Wednesday, August 7, 2019

A Kiss is Just a Kiss

Little girl’s dreams are built around it. Boys brag about it, and it is the force driving every book I write. It is all about the kiss, not just any kiss, ‘the kiss’.  Sounds like a pretty weak way to drive anything, but that us my focal point. The first kiss and then the renewal kiss. In any romance, the basic bare bones plot is usually the same.  Boy meets girl, boy gets girl, boy loses girl, boy wins girl back.  Obviously, there are a million variations of this, but the core is the same. So for a writer to truly translate their vision, we must have a focus.

In my first series, ‘Trust Me,’ the entire novel started out as an image in my head. Two people, breathless and desperate to kiss each other but unable to act on their feelings, I focused on the single image rolling all of the possibilities in my head, why wouldn’t they be able to fulfill their desires? What was holding them back and what would make them so desperate to act? Where did the need to be in the others embrace stem from? What were the consequences if they acted on their desires? The answers to each of these are, of course endless, but in the end, Trust Me was born. The two people became Rebecca Gailen and Eric Stiles, the scene wound up in a very different place than I imagined it, and the consequences were shattering to both of them.

Eric sat for a moment, letting the advice settle in his gut before he rose from the table. He made is way down the hall and over to the kitchen. He popped a few quarters in the vending machine his mind heavy in thought.

Just promise me, if you find her you won't walk away…
Then the world literally stopped. I looked up, and there she was smiling at me as she said hello.
I wish that were true

He made his way back to the conference room, two sodas in hand. He rounded the corner and bumped into someone. He heard a gasp, and he turned. Her blue eyes looked at him in terror.

"Beccs."

He'd scared her again.

Damn it what was she doing out here alone?

She was breathless, and he watched her body begin to quake. Her eyes watering, she looked to him, helpless. He grasped her hand and scanned his ID before he led her into an empty conference room. She propped herself against the wall, and he shut the door. Her trembling worsened while tears slid down her cheeks.

He pulled her into his chest, wrapping his arms around her protectively until the trembling passed. She clung to him, and he pulled her tighter against him, kissing the top of her head.

After a few minutes, she seemed to calm. Eric looked down at her, his hand grazing her hair. She met his gaze, her cheeks still wet with tears.

"Okay?" He gently wiped her tears away with his thumb.

Quiet desperation shone back at him, and he drowned in her eyes. His heart refused to be ignored. The walls he'd so carefully built crumbled like ash. Eric leaned down, pressing his lips against hers, his hands pushing into her hair. He covered her mouth, and a rush of fire swept through him. Her lips were warm and sweet. She opened up to him, and he pulled her closer to him, devouring her mouth. They melted together into one enduring embrace.

She pulled away, their lips parted, and his heart screamed in protest.

"We can't do this," she said in a breathless whisper. His forehead rested against hers, eyes closed, fighting the need to kiss her again. "Eric…"

"If it was anyone else…" his voice a deep growl talking his way back from her warmth, "Rebecca I--"

Her warm hand rested against his cheek and stabs of pain pushed at him like his heart was being ripped from his body. He tried to catch his breath. Her eyes were brimming with life, pain, and unquenchable warmth.

She rose up on her toes. His arms still wrapped around her, she kissed him once more. Full of emotion and regret, her lips fit within his. She broke away and lowered herself back to the ground. Unable to pull away from her eyes, he could see the strain and exhaustion she fought to hide. His hand grazed her hair, and her eyes closed.

Like the screaming of an alarm, his cell phone rang. Her eyes opened, looking at him with strength, hiding the pain and fear only he could see. Her shoulders squared, her back stiffened, and her arms dropped from his chest.

Eric kept her resilient but anguished gaze. He dropped his arms from their protective position around her. She took a step back. His cell phone rang again. She took another step and turned toward the door. He struggled with not being able to touch her or hold her. She glanced back, but within seconds, she disappeared. It was torture beyond his imagination, and it was killing him.
His phone rang again, and he pulled it from his pocket.
"This is Detective Stiles."
***

So that was the beginning of the Trust Me series or at least the kernel of inspiration.  Now that was not the first kiss, nor would it be the last, but it is a crucial part of the plot. First kisses, as I stated, are of monumental importance to me. They have to be perfect. They have to feel honest, real, and natural. One of my pet peeves is to have a kiss feel rushed or awkward, or when as the reader I am saying – where the hell did that come from. There has to be a build-up, tension, and finally, the explosion that lifts the character's story to the next level.

In Shockwave, the first kiss is the turning point in the novel. It is the place where the reader is finally satisfied by the flirt. Kate Weiss and Jack Tucker are from two different worlds, he is always in the spotlight, and she is always behind it. At the beginning of the story, Jack and Kate hate each other until Kate is attacked by a group of thugs.  From there, the flirt is on, and in this scene, the readers are given what they have been hoping for…

It took a little time, but they managed to make their way out and hail a cab back to the hotel. Stumbling into the hotel laughing, they managed to navigate their way to the elevators. They stepped in, and concurrently forgot the floor of their rooms.

“Twenty-three Three is sticking in my brain.” She leaned against the back of the elevator.

“Twenty-three Three it is,” Jack pushed the button and leaned against the wall next to her.

“You’d think they would put it on your key or something.”

“What’s your room number?” His brain flipped like a coin in mid-air.

“2509.” He looked at her with a smile. “Seriously?”

She reached forward, pushed the button for twenty-five. He laughed.

“What’s your room number, Tucker?”

“Ah…I…well…I have no fucking idea!”

“See!” She stepped back, leaning next to him. “So I don’t want to hear any sass out of you about my 23!”

“My sass will remain closed.” The heat of her body made his head spin more than it already was.

“That’s why!”

“Why what?”

“I finally understand why she calls you Sass. I didn’t see it before, but now I definitely agree that you are…”

Abruptly the doors opened, and they turned to move out of the elevator. He realized they were on the wrong floor and pulled her back.

“What are you doing?”

“Twenty-five, remember, not twenty-three.”

“Oh yeah,” She turned to him with a lopsided smile. It hit him like a hammer. He realized it was the first time he had ever really seen her smile.  It lit up her face, and he couldn’t help but smile back. “Do you know that saying?”

“What saying?”

“The whole, what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas thing.”

“Yes, I am familiar with it.” The doors of the elevator opened again, and he gently turned her around, moving her forward into the hallway.

“Well, you need to make sure you understand that saying because well…” She rummaged through her pockets for her key. “I am breaking so many rules right now, you wouldn’t believe.”

“Rules?” She stopped at her door leaning against it, key card in hand.
Jack watched her struggle to maintain her mental and physical balance.

“Yes, rules. Many, many rules.”

“What kind of rules?” Warmth enveloped him. Her scent and deep eyes drew him in, and he was powerless to resist.

“Important rules.” His palms rested on the door trapping her between his arms, and a deep sigh escaped her lips. “Very important rules.”

“Kate,” He breathed her in, just inches away from her lips, her emerald eyes shining brightly up at him.

“Yes?”

“Forget the rules.” He caressed her cheek with his thumb, his heart pounding against his chest. Jack let go of his fear and covered her mouth with a passionate kiss.

He expected the moment of surprise. Then she kissed him back, her arms wrapping around his neck, pulling him closer. After a hesitant but passion-filled exploration of the other's lips, their touch parted, and he bit back a groan. He didn’t want to stop. He wanted to keep kissing her forever.

***

In my new book, Finders, Demonologist Luke Melloy cannot afford to be in love. It is a hazard to his job and his soul. A missing part of his life he has learned to deal with… Claire Westin is too busy for love, she has a career, goals, and a notorious family name to escape. Funny how fate has other plans for this pair.

They laid in silence. Luke focused on his breathing and thought she’d fallen asleep. When she turned to face him, he opened his eyes, seeing her beautiful face just inches away. His heart raced, and he begged it to calm. The need to touch her scorched his body, and he held back.

“Can you feel it?” Claire said, her voice barely audible.

The question threw him off. Everything about Claire threw him off. In a desperate attempt to remain in control of his colliding emotions, he responded, “feel what?”

Her soft and yet piercing gaze studied him. He could almost hear her mind working as she stared through his mask. A mask, until now, no one knew was there. She shifted slowly, her hand rising from the down bedding before gently laying against his cheek. “Feel this.”

With her touch, his world rolled and surged. His energy aligned into a powerful rush of endorphins and strength. Closing his eyes, he savored the surge, like taking in pure oxygen after years of suffocation. “Yes.”

“What,” she started, and he watched her take a breath of air. “is it?”

Her sweet breath on his chin, her lips brushed against his in a hesitant kiss. The union sent sparks flying through his core, and without thought, Luke claimed her mouth with a fiery need. Taking her into his arms and rolling her beneath him, he could feel her desire, feel the heat boiling in both of their bodies. She opened to him, her nails curling into the back of his neck, demanding his attention, and he devoured her mouth in response.

Delicious

Intoxicating

Heaven

“Claire,” Luke said, forcing himself to pull back from the elation. His body groaned in response.

“I know,” Claire said, breathless and panting. “I know we have to stop.”
Luke met her eyes, seeing clarity, and understanding he wasn’t expecting. “I don’t…”

“I understand, Luke,” she said, her thumb stroking his cheek. “It’s complicated, and things are complicated enough right now.” He collapsed against her, breathing in her scent. “Your being here, holding me in your arms is enough for now.”
***
A little steamy, right-- Well all of that flirting tends to build up a little tension…and POW!

The kiss is a powerful weapon in the romantic suspense, more so than in other genres. The kiss is a prize, a reward for hard work, and a job well done. You have managed to stay alive, here is your treat…you get the girl/guy!

Every writer has something that propels them forward, the kernel of truth they search out.

I ask you, with the utmost sincerity, what is more, honest than a kiss? You cannot fake a kiss, not a real one anyway. A real kiss has the power to sway opinions, cease and cause wars, make you faint, swoon, and or gag. For me, the kiss is the first breath of love, it is an act of passion, and most of all, awareness.  There is no way to deny, retract, or ignore a real kiss, not even if you want to.

The core of my writing is the kiss in all of its glorious forms, whether is it a first kiss or a kiss. Goodbye, it is always memorable. It is my job to make you remember why.





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