Naomi and Carl have reached the first major milestone in their story – their first kiss. For them, it’s a moment filled with a lot of ambivalent feelings. As a rape victim, Naomi doesn’t expect to ever enjoy a kiss again, and Carl has never allowed his emotions to come into play where women are concerned. Add the fact that their lives are taking them in different directions, and you have a kiss that just shouldn’t happen. Which is, of course, the point of romance-novel first kisses.
The smell of her hair, the sound of her breath catching. The warmth against his lips when she exhaled. The images from his dream and the pain of his fall faded as Carl’s senses took over.
To him, a kiss had never been more than a prelude to sex, but none of the few women he’d known trembled when he touched them. None had made him tremble in return. He couldn’t have rushed if he’d wanted to.
He slid his fingers into the silk of Naomi’s hair, tucked a softly curling lock behind her ear and lingered to stroke her there. Pretend – it was only pretend, like she’d said last night, but why not choose a dream over a nightmare?
“Easy, Naomi. If you want me to stop, just say so.” Hell, she shouldn’t have to say so, O’Neill. You don’t need her to tell you this is stupid.
But Naomi said nothing. Her eyes drifted shut, her lips parted, and Carl’s conscience headed south. It had never been much good at keeping him out of trouble anyway.
He didn’t kiss her full on at first. Instead, he teased the corners of her mouth, first one, then the other. Her lips relaxed, but she still held her body tense, ready to run.
“This will be better if you relax.”
She turned her face away. “I don’t think I can.”
The words came out small and fearful. Carl took Naomi’s hands and twined his fingers with hers. To anchor her, or himself? He didn’t know.
“Don’t think. Just feel.”
He brushed her lips with his again. Her fingers curled, her shoulders stiffened. Then, between one breath and the next, she relaxed. Her mouth opened against his, soft and quiet, inviting him to taste her. That was all it was at first – acceptance, but the sweetness of it made him ache.
Then she started kissing him back.
Maybe this was how nice girls kissed. As if Carl would know. Maybe she’d learned from some beau, or maybe she was a natural, but she took his senses by storm without even trying.
She pulled her hands away and looked up at him, lips wet, eyes wide. “Ben…I shouldn’t have let that happen. It makes no sense.”
“Does it have to? We’re headed in different directions, Naomi. What difference does a kiss make?”
“You’re right, of course. As long as you see it that way, then there’s no harm done.”
So, for the first time in his life, Carl is hooked emotionally – by someone he knows he’ll hurt, because that’s his pattern. What is he going to do about it?
So what is your favourite fictional first kiss?