Thursday, February 1, 2018

First Kiss #6

GENRE: Adult Contemporary Romance

Strangers, Nate and Victoria openly flirt while waiting to cross a busy intersection. Jilted from a recent breakup, Victoria is flustered by his attention and steps into traffic too soon. Nate saves her from getting hit by a car and tends to her injuries. She wants to thank him with a kiss.

Before I could process what was happening, he ripped the hem of his T-shirt and pulled off a strip of fabric. Bare-fisted. Like it was nothing.

The stranger swept my hair from my face and wrapped the cotton around my head. I feathered my fingertips down his strong jaw, testing if he was real.

Smiling warmly, the line of his brows deepened. “Maybe…one more loop…hmm…” His voice was deep and gentle, with a rough scratch. I wanted him to sing me to sleep, tumble toward me in the middle of the night.

Our bodies moved closer, his shoulder touching mine, my breasts falling on his chest. I let him into my space, trusting him.

“There.” He tucked the makeshift bandage. “Tight enough?”

It wasn’t. “Yes.” Breathy and soft, my response sounded more appropriate for the bedroom, but the word escaped my lips unrestrained. I couldn’t imagine ever saying no to him.

I felt his quick breaths on mine. His thumb caressed my jaw. I leaned in. Then, the bandage loosened and slipped down my face.

“Guess it wasn’t tight after all,” he said.

Heart pounding in my ears, I took in deep breaths. A lump traveled down his throat, bobbing his slight Adam’s Apple. Once again, he secured the bandage. He continued like our almost kiss moment hadn’t happened, but it had. I knew it. He knew it. It clung to the air, contracted with his bicep, and lingered in my eyes as I drooled over his tattoos.


  1. I love the way you've set this up. From your description of the scene, I thought it was going to be weird, but it totally worked for me. She's got that dreamy, bump on the head thing going on. "My breasts falling on his chest" makes it sound like she's on top of him. I'm not sure how they're oriented (if they're standing or if she's laying/ sitting down) but I'm pretty sure she's not on top. Yet. I don't love the last line, when she "drooled over his tattoos." It pulls me out of the scene because it's so unlike the rest of the passage. Other than that line, I love the aftermath of the kiss, where she's aware that they're both aware of it, but he's pretending it didn't almost happen. Thanks for being brave and sending this out for the world to see!

  2. Great job showing Victoria's inner life. The dialogue is really nice as well. I laughed at: “Tight enough?” It wasn’t. “Yes.” And then again when the bandage slipped down her face, so good job infusing humor into a tender scene.

    I agree with Doree about the "drooling over tattoos" part; it really threw me out of the moment. I also wasn't the biggest fan of "I couldn’t imagine ever saying no to him." One, I think I see some variation of that line fairly often. Two, it seems like too much for someone she barely knows. The word coming out breathy feels normal, and I like that part, but her thought takes it too far in my opinion, though it's hard to describe why. Maybe it's too easy too fast, or maybe it makes her seem a little desperate -- not sure; it just stuck out to me. Hope that helps, and overall, I enjoyed it!

  3. I'm finding it difficult to understand what is going on physically. Is she lying on the sidewalk with a gaping head wound? Why isn't he calling an ambulance? Why does he tear a strip off his shirt (it's almost impossible to do quickly) and more importantly, why would he wrap this around her head and then almost kiss her? I think her confusion here makes sense but his actions don't unless you're setting him up to be really bad at first aide (and possibly a bit of an ass if he's trying to take advantage of a woman with a concussion).

    Aside from that, I would remove one reference to breath (this is too short to mention it three times), and reword this part so you've giving the action to him, not his thumb: "His thumb caressed my jaw."


  4. The first paragraph is fun and a great way to set the tone of the scene and her disorientation.

    Does the hero have any background for triage or first aid? If yes, wrapping a cloth around her head wouldn’t be the accurate step to take. I suggest checking proper first aid procedure. In most cases requiring a bandage of some type, one would stop bleeding by pressing a clean cloth to the wound, then potentially wrapping another cloth around it to secure it in place.

    Dialog also indicates he doesn’t know first aid and it gives an impression of incompetency.

    To build the intended sensual tension, perhaps when she touches his jaw, give us feedback on what his jaw feels like. Does he have sexy stubble? or is he clean shaven and smooth? Does she like one or the other?

    Up close, it’s hard to look at the whole face, especially if he’s close enough to be wrapping cloth around her head. Perhaps she’s focusing on his lips and sees him smiling warmly and observes his lips press together as he thinks. Or she’s looking at his eyes and sees the line of his brows deepen. Her observing the warm smile and the brows deepen indicates they’re farther apart.

    Suggest more active language. Bodies moving closer is very distanced and doesn’t give you the tension you might be going for. For example, “He moved clear, his shoulder touching mine.”

    Does the heroine where a bra? Her breasts falling on his chest indicate she’s above him in some way and if she’s wearing foundational garment support, this still wouldn’t happen. If she’s not wearing a bra, then totally can see the imagery. But the action her breasts are taking is in conflict with the rest of the paragraph indicating he’s actively moving into her personal space and she’s allowing it.

    We feel skin on skin or breath on skin, but to my knowledge, we do not feel breath on breath. I would suggest rewording this to more active phrasing for the contact and connection you might be trying to build between the hero and heroine in this scene. Make it more definitive in the moment of the kiss that they actually are kissing. This is the moment to savor.

    I like the interruption of the cloth falling out of place. It’s a good place to break the tension and move the scene forward.