#WritingChallenge: The First Kiss

The Harlequin Romance Blitz opens next week! If you haven’t been reading Harlequin Romance, author Therese Beharrie can tell you why you should be. Near the top of her list of reasons is the setting. In her words,

“A first kiss is so much more romantic when it’s on the hero’s yacht on the Amalfi Coast. A declaration of love is so much more powerful on the top of Table Mountain. Harlequin Romance authors go out of their way to make sure the readers experience the escape of an aspirational setting.”

Your challenge this week? Write a short, 3-5 paragraph scene set in a glamourous location, showing your hero and heroine’s first kiss. Perfect for Harlequin Romance!

Never been anywhere exotic? It’s so easy to travel to faraway lands these days without leaving your couch. A quick Google search reveals thousands of posts and images on just about anywhere in the world. Even better? Download the Google Earth app and take a virtual tour around the globe.

And for tips on bringing your scene to life, check out our post, “It’s All in the Details: Create a vivid setting without getting bogged down”, available in the archive.

Post your First Kiss scene in the comments below anytime between now and Sunday, January 29, 2018, and we’ll check back with you on Monday!

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  1. Her breath caught. “This is amazing.” she said.
    She stared up in the crisp morning sunlight at the glowing red rocks of Al Khazneh, jewel of Petra. She’d read about this place, imagined it, and here she was, finally, experiencing it. The ghosts of those who’d lived and worked here seemed to fill the air, bringing the place alive.
    Alive. She turned to him, brow puzzled. “I thought there’d be a lot more people here.”
    He shrugged. “I paid for a private tour.”
    “What? You just took over the whole place? What about people who had tours booked here? What if their whole vacations were planned around a day here?” she asked in shock.
    “You wanted to see it. I didn’t want to be in a crowd.”
    She was speechless. It was an attitude she just couldn’t fathom.
    “And with a crowd, I couldn’t do this.” He said, and laced his fingers in her hair. He slid his hand to the back of her neck. He pulled her against him. His eyes were focused on her mouth, and she couldn’t resist. He bent down, deliberately, and paused, just a whisper from her lips. And smiled.
    Her body was responding, softening, her lips parting, but her brain was screaming, No, he can’t buy me with a private tour!
    Confidently, he touched his lips to hers. In desperation, she bit him. Hard.

    • Carly Byrne

      Oh to be a billionaire and have private tours at the click of your fingers! Glamorous and nice and tension – and an unpredictable ending! 😉 Hopefully he won’t hold the biting against her!

  2. Hana Sheik

    Challenge accepted! 🙂
    *
    As marvelous as the ancient cave paintings of Laas Geel were, Imani couldn’t focus on her sketch book when Hamza’s warm breath puffed over her cheek. Glancing over her shoulder, she caught the playful tug lifting the corners of his mouth, his light brown eyes sparkling with their mischief. He knew exactly what he was doing—knew exactly how distracting he was being.

    Turning slowly, her sketch book crushed over her throbbing heart, Imani faced Hamza. They were alone up here on these rural cave formations, under the canopy of ancient cave art. From where they stood, she could see most of the dry plains below, those white, baked sands and spiny shrubs dotting the landscape.

    She could also see their vehicle and its driver down below, along with the police official who had been assigned to guard them. The two men had fallen back on Hamza’s signal. Now Hamza settled his hands over her arms and pulled her back from that view, deeper into rock alcove, from prying eyes. Swallowing past the lump in her throat, Imani knew what was coming.

    “Have you thought about it?” Hamza gave her a squeeze, his radiant smile making it worse. “You know I couldn’t turn to anybody else. You’re all I have, Imani. I figured I could try proposing one last time.” His gaze dropped. Imani’s lips tingling once she realized what he desired. She could have stopped his lowering head. A million reasons popped up for why she shouldn’t kiss this man. The top being that he was her boss.

    But his mouth grazed hers and her mind blanked, and she leaned into his touch, wanting more of his warmth. As soon as he realized she wouldn’t be fighting him, Hamza curled a hand around the back of her head and pressed closer. Their lips explored more deeply. The midday heat swarmed around them, intensifying the heady sensation crawling all over him. When Hamza lifted his head, Imani mewled in protest. They seemed to both agree, the kiss had ended too soon.

    • Chrissie

      That’s why this is a challenge. Not what we always write maybe but to see if we can do what they request. Come on, Kimber Li, I know you can do it. Pick anywhere in the world and let your imagination play. 🙂

    • Kimber Li

      Well…I did have my Hero and Heroine visit Uluru in Australia and it was very romantic. It was only a few months after her husband passed away, so she wasn’t ready to mash face with another guy yet though. Maybe I can send them back there at a later time when they are ready for a kiss. 😉

  3. Chrissie

    He was tall with an air of power and determination about him. He strolled into the room and captured everyone’s attention by his presence alone. His pale blond hair and ice blue eyes were mere toppings to the muscular body of a Nordic god. Dressed in a dark blue suit, he oozed intelligence and wealth. He literally took her breath away with his masculine appeal. She looked down at her hands, neatly folded in her lap and said a prayer he would pass her by. But it wasn’t in the cards for her. She was meant to meet him, to be entranced by him, and to marry him. The gypsy had foretold this very event. Tonight, was to be magical and a memory for her to hold in days to come.

    Chatter rose around the dining room where they sat within a glass enclosure overlooking the frosted world beyond. She focused on a passing herd of reindeer and the vibrant Northern Lights dancing in the sky.

    Val Brandt paused by her chair, and she held her breath. His hand rested on her shoulder and he leaned forward to whisper, “Will you dance with me, Asta?”

    “Yes.” Was that her hushed voice responding? She’d wanted to ignore him, but how could she when she had no choice?

    He led her to the dancefloor, wrapped one arm around her waist and held her hand in his, then pulled her into the circle of his arms. “Thank you for this opportunity to learn more about you. I find you fascinating. But I will take only one thing from you tonight.”

    She swallowed hard and could not resist peeking up at him as they swayed in time to the classical music. She gathered her courage and took the plunge to let him know exactly where she stood in this inconvenient marriage arrangement. “Excuse me, but you may not take anything from me tonight.”

    His chuckle was for her ears alone as his mouth came closer. His warm, wine-laced breath brushed her cheek, sending tingles of anticipation to her lips. “Only one thing.”

    “I—”

    His lips met hers in a fiery kiss, one of passion long held and seduction planned. Her heart fought the frenzy racing within and refused to weaken to his will. There would be two minds in this marriage, two lives entwined, and two hearts that could either battle or succumb to ecstasy.

    She pushed back from his embrace and met the sparkle of awareness in his eyes. “You may have won tonight, Val Brandt. But tomorrow will be mine.”

    • Carly Byrne

      Backdrops don’t get much more impressive than the Northern Lights – loving the variety of the snowy setting. Great tension and dynamic between the couple and I’m intrigued to find out more about their convenient marriage…!

  4. Mila’s mouth on his was hard and demanding. Unnecessarily so. A testament to her inexperience, her sheltered upbringing.

    Had she ever kissed a man before? Had she ever even been alone with one?

    Max doubted it. As improbable as it seemed, the truth was in her kiss, in the way her mouth fumbled uncertainly with his.

    He should end it. Push her away and put distance between them. Give her a moment to pull herself together and allow her to save face.

    But that was not what he wanted to do.

    So it was not what he did.

    Instead, he wrapped his arms around her, pressing her into him, as he took control of the kiss. He guided her with his lips, his tongue, slowing the rhythm to an excruciating pace, until she moaned against his mouth.

    They broke apart then, just enough for her to catch her breath.

    For him to catch his.

  5. Marcie R

    “Wow.” Lilah Prescott whispered at the awe-inspiring Aurora Borealis. A log settled in the camp’s fire, shooting sparks into the sky as if adding its own punctuating agreement. She’d thought being on a wildlife tour in Swedish Lapland was enough to make her heart burst with wonder, but being here, staring at the night sky and pressing close to Brant Russell, was more than her imagination could take her. His arm tightened around the layers of clothing at her waist and she shivered.

    Brant responded by shifting closer, though any closer she’d be in his lap. “Are you glad you came?” He whispered, his breath hot against her ear as the campfire was at her feet.

    “Very.” She turned in to him. His mouth was right there. Not letting her brain take over to fill her with common sense, Lilah skimmed her fingers along his jaw, the stubble soft and rough. She raised her eyes to meet his blue ones. Her breath seemed stuck, waiting…waiting…

    And just like she wanted him to, Brant touched his lips to hers. They were chilled, but he was warm, and sparks danced inside her and her breathing returned. She thought being outdoors, admiring nature’s beauty made her come alive but no. It was the taste of hot chocolate on Brant’s tongue, the strength of his fingers on her hip. It was him, only him.

    • Carly Byrne

      V romantic first kiss under the stars and in front of the fire. Would love to see their second kiss happen somewhere extra glam – see them swap the hot choc for some champagne!

  6. Eileen James

    Quinn shifted in the small airplane seat, nervously counting down the minutes until the scheduled arrival time. She’d been racking her brain to figure out she’d let herself get talked into going on a cruise in the great Down Under. It had been a graduation gift from her parents who knew she’d always dreamed of visiting. She’d tried hard to convince her best friend to use her trust fund to buy a ticket and join her, but Julianne had insisted she needed that money to pay for her Ph.D. In the end, Quinn decided some alone time was just what she needed after devoting herself to college for the last six years.
    Now, as the airplane began to descend she was back to wondering what had gotten into her. She jumped when the flight attendants voiced came across the speaker instructing the passengers to put away their belongings and prepare for landing. The well dressed man next to her, who she’d been avoiding the entire flight, closed his laptop and tucked it in the briefcase beneath the seat in front of him. Quinn gripped the book in her lap and stared blankly at the seat back taking deep breaths as she felt the plane drop and increase its speed.
    “You’d better put that away.” the deep voice, with the lazy australian accent came from the well dressed man. The man who smelled like some glorious combination of coffee and leather. The man who’d made her insides dance at just the sight of him. Ten years dedicated to her education, including high school, hadn’t allowed for much free time. Dating wasn’t a priority, therefore, neither was talking, kissing, and definitely nothing bedroom related. She had zero experience with sexy businessmen.
    She leaned forward to stow her book just as the plane jolted and drop unexpectedly. Her forehead hit the seat in front of her and she yelped and flung her head back. Before she could comprehend what had just happened the plane dipped again and then jumped upwards. Several people gasped. Quinn’s stomach dropped and suddenly, as cliche as it is, her life flashed before her eyes and the most ridiculous thought came with it. What if she died a virgin? What if she never knew the pleasure of a man’s lips against hers? A man like the one sitting next to her. And so, without overthinking it, as the plane shook and people screamed she grabbed his face and planted her mouth on his. For a split second they both froze and then suddenly, he grabbed her shoulders and pulled her close. He smelled even better at this distance and he tasted like coconut and rum. She barely registered as the plane leveled out and the pilot’s voice came over the speaker.
    “Sorry about that folks. Just a little turbulence. We’ll be landing shortly.”

  7. Enthralled, Anna leaned against the parapet, the medieval city of Les Baux de Provence nestled below her, the French countryside spread out beyond in a panoramic view. A light breeze lifted her dark curls, seldom let free, off her shoulders. A scrape of feet against gravel disrupted her preoccupation. The voice behind her caused the fine hairs at the back of her neck to prickle.
    “The sight of you always stirs me, usually motivating me to speed up and slip past you.”
    Anna caught her breath, cursing her weakness at the sound of his accent. Why was she such a sucker for Aussies?
    “Today, I find my…desire completely different.”
    She slowly turned from the impressive view of macro nature having created its finest, to focus on what nature could accomplish with man when striving for perfection. At six foot, he was tall for a Formula 1 driver; every inch was lean muscle. The wind played with his toffee-blonde hair. Anna pressed her fingers into the rough stonewall behind her to keep them from reaching out to do the same.
    Riley stepped closer. “I find myself wanting to go slow.” He reached out a hand toward her. “So slow.” Fingers that controlled sleek cars at speeds over 200 mph gently tipped her chin up. What he saw in her eyes had him sliding his hand along Anna’s delicate jaw and cupping the back of her neck. He smiled slightly, as the light touch of his thumb on her throat measured her hard swallow. “Ignore the apex,” his compelling voice lowered, “and just hug the curves.”
    Caught by the cerulean gaze, Anna barely heard his murmurs as his other arm slid around her, cupping her hip, and pulling her to him. Anna’s eyes fluttered closed and her breath shuddered between parted lips as Riley dipped his head. Her heart, conditioned to withstand G-forces, traitorously pounded in her chest. As his lips touched hers, Riley knew that while she’d managed to beat him on the track, in this, her heart would be the loser.

  8. Ann Stewart

    Excerpt from The International Tycoon’s Baby Bargain
    © Ann Stewart

    Bringing her to Chateau de Chillon was supposed to put some much-needed space between them with the Swiss Riviera and the white-capped Alps in the background. Yet Trent just confessed to wanting to kiss her. And she hadn’t even backed away.

    “But, you think it’s a bad idea?” It was a whisper. Timid and shy with the slightest hint of hope clinging to the edges.

    Trenton’s chest tightened at the candidness in her voice.

    “Bad idea?” No. Bad didn’t capture the multitude of landmines kissing Marcy DeLong could detonate. His employee, carrying someone else’s baby, only posing as his fiance for his mother’s sake. What could go wrong? “No. But this isn’t the place.”

    “You’re stalling.”

    The trained negotiator in him balked at the taunt, but the man who’d thought of nothing more than wrapping Marcy in his arms and molding her to his body wanted nothing more than to feel the warmth of her lips on his.

    “Marcy…”

    “Trent.” She laid her palm over his heart, stopping him. Her heat seeped into his skin like a brand, marking her territory. “If you want to see where this bargain is going to lead then you’re going to have to kiss me.”

    How was a man to back down from that kind of challenge?

    Trent took Marcy by the shoulders, cradled her back with his arm against the 14th-century hand cut rock wall, and kissed her.

    Damn. She was everything he’d imagined and more. How was he going to say no to her now?

    • Wonderful choice of setting! A little more focus on the physical details and less on Trent’s thoughts would bring the reader into the scene even more vividly. Thanks for writing!

    • Ann Stewart

      Thank you so much for taking the time to comment and giving me one to Glow and one to Grow! (can you tell I’m a teacher) I can’t believe you guys take the time to comment like this, and I am so glad you do.

  9. “That was amazing!” Lydia slid her mask off and climbed the ladder onto the luxury hire yacht.
    “ I told you it’s like nothing else.” David smiled at her and began stripping off his short wet suit. Lydia felt her pulse rate rise as the actions displayed his rippling muscles to perfection. What a shame he was her business partner, she lamented for the thousandth time, it would be so unprofessional to make a pass. She swallowed her desire and busied herself removing her own gear.
    “The most beautiful place in the world to me.” His lips curved into a soft smile as he gauzed out at the azure ocean. “ My folks and I came here all the time when I was a kid.” His Australian drawl sent tingles down Lydia’s spine. She turned her burning cheeks away to gaze at the picture perfect view.

    Beyond the break of the coral reef lay one of the many small uninhabited islands of the Whitsundays. The lazy surf rolled along a pristine white beach which gave way to rolling green foliage dotted with palm trees. Lydia sighed. It was impossibly beautiful and so was the man beside her. If she didn’t get over this infatuation, she was going to have to distance so she didn’t have to deal with physical interactions. Maybe someone else could go to meetings on her behalf? Her thoughts flew to her PA Ellie, a statuesque blonde. No, a very bad idea!

    She heard David laugh.“Why are you frowning at that island?” She turned to find him standing at the rail, his body turned towards her. The warm breeze ruffled his hair.
    “Oh.” She felt breathless, her lips parted and she watched as his gaze focused on the movement. She saw him swallow.
    “Do you know why I chose here as a working holiday?” His soft tone trickled over her like the warm sea water that had caressed her body minutes earlier. He leaned closer and the clean scent of his skin filled the air.
    “No.” Why can’t I say anything sensible?
    “ Because from the first moment I met you, I wanted to see if the coral was as beautiful as the colour of your lips.” He came closer still, until his breath entwined with hers. She felt her eyelids drift shut and the faint touch of his lips and then he pulled away.
    “Oh, and?” Lydia felt faint, she slid her hands up his muscular arms and hung on.
    “It doesn’t compare.” His lips closed over hers.

    • You’ve very successfully made the setting an important and integral part of the characters’ experience, and dropped the reader into the scene with some well-placed details!

  10. Cheryl Anne Graham

    The sun beat down on Kennedy’s head. “Geez it’s hot,” she remarked to anybody who’d listen. She was here in Egypt with her Cambridge archeology class. If she passed this final assignment they would grant her a PhD and she would be Dr. Kennedy Jones, archeologist. She’d be Dr. Jones. She liked the sound of that as it reminded her of an old movie, and was one of the many reasons she wanted to be one. Suddenly, she felt a hand slip around her waist. She was just about pummel the person, when they spoke.

    “Hey Teach.” Her whole being relaxed and she leaned into him. Bob Summer was a TA in the class but not her TA. She soaked up the warmth and comfort he afforded her. Comfort that was as evident as the bright beaming sun above them. He knew she wanted to be a archeology teacher and he applauded it.

    “Hey yourself, Bob.” She swivelled around and looked at him. They were colleagues and friends, but this was as physical as he’d ever been with her. Perhaps it was the exotic place or the wonderful time they’d been having. She looked at the majestic Great Pyramid standing so powerfully, and it filled her with enormous awe. “What can I do for you Bob?” She smiled, a jaunty but gentle smile. Her blue eyes sparking in the sun, blocking out every thought, every idea, Bob ever had.

    “Just wanted to see if you needed anything.”

    She paused, thinking to herself, “Yes, I need to be in your warm embrace for eternity.” But she didn’t dare say anything. They liked each other, but that was all. Inexplicably though and deciding to take the chance, she brought her petite hand up to his face and caressed it. He didn’t mind. Her essence meant everything to him. He would be brave. As brave as the ancients who built that wonderful monument to the sky and believed. He believed. Slowly, agonizingly slowly, he lowered his mouth to her own. Her eyes yelled, “Is this a good idea?” But he didn’t stop, couldn’t stop, wouldn’t stop. Their lips touched in the barest whisper, but then deepened as the kiss caught them both off guard. Her legs became so weak that she pressed against his erudite and appealing body, achingly, knowingly. Her senses reeled and she lost all time and space and meaning. When she came to, he looked at her. She was in love.

    “Well, we ought to get back to work, oughtn’t we?” Bob whispered deeply.
    “We need to.” She laughed and traced with her finger the lips that had just kissed her. She was in love.

    • Cheryl Anne Graham

      Thank you Deirdre! I guess I messed up the glamorous part a bit, thinking that the exotic locale was enough but I will work on writing more glamour for the Romance Blitz!

  11. Dina van't Veer

    Standing at the foot of the Perry monument in Presque Isle Sara asked herself how she had gotten to this side of the structure with her boss while the annual company Independence Day clambake was at a pavilion on the other side of the bridge. Walker Reese was her secret crush, ever since she had started in his firm and had met him her heart had pinged. Sara had rapidly moved up and was now the marketing research director. She was very good at her job and was essential in helping secure the latest multi million dollar contract.

    They had talked about a new project while walking and as they came around the north side they fell into silence. The rising moon was making a remarkable reflection across the water. The familiar scent of the lake was mixed with the scent of barbeques and combined with the sounds of the nearby seagulls, it all made her feel more relaxed. Sara was trying to focus on the employer and employee boundaries but with not many distractions nearby it was challenging.

    To see him in casual clothes also was adding to the complication and being this near, close enough to have the lake breeze blocked by his tall, solid muscular frame was trying.

    “Wow,” Sara exclaimed, “I’ve never seen it at this time of night. Beautiful!”

    Walker had stepped slightly closer, looked down into her grey eyes and replied, “yes” in a deeper voice. It felt like he was looking into her thoughts.

    There was a loud explosion. They both looked up to see the start of the fireworks display. “I love the bursts of lights!” she joyously exclaimed as she turned her face towards his again. He was again looking into her eyes and she could feel a matching hunger.

    A broad hand touched her cheek and she laid her face into his palm. It was wrong but felt so right.

    The next rocket launched and his fingers spread through her hair as his hand slid back to pull her closer. The last thing she saw was a burst of orange and blue lights as his lips touched hers.

  12. When Nikki walked into his villa six months ago, Marco knew she’ll be the woman he would marry. What he feels for her is love, an unwavering, longing for her kind of love. Tonight was the night he planned to propose. Marco took Nikki on his luxury yacht and sailed to the Amalfi Coast and had her favorite meal, scialatielli ai frutti di mare prepared by the chef. The champagne-color glow of the hundreds of candles lit up the deck, under the fat-lustrous moon. Tonight will be perfect, he thought. His dream is matching up to his reality. Nikki came out on the deck, her brown eyes meeting his. His breath caught in his throat as he admired her wearing a dark-blue strapless gown he had purchased for her in Rome. She walked to him and he kissed her on her temple. Up to now, they hadn’t kissed on the mouth. He only wanted to kiss her full lips when he was absolutely sure of their love.
    “Would you like a glass of Rose,” he asked.
    She was speechless and just nodded. He poured two glasses of the pale pink wine and gave her one. And as she brought the flute up to her dark-red lacquered lips, he could not take his eyes away from her mouth and wondered what her lips would finally taste like. Sweet, decadent. Marco wanted to find out.
    His impatientness jumbled with nervousness and the words “I love you, be my wife” clogged his throat and he could not talk.
    Raindrops started to fall, and he watched as Nikki ran for cover but he couldn’t move. Her stared at her as she found refuge under the awning. He wouldn’t let this moment pass so he removed his wool jacket, ran to Nikki and covered her in it. Marco reached in the front pocket of his dark pants, dropped his knee on the wet deck and said “Marry me please.” Before he could open the Tiffany-blue box, she cried and said “I love you Marco.” He slipped the princess cut diamond ring on her finger and stood. It was raining harder now, the food ruined. The candles sizzling and fizzing out, leaving them in darkness, on the deck in the rain. Her hair was ruined, her makeup smeared.
    But in his eyes, she never looked more breathtakingly-beautiful. He brought her to him and kissed her lips, the lips he craved for so long, the desire, longing. The finally-it’s-happening-to-us melted over him. As the rain covered them, they rested in each other arms and basked in the warmth between them.

  13. The humming sound of the locals’ pierced through Mia’s ear, making her abandon her sleep. Earlier, she felt a little fatigue from the acrimony of the island heat. Dreading she might not be able to attend the ceremony at night, she opted for a little nap.
    She threw the embroidered light cover aside, and jumped from the bed. Craving a moment of fresh air before getting ready, she opened the bedroom balcony, and headed out.
    And came the night, the Canary Island thrived, offering an apology to the ones who suffered from the day burning heat.
    Inhaling the cold air, she leaned into the railing, wondering when her life would turn into a bundle of comforting routine matching the people that hurled in front of her to do their day to day jobs.
    But comfort and normal were definitely out of reach when his earthy scent started to roam around her senses.
    He was here.
    “Mia” he called, his voice held a little wariness.
    Slowly she turned around, entrusting the comfort and normality aside, and dreading the sea of the unknown.
    “Ryan” she retorted with a steady voice as she could muster upon the evident turmoil on his handsome face.
    Strong, capable, and as always so vague, he exhaled a long breath “I didn’t know you were bringing a date”
    Knotting her eyebrows, she asked “What are you talking about?”
    “Jack Foster!” he spat.
    Though she wasn’t bringing anyone to her brother’s wedding, but she wouldn’t deny. Why he even cared about such a thing as he over and over marked their relationship- if they had one- as a friendship. And even that wasn’t true, he was her brother’s best friend, and the latter status didn’t qualify him to be her friend.
    Matching the stubborn snowflakes topping the mountains behind her, that despite the scalding temperature they refused to melt, she folded her arms determined not to melt or bow in front of him “What if I brought a date, Jack Foster or whoever, why is that a matter of yours!”
    Not flinching a jot, his deep blue eyes held hers “It just is”
    “Are you out of your effing mind ” that’s the look she gave him, but her words, she’d learned long time ago to be careful of what she utter around him, so she opted for “Would you please stop this protection program you’re cooperating with my dear brother whenever a man was giving me the slightest attention”
    He throw his head back “God”
    Was he fed up with her, what the hell, she didn’t ask for his attention or protection.
    “God” she scoffed “No one is asking for anything from you here, so you can take your frustration and spread it somewhere else” she said and headed inside, but his strong arm held her in place.
    “I’ve tried” he growled, turning her around to face him.
    “I’ve tried” he repeated in a tormented tone, making her eyes rise to meet his.
    “To stay away, to be not bothered, not caring, but dammit to it all” he said, his eyes searching hers. And before she could comprehend anything, they were not searching anymore. He was going to have the answer he liked, whether she approved of it or not.
    “Mia” he said before his lips marked hers. It was a sudden touch, a fierce one, one that told her she was marked, was only his.
    And his, she for years, had yearned to be, so she wrapped her arms around his neck, and kissed him back, her lips giving him the answer he’d already decided to have.

    • Connolly

      I would have loved to have seen a bit more of the setting in this case, but the chemistry between your characters was wonderful! The romantic tension was fantastic.

  14. Alison French

    “You’re letting the heat out,” Georgina reminded him deliberately.
    “Well let’s shut the door then.”
    Without taking his eyes off her face, Aleks lifted one muscular arm and pushed the door firmly shut.
    Georgina swallowed. “I thought you were leaving?”
    “Are you inviting me to stay?”
    The breath caught in her throat. “Are you saying you have nowhere to go?” She wasn’t going to make a fool of herself again.
    “No, that’s not what I’m saying.”
    “Well, you’d better get going then. It’s cold enough for snow and you don’t want to get stuck.”
    “I won’t get stuck.” That self-assured smile was back.
    “You’re mighty sure of yourself, aren’t you? You won’t get into trouble with the police and now you won’t get stuck if a snow storm erupts. Do you operate under a different code to the rest of us?”
    He sighed heavily. “I’m not going to get into trouble, Georgina, because I’m not going to touch your father. He will get his comeuppance in other ways. As for any inclement weather that is going to be thrown at me…” It looked as though he was fighting to hold back a smile as he stared down at her. “Milaya, I’m Russian. I can cope with snow deeper that the couple of inches forecast.”
    She averted her eyes away from his teasing look, ignoring the tingling sensation it caused.
    “Now, if there is anything you need,” he hooked his finger under her chin and lifted it so she had no option but to look at him. “And I mean, anything, call me.”
    She remained silent.
    “Georgina…” he said patiently as though talking to a small child. “Promise me or I’m not going anywhere.”
    For a split second, she actually thought about ignoring him.
    She finally sighed, nodding.
    “Good…” His eyes flicked over her face, then he leaned forward and kissed her.
    It was so unexpected that her lips parted in shock. His mouth felt cool against hers as he gently kissed her. He cupped both her cheeks in her hands, her parted lips allowing him to deepen the kiss, his delicious scent filling her senses.
    She clutched at his sweater, tingles radiated through her arms, over her breasts, her nipples.
    And lower, much, much lower.

    • Connolly

      Given the writing challenge, I wish I knew more about the setting. Regardless of where your characters are, though, it is clear that they are going to be able to keep each other warm! I loved the little joke about the hero being Russian. It added a nice levity to a very romantic scene.

    • Alison French

      Thanks for your comment, Connolly. Much appreciated.
      I was very conscious that you’d stipulated a short, 3-5 paragraph scene and wanted to get the kiss in more than the setting!!!

  15. Chelsea buckled the harness around her chest just below her breasts. “I can’t believe I let you talk me into this. We’re supposed to be friends.”

    Will mirrored her movements, his hands seeming more sure than her own. “It’ll be fun. You’ll see.”

    Zip lining in the Costa Rica mountains. The mountain next to the one they were on looked like it was a volcano, maybe still active. Had she lost her mind? “I bet their safety laws aren’t as stringent as the ones back in the states.”

    He smiled at her. “If you aren’t going to be adventurous on vacation, when are you?” He checked the fasteners on her harness. “Make sure this is secure. Don’t want you falling two thousand feet.”

    “What?” She tried to peek over the side of the mountain. “Two thousand?”

    He pulled her away from the edge. “Just teasing. It’s not that far.” After rechecking his own harness, he stepped closer to the zip line. “I’ll go first, show you how easy it is.”

    “You go first and you’ll be going by yourself,” she muttered.

    “Okay, then. You go first.” Before she could guess what he was up to, he hooked her harness to the pulley on the zip line and gave her a gentle push off the mountain. “Hang on!”

    She screamed as her feet left the ground. Midway down she ran out of air and stopped screaming to take a breath. Then she saw the beauty of the tree canopy below her and thought about forgiving him. Until she looked down and saw how high she was. It did look like two thousand feet. Now she wanted to scream but fear paralyzed her.

    The end of the zip line came quickly and one of their guides reached out to help her plant her feet on the dirt of the next mountain. Will came soon afterwards, nearly landing on her.

    She spun around, ready to punch his jaw. “You nearly gave me a heart attack!”

    “Wait a minute!”

    He grabbed her arm and they wrestled around, stirring up the dirt and leaves. The guide scrambled out of their way as they fought-danced around and off the path. Will shoved her against the trunk of a tree and pressed his body into hers. Before she had a chance to figure out what he was up to, his hands cupped her face and he kissed her. It wasn’t a gentle kiss, but one that seemed fueled by frustration and deprivation. He gave her what she had been unconsciously craving the last three days.

    He pulled back and his brown eyes looked into hers. “Forgiven?”

    She clutched a handful of his harness in each hand and pulled him to her. “Only if you don’t stop.”

  16. It was nice, Pepper lending me his truck, but it’s time to return it. Heading for Wyoming, Huckleberry Ridge, hidden in the Grand Tetons. A true log cabin, he’d built himself, being an avid hunter. Sugar pines, Blue pines, you’d think it was Christmas.
    “I should’ve called. He could have someone else? We’re only friends. “Hello, it’s Finn, brought your truck back. Washed her inside and out. Anybody home?” Yelling.
    I’m in back, Finnegan.”
    “Carnations, every color.”
    “I tried my hand at gardening, relaxing actually. I know there your favorite. Emmett told me; he also mentioned you were coming this way. Emmett loves you; he wants the best for you; he thinks I am.
    There’s a box for you in the spare room.”
    Pulling the ends of the yellow ribbon, I set the bow on the dresser. I opened the box. “Eyelet; simply Gorgios. The dress fits perfect. How’d you know my size?”
    “Holding you. I told the dressmaker “she’s this size” holding my arms in a hugging position.”
    “I’m speechless; full of surprises; where we going Pepper?”
    “We’re going to a Charity Dinner.

    We’re here, one dance? I’ll hold you like a friend? I’ll try anyways.”
    “I’m not a good dancer. I’m warning you, if your boots mean anything to you, take them off. Grace is not my middle name. May I walk on the tops of yours?”
    “I’ll walk on the bottoms. No one has ever asked me that, it’s cute. Follow me.”
    “Oh, boy. I’ve never followed; I’m a natural leader.”
    “Not in dancing, I’m the master.
    Why don’t you wear a cowboy hat?”
    I removed his Tom Mix, exposing frosted whispies underneath, dated him. I placed a warm butterfly high up on his jaw, another two inches below, another two inches below that, a more passionate embrace where it counted.
    “You like that?”
    “Very much”
    “If I had it on, I couldn’t get close enough to do, that, whenever I wanted.”
    “That I understand” Putting a finger under my chin, “You’re amazing. Only three nights, four days, I’d walk over hot coals for you. I’ve convinced myself this love was wrong, age maybe, I’m set in my ways. I was wrong, no one makes me feel so much life. Portland was good to me, finding you.

    It was nice, Pepper lending me his truck, but it’s time to return it. Heading for Wyoming, Huckleberry Ridge, hidden in the Grand Tetons. A true log cabin, he’d built himself, being an avid hunter. Sugar pines, Blue pines, you’d think it was Christmas.
    “I should’ve called. He could have someone else? We’re only friends. “Hello, it’s Finn, brought your truck back. Washed her inside and out. Anybody home?” Yelling.
    I’m in back, Finnegan.”
    “Carnations, every color.”
    “I tried my hand at gardening, relaxing actually. I know there your favorite. Emmett told me; he also mentioned you were coming this way. Emmett loves you; he wants the best for you; he thinks I am.
    There’s a box for you in the spare room.”
    Pulling the ends of the yellow ribbon, I set the bow on the dresser. I opened the box. “Eyelet; simply Gorgios. The dress fits perfect. How’d you know my size?”
    “Holding you. I told the dressmaker “she’s this size” holding my arms in a hugging position.”
    “I’m speechless; full of surprises; where we going Pepper?”
    “We’re going to a Charity Dinner.

    We’re here, one dance? I’ll hold you like a friend? I’ll try anyways.”
    “I’m not a good dancer. I’m warning you, if your boots mean anything to you, take them off. Grace is not my middle name. May I walk on the tops of yours?”
    “I’ll walk on the bottoms. No one has ever asked me that, it’s cute. Follow me.”
    “Oh, boy. I’ve never followed; I’m a natural leader.”
    “Not in dancing, I’m the master.
    Why don’t you wear a cowboy hat?”
    I removed his Tom Mix, exposing frosted whispies underneath, dated him. I placed a warm butterfly high up on his jaw, another two inches below, another two inches below that, a more passionate embrace where it counted.
    “You like that?”
    “Very much”
    “If I had it on, I couldn’t get close enough to do, that, whenever I wanted.”
    “That I understand” Putting a finger under my chin, “You’re amazing. Only three nights, four days, I’d walk over hot coals for you. I’ve convinced myself this love was wrong, age maybe, I’m set in my ways. I was wrong, no one makes me feel so much life. Portland was good to me, finding you.

    It was nice, Pepper lending me his truck, but it’s time to return it. Heading for Wyoming, Huckleberry Ridge, hidden in the Grand Tetons. A true log cabin, he’d built himself, being an avid hunter. Sugar pines, Blue pines, you’d think it was Christmas.
    “I should’ve called. He could have someone else? We’re only friends. “Hello, it’s Finn, brought your truck back. Washed her inside and out. Anybody home?” Yelling.
    I’m in back, Finnegan.”
    “Carnations, every color.”
    “I tried my hand at gardening, relaxing actually. I know there your favorite. Emmett told me; he also mentioned you were coming this way. Emmett loves you; he wants the best for you; he thinks I am.
    There’s a box for you in the spare room.”
    Pulling the ends of the yellow ribbon, I set the bow on the dresser. I opened the box. “Eyelet; simply Gorgios. The dress fits perfect. How’d you know my size?”
    “Holding you. I told the dressmaker “she’s this size” holding my arms in a hugging position.”
    “I’m speechless; full of surprises; where we going Pepper?”
    “We’re going to a Charity Dinner.

    We’re here, one dance? I’ll hold you like a friend? I’ll try anyways.”
    “I’m not a good dancer. I’m warning you, if your boots mean anything to you, take them off. Grace is not my middle name. May I walk on the tops of yours?”
    “I’ll walk on the bottoms. No one has ever asked me that, it’s cute. Follow me.”
    “Oh, boy. I’ve never followed; I’m a natural leader.”
    “Not in dancing, I’m the master.
    Why don’t you wear a cowboy hat?”
    I removed his Tom Mix, exposing frosted whispies underneath, dated him. I placed a warm butterfly high up on his jaw, another two inches below, another two inches below that, a more passionate embrace where it counted.
    “You like that?”
    “Very much”
    “If I had it on, I couldn’t get close enough to do, that, whenever I wanted.”
    “That I understand” Putting a finger under my chin, “You’re amazing. Only three nights, four days, I’d walk over hot coals for you. I’ve convinced myself this love was wrong, age maybe, I’m set in my ways. I was wrong, no one makes me feel so much life. Portland was good to me, finding you.

    • Their dialogue is sweet, cute. When I was a girl and “danced” with my grandfather, he told me, “It’s okay if you step on the top of my feet; I walk on the bottoms.” This little scene brought back fond memories of him and made me smile.

    • Patience Bloom

      A very cute scene, Kim. There’s a sweetness to it and you get a sense of something brewing between the characters. As you work on it, I would add more setting descriptions and give the reader a sense of what these characters look like. Nicely done overall.

  17. The path to the beach from her room in Santa Caterina gave Trish time to think. The Amalfi Coast deserved more than sitting alone in a room crying over a guy who wasn’t worth the time of day. She had spent her last five euros on art supplies. If her art school diploma was worth anything, she could sell some water colors to tourists and make enough money to sort herself out.

    The sea at sunrise would dazzle and she intended to get through a couple of studies before the light changed. The stretch of sand was cool in the morning and fragrant with Oleander and she closed her eyes and fell asleep on her blanket to the sound of the waves letting the worry of the last week fall away.

    The man who walked in the surf was tall and strong looking. He had seen the young woman before and wondered why she was alone She was beautiful, but he sensed desperation in her and he intended to find out why. He moved quietly and It was a moment before Trish realized that a man had sat down beside her on the sand.

    “Want a cup of coffee?” he asked. The thermos in his hand was battered, but the steaming liquid was almost irresistible.
    “Nothing fancy,” he said, “Coffee and homemade cake.”
    Trish was polite, but not sleeping well didn’t help her manners.
    “What gives you the right to sit beside me on an empty beach?” The waves had lulled her into a dream and she was having trouble deciding if the man in front of her was real.
    He grinned. “If anyone can claim this spot, it’s me because I live here. Have a cup of coffee and watch the sunrise. We can argue later.”
    “I don’t even know you,” she murmured “and you look like a pirate.”
    The slow smile did nothing to change her mind about him but his closeness made her head spin.
    “Falco,” he said, “my name is Falco.” He slipped his arms around her shoulders pulling her closer to him.
    “Still say I’m a pirate do you?”
    Trish nodded, fighting to move his strong arms.
    “Well then, in for a penny, in for a pound,” he said.
    He bent his head touching his lips to hers. The contact was soft but confident, his touch was gentle, and gave her time to make up her mind. He made no demands of her letting her choose but not backing down. She kissed him back, the kiss working for her both of them as the possibilities opened up.
    She had never been kissed before, she realized, not really. His kiss was like the beginning of an exchange of love letters and within it there was beauty and optimism, no matter what happened in the future.
    He pulled apart from her and his eyes darkened as her looked at her closely. “When did you last eat?”
    Trish colored. “A couple of days ago, I think.”
    He took her hand in his own and brought it to his cheek. A tremor went through her body and she looked away.
    “Saying what happened doesn’t change the facts, but it can make it easier to deal with it.”
    Her voice stumbled, but she managed to tell him.
    “I was travelling with my boyfriend and he took off with all the money.”
    “Everything?”
    “I had a bit of cash, enough for a place to sleep, oh and some paints.”
    “Return airline ticket?”
    “I think Dennis sold it,” she said.
    He covered her mouth with his. He had nothing to say, yet.

    • Patience Bloom

      Dear Kathryn, Poor Trish! What a sad set of circumstances, though I’m glad she finally gets a handsome prince to kiss–or at least give her a return ticket home. I like how they meet, that she’s on his property. What I didn’t understand was why she was so rude to him. It didn’t quite make sense that he’d kiss her after that. Perhaps it’s just the magic of romance! A lovely start here.

  18. “Oliver, where are you taking me?” Helene asked cautiously. “I can’t see a thing through this blindfold.”
    “You’ll see, be patient. We have to go slow, those shoes you’re wearing require it,” he said as he guided her through the lobby toward the elevator. People glanced quizzically their way. Oliver ignored them.
    “You’ve met me, right? I’m not the most patient person on the planet.” Helene let her date’s steady hands guide her. Her stiletto heels clicking on marble. “What’s wrong with my shoes?”
    “Nothing,” Oliver nodded at the attendant to summon the elevator car. “I like what they do to your hips when you walk.” He leaned close and brushed his lips against the shell of her ear. “Very sexy.”
    An attractive shade of pink coloured her cheeks, and he chuckled. “Why councillor, I didn’t know you could blush.”
    “Neither did I, councillor.” She grinned as he took her hand in his and felt the other settle on the small of her back. The elevator announced it’s arrival with a muted ding.
    Oliver helped her step into the car and he pressed the button. “Funny, we’ve known each other for five years and we’re still learning things about each other.”
    “Opposing each other in a court room, doesn’t give us the details.” She found his arm with her free hand and wrapped her fingers around the bugle of muscle covered by his tux.
    “No doubt, you’re right.” He pulled her against him and she willingly went.
    “Did you really just admit I was right? I might need to sit down.”
    “Funny,” he said, but smiled. The doors opened. “Just a few more steps,” He ushered her out onto a wide terrace.

    The fragrance of roses drifted over them. Smokey jazz rose in a slow tempo around them as Oliver checked with a glance, all was in place for this special moment. He had to get it right, this was important. He reached up and gently took off the blind fold. “What do you think?”
    Oliver watched Helene’s face as she blinked, stunned for a moment. He wait with a touch of trepidation as she took in the fairy lights bordering the balcony. The table with a a bottle of champagne and glass flutes at the ready. The smooth patio was ready for slow, private dancing and the breath-taking view of their city, dress in black for the evening with millions of twinkling lights acting as sequins stretched out below them.
    “This is lovely, truly. But why, Oliver?” Helene looked up into his eyes. He saw curiosity and a touch of caution.
    “I wanted our first dance and our first kiss,” he paused as her eyes widened,”to be special.” He slipped his arms around the most infuriating, interesting, and beautiful woman he’d ever know. “Dance with me?” He swayed them into the rhythm of the song and Helene followed his lead.
    “I’m sorry it took me so long to agree to go out with you,” she whispered as she snuggled close.
    “Do you want to make it up to me?” He leaned back to look at her.
    “Yes.”
    “Then kiss me,” Oliver said simply and Helene met him more than halfway. The rightness of their kiss was what struck him first, then the sweet taste of her lip which parted and allowed him entry. It was supposed to be romantic, for her, and yet he felt himself being pulled into her magic. This would be a night to remember.

    • Patience Bloom

      Yvonne, What I like about this is how they work together and it seems to gradually become more. I was a little confused because of the blindfold thing–a side effect of reading steamy romance! I was expecting a different kind of scene, but I do like how you reveal the hero’s lovely intentions and that he’s a bit beta–not really holding anything back when it comes to his intentions. Some things to work on–more description of the scene and watch those typos. Nicely done overall.

  19. The lights danced above them.

    The Southern Australis lights. The ribbons of green, blue, red and violet, which lit the heavens with child-like enthusiasm, drew her eyes upwards—just for a moment. They should have been enough excitement in themselves. They should have, but they weren’t. They earned only the briefest of glances, were given only the barest of respect, before her attention dipped back in front of her.

    And the Great Southern Ocean, which filled the horizon behind them, deep, dark and mysterious bursting with sharks, whales and cheeky, territorial penguins should have held her fascinated gaze, failed. She should be sighing in nature-loving fascination, but instead, her gaze was riveted.

    At the bottom of New Zealand, where the signpost happily declared they were at the bottom of the world. There was nothing, bar Antarctica beyond them. She knew, as Jack’s head dipped slowly downwards, she wasn’t at the end of anything. Instead, as his lips touched hers, between the pause of one heartbeat and the next, Leila rose to meet him and murmured, “Yes.”

  20. Fiona Marsden

    She watched, fascinated as he rubbed her hand against his jaw-line. He must have shaved since she’d first seen him because his skin was smooth, no sign of the five o’clock shadow that darkened his chin in the lift. Releasing it, he reached for her other hand, all the while keeping his eyes locked with hers. Like a rabbit mesmerised by a snake, she couldn’t look away. Even now her hand stayed where he’d placed it, though her first instinct had been to snatch it away.
    “Then I’d put your other hand here.”
    The heat of his skin under hers, as he slid her hand under his collar, burned right along her arm, stirring odd sensations in the pit of her stomach. She could feel the soft texture of his hair at his nape, tangling with her fingers.
    “Now, I’m going to kiss you.” His lips curled in a smile both mocking and sensual. If only he was doing it because he wanted to, not to prove a point. The awareness of a subtle discontent disturbed her. Did his motives matter anyway? She wanted to experience life and he was offering experience in spades.
    The soft touch of his mouth on hers surprised her. Had she expected him to be aggressive? She didn’t really know what she expected. Her reaction to him, to his physical presence, was unfamiliar and a little unnerving. Like pins and needles after numbness. Almost painful in its intensity. His fingers meshed with her hair as his thumb traced the whorls of her ear and her whole body quivered. Her startled gasp was swallowed as he took advantage of her parted lips to run his tongue along the lower one, dipping in to brush the tip of her own tongue.
    From that moment Kate was lost, her only thought to meld into the heat of this man as he awakened her body from a long slumber. Her hand dropped from his face and clutched his shirt front, kneading it like a kitten. The other hand firmed, digging her fingers into his hair, holding him so he couldn’t pull away. Deepening the kiss, softly exploring, his tongue gently traced the inner rim of her mouth, wet velvet, sweeping further to explore her depths. She tasted the fruitiness of the wine, his or hers – she didn’t know. The spicy scent of him under the citrus aftershave. His chest under her restless fingers was solid, yet mobile. Hair, sliding under her touch. The hardness she didn’t expect, his slenderness making her think soft, desk bound.
    She should have known. She’d seen, felt, the strength in his hands. Hands that were moving lower now. His thumb tucked under her neckline, sending a searing heat along the line of her bra strap as he tracked it down from her shoulder. The sharp edge of his nail skimmed the curve of her breast as his fingers brushed over the peaking nipple through the fabric of dress and lacy underwear.
    The other hand made its way past her waist, smoothing over the curve of hip and thigh to pause on her knee. Fingertips fumbled at her skirt, gathering it up so his hand, oddly cool, rested on bare skin. He squeezed gently, thumb against her inner thigh, fingers pressing into the muscle. And all the time his mouth devoured her, nipping at the fullness of her bottom lip and licking it, soothing it. Her whole body ached, pulsing with need…the need to be closer…

  21. Maggie stormed up the stairs and straight into Daniels spacious, immaculate office, this was the last time her was going to speak to her like that.
    Slamming the door behind her she turned on him, her green eyes like ice.
    “Who the hell do you think you are talking to me like that?” she snarled at him, barely holding her anger in check.
    Daniel turned round from folder he was taking off the shelf.
    “Whoa, look at the temper on you, no wonder you are single with a mouth like that!” he responded with a smirk.
    That done it, Maggie’s anger went to fury in the blink of an eye. Her hand formed a fist and she stalked across the room moving purely on instinct.
    Daniels eyes grew wide, realising she was about to swing a good right hook at him he grabbed her wrist and did the only thing he could think of.
    Pulling her close, his other hand grasped the nape of her neck and he brought his mouth down to meet the full lips he had been aching to kiss since he was first introduced to her.
    Now it was Maggie’s turn to be surprised, both at him having the audacity to kiss her and at her body responding by channeling all her anger into passion and kissing him right back. And, as she had first thought, the man knew how to kiss!
    Gently touching her lips with his, Daniel was encouraged by Maggie leaning into him and putting her fingers through his hair. He deepened the kiss and felt Maggie’s grasp on his hair tighten and she pulled away from him
    Panting slightly and with a definite flush Maggie looked into his deep brown eyes and said “That’s not an apology, but it’s a good place to start.”