A Kiss to Build a SCENE On with Missy Tippens

by | Feb 9, 2010 | Fiction Book Reviews | 11 comments

Just so you know, Sweet Tea isn’t the only SWEET thing southerners are known for. We happen to be mighty good at feeding people.

Southerners can’t stand to eat alone. If we’re going to cook a mess of greens we want to eat them with a mess of people.”

–Julia Reed

But one thing we enjoy more, is feeding the soul. Whether through passing down oral history from one generation to the next, weaving a quilt for future posterity, or writing about the uniqueness of southern life. There’s a sweetness to it. From Mark Twain to Flannery O’Connor, the south has a heap of history and story to pass along – but it also holds some sweet romance.

“The American South is a geographical entity, a historical fact, a place in the imagination, and the homeland for an array of Americans who consider themeselves southerners. The region is often shrouded in romance and myth, but its realities are as intriguing, as intricate, as its legends. “

–Bill Ferris

Only two more quotes- I promise!

Down South everybody cherishes dreams. In dreams this world and the next mix like sugar and grits.”

—-Grandmother Ernestine, to novelist Jewell Parker Rhodes

This quote is a necessity -even though I’m going to post it on Friday too. Famous and to the point.

You need to be kissed. And kissed often. And kissed by a man who knows how.”  -Rhett Butler, Gone With the Wind

Well,  Alabama native and LoveInspired Author, Missy Tippens is my guest today. Her books bring readers into the warmth of southern romance and ask them to come ‘sit a spell.’ Missy’s romances include discovery of love between two friends or the surprising spark as two opposites attract. To learn more about her books, check out her website at www.missytippens.com

Alright Missy, what makes up a kiss to build a scene on?

Well, I may be weird, but my favorite kiss scenes are the “almost kiss” scenes. The ones where you know they want to kiss so badly, but for whatever reason, they can’t or they won’t. So in my opinion, the conflict and tension are what makes for a great kiss or near kiss. That feeling of wanting the forbidden, that feeling of risk. I think it’s more fun to write and more fun to read!

Ooh, Missy – an almost kiss scene? Is that anything like a half-eaten Hershey bar?

So, what’s the teaser excerpt you have for us today?

The excerpt I’m sharing is one of my favorite “almost kiss” scenes to write. Sarah and Gregory had a turbulent past, and she’s just come back to town and is trying to help him learn what’s truly important at Christmas. Her butting in has been driving him crazy, but he’s as attracted to her as he ever was.

A Forever Christmas

By Missy Tippens

Excerpt pages 110-112

When he arrived, he found Sarah on a ladder hanging lights on his house. She was reaching out way too far.

 He hopped out as fast as he could turn off the truck. “Hey, watch it!”

 She wrenched around at the sound of his shout, and the ladder wobbled.

  He raced across the yard to stabilize it. By the time he got there, it had righted itself.

  “Gregory, you scared the life out of me.”

  “You shouldn’t be up on a ladder with no one else around.”

  She jammed a hand on her hip, making the ladder wobble again. “I was fine till you yelled at me. I’m not even up that high.”

  He put both hands on the sides of the rickety wooden ladder. “You could still fall and break something. Now come on down and let me finish it. I had planned to do it myself anyway.”


 “Well, we can go inside and look on my calendar. Of course, you’ve thrown my whole schedule off by plunging me into the middle of a different activity every day this week.”

  She jammed her other hand on the other hip, but the ladder stayed firmly anchored in his grip. “Well, pardon me, but I think maybe you’ve had a good week with your children.”

  He held out his hand to her. She took it and started down the rungs. When she got to the last rung, she stopped, since he stood in the way.

  How was he supposed to stay away from her? If she was arranging time with his children almost every day, Winston couldn’t expect him to.

  Yes, he kind of liked where he stood at the moment. For some reason, he didn’t want to move. Maybe because they were eye to eye, about six inches apart. So close….

  “So, will you admit you’ve had a good week with your boys?”

  He leaned in closer. “Well, I’ve had an unusual week, to say the least.” He zoomed in on her lips. “With a blast from the past showing up and butting her way into my schedule.”

 She laughed—and it sounded nervous—then grabbed his chin and lifted it, dragging his gaze away from her lips. “Time with your boys? Focus, Gregory.”

  For the last week, she was all he’d been able to think about. “Believe me, I am focused.” He smiled at her, hoping to win her over. Of course he had no idea why he wanted to. But he did.

  “You are so bad,” she said, biting her lip. Trying not to smile. But she smiled, shining sunshine on him, warming him.

  “I have had a good week with my boys. I like seeing them laugh and have fun.”

  She pushed against his chest. “Good. Now let me down.”

 He refused to budge. How had everything changed so quickly? How could he feel happy for the first time in ages?

 All of a sudden serious, he stared into her gorgeous brown eyes. “Thank you.”

  She swallowed, as if having difficulty. “You’re welcome,” she whispered.

  He moved in slowly, testing the waters, afraid she would disappear into thin air as he neared his target. His lips brushed hers, but she turned her head, dragging his lips across her cheek.

 “Don’t do this, Gregory. We can’t just go back to how we once were and act like nothing happened.” She pressed her back against the ladder, trying to retreat further. “You went out with Delia—my friend. And then married her. I can’t forget that.”

  He breathed in, knowing he might never be this close again, wishing he could bottle how good she smelled.

What had he been thinking?

 He stepped back and offered his hand to help her down the last step. “I apologize. For everything.”

  What else could he say? He couldn’t begin to explain himself. Then or now.

 “The boys are inside untangling the rest of the lights. Let’s go check on them,” she said as if the kiss or their past had never happened.

 What was it his friends used to tell him? She’s out of your league, man.

 Yeah. And she still was. 

Copyright © 2009 by Melissa L. Tippens

Permission to reproduce text granted by Harlequin Books S.A.

Okay Missy, my heart just dropped all over again. Poor Gregory, but what a ‘near’ kiss. So hopefully now everyone needs to run out and grab your book to ease their pain for dear Gregory and his longing heartache 🙂

Thanks so much for adding to this kissing week, Missy.

Kissing Quote for the Day:

The moment eternal – just that and no more –
When ecstasy’s utmost we clutch at the core
While cheeks burn, arms open, eyes shut, and lips meet!
~ Robert Browning – One of the sweetest love stories in history

Bible Kissing Quote:

You’ve captured my heart, dear friend.
   You looked at me, and I fell in love.
   One look my way and I was hopelessly in love!
How beautiful your love, dear, dear friend—
   far more pleasing than a fine, rare wine,
   your fragrance more exotic than select spices.
The kisses of your lips are honey, my love,
   every syllable you speak a delicacy to savor.
Your clothes smell like the wild outdoors,
   the ozone scent of high mountains.
Dear lover and friend, you’re a secret garden,
   a private and pure fountain.
Body and soul, you are paradise,
   a whole orchard of succulent fruits—
-Song of Solomon 4:9-13

Here we have that whole ‘love at first sight’ instance again along with the imagery and senses combined. Wow. “The kisses of your lips are honey.” Doesn’t that state how SWEET they are without even using the word. Smells and tastes season the entire story, but when love is shared in such a way, all of the senses become involved. What a great way to experience the emotions!


  1. sherrinda

    Don’t be alarmed…I’m okay now. My breathing has resumed! Whew…that was good! Missy, “almost kisses” are my favorite too! The tension is sooooo high and it just builds. And you just have to keep those pages turning because you know good and well they WILL kiss at some point. Sigh…I LOVE it!

    Pepper, you find the best quotes! Those are awesome!

  2. Missy Tippens

    Oh, good, Sherrinda, I’m glad we don’t have to do CPR! Thanks so much for your sweet comment. I’m glad you share my love of near kisses! 🙂

    Pepper, I do have to make one quick correction. I’m a Kentucky native! 🙂 But I’ve actually been in Georgia half my life now (since right after college).

    Great quotes once again!!

  3. Julie

    Whew, I remember that scene VERY well, Missy, and for whatever reason (maybe because it’s Valentine’s Month and Pepper is having a KissFest?), it seems even more potent to me today. I have to admit, for someone like me who has NEVER written a near kiss, that was pretty exciting — I may need to give it a try. Wonderful romantic tension, my friend!


  4. sherrinda

    Julie, you have NEVER written a near kiss? I do believe it is time!

  5. Pepper

    So sorry, Missy. Oooh, Kentucky – even closer 😉
    Thanks for being here today. And isn’t Kentucky still considered the south?

  6. Julie

    Sherrinda, I’m just not sure I can do it. Some of us have that talent … some of us don’t! 🙂


  7. pepperbasham

    I’m with Julie.
    It’s all about decisive personalities. Who wants a guy who beats around the bush? When you read Julie’s excerpt for Friday (just thinking about it makes me need a very long, cold glass of water…woowee), you’ll see she goes for the decisive sort 😉
    Nothing wrong with a tease, though – and I”m sure Julie would agree, especially since she’s a Scarlett O’Hara fan

  8. sherrinda

    I would agree that Julie can DEFINITELY write the passionate kiss. I love ALL her books and am passing them out to my friends religiously! I just happen to think that IF she wrote an almost kiss, then it would be a killer of a scene. Just think of the tension she could bring…ooooo-la-la.

  9. pepperbasham

    Very true! High tension, like the feeling a piece of Godiva chocolate, unwrapped, and held firmly in my husband’s grasp. SIgh….so close, yet so far 😉

    Gee whiz, about any scene Julie writes has sparks flying out of it. Missy’s have the honey smooth sweetness, a warm breeze of temptation.
    Julie explodes with emotion.
    Isn’t it nice to have a GREAT variety!!! Love it!

  10. Missy Tippens

    Pepper, yes, I still consider KY the south. 🙂

    Julie, I agree with the ladies. You could write an almost kiss scene that I’m sure would leave us breathless! Try it sometime! 🙂

  11. Meg Moseley

    Good one, Missy! Her precarious position on the ladder is a great setup for the tension of the kiss. Love it.


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