My new bodyguard romance, BOILING POINT, begins with mutual suspicion and multiple mistaken identities. This hero and heroine are not going to fall blissfully into each other's arms while each suspects the other of being a potentially dangerous criminal. On top of that, my heroine bears the psychological scars of a previous attempted sexual assault. They spar--verbally and physically--for several chapters before their first attempt at a kiss, and they're foiled before they really begin. They continue to learn more about each other and have another near miss before they're ready to try again in earnest.
With that in mind, here's the first successful kiss from BOILING POINT:
Before Zoë’s hand touched the knob, Nick slipped between her and the door. She had to pull up short to keep from running face-first into his broad chest. Taking a half step back, she lifted her chin, and sent him a questioning look.
“There’s something more I want to say.”
His voice rumbled in his chest, it’s deep tone sending goosebumps up her arms. Her heart fluttered in her chest. Was he going to try to kiss her again?
“I’m sorry for the way I acted.”
Not what she’d expected. Zoë released her breath and relaxed a fraction. “It’s my fault. I woke you up.”
“Not then… earlier… in the kitchen. When you so graciously pointed out my shortcomings.”
She glanced down at the ratty old green shag carpeting. “About that…I probably could have been more…um…diplomatic.”
He slipped a forefinger under her chin and tipped it up until she met his gaze. “No, you were right. I’ve never taken criticism well—just ask my former lieutenant. I overreacted.”
“Let’s agree we both could have handled the conversation more professionally and leave it at that.” She offered her hand. “Deal?”
His hand enveloped hers with heat and strength, squeezing lightly. “Deal.”
When she tried to release her grasp, he tightened his hold and gave a little tug, drawing her forward. “I’m wide awake now.”
“I can see that.”
He pulled her steadily forward until his face loomed above hers and only inches separated their lips. “You could stay a while and keep me company.”
“I could, but then you’d get no dinner.”
His voice dropped even lower as his head came down and one arm slid behind her back. “Maybe I’m hungry for something besides food.”
As his lips drew closer, Zoë’s chest tightened, but she fought back, refusing to let the old panic overtake her. Instead, she focused on the solid reality of the man in front of her.
This is Nick. You’re safe.
His warm breath fanned her lips, and his strong arm supported her like a branch of her favorite climbing tree back home. She felt nothing but a kindling excitement deep inside. He wasn’t holding her too tightly—she knew she could escape if she needed to—but he’d aroused her curiosity, among other things. At the moment all she wanted was to taste him.
Nick’s kiss was tentative at first, but as soon as she moved her mouth, his arms tightened around her. As he increased the pressure, Zoë steeled herself against the sense of suffocation, but it never came.
Instead, a warm tingle spread from her lower abdomen to her breasts and down her arms to her fingertips.
He moved one hand up and speared his fingers through her hair, cradling her head and holding it steady while he teased her lips open. She half-expected his other hand to go wandering in search of more titillating destinations, but it remained firmly welded to her back.
After a few minutes that seemed like an eternity, he slowed and ended with one last, lingering kiss before releasing her lips.
She rested her head against his chest and listened to the rhythmic thuds of his heart while she regained her breath. She ran her tongue over her lips, missing the feel of him already. Kissing Nick had been a revelation on many levels. He was unlike any man she’d ever known—certainly unlike any she’d kissed. He hadn’t tried to overwhelm or push her. He’d taken his time, leashed his passion. Maybe that was the reason the old fears had lost their teeth.
With a gentle push she slipped out of his arms. There was something oddly endearing about the confused frustration on his face. She smiled and touched his hard jaw. “That was delightful, but I’ve got to cook dinner. You know the old saying—man cannot live on love alone.”
Nick grabbed her wrist and gave her fingers a light nip. “I don’t think that’s how the quote goes. Besides, who said anything about love?”
Nobody. “You can’t live on sex alone, either.”“I’d be willing to give it a try.”
BOILING POINT is available from Amazon in paperback and kindle formats at http://amzn.to/2cw9hPX