Tuesday, May 7, 2013

First Kiss #18

TITLE: Luxuria
GENRE: Romance

Helena, Lady Wiltshire, has been clandestinely meeting the local blacksmith for prayers. Soon, she discovers that she wants to do something more than pray.

At some point, their parting ritual expanded to include brief, friendly embraces and a few kind words of leave-taking. Over the course of weeks, though, they began to linger in each other's arms. One day, the blacksmith leaned down and planted a kiss on Helena's cheek, just in front of her ear. Helena could never be certain of just what she had let on, but that brief kiss occupied her thoughts throughout the days and nights until she saw the blacksmith again. She fervently hoped that she would receive the same parting gesture.

Later that week, they held each other for far longer than could remotely be considered friendly. Each time it seemed as though they might let go, one of them would tighten her arms round the other or simply shift her grip, and there they remained for ages, it felt. At some point during the embrace, Helena became vaguely aware that she desperately wanted Katherine to kiss her. This new awareness prompted her to press a kiss to the point where Katherine's neck joined her shoulder. Katherine tightened her grip for just a moment before she pulled back and took Helena's face in both of her hands. They stared at each other for a long moment while Katherine stroked her cheek as though it were the most precious material on the earth. An intense tingling sensation filled Helena's entire body, and she closed her eyes to maintain her equilibrium. Katherine ran her fingers over her lips before she placed a gentle kiss just to the right of Helena's lips.

“I will see you soon,” she whispered.

Helena's eyes opened in time to see Katherine disappear into the priest hole.


  1. The scene could be built up with more action vs. narrative back story to help bring it to life, but the kiss itself was actually quite sweet and well described. It has a very distinct forbidden feel to it, which I'm always a sucker for that. ;-)

  2. I agree with Maggie, the kiss itself is very sweet and delicate. So touching.
    However the journey to the kiss feels like a summary, like you are racing to another point and as a reader I would have loved to have seen the action played out, with dialogue and the thoughts, especially that first part when it nearly happened. As a romance something like this should surely be a key point?

    Let yourself play these out, as I think that given the way you wrote the kiss, the build up would be lovely. There is loads of frisson to be had!

  3. i actually really love the slow, quiet build up of the kiss. I love the description of the very first kiss she received from Katherine, the one in front of her ear. That was a great little detail and had me smiling.
    I thought it was well done

  4. I agree with the other comments. This seems like the first paragraph is a turning point in the story, so it should be described in a scene, not a sequel. At least that "one day." Then the reader will know just how much or how little Helena let on.

  5. It's hard to critique this out of context, but I have to agree with the others that it seems like too much is summarized. I could see that first paragraph expanded into a chapter, showing Helena and Katherine's meetings in a series of vignettes.

    Also, this wouldn't be an issue if I had read the whole book, but I was surprised to discover in the middle of the second paragraph that "the blacksmith" is a woman. I'm not sure what historical period this story is set in, but it seems to me that a romantic relationship between two women anytime before the late 20th century would be fraught with danger, misgivings, and hesitation, far more than appears on the page here.

    All that is to say I think you have an intriguing story, but I want to experience what Helena is going through, rather than be told about it.

  6. I agree that the events in the first paragraph could be expanded a bit, to heighten the anticipation of those in the second paragraph, which was well-written. I, too, was surprised by them both being female, but I think this would be something the reader would already know from earlier chapters. A small edit on the last line: We see through our eyes so it should be Helena, not her eyes, seeing Katherine disappear. (IMO) And perhaps "press a KISS ON..." or "press her LIPS TO the point where Katherines' neck..."

  7. I agree that the first paragraph is all telling us what happened, and it'd be much better being shown.

    This line, from the aforementioned paragraph, threw me out:
    Helena could never be certain of just what she had let on...

    There seems to be something missing here. I do read regencies, so the phrasing isn't unfamiliar, it just needs a bit more explanation since it's not clear if the 'let on' are referring to her actions prior to the kiss or her reaction to the kiss.

    I love the non-conformist element, but do think given the time/place/milieu there'd be a bit more introspection on the events.

  8. Thanks, folks.

    I have actually been told by all two people I have previously allowed to read my manuscript that this paragraph ought to be a chapter, and I am actually working on doing just that.

    There is in fact considerably more introspection than it appears from this excerpt; we have in fact been dropped into the middle of Helena getting her introspection on.

    All of that being said, I shall be taking your collective commentary into heavy consideration as I finish this story and as I go into the editing stage. Thanks very much.