Saturday, October 15, 2016

That First Big Kiss by Alison Henderson

We all know the first kiss is a critical point in any romance novel. So much hangs on it. It's usually the couple's first intimate contact, and the nature of the kiss depicts where the couple is in their relationship at that point. Does the hero steal a kiss from the reluctant heroine? Does he force it on her? Does she ambush him? Or do they come together in a mutual expression of passion? It all depends on the characters and the situation in which they find themselves at that moment.

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



Vonnie Davis ~ Romance Author said...

The one thing I've never been good at is teasing my readers. I keep telling myself I need to work on this, but I get too eager myself for kisses and whatever to happen. You're so right. The way you write that first kiss is so important and we want it different for every book. I love the excerpt you've provided. Just love it.

Leah St. James said...

Love it, Alison! Great first kiss! I have to confess I don't think about it too much when I'm writing. But then I'm a pantser (who struggles to keep to an outline), so the characters kind of just let me know when they want to kiss. :-) But you're right it's so important to build up to that so without frustrating the reader.

Brenda Whiteside said...

Great excerpt, Alison. The personalities really come out.

Alison Henderson said...

Vonnie, I love sexual tension in books, so I always try to draw things out when it suits the situation and the couple. Half the fun is in the anticipation!

Alison Henderson said...

Leah, I'm a plotter, but for me, first kisses happen when the stars align. I think about them when I'm plotting, but I don't decide I need a kiss on page such-and-such, like some really dedicated plotters. I let my fictional relationships develop organically, just like they do in real life.

Alison Henderson said...

Thanks, Brenda. I can't ask for more.

Jannine Gallant said...

Really great job on this, Alison. Their personalities shine!

Diane Burton said...

Whew. Is it hot in here? Great first kiss, Alison. I don't "plan" the first kiss. It sort of happens...when it feels like the right time. Love the way you drew out the moment. As I said, hot!

Alison Henderson said...

Thanks, Jannine. Generic "romance" scenes bore me. I try to make my kisses fit the characters.

Alison Henderson said...

As you know, Diane, I don't really write "HOT", but I'm all about the anticipation.

Rolynn Anderson said...

Well done, Alison! Funny that my editor said I needed an 'earlier' kiss. I just drafted've set a high bar...more work to be done on mine, sigh. Good luck with your new book!

Alison Henderson said...

Thanks, Rolynn. These two were fun characters, so it wasn't too hard.

Margo Hoornstra said...

So sorry to be late. So glad I got to read this. Excellent job, Alison! You teased, brought out your characters' personalities - big time - and delivered one heck of a kiss!

Alison Henderson said...

Thanks so much, Margo!

Alicia Dean said...

Excellent first kiss scene! Lots of angst and chemistry. Yes, the first kiss is SO important in a romance!