"You should be kissed and often,
and by someone who knows how."
—Rhett Butler to Scarlett O’Hara in Margaret Mitchell’s Gone With the Wind
Oh, honey, can I hear a big AMEN to that???
HAPPY NATIONAL KISSING DAY!! Yep, you heard me right, and as a die-hard romance writer and reader, I thought we should talk about “kisses” in honor of today, so I am reposting a Seekerville post I wrote for Valentines Day.
Why? Because on the subject of kisses, I am sooooo in agreement with my most flirtatious heroine, Charity O’Connor who said in A Passion Redeemed:
“You have to be tough and focus on the end result—getting Brady to admit he’s in love with you.”
“But how do I do that?” Lizzie chewed on her thumbnail.
Leaning back in her chair, Charity placed her hands over her pregnant stomach, lips pursed in a satisfied smile. “With the most deadly weapon in a women’s arsenal.”
Both Faith and Lizzie stopped breathing. They leaned forward. “And what’s that?” Lizzie whispered.
Charity paused, tone hushed with reverence.“The kiss.”
— A Passion Denied by Julie Lessman
Ah, yes, “the kiss”!
The very subject people have been talking about for centuries, immortalizing “the kiss” in every medium possible:
The kiss itself is immortal.
It travels from lip to lip, century to century,
from age to age. Men and women garner these kisses,
offer them to others and then die in turn.
—Guy de Maupassant
“A kiss may not be the truth,
but it is what we wish were true.”
—Steve Martin in L.A. Story (1991)
IN SONG TITLES
by Faith Hill
BY MOVIE STARS
A kiss is a secret told to the mouth instead of the ear;
kisses are the messengers of love and tenderness.
BY PLAYWRIGHTS AND POETS
Make me immortal with a kiss.
Well, it’s either kiss me or kill me,
that’s how I see it.
AND EVEN IN CHILDREN'S RHYMES
Keith and Julie sitting in a tree,
First comes love, then comes marriage,
Then comes Julie with the baby carriage.
So … I thought it might be fun to take a look at some of my favorite kisses that I've ever written. Well, fun for me, at least … and the other kissaholics out there, maybe!
But first—a caveat. Some in the Christian market have called me “The Kissing Queen,” so it’s no secret I like my kisses way more hot than sweet. You see, before I came to Christ, I was one of the huge majority of women who read secular romance, so for me, romantic passion is key. However, as some of us know from judging Rita books, most of the secular market is prettttttttty passionate/graphic, which is why I don’t read secular books anymore except when judging the Ritas.
So … when I started reading Christian romance over forty years ago, it was like going from five-alarm hot tamales to pabulum, the final straw being a book I read by a top-name author when I was in my fifties, where the hero kissed the heroine on the last page in front of seven people after he asked her to marry him.
That was the moment I decided to write my own Christian romance for women like me— “hot tamales” who love God with all of their heart and want to honor Him in their reading and writing.
That said, when I combed all the love scenes in my books—and those who have read my books know there are plenty—I only found a few kissing scenes that were “sweet” vs. hot.
Yeah, pathetic, I know.
Therefore … if you like your kisses “sweet” (i.e. almost kisses, non-kisses, mental kisses, all of which you can find on my KISSES, KISSES, KISSES tab of my website) rather than “hot,” then you might want to stop reading after point #1 below, which is one of the sweetest kisses I have ever written. Shall we begin?
1.) THE SWEET KISS:
"Now a soft kiss—aye, by that kiss,
I vow an endless bliss."
This is a scene from A Love Surrendered, where the hero, Steven O’Connor, is railroaded by his family to take the heroine, Annie Kennedy, and her five-year-old sister home. When he walks them to the door, the little girl, Glory, is in her sister’s arms and gives Steven a kiss goodnight on the lips, then insists he kiss her sister as well.
Heart thudding, he did the only thing he knew to do. He kissed Annie right on the tip of her nose. Clearing his throat, he stepped back. “Well, good night, ladies.”
“No, silly,” Glory said, “like this . . .” She demonstrated with a sweet little peck on her sister’s lips as if he were too stupid to understand, then tilted her head. “See? It’s easy.”
Too easy, he thought with a trip of his pulse. Way, way too easy . . .
“Stop it, Glory, Steven doesn’t want to—”
“Sure I do,” he whispered, his words shocking him as much as Annie. Gaze holding hers, he slowly leaned in, close enough to see the long sweep of her lashes, the pale gold in eyes so green, he felt like he was in Oz, about to be granted a wish. He heard the soft hitch of her breath when she stopped breathing because it coincided with the halt of air in his own lungs. Cupping her face in his hand, his eyelids sheathed closed at the touch of her lips—soft, supple, and just a hint of peppermint from the candy she’d offered him in the car. It was meant to be no more than a peck like Glory had given him, but somehow his mouth wanted to linger and explore . . .
He stepped in close, body grazing hers and Glory’s till they were one. A little-girl giggle broke the trance, and Annie’s lips curved beneath his.
“His whiskers are itchy, aren’t they, Annie?” Glory asked, patting his face. “Kind a makes you wiggly all over, doesn’t it?”
Annie’s eyes glowed as she caressed her own cheek. “Very wiggly,” she whispered.
2.) THE KISS THAT UNLEASHES HIDDEN ATTRACTION:
"Never ask a woman if you may kiss her.
Instead, learn to read body language."
In A Hope Undaunted, while hero Luke McGee is comforting heroine Katie O’Connor, he is shocked to sense her attraction to him despite her prior disdain, a dream come true for the boy who’s had a crush on her since she was eleven. When he kisses her, his suspicions are confirmed, escalating the romantic tension … and “the kiss.”
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?”
3.) THE RETALIATORY KISS:
"A kiss, and all was said."
Later in the same scene from above, Katie slaps Luke silly despite her obvious attraction to him, unleashing his anger toward the girl who’s mocked him since he was a boy. This ramps his earlier tender attraction all the way to wounded ego, resulting in an angry kiss to not only prove she's lying when she says she's not attracted to him, but to spurn her like she did to him.
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. “You can turn your nose up at me all you want, Katydid, 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. 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.’”
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.
4.) THE STILL-WATERS-RUN-DEEP KISS:
"He kisses like he’s dying of thirst, and I’m water."
—Jennifer L. Armentrout
In this scene from A Passion Denied, heroine Lizzie O’Connor has been in love with hero John Brady since she was fourteen, but he only sees her as a little girl … until she tricks him with a surprise—and forbidden—kiss.
A fraction of a second became eons as she awaited his rejection. His body was stiff with shock, but no resistance came. And in a sharp catch of her breath, he drew her to him with such force, she gasped, the sound silenced by the weight of his mouth against hers. He groaned and clutched the back of her head as if to delve in her soul, a man possessed. His lips broke free to wander her throat, and shivers of heat coursed through her veins. In ragged harmony, their shallow breathing billowed into the night while his arms possessed her, molding her body to his.
“Oh, Brady, I’m so in love with you,” she whispered. Her words severed his hold as neatly as the blade of a guillotine. He staggered to his feet, and icy cold replaced the warmth of his arms. Opening her eyes, she saw pain in his and grabbed his arm. “Brady, can’t you see? You love me too … not as a friend or a sister, but as a woman.”
“God help me, Beth, I can’t love you that way.” He stared like a zombie, chest heaving with jagged breaths that swirled into the cool night air, drifting away.
Just like her dreams.
5.) THE NO-NONSENSE COWBOY KISS:
"A kiss is a lovely trick designed by nature
to stop speech when words become superfluous."
Okay, I’ll admit it—I have never written a cowboy kiss before, but I can still see Mary Connealy’s cowboy kiss in my mind from Sharpshooter in Petticoats, which practically gave me heatstroke.
AND … because I love it SO much, I am posting Mary’s “no-nonsense cowboy kiss” first, then following up with my first cowboy kiss ever, which Mary inspired from her book, Sharpshooter in Petticoats:
“The one thing you don’t seem to know, woman,” Tom surged to his feet, “is that you can’t stop me.” His arm whipped out quick as a striking rattler and he yanked her hard against his body. “You’re mine.” He grabbed a hank of her hair. “You’ve been mine since the day we met. You were mine when you were married to another man. You were mine when you were giving birth to someone else’s child. You’re mine, and I’m through waiting for you.” He sank his heavy hand deeper into her hair and tilted her head back. “We’re married. I will protect you. I will die for you.” He kissed her until her knees went weak and her arms wrapped around his neck to keep from falling. Long moments later he raised his head, his blue eyes burning into hers. “Better than that. I will live for you. That’s all you need to understand.” He swooped his head down.
Quick—somebody give me a fan—please! Okay, I’ll end today’s blog with my own version of the “no-nonsense cowboy” from my upcoming spring Seeker novella, “For Love of Liberty”:
“No, ma’am, I’m tired of your yammering and I mean to go home, so I’m not going to tell you again, Liberty Bell—move that fancy dress of yours out of my way, or I’m going to move it for you.”
“You wouldn’t!” Those full pink lips parted in shock, and he mentally grazed them in his mind, tasting their softness.
“Try me.” He singed her with a glare as hot as the fire she’d lit in his belly. Sparks and words continued to fly while that beautiful mouth just jabbered away, but the only thing he heard was the violent thud of his own pulse and the sound of those lips calling him home ...
“So there, Finn McShane!” she said with a stomp of her foot, “I will not get out of your way, and you can’t make me!”
He sighed. Poor, misguided little rich girl. “Yeah?” He pushed the brim of his hat up. “Watch me.” Hurling his satchel to the floor, he heard the catch of her breath when he struck like lightning with an arm to her waist, jerking her close to kiss the daylights out of her while her boots dangled in the air.
Unfortunately, the moment he tasted those soft lips parted in surprise, he was struck by a little lightning of her own, electrifying every nerve in his body while his blood simmered to a dangerous boil. When a soft telltale mew escaped her, he was helpless to contain the low moan that scraped past his throat. Butting her to the door, he cradled her face in his hands, longing pumping through his veins as he claimed the sweetest lips he’d ever known, completely disarmed by the scent of her skin, the soft flesh of her ear. He’d dreamed of kissing Liberty O’Shea for as long as could remember, but he never expected this—a kiss that could surely tame his taste for all other woman.
The very thought bucked like a thorn-saddled bull, and with a shiver of sleet through his bloodstream, he dropped her to the floor like he’d been bit by a rattler. She teetered precariously—along with his heart—eyes glazed and mouth still open in shock. Mustering all the calm he owned—a mite short at the moment—he yanked his hat down low and reached for the knob. She bolted away so fast, Finn had to stifle a chuckle, tossing her a wink as he opened the door. “Told you.”
Okay, that’s it for today, and if you’d like to read some of my favorite kissing scenes in their entirety, be sure to check out the KISSES, KISSES, KISSES and the FAVE KISSING SCENES pages of my website.
Now I'd like to hear from you all—just send me an email through my CONTACT JULIE tab or via FACEBOOK message, naming your favorite kiss of any of those I've written above or in any of my books, and I’ll enter you to win an ecopy of both my new contemporary, Isle of Hope, or it’s brand-new prequel, A Glimmer of Hope. And if you already have IOH, I’ll substitute with book 2 in the Isle of Hope series, Love Everlasting, which releases this September, so either way, it’s win-win!