Is there anything better in a romance novel than that first kiss? All the angst. Fear. Desire. Love. Heat. So much heat…
Today, I’m going back to the first kiss in my first book – She’s Far From Hollywood. Cole and Bree have been battling ever since she arrived in the tiny Carolina farm town of Russell. She’s a Hollywood diva hiding from a stalker, and he’s a grumpy veteran dealing with PTSD and a ridiculous attraction to the redhead living in the cottage across from his farm. Sparks fly every time they’re near each other, and this night, after Bree helped one of Cole’s cows give birth, he finally sees her…….
“Oh, I know you, Brianna Mathews. I know you handle your whiskey better that you handle your temper. I know you came into this town thinking you were better than anyone in it…” She opened her mouth to protest but he held up his hand. “But as soon as you realized total strangers were willing to help you and be your friends, you opened up to them. You returned their friendship. That tells me two things. You’ve known kindness in your life, but you weren’t prepared for it, so you probably haven’t experienced it in a long time.” Her pretty mouth was still open, but no longer in anger. She was just staring at him, and the shimmer of water in her eyes made them sparkle like emeralds over a flame.
“You defended me at the bar last weekend, even though we’d barely spoken a civil word to each other at that point. I don’t know why you did that…” He stepped forward. “But I know I liked it. I know you’re fearless, even when you’re scared shitless. Maybe especially then. I know you’re not afraid to work hard and sweat hard and get dirty, and I’m pretty sure that surprises you almost as much as it surprises me.”
One last step and he was right there in front of her. She lifted her hands and set them lightly on his chest, making him burn. She didn’t push him away, but she didn’t pull him in, either. She just stared up at him with those eyes that haunted his nights, and he saw the corners of her mouth slide softly into the beginning of a smile. He leaned forward and rested his hands on the counter on either side of her.
“I know you’re not afraid to make friends with three foul-mouthed assholes who claim to be my friends.” Her lips quirked into a definite smile. “And you won them over so fast their heads are still spinning. They jumped on my case like a trio of mad hens after I chased you off, and I know that’s never happened before. I know you lay in the damned mud an hour ago and helped my cow give birth. Even though you were mad as hell at me, you still did that. And I know that saving that heifer gave you a rush like nothing you’ve ever felt, because it was real. And I suspect you haven’t done real in a while.”
She shook her head, and the motion caused some of that moisture in her eyes to spill over. He quickly caught the tears with his thumbs and wiped them away.
His hands remained on either side of her face, holding her there. She didn’t pull away. He felt a surge of adrenaline shoot through his veins. Danger be damned, because he wasn’t pulling away, either. His next words came out in a hoarse whisper.
“I know that when you landed in my arms in the hayloft, and you pressed your body up against mine…” He moved in and pressed his hips into hers, letting her feel his hardness. “I know you felt the same thing I did, all this heat. I was smart enough to turn away then.” He lowered his head until their noses were brushing against each other. She still hadn’t blinked. “But I’m not feeling very smart right now…”
Those last words were spoken against her lips. His hands cupped her face softly and she sighed, her breath blowing across his skin. This was still a bad idea. But when her hands twisted into his t-shirt, he was lost.
He wanted to take this slow, to be careful. Really, he did. But that plan detonated on contact. Her lips were soft and pliant when their mouths met, and she parted them with a soft moan that went straight to his core.
Men have been plunging their tongues into women’s mouths for centuries. Staking their claim. Grabbing the first taste of a woman. And yes, hinting at that other penetration they had in mind. Kissing like this, tongue against tongue, was natural. Primal even.
But Cole knew that never in the long history of kissing had there ever been a kiss like this. Things quickly spun out of control, their heads turning and their mouths moving against each other aggressively. She tasted like cognac and toothpaste, and damned if it didn’t hit his nervous system like crack cocaine. His hands started to slide up and down her body, fingers grabbing at every curve. She was trembling in his arms like a tuning fork, like she was ready to come just from this. Just from kissing like this.
It wouldn’t be Bree’s style to just passively let him kiss her. She gave as good as she got, tugging, pushing, sucking, biting. She was staking her own claim, holding his head in place while she devoured him. Twice their teeth clashed together, and neither of them flinched.
This was Bree, and he god-damn knew her. He never wanted to let her go. Fear washed over him like a bucket of ice water at that realization. Going further was a mistake. She’d only end up hurting him. And worse, he’d hurt her. His hands flexed against the cheeks of her ass one last time, pulling her against his rock hard pelvis as if in defiance of where his brain was headed. But regretfully, he finally released her and stepped back.
There was a tiny cut at the corner of her mouth, probably from being pinched between his teeth and hers. A normal man might feel regret at marking her like that, but he felt nothing but pride. Thousands of years of men and women laying claim on each other. Primal. Natural. And scary as hell.
He took another step back. Her hands lifted, then dropped, as if she knew she couldn’t stop him. Then she did something that just about destroyed him. She smiled, slow and knowing. The smile was sultry and sensuous, made more so by her kiss-swollen lips. Her eyes were languid and her posture more so as she leaned back against the counter. She knew what that kiss had done to him. She was inside his head, and that was a place he didn’t ever want her to see.
He took another hurried step backward. “Nothing’s changed, Bree. We’re a bad idea. Nothing’s changed.” His voice sounded high-pitched and defensive in his own ears, as if he were trying to convince himself more than her.
She lifted a brow, challenging his statement. Everything had changed with that kiss, and he, for one, might never be the same again. He spun and marched to the door. Every good soldier knew when to retreat.