Wednesday, February 11, 2015

First Kiss #22

TITLE: The Progress of Pleasure
GENRE: historical romance

A Scottish spy is interrupted by a woman who knocks him out with a candlestick. She discovers letters in his pockets, but he awakens and slips his bonds; they converse.

“I am no highwayman.”

“A lowly scholar, then, Mr. C.?”

He gave a start. “Why’d you call me that?”

“Perchance you talk in your sleep.”

The bed sheets were in disarray, coins under his leg, his knife nowhere to be seen.

“Or else you’ve stolen my letters…”

“Nay, you’re the sharp here.” She gave him a daring look and arched her shoulders, most becomingly. “Tell me your ploy.”

Parchment peaked from her bodice.

“Ahh!” He reached for it.

Blushing, she pulled out the letters and set them aside.

But he kept her close. “You best tell me who you are.”

She stilled in his arms. “I am no servant.”

What did her exact household position matter for a brief tryst?

“Who, then?” He whispered against her ear.

She wore a touch of perfume. He dipped his head to her neck. Soft as spring, like snowdrops. Scots or French?

When she made no answer, he ran his fingers along the lacy handkerchief around her throat.

“Dites-moi. La nurse? Le tuteur?”

“Lord Roxburgh’s cousin.”

An icy shiver ran down Tom’s back, but he refused to let that name weigh upon him. Not at this moment. No place for anger in the midst of making love to a young woman’s collarbone.

He swallowed a curse. “The earl must have many cousins.” His chilled hands swooned into thick curls. “Surely,” he said, tilting her head back, “this one could spare a kiss for her unwitting victim.”

She answered– well!–by leaning towards him.


  1. I don't typically read romance, but this is fun. :)

  2. I like this! There is a good pacing through the scene, and nice details, such as the perfume she wears. You keep this scene well grounded in physical attraction and the emotion that is here matches well with that. Two small things, if he wonders whether her household status is important, why does he then ask? Although I do like that he whispers it against her ear. Also, I don't know about that -well- in the middle of the last sentence. It reads a bit awkwardly.

    Nicely done! You really capture the mood of a historical romance very well!

  3. I was going to comment about the well in the last line too! It broke the narrative for me. The rest of it was great. The tension was amazing and I loved the details too, like having him question her in french. I can't decide whether I love or hate "making love to a woman's collarbone." Given the attention he appears to be giving said collarbone, I think it works. It's just a weird image for me. Love this scene though.

  4. While the banter here is charming and some of the details give a nice sense of the scene, there were some things that threw me off. Most likely it's clear when you read the scene in context, but I was puzzled about where they are in relationship to each other -- at the beginning I wasn't picturing them both sitting on the bed, much less him holding her. (Perhaps your introduction was a tad misleading, since 'they converse.' sounds pretty formal, and not as if they're wrapped in an embrace on those rumpled bed sheets!) ;)

    I wasn't sure what was meant when she says 'Nay, you're the sharp here.' (Or was that supposed to be 'the sharp one'?) And in that same paragraph, I don't believe there should be a comma after 'shoulders'.

    But I have to say I like the bit about making love to her collarbone -- I think that's rather cute -- and I like the details about the perfume. However, I just can't swallow the line about how his hands 'swooned' into her curls . . . It doesn't actually create any image that I can visualize, on top of the fact that 'swooned' is one of those words that has such a cheesy connotation it's probably best to avoid it unless one is aiming for utter silliness. ;)

    I also agree with the other comments about the 'well' interjected in the last line; it feels awkward and I don't really understand what it's intended to convey.

    But this seems like a fun, roguish character in a situation with loads of potential for entertaining conflicts, and I think the title is rather charming too. :)