A Kiss to Build a Scene On with Ruth Axtell Morren

by | Feb 10, 2010 | Fiction Book Reviews | 11 comments

If Ruth Axtell Morren is going to be my guest for today, I must certainly find some kissing quotes related to the Regency era. After all, Ruth’s novels, mostly set during that time period, glow with the romance of the era. And even though she writes from various other historical periods, I have a particular fondness for her Regency romances and her poignant, memorable stories.

Romance, particularly kissing, wasn’t as ‘obvious’ an occurrence back then as it is today. Public displays of affection were only seen in certain places of ill-repute or in the privacy of a home – and during courtship…well, it wasn’t as common as the first-date scenarios now.


Kissing may have held significantly more meaning. Not sure – but the ‘wait’ certainly builds anticipation, doesn’t it? If you step back and notice Jane Austen movies, the kisses between couples are withheld to the end, a culmination of events, kept-passions, reigned in desires, and tempered emotions to be unleashed at the moment of declaration and acceptance. It’s beautiful and Ruth captures the essence of it so well.

So to welcome in Ruth, here are a few quotes from Regency – or near-Regency era:

There is no charm equal to tenderness of heart. – Jane Austen

Soul meets soul on lovers’ lips.    – Percy Bysshe Shelley

Once he drew
With one long kiss my whole soul thro’
My lips, as sunlight drinketh dew.
Alfred Lord Tennyson

To learn more about Ruth’s novels, check out her website at www.ruthaxtellmorren.com and be prepared for beautifully crafted stories brimming with romance and the amazing beauty of God’s grace. The storylines, the characters…the truths – are absolutely lovely.

Okay Ruth, what do you think makes a good kissing scene?

The best kissing scenes are the ones I’ve already imagined when I’m daydreaming about my characters, and sometimes I get really good first kiss scenes (or, in that case, declaration of love with kiss scene).They must have intense emotion with just enough physical description so your reader can just picture the scene–and live it herself.

It’s all about the characters you start out with anyway. The kissing scene is just a pinnacle along the way.

Do you have an excerpt for us today?

Here is the first kiss scene from my 2nd book, Wild Rose.

“Look at me, Geneva.”

At the sound of her name, she turned to him.  He reached out a hand and brushed its back against her warm cheek.  But the light touch was no longer enough to satisfy.  He’d been holding himself back too long.  His hand turned, and he enfolded her cheek in his palm.  He could hear her intake of breath.  His own breathing had long since ceased to function rhythmically.  Slowly, he drew her face upward, as his own came down.

The tension that had begun building between them since the afternoon he’d seen her in her washtub was finally out in the open, acknowledged by them both, and given an outlet.  Their lips came together, barely grazing each other.  Caleb stroked Geneva’s cheek with his fingertips, his eyes closed, reveling in the sheer touch and scent of her.  He’d waited so long for this moment, he was in no hurry to complete it.

He’d been right.  She was a wild rose, soft, velvety, with a scent sweet and fragile on the warm night air.  His fingertips drifted over her upturned chin and down her neck.  He encircled her nape with his hand, drawing her closer.  He heard a soft sigh escape her lips, and that sound was the undoing of him.  He pressed his lips to hers, softness and firmness fused.

His hand flattened against her back, molding her body to his.

Her lips parted beneath his, welcoming him with no reservations.  “Geneva.”  He breathed her name, releasing her lips only far enough to draw breath, before seeking them again.  He took one of her hands in his and guided it up to his neck.  She needed no further prompting, but clasped both her hands around his neck, entwining her fingers in the hair at his nape.

Their kiss deepened as he wrapped his arms around her, pulling her to him, wanting to merge his body completely with hers.  Why had he waited so long?  The question reverberated in his mind as his body sought hers, desiring to be made one with hers.

He pulled at the ribbon that held her hair.  The heavy, silken strands fell at once, surrounding her face.  He stuck the ribbon in his pocket and burrowed his nose in her hair, wanting to absorb the very essence of her.  He grew still when he felt her hands begin to explore his own face.  Timidly at first, her fingers touched the sensitive lobes of his ears, then swept downward more boldly, exploring the contours of his jaws and cheeks.  Caleb moved his head, giving her better access, and closed his eyes.  Her slim fingers touched his lips softly and he kissed them in response.  This time it was she who brought his face back to hers, and their lips met once more to draw life from each other, as their arms held their bodies fast.

Even when their lips had drawn apart, they stood in a silent embrace a long time, as if there was no need for words just then.  Her hands and head rested against his chest.  No doubt she could feel the thudding of his heart, which gradually returned to a regular beat.  He felt protective of her, as if his arms could shield her from all the gossip of Haven’s End and Boston combined.

“I suppose this wasn’t very wise,” he said when he heard a shout of laughter from over the bridge near the dance hall.  He grinned.  “What will Mrs. Stillman say when she sees your hair in disarray and—” his finger rubbed her bottom lip “—the unmistakable signs of having been thoroughly kissed?”

She looked downward.  He could feel her body stiffen and he tightened his hold, not letting her draw away from him.  “I didn’t think—” she began.

“I don’t think either of us thought.”  He chuckled at her look of dismay.  When she didn’t respond to the humor, he strove to reassure her, though he didn’t know what to say.  His words had attested to the truth.  He was in no state to assemble a rational thought.  He sighed, running a finger along the edge of her face.  “I’m sorry, Geneva.  I probably shouldn’t have kissed you.  I would never want to do anything to hurt you.”  He smiled, as something occurred to him. “I wouldn’t want to ruin your chances with the up and coming ‘young Samuel.’”

She tried to draw back then, but he wouldn’t let her go.  He took her head in both his hands, plunging his fingers into her mass of hair.  Unable to loosen his hold on her, she tried to turn her head sideways, but he forced her to face him.

“Don’t say those things!  I know we all seem silly to you, most of all me in this getup—”

“Geneva!  Geneva!”  He wanted to shake some sense into her.  “You look beautiful in your getup.  More elegant than the finest lady in Boston.”

As he said the words, he realized they were true.

Geneva stared at him as if willing herself to believe what he was telling her.

He took a deep breath, trying to formulate some coherence out of the evening.  “All of you form an adorably funny little community, and I love every part about it.  Well, almost every part.  I’ll have to withhold judgment on ‘young Sam.’”  He sobered, frustrated at being unable to express himself adequately.  “I am truly sorry about—” he made an ineffectual gesture “—this.  No, that’s not true!  I’m not sorry.  I’ve been wanting to kiss you for a long time.”

There, he’d admitted it, as much to himself as to her.  He didn’t think she was going to say anything, but then he saw a smile tug at her lips.

“So have I,” she whispered, as if making a shameful confession.  He felt an incredible tenderness steal upon him at the admission.

He tilted her chin up with his thumbs, his hands still framing her face.  This time she met his gaze straight on.  It was he who suddenly had the need to shut his eyes.  Her utter trust in him was daunting.  It would be so easy to throw all caution to the winds.

Arabella had had such a wide-eyed, guileless expression, never more so than the day she had calmly given him his ring back.

Caleb desperately wanted to dispel the image.

He reopened his eyes to find Geneva waiting, her heart in her eyes.  He cleared his throat.  “Have you indeed?  Since when?”  Suddenly he wanted to know every feeling Geneva had been experiencing for him since they’d met, as if those details would overshadow the reminders of the past.

But she wouldn’t answer.  She just shook her head.  “It doesn’t matter.”

“It does to me.”  When no revelations were forthcoming, Caleb loosened his hold on Geneva and stepped back, feeling the cool breeze off the river for the first time.  He noticed Geneva give a slight shudder.  “Cold?” he asked her, reaching out a hand.  She stepped aside deftly from his touch, shaking her head.

Sensing a withdrawal, he walked to the parapet.  The dark, turbulent water rushed beneath the bridge, cascading over the rapids on its way to the sea.  “I don’t understand what’s happened tonight.  You’ll have to excuse me if I take a little time to adjust myself to it.”  He looked over to her.  “I meant what I just said.  I would never do anything knowingly to hurt you.  Do you believe me?”

Mutely she nodded.

Caleb wanted to kiss her until there was no tomorrow or yesterday.  But he had no right.  He thought about the supper they’d just enjoyed.  Geneva’s world was just beginning.

What right had he to destroy it before she’d even had a chance to find her place in it?  If this evening had shown him anything, it was that Geneva deserved so much more than she’d ever enjoyed in her community.  He must step aside and let her come into her own.  Unless he could offer her something more….

Could he offer something more?

wow! I’m utterly breathless and a bit disappointed, so now I HAVE to buy the book. Ruth – that was…(excuse me while I fan my face) wonderful. What a kiss! And from the guy’s point of view again. Love it! Thanks so much for being a part of the BlogFEST. Just so readers know – Ruth’s newest LoveInspired novel To Be a Mother comes out in April.

Kissing Quote of the Day (like I haven’t used enough quotes):

“The soul that can speak with its eyes can also kiss with a gaze.” – Gustavo Adolfo Bécquer (but using lips just ensures there is no miscommunication 😉

Bible Kissing Quote of the Day:

Kiss me—full on the mouth!
   Yes! For your love is better than wine,
   headier than your aromatic oils.
The syllables of your name murmur like a meadow brook.
   No wonder everyone loves to say your name! 

  Take me away with you! Let’s run off together!
   An elopement with my King-Lover!
We’ll celebrate, we’ll sing,
   we’ll make great music.
Yes! For your love is better than vintage wine.
Song of Solomon 1:204


  1. Melanie Dickerson

    Oh, I LOVED Wild Rose!!! One of her best, and I should know, since I’m her biggest fan!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Yes, Pepper, you should definitely get this one.
    Ruth Axtell Morren writes the most romantic stories EVER. Can’t wait to read the new one!

  2. Renee

    I’m with Melanie! Ruth’s books are terrific! It has been a while since I’ve read Wild Rose but it is sooooo good! Have I said how much I love your Kissing theme this week Pepper? 😛

    xoxo~ Renee

  3. Meg Moseley

    Wow! I just found this series of posts and now I’ll have to catch up on the rest of them. What fun!

  4. sherrinda

    Oh yes!!! THAT was an awesome kiss! *sigh* Very swoon-worthy! I will definitely be getting this book!!!!

    I so love a kiss from the hero’s perspective…to know their thoughts and to “see” their desire and wanting, yet holding back and trying to control their desires. All for the protection of the one they hold in their arms. Sigh….I love it!

    Pepper…this has been the coolest 2 weeks EVER! I love this blogfest!

  5. Ruth

    Glad all of you enjoyed this kissing scene from the hero’s perspective. I must say Caleb was one of my favorite heroes (not that I don’t love all of them when I’m writing about them). Caleb just epitomized one of those perfect guys–a mixture of gentleman, knight in shining armor, wealthy prince to the Cinderella heroine–and with a bitter past of his own which he must overcome during the course of the story.
    And, of course–perfect kisser as well!!
    Btw, my name is spelled with 2 L’s (AXTELL), in case you try to go to my website and can’t get there LOL.
    Have a good day all; I’m getting back to my current WIP, which takes place in Victorian England, another favorite time period & place of mine.

    • pepperbasham

      Fixed it Ruth. So sorry.

  6. Ruth

    P.S. Lovely quotes, Pepper! Also, what a nice photo of Keira Knightley & her hero in P&P. Even though I didn’t like this version (to me the Colin Firth is the ‘gold standard’ of Pride & Prejudice adaptations, as a friend of mine put it, this photo certainly is lovely).

    • pepperbasham

      The Colin Firth version is better, but I couldn’t get a really nice, romantic photo of Colin and Jennifer. Well, not as nice as this one. This one made me feel all warm inside, kind of like that kiss you wrote about. Btw, Ruth, speaking of Victorian England – have you watched the newest movie called The Young Victoria?

  7. Pepper

    Yikes, So sorry Ruth. I know I spelled it right on the last post. I’ll fix it. Sorry!!

  8. Carolynn

    Wow, what a kiss! 😀 I also love the excerpt, makes me want to pick up the book and find out what it’s all about..thanks somuch for sharing!!

  9. Julie

    Okay, that settles it — Ruth, you are NOW moving to the top of my TBR list as soon as I finish my Seeker buddies’ books!! I’ve had Winter is Past BURNING a hole in my stack of books, and now I know why!!

    When we had a chance to chat in the dinner line at ACFW, I just KNEW I was going to love your style, and after reading this incredible scene,I can see why. Wonderfully passionate writing!!



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