Love at First Thought with Julie Lessman

Well, it’s Valentine’s Day!!

Happy Valentine’s Day to you all!!

Who better to welcome in the Season of Love with the Kissing Queen herself, Julie Lessman.

Julie has been a tremendous encouragement to me over the past year. From praying for me, checking up on me, and giving me words of advice for both writing and living, I am so thankful God gave me the opportunity to get to know this FANTASTIC lady. Her entire personality lights up the first floor of any building. People swarmed around her at ACFW, wanting to glean from the passion for life she exudes. The same passion she pours out onto the page in her beautifully written novels.

Some of you may have heard the ‘behind-the-scenes view of Julie’s first novel, A Passion Most Pure, but for those who haven’t, here’s a sneak peek.

Four life-altering words: Gone With the Wind. From the moment Scarlett seared Rhett with a look on the winding staircase of Twelve Oaks, I was hooked, and my “romance-writing career” began with a 150 single-spaced manuscript that today is the basis for my debut novel, A Passion Most Pure. As a young pre-teen girl I knew I wanted an Irish family, a war and a love triangle just like GWTW, so that’s what I did.

Fast forward almost forty years later—I was sitting in a beauty parlor reading a Newsweek magazine July 16, 2001 cover article about Christian entertainment. It said Christian books, movies and music were on the threshold of exploding. My heart jumped, and something in my spirit said, “It’s time to finish your book.” I started writing A Passion Most Pure one month later, finally selling it to Revell after 4-1/2 years and a total of 45 rejections. 

Can you imagine? This amazing book took 45 hits before Revell saw the possibilities. I’m SOOOO glad they did! Thanks for giving us that reminder to persevere, Jules.

Inspirational Beginning:

2 John 1:1

To the lady chosen by God and to her children, whom I love in the truth—and not I only, but also all who know the truth— 2 because of the truth, which lives in us and will be with us forever: 3 Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and from Jesus Christ, the Father’s Son, will be with us in truth and love.

 4 It has given me great joy to find some of your children walking in the truth, just as the Father commanded us. 5 And now, dear lady, I am not writing you a new command but one we have had from the beginning. I ask that we love one another. 6 And this is love: that we walk in obedience to his commands. As you have heard from the beginning, his command is that you walk in love.

It’s a choice we make that isn’t always an easy one. Love.

The idea behind the verse above ‘walk in love’ is that love is continually flowing from us, in constant motion throughout our lives. It’s as evident as walking.

The contradictions of this love?

It breaks down walls and it builds them up.

It crushes pride but nurtures hope

It is replenished as it is given away.

It is unending, yet ends all conflict

It binds us, yet sets us free.

It is big enough to change the world, but small enough to fit inside a heart.

Love.

In such a great way, God’s love transforms our lives so that we walk in the knowledge: We are inexhaustably, neverendingly, overwhelmingly, liberatingly, breathtakingly loved beyond our greatest imaginings. Loved through life and eternity by the Bridegroom of Heaven.

Not only has he swept us into his love, but wrapped us in such assurance that our hearts rejoice in Him.

True love?

Jesus

What can you give Him for Valentine’s Day?

Your heart.

 

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final picture courtesy of : http://ccesonline.com/devotionals/holidaysseasons/valentines-devotional-2/

A Kiss to Build a SCENE On with Julie Lessman

“No, I don’t think I will kiss you, although you need kissing, badly. That’s what’s wrong with you. You should be kissed and often, and by someone who knows how.” – Rhett Butler from Gone with the Wind

 By someone who knows how?…Hmm…

Maybe this could apply to writers too? “A kiss should be written, and written often, and written by an author who knows how”

  Well, well, an author who knows how is my guest today. Julie Lessman, recently titled Queen of the Kissing Scenes, as I recall from her Seekerville post on Wednesday A Kiss isn’t Just a Kiss – check it out here:

 Now, we all know that there are kisses, and then THERE ARE KISSES! Some kisses bring a flutter, a hint of warmth, a momentary tremble of anticipation – and others waft through your senses like an overheated furnace, branding into your memory for eternity. Oh yes.

 And speaking of kiss branding. Did I mention Julie Lessman is my guest today?  You know, “Romantic tension, thy  name is Julie” Julie Lessman. 😉

And not only is her keyboard hot from writing smokin’ smooches, she’s also offering a HOT option for commenters today. Leave one comment and you’ll be placed in a drawing to win one of Julie’s Daughters of Boston books, or receive her up-and-coming release, A Hope Undaunted. (I’m trying not to have envy here…sigh) Katie’s story looks FANTASTIC and you get a wonderfully alluring sneak peek today. To learn more about Julie and her books visit www.julielessman.com

 As you can see, the theme for today is Gone With the Wind.

 It’s one of Julie’s favorite books – so-…

 Fiddle dee dee, Julie, what do you think makes a good kissing scene?

 Oh, honey, there are SO many things that make a good kissing scene in my opinion, but I think one of my favorites is when there is high drama involved (such as anger, for instance, as in the scene I’ve chosen). I mean, let’s face it, as women we ALL love a man who won’t let a heroine ride roughshod over him, right? My editor likes to refer to it as the “Taming of the Shrew” mentality, which she isn’t overly fond of but I happen to like, so she does let me get away with it every now and then, such as in the scene below from my upcoming novel, A Hope Undaunted. Unfortunately for her, the heroine Katie O’Connor manages to tick off the really nice-guy hero, Luke McGee, and trust me, he does not let her get away with it!

“Katie, are you okay?” Luke loosened his tie and stared, concern creasing his brow as he watched her, her body slumped at the window with a hand to her eyes. She didn’t move, and the tightness in his gut increased. He approached quietly, afraid he would startle her. “Katie?”

“Oh!” She whirled around, staggering against the sill with a hand to her chest.

He clutched her arm to steady her, and the color drained from her cheeks. Softening his hold, he absently grazed her skin with his thumb, then ducked his head and smiled, eyes tender as he studied her. “Sorry, I didn’t mean to frighten you. Are you all right?”

She nodded stiffly, her gaze glued to the massive hand on her arm.

Worry wrinkled the bridge of his nose and he braced both palms on her shoulders, convinced something was wrong. Her face was white and her breathing labored, and he could swear he felt a hint of a tremble. “No, I can feel it. Something’s bothering you.” He pressed his hand to her forehead. “Are you sick?”

She jerked back from his hold and butted up against the window, arms crossed and hugging her waist. “No!” she said too quickly to suit him, clearly avoiding his eyes. “I mean maybe a little dizzy, but nothing serious. I just need to go home …”

He shifted, suddenly concerned it had to do with him. He plunged his hands in his pockets and softened his tone. “Katie … is it me? Did I say or do something to upset you?”

She shook her head, gaze bonded to the floor. “No, Luke, really, please, I just need to—”

He nudged her chin up with his thumb, and her lips parted with a sharp intake of breath. And then he saw it. The gentle rise and fall of her chest, the soft rose in her cheeks, the skittish look in her eyes, flitting to his lips and then quickly away. Comprehension suddenly oozed through him like heated honey purling through his veins. Could it be? Was it possible that cold, callous Katie O’Connor was beginning to warm up? To him, of all people—Cluny McGee, the leper from her past? The thought sent warm ripples of shock through his body, thinning the air in his lungs. His gaze gentled, taking in the vulnerability in her eyes, the fear in her face, and all he wanted to do was hold her, reassure her.

As if under a spell, his gaze was drawn to her lips, parted and full, and the sound of her shallow breathing filled him with a fierce longing. “Oh, Katie,” he whispered, no power over the pull he was suddenly feeling. In slow motion, he bent toward her, closing his eyes to caress her mouth with his own. A weak gasp escaped her as she stiffened, but he couldn’t relent. The taste of her lips was far more than he bargained for, and he drew her close with a raspy groan. With a fierce hold, he cupped the back of her neck and kissed her deeply, gently, possessive in his touch. His fingers twined in her hair, desperate to explore.

And then all at once, beyond his comprehension, her body melded to his with an answering groan, and he was shocked when her mouth rivaled his with equal demand. Desire licked through him, searing his body and then his conscience. With a heated shudder, he gripped her arms and pushed her back, his breathing ragged as he held her at bay. “We can’t do this,” he whispered. He dropped his hold and exhaled, gouging shaky fingers through disheveled hair. His gaze returned, capturing hers and riddled with regret. “Believe me, Katie, as much as I want to, I’ve learned the hard way to take things slow. I should have never started this, and I’m sorry. Will you forgive me?”

                                                                      *************

Forgive him? She stared at him through glazed eyes, her pulse still pumping in her veins at a ridiculous rate. She never wanted this, couldn’t stand the sight of him, and now here she was, tingling from his touch and desperate for more. Addicted to the “King of Misery.” The very thought inflamed both fury and desire at the same time, muddling her mind. Dear Lord, she was torn between welding her lips to his or slapping him silly. With a tight press of her mouth, she opted for the second and smacked him clean across the face.

His jaw dropped a full inch, complemented nicely by a slash of red across his cheek.

Her chest was heaving, but at least it wasn’t from his touch. She narrowed her eyes and clutched her fists at her side, not all that sure she wouldn’t slap him again. “So help me, if you ever touch me again, you will be the sorriest person alive.”

He slowly rubbed his cheek with the side of his hand, exercising his jaw as if to make sure it still worked. His eyes glinted like blue glass, sharp and deadly. Even so, the swaggering smile of old eased across his face. He bent forward, his tall frame looming over her like a bad omen, and his voice held that cocky drawl so reminiscent of his past. “What’s the matter, Katie Rose,” he whispered, “does my touch make you nervous?”

The heat in her cheeks went straight to her temper. She iced him with a cool gaze. “Nervous? Around you? Hardly. You can dress up in a suit all you like, Luke McGee, but to me you’ll always be the same cocky street brat with a twang in your voice and grime on your face.”

She knew her words hit their mark when a red blotch crawled up the back of his neck like a rash gone awry. A nerve pulsed in his temple, but his smile never wavered despite the steel edge of his jaw. One blond brow jagged high in challenge. “Is that a fact? Well then, how about a little experiment? Kind of like when you were eleven and I bet you couldn’t be nice?” He leaned close, his voice as hard as his eyes. “What d’ya bet I can make you nervous now?”

She tried to shove him out of the way. “I’m going home.”

“Not yet,” he whispered, blocking her in with a push to the wall. His voice, like the dominance of his hold, was a force to be reckoned with. “You always packed a wallop for a little girl, Katydid, but this time you picked the wrong street brat. You can turn your nose up at me all you want, but we both know that slap wasn’t so much about an innocent kiss …” He bent close, his eyes on fire and his breath hot against her face. “As how it made you feel.”

His words seemed to vibrate through her, low and thick in the air. She shuddered, and the force of his savage look trapped all protest in her throat.

“To you I’ll always be riff-raff, something vulgar and crude. Well, welcome to my world, Miss O’Connor. And, please, let me show you how we do it on the ‘streets.’ Because if I’m going to take a beating, you can bet your bottom dollar on two things for sure. One—I’m going to get my money’s worth.” A dangerous smile surfaced as his gaze focused on her lips. “And two …” His mouth hovered just above hers while his voice trailed to a whisper. “I’m gonna make you real nervous in the process.”

In a catch of her breath, he took her mouth by force, his late-day beard rough against her skin. A faint moan escaped her lips and all resistance fled, burned away by the heat of his touch, leaving her weak and wanting. His mouth roamed at will, no longer gentle as he devoured her, ravenous against the smooth curve of her throat, the soft flesh of her ear. With a guttural groan, he jerked her close with powerful arms, consuming her mouth with a kiss surely driven by the sheer will to ravage.

And then in a frantic beat of her heart, he shoved her away. She gasped, numb as she thudded against the wall. His chest was heaving and his eyes were hard, focused on her with cool disregard. “There. Now that makes two of the sorriest people alive.” He grabbed her purse from the floor and threw it on her desk, then rubbed his mouth with the side of his hand. “Better run home, Katydid. God knows the riff-raff that roam the street this time of night.”

He turned and walked into his office, slamming the door hard.

She stared, her body still quivering from his rage. Closing her eyes, she sagged against the wall, too stunned to move and too shaken to care. She pressed a trembling hand to her mouth, her lips swollen from the taste of him. She was doomed, she realized, and the thought shivered through her like a cold chill. She wanted a man she didn’t really want, and the very notion weakened her at the knees. He had called her one of the sorriest people alive. She grappled for her purse and put a hand to her eyes.

And God help her, she was.

 Scarlett: Rhett, don’t. I shall faint.
Rhett Butler: I want you to faint. This is what you were meant for. None of the fools you’ve ever know have kissed you like this, have they? Your Charles, or your Frank, or your stupid Ashley

I’ve liked Luke McGee since I first met him as the scraggly tag-along of John Brady – when he was called Cluny. Gee whiz, Julie, he’s grown into a hunk of man, hasn’t he? 😉 And JUST what sassy Katie needs too. Sigh.

 Anyone else hear a sizzling sound somewhere in the direction of the computer? Maybe it’s just me, but I’m in need of a tall glass of ice water and maybe a cloth to wipe the drool from my keyboard. Woohoo. Thank. You. Julie.

 Kissing Quote of the Day:

 “There’s this place in me where your fingerprints still rest, your kisses still linger, and your whispers softly echo. It’s the place where a part of you will forever be a part of me.” – Gretchen Kemp

 Inspirational Kissing Quote:

I want to leave you with one my favorite ‘love’ passages from the Bible, one to meditate on over Valentine’s Day weekend. What is true love? What can two people, united by heart and spirit celebrate this weekend?

 Romans 8:38-39 says it all – Real love. Undeniable love. Unstoppable love. A hero, a bridegroom, a lover and friend who sweeps away all doubt with his all-consuming, neverchanging, forever kind of love.

“Do you think anyone is going to be able to drive a wedge between us and Christ’s love for us? There is no way! Not trouble, not hard times, not hatred, not hunger, not homelessness, not bullying threats, not backstabbing, not even the worst sins listed in Scripture:

   They kill us in cold blood because they hate you.
   We’re sitting ducks; they pick us off one by one.
None of this fazes us because Jesus loves us. I’m absolutely convinced that nothing—nothing living or dead, angelic or demonic, today or tomorrow, high or low, thinkable or unthinkable—absolutely nothing can get between us and God’s love because of the way that Jesus our Master has embraced us.”