Julie's Two Favorite Kissing

Scenes From Her Novels!

 

Favorite Kissing Scene #1:

Set-up: As a punishment meted out by her father for breaking curfew, Katie O’Connor is forced to volunteer at the Boston Children’s Aid Society, where she has to answer to her childhood nemesis, Luke McGee, in A Hope Undaunted. Picture the two celebrity photos as Katie O'Connor and Luke McGee. :)

***

     “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 the scent of peppermint 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 riffraff, 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 riffraff 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.

 

Favorite Kissing Scene #2:

Set-up: Luke McGee has been trying forever to find a foster home for an incorrigible little-girl orphan named Gabe who has stolen his heart. But he’s crushed when he learns he’s run out of time—Gabe will shipped to the Midwest on an orphan train in a few days. So when Katie O’Connor provides the perfect solution, it unleashes more gratitude than he—or Katie—bargain for.  — A Hope Undaunted

***

     His breathing slowed and his gaze jerked up, scanning the heavens. “You said you would never leave us nor forsake us, Lord, but where are you in all of this? Gabe needs you, and I need you. I’ve prayed for months for a good home for her, you know that, and yet there’s been nothing.”

     He sucked in a deep breath and sagged back into his chair, releasing the air in his lungs as thoroughly as he knew he had to release Gabe . . . into God’s hands. “Forgive me, Lord, because I do trust you. You’ve never failed me, not once since I’ve given my life to you. So I believe you have Gabe in the palm of your hand because you’ve proven yourself faithful to me over and over. And one way or the other, you always answer my prayers.”

     A knock sounded, and he spun around, spying Katie at the door. His lips quirked into a half smile. Well, almost always, he thought as her blue eyes peeked in.

     “I’m leaving now, Luke. Is there anything you need before I go?”

     Yeah, Katie, a hug would be nice.

     Heat singed the back of his neck and he coughed, clearing his throat. “No, I’m good. Have fun this weekend.” His brows pinched in a frown. “Oh, sorry—are you still on confinement?”

     She grinned and sidled past the door, closing it carefully behind her with a pretty blush on her cheeks. “Yes, until tomorrow night, that is, when I have my first date with Jack in over two and a half months.”

     Luke forced a smile to cover the scowl in his mind. “Lucky Jack,” he said with a tease in his tone, but truer words had never crossed his lips, and suddenly the thought blackened his mood further. Over the summer, he’d made the startling discovery that Katie O’Connor was everything he wanted in a woman, and somehow he’d known it from the age of fourteen. With little or no effort on her part, she had won his affection—from a cold shoulder at the age of ten, to a teasing smile at the age of eighteen—and Luke would give anything to be more than just friends. But they had a deal, and she had a boyfriend, and Luke was a man of his word. The scowl finally won out as he looked away, intent on shoving papers into a drawer.

     She hesitated. “Are you sure you don’t need anything before I go? You look . . . tense.”

     Tense? Because two people he loved were leaving his life forever? He blew out a sigh of frustration and wheeled in his chair to stare out the window. “No, Katie, go home. I’m just down about Gabe, that’s all. Go on, get out of here and have fun this weekend.”

     Go home to Jack, Katie Rose.

     His stomach tightened at the sudden click of her heels, and shock expanded his eyes when she perched herself on the edge of his window. She crossed silky legs and leaned forward, palms flat on the sill and blue eyes sparkling with excitement. Her mouth twitched with a smile, as if a secret hovered behind those full, sensuous lips, and the tease of her proximity triggered his pulse till he thought he couldn’t breathe. A gentle breeze from the window rustled her silk dress, and the scent of roses drifted in the air, warming his blood.

     “What’s on your mind, Katie?” he asked, heat crawling up his neck at the realization of what was on his.

     “The same thing that’s on yours, apparently,” she said with a mysterious smile. “Gabe.”

     His pulse slowed. “Gabe? What about her?”

     Katie bit her lip and then grinned outright. “I have a foster family for her.”

     He sat up straight in the chair, fingers gripped white on the arm. “W-what? W-where?” His words tripped over his tongue, moving faster than the hammering of his heart.

     Her laughter floated in the air like the sound of hope. “A wonderful family, really—large, well-to-do, and so full of love that Gabe will think she died and went to heaven.”

     He couldn’t help it—tears stung his eyes. “Who?” he whispered.

     Her gaze was tender as she studied him, the wetness in her eyes matching his own. “The O’Connors of Boston,” she said softly, then put a hand to her chest and blinked back her tears. “Goodness, you think she’ll mind sharing a room?”

     He stared, disbelief stealing the air from his lungs. And then in a jolt of comprehension, it whooshed back in, flooding his body with such joy and emotion, he thought he would faint. In one frantic clip of his heart, he swallowed Katie up in his arms and squeezed as if he would never let go, his deep laughter rumbling against her hair. “Woman, I could just kiss you,” he shouted, and then all at once his breathing stilled as he set her back down, suddenly aware of her body pressed against his, the burn of his hand on the small of her back.

     Their gazes met, and heat traveled his bloodstream like alcohol, drowning all inhibition he may have felt. He saw the vulnerability in those wide blue eyes, heard the tremulous breathing drifting from those soft, parted lips, and all reason fled from his brain, disarming all good intent. In slow and careful motion, his hands cupped the sides of her face like a caress, his gaze fixed on her mouth before shifting to lose himself in her eyes. He feathered her lips with the pad of his thumb. “Thank you, Katie Rose,” he whispered, “for giving me so much joy.”

     He wanted to fight it, knew it should only be a kiss on the cheek, but his body seemed drugged with her. His eyelids weighted closed as he moved near like a man in a trance, compelled to graze his lips against hers. Upon touch, their shallow breathing became one as he nuzzled her mouth with his own. And then, in a ragged beat of his heart, she melted into him with a familiarity that destroyed all restraint. He clutched her body to his, deepening the kiss that just cost him a promise he’d made. “God help me, Katie, I want you—”

     Somewhere in the recesses of their minds they heard it, that gruff clearing of a throat that seemed so very far away. And then harsh reality struck, and Katie jerked violently from his arms as if he had thrust her away.

     “I knocked, but I guess you didn’t hear it.” Parker stood with arms crossed in the open door, voice rock hard and jaw even worse.

     An unnatural shade of red bled up Katie’s neck and face like a thermometer registering a fever of a 105. “P-Parker . . . Mr. Riley . . . it’s not what it seems. L-Luke was just thanking me . . .”

     The hard line of Parker’s mouth twisted as his eyes flicked to Luke with a penetrating look. “A simple ‘thank you’ wouldn’t have been enough?”