Swoony Saturdays – Adrien Delaporte

Welcome! Welcome! Swoony Saturdays are your opportunity to be introduced to a book hero who fits high quality hero characteristics. (okay, so he just makes us weak in the knees for all kinds of reasons, but you get the point)

The photos involved are chosen as the most representative of the heroes featured, so IF they look like someone you’ve seen before, that’s almost entirely accidental.

Earlier this week I posted a review for one of my favorite books, Kissing Adrien (you can find my review HERE). Next we travelled to Paris with Book Journeys (travel with us HERE). And today, we are swooning over the hero…Adrien.

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Who? Adrien Delaporte

Where can we find this dreamboat? Kissing Adrien by Siri Mitchell (Harvest House, 2005)

Personality summary: Confidante, funny, compassionate, and flirty, Adrien Delaporte is the quintessential French good guy. Since Kissing Adrien is first person from Claire le Noyer’s point of view, we don’t get firsthand ideas of what Adrien is feeling, but boy, oh boy, Siri describes this gorgeous specimen of European manhood’s emotions so well as seen through Claire’s eyes.

Adrien has been Claire’s childhood friend – now 10 years after their last meeting, they’re brought together again in the City of Love and Light to settle the estate of a mysterious aunt of Claire’s. The mystery of this aunt continues to keep Adrien and Claire in close proximity, and despite Claire fighting tooth-and-nail against how Adrien tries to get Claire to think outside the box, eventually the truth of her being loved and beautiful transforms this insecure workaholic into someone much more like she was created to be. Love does that, you know 😊

Kissing Adrien.pngWhat makes us swoon?

Seriously, this guy is pretty adorable. Funny, confident, flirty…AND he loves Jesus!!!!!!

He’s clever

He’s sexy

He’s French

Author Dawn Crandall had this to say: “his mysteriousness, his intensity, his charm, and his amazing enigmatic draw. His tantalizing conversation. The man oozes sexiness in the most casual way.”

He sees all the beauty in the heroine and wants her to see it too.

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He knows the heroine and takes special care to show her he’s interested in her.

The man is intense and a wee bit stubborn in the most delightful of ways.

His BLUE eyes

Smells like lime

This is Adrien’s “official” description from the book: “The interesting thing about Adrien was the synergy of all his parts. He was tall and lanky. Lithe and energetic. He had dark hair, bright blue eyes, and a perpetual tan. A largish nose and nice white teeth. But what pulled it all together was his personality – part clown, part diplomat – and the strange desire he created in those he talked with to make him laugh.”

He apparently has very nice ears as well, because our heroine Claire says this: “They were very nice. And clean. You can’t say that about everyone’s ears.”

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Kissing level of such swooniness: Okay, Adrien’s all around swooniness ups this rating even though there’s just one daggone kiss in the ENTIRE BOOK because when he does kiss…well, he’s as intense in his focus of that kiss as he is in the rest of the story. It’s a definite 4…if she’d written further kisses, I feel certain they would have been 5s…or higher.

Basic hero type: I’m saying he’s a Knightley with swagger (maybe with the intensity of Darcy sprinkled in for an additional swoon-factor)…what do you say? He’s the heroine’s friend, but he holds her to the fire on several issues to draw her out of her complacency and unhealthy thinking patterns. . When he realizes his own feelings, he’s intense in his pursuit, but still respects her uncertainty enough to gently ‘find’ her…at her heart.

How can I meet this swoony mister? Find on  Amazon

About the Author

Image may contain: 1 person, glasses and close-up
Photo by Tim Coburn

Siri graduated from the University of Washington with a business degree and worked in various levels of government. As a military spouse, she has lived all over the world, including Paris and Tokyo. Siri enjoys observing and learning from different cultures. She is fluent in French and loves sushi.

She is also a member of a strange breed of people called novelists. Siri wrote 4 books and accumulated 153 rejections before signing with a publisher. In the process, she saw the bottoms of more pints of Ben & Jerry’s than she cares to admit. At various times she has vowed never to write another word again. Ever. She has gone on writing strikes and even stooped to threatening her manuscripts with the shredder. Visit her website to learn more.

Kissing Levels & Hero Types

A Kiss to Build a SCENE On with Jamie Carie

A blast of color.

Vibrant

Alive with meaning and emotion, like fireworks exploding behind your eyes.

Some kisses rifle through you with sheer electricity, leaving a burning residue in their wake. A good burn. Electrifying.

 Hmm…well, I don’t know if electrifying is a strong enough word for Jamie Carie’s books. Whew, I just finished reading Love’s First Light and I felt like I held my breath from page 1 all the way to page 311. My next book on the Carie list is The Duchess and the Dragon which you’ll gain a sneak preview of today.

 Jamie’s books pack a powerful punch of adventure, energy, angst, and romance. Characters are swept from one near-death scene to another, with a few intense romantic interludes woven in between. To learn more about Jamie’s books check out her website at www.jamiecarie.com

 You can also read an interview I had with her and learn more about how she thinks as a writer. https://pepperbasham.wordpress.com/2009/07/16/an-interview-with-jamie-carie-loves-first-light-2/

 So now, let’s get onto the ‘goods’, as Jamie called it 😉

What do you think makes a good kissing scene?

 I’m definitely in the slow building up tension camp! It’s great to have them almost touch and then almost kiss and then the big payoff. I’m also a fan of the wedding night scenes. I think closing the door on that can work but sometimes I’m disappointed if I don’t get a glimpse of how it went – LOL! I have two scenes from The Duchess and the Dragon I would like to share. The first one is an almost kissing scene and the second one is a wedding night scene.

 

Scene One – Drake (a duke from England on the run for his life has come to America as an indentured servant) has gotten into a fight and been knifed. Serena (a sweet Quaker girl whose father is training Drake to become a silversmith, so he lives with them) is cleaning and bandaging the wound.

Once inside the small, warm room, Drake leaned against the counter and pulled his shirt over his head. He winced as the sleeve pulled against the cut, then held it out for her to examine. “You wouldn’t have any brandy, would you?”

Serena shook her head then stopped and thought a minute. “Wait here, I will go and get something from the neighbors. They will have something.”

Drake watched her go, her straight spine intent with purpose, the back of her pale neck, slim and elegant, the white cap covering her glorious hair. He closed his eyes and thought of her hair all around her, like a living veil . . . When she returned bearing a dark bottle, he had to clear his throat before he could speak. Her face was close as she grasped hold of his arm, then tilted the bottle with careful precision over the wound.

It burned, deep into his flesh, but he was so busy watching her face that he barely felt it.

Serena. How to describe her? He wanted to memorize this moment, knowing that they would change, hoping that they would grow old together but knowing that she would never look exactly this way again.

Her skin was ivory, with a rosy tint here and there, a flush on her forehead and cheeks and chin. Eyebrows like wings of reddish gold swooping out, giving her a regal mien when she was serious, and an elfish delight when she was happy and laughing. Her face was oval, her chin a little pointed, and her lips, her lips were the coral of a shell he’d seen once, thin with a delicate curve at the top of the upper lip. No dimples. No, she had lean cheeks and high cheekbones, a rather wide forehead accentuated by the scraping back of her hair to fit it all in the cap.

Suddenly she looked up at him. “What art thou doing, sir?”

Drake smiled, allowed all he felt for her to glow from his eyes. “I am remembering you just as you are now, so I’ll have that picture in my mind for years to come.”

She stared at him, a deep smile coming into her green eyes, happiness and something else that she’d recently learned—a flirtatious, admiring look—curving her lips. “I would like to do the same.”

Drake offered a wicked grin for her answer. “Then you shall. Are you finished with that bandage?”

Serena nodded, looking shy and eager at the same time. She tied the two ends together, making a perfectly fitting bandage over the cut. “’Tis only a flesh wound and should heal in a few days.” She washed her hands in a bowl of water, dried them on a muslin towel and then turned to face him, so unsure now, her hands loosely held behind her back, her head down.

“Come here, Serena.”

She moved closer, then lifted her face to stare into his eyes.

“Look at me.”

She took a deep breath, her hands still safely behind her back, her eyes roaming over his face. He felt himself flush, surprised that he could be embarrassed by something so simple as a woman’s scrutiny. And yet, it was as powerful as anything he’d ever imagined.

He watched her study his hair, his eyebrows and forehead, his nose. He grinned then, unable to suppress it, knowing he had such an aristocratic nose, the nose of his Celtic ancestors. She smiled back, her breathing deeper now. Her gaze traveled across his cheeks like she was studying the hollows and planes of a map, then they stopped at his lips. Her lips curved into a slow smile as she took another deep breath.

Pressing her lips together she seemed to force her gaze lower, to his chin, studying the stubble as it grew in a thick patch down his throat. He truly hated shaving and only managed it every other day.

She didn’t stop, as he thought she might, as he had. No, her study continued down to his shoulders and then his chest until he thought he might explode—

Serena backed up suddenly, eyes wide, cheeks flushed. “What art thou doing to me? What power dost thou have over my mind and heart?”

Drake shook his head. “It is the same for me, love. I am undone.”

She stared into his eyes, so many emotions in those beautiful depths: fear . . . longing . . . tenderness . . . more fear.
She swallowed hard, the slim column of her throat working. “I do not know what to do. I have painted it. I have gone to meeting and . . . I thought I knew, but . . .”

Drake wanted to take her into his arms and reassure her. He wanted, more than anything, to kiss her doubts away and tell her that everything would work out perfectly, but he couldn’t. Only she could make this decision.

He pushed away from the counter, slipped his shirt over his head and walked toward the door. Turning, he gazed at her, standing there in the late afternoon sun. “I would give up everything to be with you, Serena.”

It was the truth and that was the best thing he could
give her.

He turned and walked away.

And now for the wedding night scene. They’ve run from the church through a thunderstorm to a nearby inn. Serena does not know that her new husband is none other than the Duke of Northumberland!

Dinner was soon brought up. Drake directed the placement of the meal and ordered the wine poured with an authority Serena was fast becoming accustomed to and knew was as natural to him as breathing. She leaned her chin onto her palm, watching him from the small table set up for them, their faces reflected in the flickering firelight, hers in grinning fascination as the serving woman curtsied her way out of the room in apparent awe.

“How dost thou do it?”

“Do what, my love?”

“Command such fearsome respect in others.”

Drake motioned toward the food and grinned back at her. “If you will sup, madam, I shall tell you all of my secrets.”

The heated timbre of his words caused her to shiver. “Secrets, my lord?”

He seemed not to notice her flirtatious tone, and Serena had to wonder if that, too, was as natural to his ears as the trickling of water is to river rock.

He handed her a glass of wine. “Drink. It will relax you.”

She took a sip. “Tell me, why do they all bow and scrape in thy presence?”

Drake shrugged out of his waistcoat, tossing it on the bed as he sat down across from her. He loosened his cravat, a picture of an elegant gentleman at ease. “I have found that if you expect certain standards and speak with the authority of one who is used to expecting those standards, people generally—” he shrugged—
“do what is expected.” He smiled, one side of his mouth quirking in a way that left Serena a little breathless.

“Very philosophic of thee. May we eat, my lord? I am
famished.”

Drake frowned, but the smile stayed in his eyes. “You tease me, I know, but . . . call me anything but that.”

A glimpse of pain, quickly extinguished, gave her heart a pang. Determined to banish it, she said playfully, “Anything? How about Kitten? Or Peaches?” She laughed as he came around the table and pulled her into his arms.

Kissing her quiet, he murmured. “How about husband. I think I might like the sound of that.”

“Hmmm, husband. It fits thee.” She leaned back, his strong arm supporting her waist. “I like it that I am the only one who may call thee that.”

“Let me take your hair down.” His fingers dug into the coif, finding pins and tossing them on the table before she could protest.

“Should we not eat first, husband . . . while it is still hot?”

Drake ran his fingers through the long tresses, freeing them from their braids. “I want to sit across from you thus. It is a glorious thing, your hair.”

“Vainglorious, dost thou think?” Mock concern filled her voice.

Drake laughed. “I doubt you have a vain bone in your body, but if you did, no doubt your hair would be the femur.”

“Femur? What is that?”

“The largest bone in the body.” His hand glided down the side of her body to her thigh. “Here.” He leaned her back against his ready arm and then kissed a trail of sweetness from the slim column of her neck up to her chin, then her lips.

Her eyes fluttered shut. “What wilt thou do with me tonight?”

He chuckled, deep and mischievous in response. “You will see.” Abruptly, he righted her and then sat her in her chair. “Eat, madam.”

They ate in silence, each anticipating the advancing darkness of night, their eyes catching and holding over the flame of the candle slowly dripping in the center of the table, seeming to Serena like an hourglass counting down the minutes.

Serena finished first and took a long, slow drink from the wine, tasting it on her lips with the tip of her tongue. She watched Drake through lowered lids, the air humming with the tension of tightly coiled springs.

“I never tire of looking at thee.” What freedom, to speak her thoughts aloud.

A flare ignited in his eyes, telling her he liked hearing such things. She gave a little jump when he suddenly stood. Swallowing, she watched him toss back the remainder of his wine and come around to her side of the table. Her heart was pounding as he reached for her arm. It rose of its own accord to drape about his shoulders and held onto him as he lifted her.

“Hast thou had much experience in these matters?” she whispered against his chest.

“Enough to know what you might like. But you will not appreciate that yet.”

“What does that mean?”

Drake sighed in mock exasperation. “Do you want me to talk to you or kiss you?”

Serena shrugged a shoulder and gasped as her sleeve slid half way down her arm. Looking down she saw that he had undone the ribbons on the front of her gown. “However didst thou do that?”

He answering grin was wicked. “My vast experience.”

The next hour was a haze of pleasure to Serena. She had not understood how two could become one, until he made sense of it. Their breaths intermingled, their hearts pounding in urgent accord. Sensation became a new kind of direction, with touch its map. Before, she had only been able to look at him and she had thought that wondrous. Now, she used all her senses to explore him. She reveled in the essence that was Drake, the taste of his mouth, warm and rich with the wine. His scent, a mix of her mother’s soap from his wedding bath and his own unique fragrance, delighting her. She breathed him and knew him and lost herself in the world that he showed her. She gave all that she had, her trust complete.

It was nearly painful, loving him thus.

*****

Astonishing.

Drake had thought himself experienced. How humbling to learn he had only known the physical, never this joining of souls that had somehow, miraculously happened with Serena. What magic did she possess?

In the face of her sweet generosity, he felt the hard edges of his self-possession crumble. There was no room for the shroud of protection he had worn as effortlessly as his own skin for as long as he could remember. In the face of her love it melted, giving way to flesh and flesh, blood and blood. Left in its place was a sense of awe that this act of loving could be so humble—and yet so core deep.

He would never look at marriage the same way. Those few he’d seen that had seemed so connected . . . now he knew. Now he knew love. And nothing would ever be the same.

I’m fanning my face, my neck, the chocolate melting by my desk and in my refrigerator. Gracious sakes, is that drool? 😉 Whew, Jamie… didn’t I mention electrifying earlier? Yep, I’m still right 😉 This definitely calls for a Song of Solomon verse for today. I don’t know if any other would fit.

 Thanks for sharing these two scenes into your writing. I think I’ll go stand in my refrigerator now…for a long time, maybe with a copy of The Duchess and the Dragon in my hand.

 Kissing Quote for the Day:

“O love! O fire! once he drew
With one long kiss my whole soul through
My lips, as sunlight drinketh dew.”
~ Alfred Tennyson

Inspirational Quote for the day:

“Yes, and yours are, too—my love’s kisses
   flow from his lips to mine.
I am my lover’s.
   I’m all he wants. I’m all the world to him!”

Songof Solomon 7:9-10

“The sweet, fragrant curves of your body,
   the soft, spiced contours of your flesh
Invite me, and I come. I stay
   until dawn breathes its light and night slips away.
You’re beautiful from head to toe, my dear love,
   beautiful beyond compare, absolutely flawless. ”

Song of Solomon 4:6-7

“nough Said 😉 Whew…

A Kiss to Build a Scene On with Denise Hunter

A Touch. Lips to lips. Waiting, wanting, speaking wordless words. Ahh, what a caress. What a moment!

What brings those moment to life. What ignites color from black and white print?  What heightens the pulse, shallows the breaths, and floods your skin with a flush of warmth.

The senses.

And who else could heighten our senses like author, Denise Hunter. Her books breathe with contained passion, longing, and a need to be desired. Oh dear me, they are so lovely. If you’ve never read her books, well…you just need to. To read a review of her feature book today, Seaside Letters, follow this link: https://pepperbasham.wordpress.com/2009/09/25/seaside-letters-by-denise-hunter-2/

 To learn more about her books visit her website at www.denisehunterbooks.com

Now, Denise, what do you think makes a good kissing scene?

There are many elements that go into a great kissing scene, but everything that comes before it is just as important as the romantic scene itself. Building the hero’s and heroine’s back stories and motivation, ramping up the conflicts that keep them apart, and showing why the characters are drawn to each other are crucial. No matter how well-written the kissing scene, the reader won’t be moved if you haven’t done your work leading up to it.

Having said that, here are some things that help build a great kissing scene:

Sensory Details—what is your character seeing, smelling, tasting, hearing, touching or physically feeling? These are the details that put your reader there.

 Setting—choose the scene of the crime, er . . .kiss, carefully. Night or day? Sunny or storming? Alone in a boat or on a crowded street corner? Decide on the mood you want to set and go from there.

Internal Conflict—Unless you’re writing the happily-ever-after kiss, you’ll probably want your character to feel conflicted. Often during the kiss, they’ll remember why the kiss isn’t such a great idea.

Timing—This is about where you place the kiss in the story. Making the reader wait builds anticipation, but waiting too long will leave them irritated.

Pacing—Since your reader has been anticipating the scene, be sure it’s worth the wait. Slow the pace down. Linger in the scene a while.

Word choice —Words can set a romantic mood.  Watch your verbs and nouns. Go for specificity. Graze or brush, for instance, might be better than touch. 

 Wow, what great tips to remember. Do you have a scene for us?

From Seaside Letters (Thomas Nelson, 2009)

She laid her head in the crook of his elbow, the strength of his bare arm resting against her neck. Oh, how she’d missed this. Things email could never provide. Security. Comfort. She could a list a hundred more.

She inhaled the scent of his cologne, not daring to tear her eyes from the night sky. Smells.

The boat rocked slightly, a cradle on the water. The wind hummed a lullaby and waves lapped the boat, a gentle percussion.

“Sabrina?” he whispered.

Voices. She swallowed around a dry lump in her throat. Don’t look.

Do. Not. Look.

“What?” she asked so quietly she wasn’t sure if he heard.

“Look at me.” His voice, low and deep, beckoned.

She turned her head. He was so close. His breath mingled with the salty air and cooled her cheeks. His eyes . . .

His eyes were a deep pool, the color of the ocean at midnight. Had anyone ever looked at her the way he looked at her now? What was there, shimmering on the surface? Longing? Devotion? Desperation? She soaked it up, every ounce.

 “What?” she asked, needing to know. Needing words, not trusting herself to interpret his expression.

And then his hand was on her face, his palm cooling her flushed cheek. His thumb grazed the ridge of her lower lip, and she thought her lungs might explode. Touches.

He drew closer and then his lips were on hers, the merest of touches. A butterfly’s wings, a baby’s breath. It shook her to the core.

His lips tasted hers, teasing gently. Kisses.

It had been so long since she’d felt like this. Had she ever felt like this? Really wanted? Needed?

He deepened the kiss, ran his hand through her hair. This wanting, this needing, filled her to overflowing. She breathed him in. Tucker. The man who knew everything about her, the man who knew her every scar, inside and out. The man who loved her anyway.

Only he didn’t know he loved her. Didn’t know she was Sweetpea.

He was supposed to love Sweetpea.

Why was he kissing her? She felt betrayed. Then she felt silly because he was betraying her with her.

Even so, the feeling persisted. If he loved Sweetpea, how could he kiss Sabrina? She felt enraged on Sweetpea’s behalf.

She pushed at his chest, breaking the kiss.

Her breaths came hard and short. She saw the confusion in his eyes before she turned. “Take me home.”

“What’s wrong?”

The answer to that question could fill a book. Did she have desperation written all over her? Is that why he’d kissed her? Wasn’t he getting enough action from Arielle? The thought provoked her.

“I’ve had enough of the second show.” She pulled the blanket more tightly around her, but the chill seeped right through.

Oh Denise, you are such a tease. The final scene of that book is FANTASTIC with a kiss to build a SCENE on for sure, but this one is great too. Very take-your-breath-away too. Sigh. I will shamelessly plug this book, and all of your books, as much as you want. They are wonderful, passionate, and dig deep into so many heart-issues.

Thank you, thank you for being here today and what a way to end the week. Whew…

 Kissing Quote for the Day: 

“Love is friendship set on fire.”
Jeremy Taylor

 Inspirational Quote for the Day:

What is love, you ask? Below is a checklist that none of us can ever fully meet. An aspiration, perhaps, but a truth as well. A list that HAS been met in the love of our Savior.

“No matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I’m bankrupt without love.

   Love never gives up.
   Love cares more for others than for self.
   Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have.
   Love doesn’t strut,
   Doesn’t have a swelled head,
   Doesn’t force itself on others,
   Isn’t always “me first,”
   Doesn’t fly off the handle,
   Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others,
   Doesn’t revel when others grovel,
   Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,
   Puts up with anything,
   Trusts God always,
   Always looks for the best,
   Never looks back,
   But keeps going to the end.”

I Corinthians 13:3-7

Did you know that people become more connected emotionally through laughter? In fact, the wonderful hormones that shoot off in the  brain during laughter are similar to romantic hormones that trigger attraction. Yep. So I challenge the old addage, “The way to man’s heart is through his stomach.” What about this? “The best way to a man’s heart is through his funny bone.”?

And humor is the perfect ‘tease’ too. A little bit of flirting here. Some subtle romantic tension there. Ah…like a good recipe 😉

To be honest, I have a tendency to enjoy romantic scenes that are either comical or intense. So… a cross between Mary Connealy and Julie Lessman 😉 OR, I’ll throw Janet Dean into the loop, are some of my favorite kinds. In fact, Janet’s new book The Substitute Bride brings in a bit of humor with some kisses too. Fun, delightful, and sweet. Ah, sweet kisses. Now we’re talkin’. To learn more about Janet’s books, visit her website at www.janetdean.net

So Janet, 

What do you think makes a great kissing scene? Why?

 Depending on the mood of the characters and the stage of their relationship, kissing scenes vary and should. To me, all great kissing scenes elicit strong emotion, making characters and readers feel tender, loving, joyful or even angry.

I find a fun moment an excellent way to show sexual tension. I hope you do too. In the following scene from The Substitute Bride, the kiss between Elizabeth and Ted Logan is the culmination of some silliness. Silliness that suddenly turns serious.

Ted found Elizabeth in the kitchen, putting on an apron over his pants she still wore from gathering eggs that morning. “Planning on making those delicious biscuits of yours?”

Her mouth gaped. “You want biscuits?”

The thought put a knot in his stomach. “I’m hungry for a batch.” He gave her his most innocent look. “Want some help?”

“And you want to help?” She cocked her head at him, a smile tugging at her lips. “In the middle of your workday?”

With one field left to plant with corn, he should hitch up King and Queen, but his suggestion appeared to cheer her. “If you don’t mind.”

She examined his palms. “If you wash those hands.”

Well, at least she was touching him. A good sign peace had been restored. “Yes, ma’am,” he said, heading for the sink.

Suspicion clouded her dazzling blue eyes, as if she didn’t believe a word he’d said, but Elizabeth handed him an apron. He didn’t hanker to don it but no point in making a fuss and take a chance of ruining the harmony between them.

She reached for a crock then opened the door hiding the flour bin. “Measure two cups of flour.” She handed him a knife. “Use this to level it.”

He fumbled with the cup and knife.

“Do it like this,” she said, showing him how, then handing the knife back to him. “Add another cup of flour.”

With her standing so near, he could barely absorb her directions but somehow managed to dump the flour into the bowl. By the sparkle in her eye and the smile playing around her lips, she enjoyed bossing him. She looked…happy. Why hadn’t he tried harder to give her joy? With planting and all the chores to do, he’d neglected his wife. He wouldn’t make that mistake again.

She thrust a spoon at him. “Add four teaspoons of baking powder.”

And so it went with her giving orders and him following directions until he was wrist high in dough, his hands a mucky mess. He shot her a grin. “This is fun, kind of like playing in the mud. Care to join me.”

She rolled up her sleeves and dove in, squishing the dough between her fingers.

“A nice way to take out your frustrations,” Ted said.

“Why do you think I’ve gotten so good at biscuits?”

He chuckled. Within minutes, they battled with their fingers over territory in the bowl. She tried to shove him aside. He raised dough-globbed fingers in a sinister pose sending her into peals of laughter.

Next thing Ted knew, she streaked a doughy finger across his cheek then stepped back, grinning at him. Well, he couldn’t let that go. He grabbed her wrist. She ducked and tried to pull away, but he managed to draw a circle on her forehead.

She retaliated with a batter-smeared mustache. “You look ever so handsome,” she teased.

“You’d look mighty good with one yourself.” She scrambled out of reach, but he lunged for her waist, twisted her around and smeared the dough above her lip. “Now your face matches those pants you’re wearing.”

Things went downhill from there, giggling and making a mess even Tippy wouldn’t touch.

Trapping his bride in his arms, Ted lowered his head and planted a gooey kiss on her lips. Amazingly she kissed him back, dissipating the humor, leaving them both breathing deep and staring into each other’s eyes with the beat of Ted’s heart thumping in his ears.

“I had no idea you were so fond of biscuits, Mr. Logan.”

“From now on, Mrs. Logan, I’ll take my biscuits raw.”

Wonderful scene, Janet. Actually, it’s a great story in general. I just finished reading it last night and Ted is SUCH a lovable hero. Thanks for bringing your humor, romance, and fun to the post today.

Kissing Quote of the Day:

This quote is in answer to this question: How do adults learn how to kiss?

“You learn it right on the spot when the gooshy feelings get the best of you.” (Doug, 7)

Inspirational Kissing Quote:

There is no greater romance than being so greatly loved, so immeasurably adored, that you are secure within that love. Human love can only imitate a fraction of God’s perfect love and with that in mind, here is Ephesians 3:18-21
And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18 may have power, together with all the Lord’s people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.    20 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.
Stop by tomorrow with guest, Margaret Daley.
 

A Kiss To Build a SCENE On Lineup + a Poem :-)

Anyone still swooning from last week? I am – and boy has it been a fun. But don’t sigh your last. There are still two beautiful weeks of lip-locking action going on right here, and I have a wonderful lineup to prove it 🙂

Liz Curtis Higgs

Erica Vetsche

Janet Dean

Margaret Daley

Denise Hunter

And as a special treat – Another Romantic poem 😉

Hopeless Romantic

I’m a hopeless romantic. I will take no disguise.

I admit getting lost in some make-believe eyes.

I often quote prose to invisible men,

And am found in odd places with paper and pen.

I’m a hopeless romantic. I confess with a grin.

Though I know my profession some regard as a sin.

I enjoy taking walks in the springtime at night

And find the moon’s glow an inspiring delight.

I’m a hopeless romantic, with no shame I admit.

For the practical thinker I care not a wit.

My world is alight with my rose-colored glasses

And I love getting lost in a book as time passes.

I’m a hopeless romantic. Fairytales do come true.

Any storm brings adventure from a new point of view.

And the sweet kiss of love can awake hearts of stone.

In truth, we romantics are never alone.

I’m a hopeless romantic. I confess it is true.

From all of my options, I prefer this world view.

And if forced I can tell fact and fiction a part,

But a hopeless romantic is the beat of my heart.

Pepper D. Basham – copyright 2006

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.” 

A Kiss to Build a Scene On with Siri Mitchell

Who doesn’t like surprises, right? Okay, maybe I should clarify. Who doesn’t like good surprises? You know, the kinds that bring  a smile to your face when you think about them later in the day, month, or year.

Some of the most memorable kisses are ‘surprise’ kisses. Sure, there can be the reward and satisfaction of getting a kiss after climbing the mountain of anticipation and expectation, but those sneaky surprise kisses sure make for great scenes in books, or in movies, or AT the movies – as my guest Siri Mitchell will show us today.

Known for both historical and contemporary romances, Siri’s books have the uniqueness of being written in first person. Which is fun and intimate. Awash with feelings from the head of the characters. I have to give my plug for Kissing Adrien, my ALL TIME FAVORITE book of hers, but she has many others with just as much emotional appeal or light-hearted fun. To find out more about her books, visit www.sirimitchell.com

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

A great kissing scene has to incorporate the personality of both the kisser and the kissee. I could envision the most wonderful of kisses and describe it in the most romantic of terms, but if it fails to respect the characters of the people involved, then it won’t produce any sighs or butterflies on the part of the reader. Like any other scene in fiction, a kissing scene has work to do. It has to move the plot forward, introduce or solve conflict, reveal character, and/or deepen a theme. That’s a lot to expect from a kiss!

What sort have wonderfully suprising example have you brought for us today?

Here’s one of my all-time favorite kisses (from The Cubicle Next Door). I think it serves all four purposes I listed above. It takes place between the main characters, Jackie and Joe. They’re in a movie theater, watching a Bollywood movie.

That’s how we ended up in the center of the Kimball’s Twin Peak Theater, perched on the first seats in the upper section, legs propped up on the railings. We were half-way into it when Joe started talking.

“Have any more popcorn?”

I handed him the container.

He fished out a few un-popped kernels and started crunching. Shifted in his seat. Crossed his legs. Uncrossed them. “Okay. Enough dancing around the subject. Just kiss her already.”

“Shh!”

“This is torture. Why does it keep showing them dancing in Paris and Tahiti and Saudi Arabia? They live in India. And they’re both dirt-poor.”

“It’s beautiful.”

“They love each other, right?”

“Yes.”

“Then why don’t they just do something about it? Hold hands. Anything.”

“It’s not like they have to fall into bed every time they meet. There’s something to be said for self-control and physical restraint.”

“There’s also something to be said for not looking like a dancing marionette.”

“If you can’t watch nicely, then please leave.”

“Okay, okay.”

He was quiet for a few minutes and then he leaned toward my ear again. “How can you watch this without understanding the words? Why aren’t there subtitles?”

“Are you blind?”

“No.”

“Then use your eyes. Can’t you see what they’re feeling?”

“Maybe. I can guess. But it would be nice if it were backed up with words. Then I’d know for sure. I mean, she could be crying because she has something in her eye. How am I supposed to know for certain it’s because of something he said? Give me a break. I’m a guy!”

“Just. Shut. Up.”

He was good for about two minutes and then he leaned toward me again.

I took the popcorn container from him, hunched over, and shifted down three seats.

He followed me.

I shifted down two more.

He did the same.

“If you don’t stop talking I’m going to stand up—right now—and scream.”

“You wouldn’t.”

“Oh yes, I would.”

“If you stand up, then I’m going to stand up—right now—and kiss you.”

“You wouldn’t.”

“Oh yes, I would.” He was serious.

I plunged my hand to the bottom of the popcorn container.

There was nothing there but a few kernels Joe had left behind. I grabbed them and shoved them into my mouth. Started crunching.

He didn’t say another word. Not for a long time. Not until one of the more elaborate song and dance sequences at the end. Then he leaned over and looked me straight in the eye. “If they sing one more song…”

The images from the movie screen cast kaleidoscope shadows on his face. His eyes were sweeping back and forth across my own face.

“Aren’t you going to stand up and scream?”

My scalp began to tingle. My mouth had suddenly gone dry. “Why?”

“I talk. You scream. We kiss. That was the deal.” He stretched his arm across the backs of our seats. “You’re not going to back out on me now, are you?”

I could not look away from his eyes. I wanted to. But I couldn’t. It was a physical impossibility. I had no control over my body. Because before I could even register his question in my brain, my head began jerk back and forth.

“Good.” He smiled. I saw those dimples. Then I felt his hand caress my neck.

I must have closed my eyes, because the next thing I knew, they were flying open as his lips touched mine.

He brought his other hand up to my neck.

And I must have closed my eyes again. Because all I can remember was being in a world devoid of any sensation but touch. And taste. And a feeling in the pit of my stomach as if I were driving down a mountain road way too fast. Careening out of control. And the only way to get out, to get through, was to hang onto Joe.

Literally.

When I next opened my eyes, I found I was clutching fistfuls of his sweater. And I meant to push him away, but then he started kissing my neck and I decided it would actually be better if he were closer.

Slowly, I became aware of a sort of change around us. Tried to open my eyes, but it felt as if I were attempting to lift the garage door with just one finger. I put a hand to Joe’s chest. Tried to push myself away from it.

He put a hand up to cover mine, and then brought it up to his face. Broke away from my lips.

I watched as he kissed my open palm and then released my hand.

And then, we both blinked.

Because in between when our kisses had started and when they had ended, the movie had also ended, the theater had emptied, and the lights had been turned on.

Joe smiled. Gave me a last, quick kiss and then stood up and held out his hand for mine.

I just sat there, looking up at him. “Were we just making out? In public? In a movie theater?”

“Which question do you want me to answer first?”

“Were we making out!”

He sat back down. “We were kissing.” He put his hands up to my face.

I batted them away.

“Jackie. We were just kissing.  I didn’t even…touch you anywhere.”

“Well, it felt like you touched me everywhere!”

“Shh.” He put out a hand to smooth my hair away from my face.

“Stop touching me!”

“Whoa!—it’s okay.”

“It’s not okay. It is not okay that I become just like my mother.”

“You’re not.”

“How would you know?”

“You’re not—“

“All I have to do is the opposite of what she did and then everything will be okay.” I could feel tears coursing down my cheeks, but I could not stop them. “I am not my mother.”

“You’re not.”

“I am not my mother. I will not be out of control. I can’t see you anymore. I can’t kiss you anymore.”

“Okay. That’s fine.”

“I can’t.”

“All right.”

“I won’t.”

He took me by the hand and pulled me onto his lap. Wrapped his arms around me and began to rock, forward and back. Forward and back. Forward and back.

“I can’t see you anymore.”

Sometimes a kiss isn’t just a kiss. In fact, I’d say that most of the time in fiction, a kiss isn’t just a kiss. (Julie, have you and Siri been comparing notes?)Of course everything turns out just fine in the end for Jackie and Joe. They’re kissing again on the last three pages of the book.

What a great scene, with so much emotional drama AND humor going on at the same time. I think sometimes it’s easy to JUST focus on the physical aspects of the kiss and forget about all the deep rooted things the characters bring to the kiss too. When you blend all that together, a kiss can pack quite a punch. Thanks for sharing today, Siri, and I look forward to your new release She Walks in Beauty coming this spring.

Kissing Quote of the Day:

“I believe in long, slow, deep, soft, wet kisses that last three days.”
Bull Durham (1988) – Crash Davis (Kevin Costner)

A Kiss to Build a Scene On with Ruth Axtell Morren

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.

So….

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

A Kiss to Build a SCENE On with Missy Tippens

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.”

  “When?”

 “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!

A Kiss to Build a SCENE On with Deeanne Gist

Kiss – (According to Webster’s) “to salute or caress one another with the lips.”

According to WordIQ “romantic kissing tends to be more intense and prolonged”.

Medicine.Net states that a kiss is “The anatomical juxtaposition of two orbicularis oris muscles in a state of contraction.” – nurses will get this one 😉

Hershey’s says a kiss is, “A small piece of chocolate…” 😉

But a kiss isn’t JUST a kiss. It’s a symbol of something happening inside of the people engaging in such lip smackin’ ‘ juxtapositioning 😉 It’s a breakthrough, as one soul nears another. Beautiful. Breathtaking.

And boy do I have an orbicularis oris contraction for you today. Deeanne Gist, author of fantastic novels like Deep in the Heart of Trouble (sorry Dee, this one is my favorite so I have to list it first), A Bride Most Begruding, A Bride in the Bargain, and Courting Trouble is here to define what makes a great kissing scene. Her books are chock full of humor, romance, and especially in her ‘Brides’ series, adventure.

To read a review of her novel Deep in the Heart of Trouble, check out this link: https://pepperbasham.wordpress.com/2009/09/29/deep-in-the-heart-of-trouble-by-deeanne-gist/

Now Dee, what do you think makes a great kissing scene?

My favorite kissing scene of all time was in the movie WITNESS with Harrison Ford and Kelly McGillis. Why? Because the romantic tension between the two characters had a slow, slow build through the entire movie and when they finally kissed, it was such an expression of joy and celebration. I learned something from that movie. The characters don’t have to go to bed for a scene to be potent and sexy. A kiss, when done well, can do the job very nicely.

And what wonderful excerpt do you have to tease our senses today? 😉

This was really tough, mainly because it’s an excerpt and I haven’t had the rest of the book to engage your emotions. You haven’t met the characters. You don’t know he’s a saloon owner and she’s trying to tame him. You don’t know she’s the first respectable woman to hit the shores of San Francisco during the gold rush and is way out of her element. You don’t know she had to leave her treasured bug collection back East, so he courts her by presenting her with dead bugs (instead of flowers).

     So you’re getting the kiss without the slow build. Without the underlying tension that has been simmering between them for quite a while. But, Pepper said ya’ll wanted an excerpt, so excerpt it is. From The Measure of a Lady, meet Johnnie and Rachel …  

            The temperature had dropped and all she had on was that brown work dress, wet from being caught in the rain. He shrugged off his jacket and taking it by the collar, draped it around her shoulders.

            Yet after he had it securely about her, he did not relinquish his hold of the lapels. Her thick hair strained against the pins within it. Several tendrils had escaped to tickle her face and coil down her back.

            He explored the delicate lines of that face, the pinkish hue the sun had painted onto her cheeks this day, the long, thick lashes framing her rich brown eyes.

            She moistened her lips.

            He brushed a lock of hair from her cheek. “I’m going to kiss you now, Rachel.”

            Her eyes widened slightly, but she didn’t pull away.

            He applied some pressure to his jacket, drawing her closer. “Have you ever been kissed?”

            She slowly nodded her head. “By you. Last night.”

            “That’s not the kind of kiss I mean.”

            She frowned in sweet confusion.

            He slipped an arm about her waist. “If you want me to stop, just say stop. ”

            “I want you to stop,” she whispered.

            He lifted one corner of his mouth. “That’s cheating. I haven’t started yet. You have to wait until I start. Those are the rules.”

            And with that, he leaned into her and captured her lips with his. They were soft and smooth and very still. He gathered her nearer, trying to coax a response from her. But she moved nary a muscle, like a doe who senses danger.

            He followed the line of her jaw with his lips, then nipped the lobe of her ear. “Kiss me back, love. Kiss me back.”

            He felt her exhale-inhale in quick succession.

            Touching her chin with the crook of his finger, he stroked her lips with his thumb. “You might ought to breathe as well.”

            He bent his head and this time she relaxed a bit. Need flooded him, but he held it in check. He just wanted a little taste. Well, that wasn’t exactly true. But it was all he would allow himself.

Woohoo, I love it when we can get a kiss from the man’s pov – Go Johnnie Go! He’s so tender and his own insecurities surface with her unresponsiveness. Beautifully done, Dee. It makes me want to pick up the book again.

Btw, Dee has a new historical novel coming out in June entitled Maid to Match and it takes place at America’s Biggest House – the Biltmore in Asheville, NC. Romance and mystery surround that place, so I can’t wait to see what you do with it, Dee. Thanks for being a part of this BlogFEST.

Kissing Quote for the Day:

“A kiss is a lovely trick designed by nature to stop speech when words become superfluous.”  – Ingrid Bergman

Bible Kissing Quote:

Has anyone ever seen anything like this—
   dawn-fresh, moon-lovely, sun-radiant,
   ravishing as the night sky with its galaxies of stars?” 

 One day I went strolling through the orchard,
   looking for signs of spring,
Looking for buds about to burst into flower,
   anticipating readiness, ripeness.
Before I knew it my heart was raptured,
   carried away by lofty thoughts!
-Song of Solomon 6:10-12

I love the way the Lover in SOS details his ‘love at first sight’ kind of moment for his Beloved. ‘his heart was raptured’. Wow! Ever written a scene like that? When the hero realizes he’s in love? Sometimes it happens slow, like rising dawn, but other times it burst through him like the sun’s ray through a thundercloud. Totally unexpected, but intensely beautiful.

Stop by tomorrow for some a Southern Howdy with Missy Tippens.