By Elysa Hendricks
From the moment we're conceived our lives are a series of firsts. Most of these firsts pass without notice or are quickly forgotten. Who among us remembers their first word, their first step, their first piece of chocolate? Well, maybe the chocolate.
But certain firsts are etched into our memory like words chiseled in to granite. Our first love. Our first heartbreak. And most memorable our first kiss. Time and circumstance may cause them to fade, but the impression remains.
Though I've seen animals rubbing their faces and snouts together, to me, kissing, the pressing together of lips, seems a very human activity, an intimate connection. The touching of lip to lip or lip to skin is more than a physical action; it expresses a gamut of emotions. Friends kiss in affection. Parent's kiss away a child's pain with love and compassion. Lovers kiss in passion.
While it's said a person's eyes are the window to their soul, our lips are the gatekeepers that expose our souls to the world. With our lips we speak and sing, smile and laugh, scowl and yell. And kiss.
Every little girl wonders and dreams about falling in love, about her first kiss. Who will he be? The boy next door? A friend of a friend? A stranger? Where will they meet? How will she know he's the one? The questions, excitement and fear are endless, causing sleepless nights, and long involved discussions with her closest friends about who he might be and what it'll be like. Inevitably the subject turns to kissing. They talk and giggle about the mechanics of kissing, practicing the art on the backs of their hands and occasionally a mirror. A few bolder girls might even experiment by kissing each other. They want that first kiss to be thrilling, wonderful, and special.
For the lucky ones their first kiss is all that and more. But I'm guessing for most of us it wasn't. For those of us who received our first kiss as a teenaged girl it probably came from some pimply-faced, sweaty-handed, teenaged boy with braces, who was more interested in what was below a girl's neck than above.
It's been a long time since those days for me. And fortunately the memories have dimmed, but the emotions remain.
When I sat down to write about my first kiss I realized that I really don't recall which of the kisses I remember was the first. Was it the boy with braces I met at an outdoor concert and spent a few uncomfortable minutes necking with behind the bushes? Or maybe the "older" man (he had to be at least 20) who was working on his car in the garage and managed to steal a kiss? Or was it my first "boyfriend"? Quite honestly I can't remember if he ever actually kissed me. I think he was homesick and found my family more interesting than me.
All I can really remember is thinking 'Is this what all the fuss is about? Well, that's disappointing.' When I started writing romance I decided that none of my heroines would ever be left dissatisfied by their first kiss or any other firsts.
I hope your first kiss - and your next - was everything you hoped and dreamed it would be. I'd love to hear about them.
Abandoned by his father and betrayed by his half-brother and fiancee on the eve of his wedding, JAKE GALLAGHER no longer believes in love. Though he longs to go home, his undercover work for the Texas Rangers keeps him in a lawless Texas border town. Even though it jeopardizes his mission he refuses to stand by and watch outlaws rape and murder a young woman. Getting shot and losing his memory wasn't part of his plan.
While fleeing from her stepfather's plans to steal their ranch, CHRISTINA GOODWIN witnesses her brother's murder and is left in the hands of a merciless band of outlaws. Raised in a strict convent, Christina has little knowledge of men or the world, its dangers and temptations.
Frightened and alone, she is forced to accept the help of the dark gunslinger who rescues her. Though drawn to Jake's potent masculinity, she hesitates to trust him, fearing her stepfather has sent him to bring her back. Unsure of Jake's motives for helping her, she struggles against him, determined to find a way to avenge her brother's death and regain control of her ranch from her stepfather.
THIS HEART FOR HIRE
First Kiss Scene
A panicked looked crossed her face and she went suddenly pale. "I-I, w-we..." Her gaze darted around refusing to settle on him. Then with an audible breath she regained control. "I'm not sure how or where Christopher met you. He never said. I was staying in, um, in Ramblin waiting for him. He brought you there and we headed out for St. Louis."
Jake listened to the girl's lies. Like before, she didn't do it well. Her nervous plucking at her skirt and the way her gaze avoided his gave her away. "If we met in Ramblin for me to guide you north to St. Louis, how did we end up in Peaceful which is southeast?"
Color crept into her cheeks as she stared at him in horror. "You remember?"
For some reason she didn't want him to remember, which made him more determined to do so. "No, but I know where Peaceful is and it isn't on the way to St. Louis from Ramblin. So how did we end up there?"
"You had some business there." Her chin came up, but her eyes didn't quite meet his. "I don't know what it was. You didn't say. But that's where Christopher died. Can we not talk about this anymore? Please." Her voice broke on the last word and she bent her head to hide the tears he saw gathering in her eyes.
As much as he needed the truth, he found himself unwilling to push her. Her tears softened the hard knot of anger inside him.
A tendril of hair fell forward across her face and he reached out to brush it away. His knuckles touched the tender skin of her cheek and lingered. She looked up with startled eyes, her lips parted in question. Her lies forgotten, his gaze locked with hers. He caressed her face then threaded his fingers through her hair. Like silk it flowed over his hands.
Cupping the back of her head in his hand, he leaned toward her. The tempo of her pulse increased beneath his fingertips. Her breathing grew shallow and her eyelids fluttered shut. At his gentle tug, she swayed into him. His other arm went around her back and pulled her into his embrace. With a soft sigh she surrendered to his caress. Without hesitation he slanted his lips across hers.
Sensations swamped him, his own hot, pounding hunger and her sweet, warm yielding. His arms tightened as he deepened the kiss. With a gentle probe he urged her lips apart. After a slight hesitation, she allowed him entrance and his tongue explored the moist recesses of her mouth.
Take it slow, gentle, Jake warned himself. One hand massaged the small of her back and molded her slim frame to his harder one. The other anchored her head so she could not escape his kiss, even though she showed no signs of wishing to. With difficulty he held his passion in check.
He filled his nostrils with her scent, the smell of warm, willing woman. Pulling his lips from hers he buried his face in her hair and struggled to control his desire.
"So sweet, so soft," he whispered. "Do you know how I want you?"
How he longed to strip her of her clothing. The urge to lay her in the fragrant grass and drown in her velvet warmth beat like a drum in his blood.
Her hands clutched his shoulders, her fingers kneading his flesh as she pressed herself against him. Her lips sought his. She whimpered when he pulled back.
"Slow and easy, Kitten."
After trying her hand at a variety of careers: retail sales, insurance underwriter, video store owner, home day care provider, and motherhood, Elysa Hendricks, a longtime reader of romance, sat down to write a short contemporary romance. When her heroine turned out to be a winged, telepathic alien, Elysa decided she enjoyed writing stories set in different places and times. Fortunately for the reading public that book remains hidden under her bed along with the evil killer dust bunnies.
After spending some time (longer than she cares to remember or tell) learning how to write she then penned a series of fantasy romances. GEMINI MOON, CRYSTAL MOON, SHADOW MOON and FORBIDDEN MOON are available from ImaJinn Books.
THIS HEART FOR HIRE is the first of two books set in 1870's west Texas where a convent reared innocent and a gunslinger with no memory struggle to survive and find love while crossing the dangerous west Texas frontier.
With THE BABY RACE and COUNTERFEIT LOVE Elysa penned two short contemporary love stories set in the real world of small town America.
While living in Illinois she helped found the Windy City Chapter and the Futuristic, Fantasy & Paranormal Chapters of Romance Writers of America as well as taught workshops on writing at writer's conferences and at local community colleges. Recently relocated to central Ohio she's happy to be part of the Central Ohio Fiction Writer family. Someday she dreams of writing on a laptop while sitting on a tropical beach.
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