Wednesday, April 2, 2014

First Kiss #12

TITLE: Steam, Steel and Static
GENRE: Steampunk YA

Addie is hiding from the Metros in Alaric’s house. They both like martial arts and to pass the time they decide to do some sparring.

I grab his heel and pull his foot up. He tries to snap his leg back but he’s overstretched and my grasp is firm. He goes down hard. I grin and move over to his winded body. As I cross by his feet he twists his legs knocking my legs from under me. Before I have time to register that I’m on the floor he is sitting on my chest pinning me down. He smiles down at me. His chest is heaving, as is mine.

Slowly he moves his lips close to my ear and whispers, “Never presume your opponent is done.” And then he kisses my neck below my ear and I feel my body tingle. He loosens his grip and before he has time to think I am up on my feet.

“Never do that again,” I push as much anger into my voice as I can. All the frustration about last night I throw at him. I kick out at him and he blocks the kick. I punch, he blocks and takes another step forward. I move back, retreating and attacking at the same time.

My foot touches the wall and I lean back. Alaric places one hand on either side of me then leans to my ear. “Definitely not a gentlelady,” he says, then brushes my lips. A soft warm kiss. I close my eyes. I only have time to register that he tastes of vanilla before he is gone. My heaving chest and my thudding heart cover the sound of his quiet steps as he leaves.

It takes me a few minutes to recover. I touch my fingers to my lips where his had been. They still tingle with his warmth and his smell is all over me. How did I let this happen?


  1. I love the combative nature of this relationship and that the MC is just as good as he is! Love the double meaning of "“Never presume your opponent is done.”

    The lack of commas makes longer sentences more difficult to read.

    1st paragraph: Two "downs" and two "chests". Maybe "sitting on me." I can't picture a guy sitting on my actual chest and me not being in pain.

    2nd paragraph. Should you have him lean down before his lips get next to her ear?

    3rd paragraph: Period after "Never do that again." // "Growl" might suffice for "I push as much anger into my voice as I can." (In which case, you can leave the comma.)

    You say she retreats and attacks at the same time, but it sounds like she never attacks after that. Unless instead of saying "attacks," you describe moves she actually makes before her foot touches the wall.

    You have Alaric lean close to her ear twice. Maybe some other phrase?

    Do you mean "brushes my lips with his"? // Maybe after "A soft warm kiss" you might have an interior thought: All the fight seeps out of me and I close my eyes. (Or something) Cause I'm still thinking she might make another martial arts move.

    See if you can delete or change some of the "my"s.

    "his smell is all over me" makes him sound like a skunk. Maybe "the smell from his sweat"??

  2. Good tension! I love scenes where fighting turns to something a little more.
    How can Addie's chest heave if Alaric is sitting on it? Maybe describe how she's having trouble getting deep enough breaths?
    2P- "I feel my body tingle" cut to "my body tingles". As a way of tightening it. I had an author once tell me she went through her entire ms and searched for 'feel' and replaced or cut it to strengthen her sentences. Of course, you can't get rid of all of them but if the sentence works with it gone, let it go.
    "...before he has time to think" almost seems like its in his POV. An easy fix would be to replace "think" with "react".
    4P I'd cut out "and I lean back" because you use back in the previous sentence and "leans" in the next sentence.
    In the last paragraph, maybe change "smell" to "scent". More pleasant connotations. Well, I suggest that, but by her last thought, his advances may not be very pleasant to her so...

  3. The contrast between a sharp and violent fight scene and the tender brief moment is effective. It could be even more so if, throughout the fight, there were touches, even a look, of this sweetness to build tension and expectation for what is to come later.

  4. Apologies for the late comment. I've been thinking about this one. Aside from the lack of commas, I had a hard time figuring out how to improve this.

    It's good! I had a clear image of what was going on, but it felt a little generic. What can you do to make this stand out? To give it more heart and soul? If you can hint at the deeper relationship between the characters, make their interactions more complex, you should be able to take this to the next level.

    One trick I've used when I get this sort of note in my own stories is to write the scene from the other character's point of view. What's going through Alaric's mind when he's sparring? You can then take that insight and use it to strengthen the scene.

  5. He kisses her neck and she tosses him off her, gets up on her feet, and tells him never to do that again, then she actually attacks him. Why would she do that unless she didn't want to be kissed by him?

    Then he pins her against the wall and kisses her again, clearly against her wishes and leaves, and she's liking the kiss. What changed? Is she into the violence of it all?

    And then she wonders how she let it happen. If she liked the kiss, why would she wonder that?
    If she didn't like the kiss, why would she wonder how 'she' let it happen? She just told him not to do it and fought him off. What more could she do?

    I guess I'm just not getting the romance of it all. There doesn't seem to be any attraction to him on her part, and there doesn't seem to be any mutual respect.

    Perhaps while they're sparring you could add some banter that shows they like each other, and when he kisses her the first time, you might show that she likes it, rather than her saying never do it again. or have her say but give us some internal thoughts that show she really liked it but just doesn't want him to know or something.