Tuesday, February 21, 2017

The Kiss - A Pivotal Scene in Any Romance

Little girl’s dreams are built around it. Boys brag about it, and it's the force driving every book I write. Romance all about the kiss, not just any kiss, ‘the kiss’.  Sounds like a pretty weak way to drive anything, but that is 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 latest erotic novella, the entire novel started out as a single moment. A passionate, unexpected, but wanted moment between two professional people. 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 You Never Could Be was born. The two people became Sara and Will.

Will finished his conversation, and hung up his phone, having booked himself on the next available flight. Highway assistance had solved their lug nut challenge, and they were back on the road to the airport. Sara saw the exit and glanced at him with a grin, her stomach churning. His phone beeped and he glanced at the screen with an audible sigh.
“Is everything okay?”
“Uh, yeah, it’s fine.”
“You don’t sound so convinced.”
“I’m not.” His focus went toward the window a deafening quiet lying between them once again.
“Are you going out of the same terminal?”
“Yeah, I think so, American.”
She grabbed her drive-through pass and headed to the terminal. The curb side thorough-way was closed. She pulled into the garage and found a space. Sara was unwilling to break the boundary of silence he’d put up, and wordlessly popped the hatch.
“Make sure you get a new tire. You shouldn’t be driving on the donut for longer than a day.” He came around the side, pulling his luggage from the back.
“I will.” She pulled her fingers against her hair. The tension was killing her, and she’d had enough. “Will…”
“They’re replacing me.” Her blood turned to ice.
“What?”
“The phone call, it was Regan. They decided to split the departments, and my position has been absorbed into the transition.” Unable to deal with the news without emotion, she turned away from him. “There are a couple of positions available in Phoenix. They are setting up interviews for me.”
“When?”
“I’ll announce it Monday. They want me to work through the transition so probably a few weeks.”
“I can’t believe this is happening. Will, you’ve been—“
“It’s okay Sara. It’s not personal. We knew with all the changes' stuff like this was going to happen.”
“Yeah, but not to us.”
She saw him take a deep breath before he closed the hatch. Her emotions rose to her chest and she wasn’t sure what to do. She did her best to gulp it back.
“Well at least, you’ll be around for the next few weeks, so I can still harass you when needed.” She meant for the statement to be light, but it came out like a final farewell. “You’ll have to come up with an excuse to come visit. I’m sure the group of us can come up with a plausible justification.”
“I’ll be around.”
“I know you will. You're always around when I…we need you.” His eyes bore through her, and her body involuntarily tightened. “You’d…uh…you’d better get moving or you’re going to miss your plane again.”
“Yeah, I think I would have a hard time using the flat tire excuse twice.”
“Have a safe trip.” She stepped into him, wrapping her arm loosely over his shoulder in a hug. Her heart raced at the solid heat of his body against hers. “Let me know if you need anything. Seriously, if you need anything just call.”
“You too.”
She nodded and went to step back, his hand lingering on her hip. She hesitated. He moved, and she took another step. He threw his laptop case over his shoulder and unfolded his luggage before waving good-bye.
Heaviness settled on her chest, forcing a deep sigh. Her mind felt thick, and she pulled herself away, getting in her truck. She lifted the handle when the smacking of hurried footsteps against concrete got her attention.
“Sara!”
She spun on her heel following his voice around the truck.
“Did you forget something?” He didn’t respond just kept walking, a startling determination in his eyes. She waited in open confusion. He kept coming and before she could react, his hand curled on the back of her neck. His mouth crushed hers with a heated demand and she had no choice but to give in. She opened beneath him, and his tongue diving into her mouth. He shifted his arm, wrapping it around her waist, resting on the small of her back. His mouth still dominating her attention, his overpowering torso pressed her against the truck. She was trapped, unable to escape his possessed siege of her mouth.
The kiss broke, and they both gasped for air. His eyes searched her face, his fingers kneading her neck. He wordlessly pulled at her lips, and her hands balled against his chest. She took another gasp of air, looking up into his heavy-lidded eyes. "Don't go.”

In my first romantic suspense series, ‘Trust Me’, we have two people, breathless and desperate to kiss each other but unable to act on their feelings. The two people became Rebecca and Eric, 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. He 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.
A 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 pull 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 a 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 characters 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. In 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 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.

****

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. It 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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