once they see you. It’s quite becoming, Cora.”

“Thank you, but there’s no need to say such things. I’m quite aware of what a mess I am.” She indicated the table. “Shall we eat?”

Her carefully controlled expression gave nothing away, other than her emotional retreat. As hard as he tried, Guy could detect no trace of his former friend or the easy affection they had once shared. He cursed Valère to hell.

“Certainly.” He pulled out a chair for her, and then moved to take his own. “I did not compliment you out of charity, Cora.”

“Out of charity or by rote,” she said with a dismissive flick of her hand. “Both meaningless and unwelcome.”

Guy bit back a sharp rebuttal. She would not believe he thought her more beautiful for having survived an ordeal that would have broken the strongest of men. She would not believe her beauty encompassed more than the creamy perfection of her skin or the lushness of her sable locks. And she certainly would not believe her beauty lay in the vivid intelligence sparkling behind her blue-green eyes.

Dinks lifted the covers from the serving trays and discreetly exited, keeping the door ajar.

Cora stared at the entrance to her bedchamber long after Dinks left the room.

“Is something wrong?” Guy asked.

“I don’t know why she bothers.”

He followed her gaze to the open door. “She bothers because she loves you and wishes to protect you.”

Cora snorted. “There is nothing left of my reputation to defend, my lord.”

Guy held his tongue. It was true Cora would be ruined if the paragons of society found out about her work for the government and her time with Valère. Guy was never good at following the dictates of the ton, though. Her decision to seek out her parents’ murderer and provide valuable information to her government revealed a depth of character and courage that few in their class would understand.

Without warning, she bent forward and grabbed his hand where it rested on the table. “I never thanked you for your part in my rescue.” Gratitude shimmered in the depths of her unusual eyes. “Thank you, Guy.”

His heart swelled to painful proportions, forcing him to take a moment before he spoke. “You’re most welcome.”

Her features lightened into what some might label as a smile before she released her hold and began loading their plates with an array of food. Guy stared at his hand, at the place where she’d made her first voluntary contact. He experienced a stab of regret when cool air replaced her warmth.

Don’t you just want to wrap your arms around a guy who treasures a woman’s slightest touch? What was your most memorable contact with a man (think subtle!)? Did he stand too close? Did he call to wish you happy birthday? Did he simply hold your hand to let you know he was there if you needed him?

Love truffles? So do I. Since my novel’s not out yet, I’m going to give away one of my favorite treats from Graham’s Fine Chocolates and Ice Cream in historic Geneva, Illinois—one of my favorite summer haunts. Leave a comment below AND sign up for my monthly newsletter to double your chances of winning an assortment of 16 of these sinful chocolates.

The winner will be announced at 10:00 pm (CST) tonight in the comments section below.

Please check back to find out if you're the winner!

*US and Canada only, please

* * * * * *


Valentine's with the Casababes

EVERY commenter gets an entry in the drawing for a

pack of more than


The more you comment, the more chances you have to win.

Happy Commenting!

Hugs, Tracey


  1. Your passage left me guessing what happened to Cora. I want to read more! I knew I had a keeper when by boyfriend (now husband) cuddled a kitten I had just brought home. There was something adorable about a man in an Army uniform cradling a little kitten (who is now a big cat and purring on my lap).

  2. Awe this one is so sweet!

    Well before my husband and I were even dating and we had just started to hang out and become friends, he had taken me to Pike Place Market (that was one of the 1st times going there, even though I am a local to the area) and I'm not much for crowds so to keep track of me and not loose me as we wound our way past milling people he grasped my hand. The simple contact was sweet, exhilarating and I never wanted to let go! Well in away I never did. We started dating not long after and got married a few years later, we have only have been married for a year and half, but it was our beginning :)

  3. I loved the interaction between the two, Tracey! Super job! And I wanted to see her learn to love again!! Thanks for sharing!

  4. I loved that excerpt!
    When I was sixteen, I had a really old Caddy with this "kill switch" security feature near the pedals - I forgot about it all the time. After hitting it one morning, I was stalled at home (and late for the beach) when my oh-so-cute baseball playing neighbor came and hit the switch for me. Just his foot and knee against mine was... Well, let's say his name was on my Trapper Keeper for the next two years!

  5. Tracey, that was simply beautiful. With that short excerpt I already care about Cora and Guy and feel their pain. Great writing!

  6. Before we started dating and were just friends, my husband kissed me on the forehead. I remember thinking how sweet that was.

    I loved the excerpt!

  7. Oh the subtlty is beautiful. The sweetest touch I ever had was when a friend of mine noticed some bruises on my wrists. He gently traced them and I could see tears in his eyes mixed with a severe anger. It was no big deal I bruise very easily and he demanded to know who had done it. I felt awful telling him it was him -- we had been joking around and he was playing "air drums" using my hands and left the bruises. That was a long time ago and no one has ever made me feel so worthy or treasured :-)

  8. I really love the way your characters interact and definitely need to read more!!! Wonderful excerpt.

  9. Oh Tracey! I loved that excerpt! I signed up for your newsletter so I don't miss it's release.
    I would have to say the way he caressed my cheek while I was in labor with our son and the absolute joy on his face when he first laid eyes on him.

  10. *whew*

    That was awesome. Love this. Thanks for sharing.

  11. What a wonderful excerpt. I can't wait to read the book, Tracey!

    I asked my now husband out on our first date--Okay, I told him he had to take me to lunch since I bought him a couple of sodas. Anyway, the next day we went to his truck to go to lunch. I don't think I'd ever ridden in a big pick-up truck before. He opened the door for me and I quickly realized with my longish, straight, tight skirt, there was no way in hell I could gracefully get into that truck. I turned around to suggest we take my car when he lifted me and set me on the seat. I was dumbfounded. He reached around and even buckled my seatbelt before i could gather the words to even thank him. I'd never been swept off my feet before. I'm so glad I didn't follow my dating rules. I'm not sure which number it was, but one of my rules were Never date a guy with a truck. I let it go since his was a work vehicle--besides rules were made to be broken.

  12. Tracey, I loved the excerpt! It sounds like a great story and I definitely want more!
    And I vote for the standing-too-close thing. If it's the right guy, that makes me warm all over. If it's the wrong guy - not so good!

  13. Love the excerpt Tracey!!

    And to everyone wondering about Graham's chocolate--as a fellow Chicagolander, it is AMAZING!!

  14. Amanda--
    Oh, love the picture of a military guy cradling a kitten! I have a kitten (aka Scrapper) in A Lady's Revenge. Although my hero wants to turn him into a muff for damaging his Hessians. LOL

    I love it when my husband takes my hand to help me navigate through crowds and rough terrain. I'm a klutz, you see, and have been known to land on my bum a time or two. I so want to see Pike Place Market! Seattle on my bucket list!!

    Thanks! Cora has a tough road ahead of her, but I bet Guy can help her through it. :)

  15. Kara--
    Trapper Keeper--love it! Thanks for sharing and stopping by.

    Thanks so much!

    Guy kisses Cora's forehead a few times to help gentle her tortured mind. Glad you could stop by!

    You brough tears to MY eyes. Such a beautiful picture. Nice to see you here!

  16. C.H.--
    Thanks! I can't wait until October and see ALR on the shelves.

    Great imagery. Thanks for sharing such a special moment and for signing up for my monthly newsletter!

    Thanks for stopping by!

    Very romantic--no wonder you married your hubby! Rules? What rules? LOL

  17. Loved the excerpt! Guy must have a heart of gold!

    I love when my husband brushes a kiss against my the back of my neck when my hair is pulled up - it's usually something quick that he doesn't even think about, he just does it.

  18. Joanne--
    I agree! Right guy=pulsing awareness. Wrong guy=searching for escape route. :)

    Yay, a fellow Grahams-ite! My favorite has to be the Pecan Skalies (turtles). I'm somewhat caramel obsessed. Thanks for the Graham's shout out!

  19. Lisa--
    Does that kiss send shivers down your spine, or what? LOL Thanks for sharing!

  20. Great post, Tracey. For me it was his hand sliding down my arm to hold my hand. It was just what I needed at that moment, and it was total communication without saying a word.

    caity_mack at yahoo dot com

    signed up for your newsletter today too

  21. Great excerpt, left me wanting more. I think just holding your hand and letting you know that they are there for you means more then about anything.

  22. Good reads and chocolate - what more could anyone want?

  23. My husband use to take some of my hair and twirl it when we were talking or cuddling. I do not think he realized that he was doing it. Many years ago, I asked him about it, and he looked at me oddly and said he loved me:) (I still don't think he realized he had done it!!

    Great excerpt!!

  24. My most memorable contact was with my husband. We'd just met in a computer class. He was supposed to be enrolled in an advanced class, but his work made a mistake and enrolled him in a beginner's class, where I was. It was instant attraction for us. We went to dinner after class, then I'd planned to go shopping for bracelets. I was on a bracelet kick. I'm always on some kick or other. I asked him if he wanted to go along to deter me from spending too much money. He said yes, and after two purchases, I headed to yet another jewelry counter, when he put his hands on my shoulders (we'd never even touched yet) and steered me away. Oh my gosh! I can still feel the tingles. Just like I write in my romances. I'll never forget that. It was magic. I'm glad this post made me think about that.

  25. Intriguing excerpt! Loved it.

    And chocolates... Love that, too.

    I still remember this, strangely. I'm not a subtle kind of gal. BUT, I was being given a tour of a graduate program I was interested in studying by a very handsome (okay, the guy was HAWT!!!) grad student. It was in Galveston Texas. Hot, humid and I was wearing a freakin' navy blue suit. I was sweating like mad. My hair looked like I licked electrical outlets for kicks. He took me up in the student tower to show me the campus from a high vantage. He stood inches behind me and pointed out things over my shoulder. Talked in this low voice inches from my neck. He didn't touch me once and I was on FIRE. I guess I could blame the heat of Texas, but nope it was totally that guy. Anyway, I didn't get into that grad program. Dammit! I was missing an advanced calculus class, so I never saw him again. But I STILL think about him. 13 years later. Weird...

  26. Cathy M--
    Love the idea of communicating through pure touch! It's what we try to convey in every one of our romances, because you know how reticent our heroes are about discussing their feelings. Well, at least in the beginning!

    I agree! That reassuring touch when you need it gives us so much strength.

    You got it!

    Love the visual image. So sweet! Thanks for sharing it.

    Great story! So awesome that you and your husband hit it off from the beginning. Thank you for taking us down memory lane with you.

    I could totally feel the tension in the tower from your description. Don't you wish you had the power to peek inside an alternate history in those situations. ??? You know,..what if you had angled your head toward him and locked gazes...what if...

  27. Good evening, folks! Sorry I'm running a little behind.

    Thanks so much for stopping by and sharing such wonderful memories with us!



    Cindy, I'll be in contact with you! Thanks to everyone who left a comment and signed up for my newsletter!

    Hugs, Tracey

  28. I already love Guy, and can't wait to find out what Cora's capture was all about.

  29. Compelling excerpt, Tracey! Now I need to know why her hair was cut. And I adore your hero.