Wednesday, February 2, 2011

First Kiss #4

TITLE: Smoke and Wait
GENRE: Urban Fantasy

Alex MacPherson and her best friend Will Kamaka are special agents with the ATF investigating weapons trafficking in the Poconos, land of heart-shaped hot tubs and outlet malls.

"Danny's right about the bruising. It'll be spectacular in a day or so." He started to rub my lower back gently with both hands. They were rough and calloused and warm and, good lord, it felt good. After five minutes or so, he stopped and I felt his hand brush against my hair.

I rolled over. Will looked sad.

"You okay?" I asked.

"Don't like to see you hurt."

I smiled. "I'm tough."

"I know." He opened his mouth, then closed it, either thinking twice or unsure about what he wanted to say. He leaned down and kissed me. That was unexpected. The contact was brief, his lips barely brushing over mine. I felt the warmth of his breath wash over my face. He pulled back and looked at me. I didn't know if he wanted permission or forgiveness.


  1. Excellent. Wow. You slammed so much plot into just a few words! I would read more of this and I like your female lead.

  2. I agree; in just a small excerpt you've conveyed so much of what's going on here. "Permission or forgiveness" - that's a nice turn of phrase. And I suspect Alex might be unsure which one she wants to give him.

    I'm curious about the larger context - is this the first time these sort of feelings have surfaced between them? If they've shown up before, they would have to realize the risks of a place with heart-shaped hot tubs. ;)

  3. I really liked this. I could feel the emotion and it didn't go into purple/boring prose. I especially liked the description of the bruising as spectacular. Well done.

  4. i really liked this a lot. Loved the characters already, and only after 150 words.
    Just a few nitpicky things.
    The repetition of "good" in this line threw me off:

    They were rough and calloused and warm and, good lord, it felt good

    (and i LOVED that line). Maybe make the second one a "great" or something?

    Also i'm not a big fan of the specific "five minutes". It pulls me out because then i wonder if she was timing him or something. Maybe just "after a few minutes?"

    Loved the last line.

  5. I get a nice sense here of their relationship before the kiss, and I feel for Will in his uncertainty about whether he should have kissed her or not.

    I agree about saying - in a few minutes or so, for the same reason as Sarah. I always wonder if the MC timed or measured things. You could also cut "I felt" in the second last sentence. We know it was she who felt.

    I didn't get a sense of how she felt about the kiss. She describes the scene as a reporter might. The contact was brief, rather than the kiss was brief. ANd there's nothing that says how she felt about it. Is she thinking - it's about time, or there goes the great friendship? Perhaps allow her a human reaction, unless she is supposed to be a cold, unfeeling person.

  6. Your dialogue is excellent and flows naturally. I loved all of this up until "That was unexpected."

    Instead of say that, show me she didn't expect that. The rest of the paragraph is telling and I think you can put more show and more emotion into it.

    The last sentence was excellent!

  7. oh, don't stop there.
    I like that he recognizes her "toughness". That speaks volumes of the male romance guy.

  8. You had me at "Land of heart-shaped hot tubs" I'm from NEPA so I cracked up at that opening.

    That being said, I agree with Kaurelius. You can't just stop there. :)

    I enjoyed the dialogue a lot.

  9. I’m missing something here and I think it’s her response. I wanted to know how she felt. She described the back rub in more detail than she did the kiss. Why?

    Also, and this is very picky, but when you state ‘he started to rub my lower back,’ the word usage makes me think he started to and then changed his mind. It sounds stronger as, ‘he rubbed my lower back.’

  10. Author here! Thank you everyone for your kind comments. This is from a completed MS that I'm just about to start querying.

    Hm. Alex isn't sure how to react. This takes place at the end of a spectacularly bad day. Will's been in love with Alex for a while and she's been completely oblivious until this point.