Tuesday, May 7, 2013

First Kiss #7

TITLE: Bittervine Trees
GENRE: Women's fiction

Kate is seeing her high-school sweetheart for the first time in six years. She hopes he will “heal” her wounds from an abusive relationship.

He pulled her closer. She wasn't sure which beat belonged to her heart.

“Frogs on your heart, huh?”

“Yours too.”

One of his hands moved up to her neck. “They've been there ever since I heard you were coming home.”

Saftey had a color, just like everything else. Safety was the green of Michael's eyes, the sun-bleached green of the grass by Harper's Barn. He'd never hurt her. He'd protect her. He'd make things better, like he had after her father died. He'd warm her and restart her. She'd come back to life with him. The sort of laughter too potent to ever be released built in her and she reached up a hand to touch his cheek. “It's so good to see you, Michael,” she said.

He murmured something that sent fire up her spine and made her press closer to him. The way he stared at her lips stopped her breath, until his mouth coaxed hers open and it came rushing back to mix up with his.

He tasted delicious, cinnamon mixed with chocolate and french vanilla and cherry. The colors started to come behind her eyes, darts and dots of all the colors in the world.

But something made a knot in her chest. Something pulled that knot tight. Then tighter. The colors turned black. She tried to get it back, kissed him harder, tightened her arms around his waist.

She floated backwards, part of her, the invisible part of her. She couldn't feel his kiss or anything else. Her mind fled the moment and him. It made time-jumping snippets of thoughts that left her shivering from the cold and not his touch.


  1. Great chemistry! Your descriptions (his eyes, the grass, safety) were fresh and enticing. I was confused about what was happening to her in the end but it's probably more clear once I keep reading.

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  3. The writing brought me right into the scene. But you might re-think about having Kate be more tentative. She was in an abusive relationship and trust builds walls, even in other relationships. Plus, she hasn't seen her high school sweetheart in six years. That's a long time to jump right into a kiss. The descriptions are great. Confused about the knot in her chest - the abrupt change. Not sure why she could no longer feel his kiss. But I really like the writing!

  4. The dialogue in this was great -- sweet but not overdone.

    I loved the use of color -- the color of his eyes, the colors she sees when they kiss -- I could really feel that. The taste was good, too (although it made me wonder what he'd had for dessert).

    Like Robbin, I wondered whether a woman who has just gotten out of an abusive relationship would surrender so easily, but we don't know what preceded this. Maybe she's been holding out for a while.

    If I have any criticism, it's that the paragraph beginning "Safety had a color" is a little repetitive, saying the same thing in different ways. Think about whether you could cut a few of those "He'd..." sentences. Also, you might want to insert a paragraph break before the laughter, as the mood shifts there.

    Nice job!

  5. Thank you for your comments! They are all so on point, and I appreciate it.

    Kate actually has a panic attack right after this snippet ends, but I am thinking about making changes as far as the kiss goes and moving it back in the story. It's a WIP and I'm close to being ready to edit - I just submitted because I wanted to see how Kate and Mike played out together. :)

    Thank you so much! (See, that just illustrates the problem I have with overusing repetition like I did in this snippet. Hee.)

  6. Loved the paragraph about the color of safety. The rest needs a bit refining. I like the voice, tone. Don't get the dialogue but I'm sure that would make more sense when reading from the beginning. Keep up the good work!

  7. Heather, something about the way it's written is telegraphing to me that she shouldn't stay with this guy and that there's something wrong with the dynamic. Probably because the "safety" paragraph feels as if she's trying to convince herself rather than just feeling safe.

    He murmured something ... specify please? Ground us in the here and now. She's physically present to him, so make him physically present to her oin all the details.

    I liked her emotional disconnect at the end of the scene. It felt right for her situation.

  8. Jane, actually, you're pretty right on about the dynamic between them being off (although it's not because he's a physical risk to her). She's come home wanting him to be her savior, essentially, and she doesn't want to face any of the feelings that the abuse she experienced has left her with. She's in a bunch of denial and is desperate to "make" things right with Michael even if they really aren't. Which is a big part of the overall story.

    Thanks for pointing this out. If it's coming across like he's a physical threat to her (I'm not sure if you meant it that way or not) I'm going to have to work on it a bunch because he really isn't. :) I appreciate your input!

  9. Did he just have dessert?

    "He tasted delicious, cinnamon mixed with chocolate and french vanilla and cherry." Seems a bit over the top for mouth-taste. :)

  10. Hee, yeah, it is. That's an ongoing issue for me...I get carried away. :) Thanks!