Wednesday, April 2, 2014

First Kiss #18

TITLE: The City of Magi
GENRE: YA Historical Fantasy

My MC is a Persian hero in 530BC, and her love interest is a warrior named Darius (who later becomes king). In this scene, they are spies, hiding in the tent of an enemy queen.

I ought to have been rehearsing our plan, or resting to save up my strength, but my leg touching his felt like the most potent magic in the world, and I wished it meant something.

"You're shivering. Are you cold?"

My arms did tremble, but not because of cold.

"Perhaps I'm nervous," I whispered.

Darius pulled my shoulder against his ribs, wrapped his arm around me. It was anguish having him so close, wanting him so much closer. I fought to remember Jastan's warning—Darius could never feel about me what I felt for him.

Darius rested his cheek on my hair. Maybe, maybe, Jastan was wrong. I didn't dare to believe it, not until Darius tilted his face, touching his cheek against my forehead, not until his lips brushed mine.

He pulled away, gauged my reaction. My chest was caught up in a swell of breaths I couldn't exhale. I must not have worn my surprise, though, for Darius touched my jaw. With delicacy that belied his calloused fingers, he turned my face up to his. He closed his eyes, but I watched him, the long, curved brush of his eyelashes, the course, bronze skin of his cheek. Again our lips came together. He parted mine with his tongue, and I tensed. What was I meant to do?

When our lips separated, our foreheads touched. I wondered if I'd done it right. I would die if I'd disappointed him.

"I've been wanting to do that for some time," Darius said.

"You have?"

He smiled and went to kiss me again, but the light shifted. I pressed myself up against the side of the tent. Two people entered, a woman and a man. Perhaps Queen Tomyris had come at last.


  1. This feels real to me. I like that the kiss doesn't just suddenly happen, taking her by surprise. She desires him, watches him and wonders what she should do, instead of simply swooning. Good job!

  2. You've done a great job setting up tension in the moment. I'd definitely like to read more!

  3. I am not sure how many times he kisses her. The situation(spying and maybe about to be discovered) could not allow much time for this. However, I think he kisses her three times. That does not sound realistic to me.
    "not until his lips brushed mine" Is this the first kiss?
    The moment that leads to that first kiss is just perfect. He pulls her against him and gauges her reaction as he slowly kisses her head then her lips.It is almost a stolen kiss but appropriate for the situation.
    You could have put more tension in the scene and just stop at the first kiss because it seems like the perfect kiss.
    After the kiss, she could lose herself into it instead of thinking about nonsense like if she did it right.

  4. Well-written on the whole! Good tension.

    I must not have worn my surprise" was odd-sounding to me. Maybe the more conventional works better here: "My surprise must not have shown."

    Did she ever close her eyes when he kissed her the second time?

    Not sure lips parting would lead to forehead touching, and if that's the only "right" way. (I'll have to try it with my husband!)

    Maybe an interior thought after "You have?" to shown how giddy she must have been feeling.

    "went to kiss me again": Show don't tell.

    I think you need to add another phrase to "the light shifted" such as "when the tent flap moved." I thought at first that the light was some sort of magical thing happening.

    I'd add "quickly" (or something else) to "pressed myself up against the side of the tent" to indicate fear. But surely they would be caught. Are they not recognized as spies yet?

    Good mix of relationship tension and getting caught tension!

  5. This is a good first kiss. I'm surprised, however, that Darius would choose such an odd moment to kiss her. He behaves calm and self-assured, yet they could get caught at any moment (and do) so as a scene it isn't believable. It kind of casts aspersions on both these characters in regard to how bright they are and their competence as spies.

    What would work, at least for me, is if Darius acted nervous, too, and appeared to struggle with his decision to kiss her. He'd make it quick at least, considering their situation. Three kisses? No. The kiss should be an impulsive one and appear just that. Instead you've made the couple relaxed, as if they have all the time and privacy in the world when they don't.

    One last thing; if they touched foreheads while kissing, their noses would get in the way. So physically I doubt this is possible unless they have really tiny noses. :)

  6. I thought this worked well for two people who had all the time in the world. But these two seem to be in an enemy camp in the queen's tent, and it just seems the tension should be higher. Anyone might enter at any time, and someone does.

    It's written well, and I can feel the emotion, it just doesn't seem to fit the situation. Perhaps let this happen somewhere else at a different time, or include some suspense here. Are they hiding in the tent? Are they snooping? Are they being sought? Will they be caught? Depending on what the situation is, those things should influence what kind of kiss it is.