By Mary Margret Daughtridge
The other day, Shana admitted that her first kiss did not transport her with delight. Well, Shana, I can beat that. I don’t remember my first kiss at all unless seventh-grade spin-the-bottle counts.
But we all know those exploratory kisses of nascent sexuality are not the real thing. They’re practice runs, dress rehearsals. They’re not the make-or-break test that kissing will become later when finding a kiss unpleasant kills any hope of a relationship ever developing.
The first kiss of true love or true lust—now that’s something to write home about.
I well remember the first boy who kissed really well. But not the second. Or third.
When it comes to the first kiss moment in a romance, writer of contemporary that I am, I often envy historical and Regency writers. Those guys have it easier, in my opinion. Heroines are almost always virgins, and what with chaperones and all, haven’t been kissed more than a few times in their lives—and almost surely they haven’t done any down and dirty make out sessions.
Making that first kiss life changing is a piece of cake. Any kiss that’s really, really good is going to rock the heroine’s world.
Not so for the far more experienced contemporary heroine—or her hapless writer. My heroines have likely had several serious relationships. They’re not going to be bowled over by a kiss—even a fabulous one. For the modern heroine, one kiss does not a turning point make.
My challenge is to come up with a kiss that’s good—it’s gotta be good—and also changes the course of the relationship. I like to solve the problem by making the setup to the kiss something that confounds the hero or heroine’s expectations.
Here’s the set up to the first kiss in SEALed Forever which will be out in May.
Garth, a SEAL working undercover, finds a baby stowaway aboard a spy plane. Alarmed by the baby’s condition, he takes her to Bronwyn, a physician who is new in town. He lets her think he’s the child’s father. In short order she begins to see through the holes in his story.
“You’re not this baby’s father. You were in Afghanistan when she was conceived.”
Garth didn’t deny it. His face registered no emotion Bronwyn could read.
“If I’d been able to reach JJ,” she added, “I would have already put all the facts together and called the police.”
His dead-level-calm voice made her see red.“What facts?”
“What facts necessitate bringing in the authorities?”
“Fact: you are in possession of a baby who is not yours. Fact: she was drugged and allowed to get dehydrated. The simplest explanation is that you kidnapped her, accidentally overdosed her and became alarmed.”
She reached into her pocket for her cell phone and remembered she’d plugged it into the charger. She crossed her arms under her breasts. “Start talking. And you’d better include all the reasons I shouldn’t report a kidnapping.”
The house creaked in the silence that ensued as they faced off. He sat absolutely immobile—immobility she had no doubt he could maintain for hours.
His intensely blue eyes were the only life in his face. Once, on an Alaskan cruise, Bronwyn had seen icebergs breaking off a mountain of a glacier and dropping into the sea. The deep clear aqua of ice that had been under pressure for eons had been exactly the same color.
Deep inside she shivered. The color thrilled her now as it had then with its beauty and with its message that she was in the presence of immense forces. Her heart pounded. Her nerves stretched tight. Still she refused to look away. She had already yielded to the force of this man’s presence too many times today.
At last the brilliance of his eyes faded slightly—almost sadly—but his eyes didn’t waver. “I can’t.”
“I can’t tell you.” He elucidated.
“I can’t tell you that either.”
“Not good enough! You really don’t think I’m going to let you walk out of here with her, do you?”
“I don’t know,” he responded gravely as if he hadn’t understand the rhetorical nature of her question. “I want to tell you more than I’ve ever wanted anything in my life. More than I’ve ever wanted anything at all,” he repeated in the same gravelly, uninflected tone, “except to kiss you.”
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