A special thanks from me to Sondra Kraak for putting these two posts together! What fun this has been! I’m thinking (and some of you have suggested) that we need to do this on a regular basis 🙂
Thank you so much for playing along in Kiss or Miss! It’s time to reveal the answers . . . (If you don’t want to know because you want to read and find out for yourself, then stop reading this post now because I’ll be commentating a bit about each)
Majority voted … Kiss!
(Denise Hunter, The Wishing Season)
She shouldn’t press her luck. She shouldn’t. But then his thumbs moved at her waist, sweeping back and forth. The motion, so subtle yet so provocative, sent a wave of desire through her veins, thick and slow like honey.
She couldn’t help herself. It was just his neck. Just one tiny kiss. A thank-you kiss. Her lips brushed the cradle between his neck and shoulder. His skin was warm and soft, faintly salty. Addictive.
His hands clenched at her waist. “PJ. . .,” he warned.
“What?” she asked, not because she wanted an answer but to hear that husky timbre of his voice again.
Her eyes found his again, locked in tight. She wanted to fall right in there and drown in the stormy depths.
He leaned closer until his breath brushed her lips. Her heart gave a hopeful sigh. And then he kissed her.
His lips were warm and soft and plush. He moved slowly, taking his time. Not lazy . . . savoring. She felt the distinct difference, relished it.
His arms slipped around her, pulling her close.
This is my absolute favorite lead in to a kiss because it drags on and on and on and the moment builds with such sweetness (as you can tell, I had to skip over some more build up). It’s the first kiss these two share, and they’ve fought so hard to deny their attraction.
(Jody Hedlund, A Daring Sacrifice)
All I could think about was how close I was to Collin, how I could lower my face to the merest fraction and feel his warm breath even more.
I liked the intense hold he had on the back of my neck. I liked the way his fingers had splayed on my cheeks, caressing my skin. And I couldn’t keep from studying his lips, slightly parted—almost as if he was planning on kissing me.
The smallest amount of pressure of his hand on my neck bent me closer so that my lips had no choice but to brush against his. At the brief contact, a popping erupted in my belly, like dry wood in a firepit. When he lifted his head from my lap and pressed his lips against mine with more urgency, I was helpless but to respond. I let my lips move against his for an endless second.
At the clearing throat near the turret doorway, I gasped and sat back, breaking the connection with Collin.
So when I wrote this example, I remembered them getting interrupted, but I thought it was before they actually kissed. Surprise! They DID kiss. So what I thought was going to be a miss ended up a kiss. I fooled myself. A simple, chaste kiss—but one that wasn’t supposed to happen on this chaperoned occasion, and one that surprised both hero and heroine, which is what makes it so sweet.
(Becky Wade, A Love Like Ours)
Wind gusted, ruffling his dark hair. His ragged breathing filled the silence. He was painfully desirable to her, with his scars and his fractured soul. He was Jake. “I want to kiss you,” she whispered.
His upper body went rigid, as if preparing for another IED explosion that would do them both irreparable damage.
She placed her other palm on his chest and tugged him down to her as she rose onto her tiptoes. Slowly, she neared, pausing just an inch away from his profile. Their forceful chemistry overtook her, and the scent of mesquite wrapped around her the instant before she set her lips to his.
His mouth was warm, smooth. Also . . . unresponsive.
(Poor Lyndie. Not really the kiss she wanted. But wait . . .!)
“I’m not . . .” he spoke haltingly, his voice raspy, “ . . .good enough for you.”
“Of course you’re good enough—”
“No.” He inclined his head so that his forehead rested against hers. Their eyes closed, breath intermixing. She could sense his struggle and his despair.
“None of us are perfect,” she murmured.
His hands rose to frame her jaw on both sides. “I’m more imperfect than most.”
“Not to me.”
He groaned, then kissed her with such fiery need and possession that her mind reeled and joy soared.
Poor Jake. He’s fought the attraction to childhood friend Lyndie, but it’s fightable no longer. The vivacious, fun loving Lyndie gets what she wants! (And so do the readers)
Side note from Carrie: I’ll just be here reading that last sentence a couple more times if anyone needs me. *fans*
Majority votes…. Miss!
(Pepper Basham, The Thorn Healer)
She’d never been so fascinated with a pair of lips in her life. And she’d seen plenty. She was a nurse, of course, even sometimes assisting with reconstructive surgery, but this… this was an interest far beyond professional. Her curiosity began a steady climb to overcome her fear, and his lips were a significant motivator in the fight. She placed a palm against his chest and bridged the gap between them, slowly, battling the irrational fear of a nightmare repeating itself. He didn’t move, only encouraged her with a daring smile she found increasingly more tempting with each breath. Challenging her. Pushing her to step outside her panic and soiled expectations.
She spun around almost falling from the unexpected shift in her balance for her weak leg. August steadied her from behind, his closeness sending tingles of awareness up her spine. She forced a smile at Jude who waited in the doorway of the chapel, adorable in the new overalls she’d bought him last week.
“Jude?” She cleared her throat, August’s closeness fogging up every thought in her head. What on earth was wrong with her?
I love the challenge put forth by the gentle, determined August. He’s so patient to woo Jessica. Sorry, fellow. You’ll have to wait a little longer for that kiss.
Majority votes… Miss!
(Susan May Warren, Take a Chance on Me)
Maybe he wouldn’t have to leave Deep Haven to start over. “Claire . . .”
She looked up at him. And in the light of the rising moon the smell of summer lingering in the air—in the way her mouth tilted slightly—he felt young again, taking pretty Claire Gibson to her senior prom and wishing she was his girl.
His gaze roamed her face just for a moment. Without waiting to think, to hear the warnings in his head, he bent down and kissed her.
He expected something of hesitation. Even feared that he’d gone too far, that she’d push him away, the old sense of guilt rising up to paralyze him.
But she kissed him back. Lifted her face to his, curled her arms around his shoulders, and molded herself to him. He had his arms around her back and pulled her close, deepening his kiss, tasting the lemonade on her tongue, feeling the whisper touch of her hair against his cheek.
She was delicate and perfect, and why hadn’t he done this years ago?
One of my favorite story kisses. I have a thing for wounded heroes, and Jensen is so torn from his past. He’s loved Claire a long time and kissing her is a taste of redemption for him.
Majority votes… Miss!
(Karen Witemeyer, No Other Will Do)
She should have been embarrassed, chagrined that he’d noticed her shameful lack of concentration, but she just couldn’t summon a proper dose of regret. Not when he was so close. Holding her. Nuzzling her neck. For he was nuzzling. She could feel the edge of his nose against her nape, his lips a hairsbreadth away from her skin.
If she turned her head a few inches . . . But she was afraid to move. Afraid to ruin the moment.
“I will,” she breathed.
“Will what?” he asked, his whiskers brushing against her earlobe and sending shivers dancing down her back.
“Keep my eyes open . . . when I shoot.”
He froze. His lips hovered just above the sensitive part of her neck that clamored for his attention.
No! Emma could have bitten her tongue off in that moment. She never should have reminded him of the shooting lessons, of the gun. But she hadn’t been thinking clearly. Her mind had been so deliciously fuzzy, thinking only of the man behind her, that he words had just slipped out. And now he was pulling away from her.
This scene had almost too much of a lead in for me. Paragraphs of his arms around her while teaching her to shoot. On and on and on . . . but all for naught. Sometimes a story is like that. Characters are stubborn. Malachi and Emma especially.
It’s been super fun to play Kiss or Miss. How did you do? Let’s play again sometime!
A native of Washington state, Sondra Kraak writes historical romance set in the Pacific Northwest that not only entertains but nourishes the soul. Connect with her at www.sondrakraak.com where you can sign up for her newsletter and receive a free Christmas short story, A Gift Comes Knocking.
And CONGRATULATIONS to Brittaney Borman who won the giveaway for a copy of Sondra’s newest release Such a Hope!
Washington Territory, 1871
Anna Warren grew up on the seat of a wagon, the daughter of Seattle’s busiest freighter. After her father’s death—a tragedy away from home—she returns to their cabin on the outskirts of Seattle, seeking the sense of belonging that eluded her childhood. But will her desire to pray for miraculous healing for the sick and wounded endear or alienate her to the community? Her most aggravating challenger is also her staunchest defender and has brown hair and eyes, stands six feet tall, and farms with unchecked tenacity. Tristan Porter. This farmer her father had befriended holds more secrets than Yesler’s Mill holds logs.
When ugly rumors arise about her spiritual gift and her property, Anna fears her quest to find belonging will be thwarted.
Tristan holds the truth to set her free, but revealing it will require him to face the disappointments of his past and surrender his plans for the future—a sacrifice he’s not sure he can make.