Wednesday, April 2, 2014

First Kiss #5

TITLE: Choices
GENRE: NA Romance

1967. Heartbroken from one relationship, Molly flees to Europe on a study program only to meet Erik, a good-looking Dane who just won’t give up.

He certainly sounded sincere. Or maybe I just wanted him to be sincere. Oh God, I can’t go through it again!

“Say you’ll try,” he said. “That’s all I ask.” He reached across the table and took my hand.

I looked into those eyes and knew I wasn’t going to be able to resist. He must have seen the answer in my expression; he expelled a long sigh as if he’d been holding his breath.

“Molly, I promise—

“Don’t.” I shook my head. “I’ve had enough promises to last a lifetime. But if we do this—if I do this—we have to take it slow.”

“Yes,” he said softly. He squeezed my hand, then let it go and sat back.

We smiled at each other like shy twelve-year-olds, and I felt, briefly, like I was stepping off a cliff.

“Let’s go,” he said, tossing a handful of lire onto the table and pulling me to my feet. We ran through the cobbled streets, played tag in the chiaroscuro of the late afternoon, meandered along the path atop the thirteenth-century walls. Then suddenly, in the shadow of a graceful archway, he gently pinned me against a wall.

“Molly …” He pressed closer, his face inches away. He leaned in to kiss me, but paused and pulled back, drawing his finger slowly down my cheek.

I shifted uneasily, half-paralyzed by the male smell of him, by the heat of his body against mine. “Erik, I thought we— ”

Shh …” he said, silencing my lips with his finger. The ache in his eyes almost wilted my resolve, but then he stepped away, lifting his arms in surrender, and with that half smile said, “From now on, it’s hands off, I promise.”


  1. I can't say I've seen any mid-century-set New Adult. Definitely a first for me!

    The excerpt drew me right in, so nice work. The lines where they're running through the cobbled streets might work better broken up instead one long sentence. If each moment has its own line, the montage feels more substatial, like a full day experienced rather than smooshing it all together.

    This is more in tone, and I don't know whether Erik is the Hero here (who gets the HEA or if he's a sidetrack), but the intro of him as a guy who won't give up, paired with her hesitation, and followed up by physical interaction verbs like pinned and pressed, to me it's giving me an unsettled feeling. I've been pressured to start a relationship with someone and know what that feels like; if the guy then gets a little aggressive, that's a warning sign.

    This all may or may not be intentional. Some romances veer toward a strong alpha male, and usually those aren't for me unless they're handled delicately (Hero has reasons/backstory for alpha tendencies). The use of male as a descriptor, the "male smell of him" has never worked for me, though I do see it in romance fiction. Not wrong per se, but I'd encourage you show us something new.

    I don't know your full story but these are things to consider if this is a Hero you want the reader rooting for; those verb choices say a lot, and if she is alreay hesitant about the relationship, we may need to see a more gentle side with genuine charm and care.

  2. I'm also left with a bit of an unnerving feeling from this excerpt. If that's not what you're intending, I'd suggest that Molly makes the first move since she is the one that's hesitant. Otherwise, Erik comes off as a more malicious figure.

    The excerpt really drew me in, although the summary of their day together kind of threw me out of the narrative. I'd definitely delve deeper into that passage. This is very well written,and I'd think that would really benefit from some more of your strong writing!

  3. This excerpt also drew me in, but I have to agree with the two comments above, word choice is very important in giving the reader clues about who to root for.

    I also wanted a little more in the late afternoon montage. (Hard to do with a word limit, I know…)

    Be aware of your dashes, especially in the middle of a sentence. I think you could probably use commas here: But if we do this, if I do this, we have to take it slow.

    I'd also trade the semi colon for a period: …the answer in my expression. He expelled a long sigh…

    Consider ways you can get rid of said in the last paragraph, since it's full of Erik's actions.

    Good work. I'd like to know what happens next.

  4. agreeing with previous comments about verb choices and making the male figure too agressive too soon. Should be a warning sign to her. And can't tell if he is giving up gracefully or if he is a bit sarcastic and just agreeing to pick his next time. So far, can't tell if his character will turn out to be "the one" or someone who puts her in danger ultimately. Do think you painted her hesitancy well. We all understand recovering from a romance gone bad and how slowly one needs to proceed into love again after that. Sort of had an Under the Tuscan Sun feel to it.

  5. This is well-written and drew me right in. I, too, got the 'something's not quite right' vibe from this guy, so if that's what you're going for, you pulled it off. A few small things.

    I looked into those eyes and knew I wasn’t going to be able to resist. -- replace 'knew I wasn't going to be able to' with 'couldn't.'

    silencing my lips with his finger.-- silencing me with a finger to my lips.