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