Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Something in the air

My wedding anniversary is coming up this weekend--twelve years!--and so I'm thinking a lot about love and first kisses. I love writing about two people realizing their attraction to each other for the first time. It's like falling in love all over again, and so I really enjoy writing about that first kiss between the main character and the love interest. What about you? Do you eagerly await the first kiss between two characters in a book like I do?

I'm sick today and so I thought it would be fun to share one of the more memorable first kisses I've written about to perk me up a bit. This comes from my ebook Surfacing, which is a paranormal YA about a group of mermaid-like people living on North Carolina's Outer Banks. The narrator is Mara, who has been drawn to the trees near the little beach called Pirate's Cove and finds things getting a bit strange there...

A hand closed around mine, stopping me. My head whipped around to find Josh’s face peering at me in the dim glow of my phone.

“What—” I started to say, but he shook his head. His expression was tight, his lips a thin straight line. He closed his eyes, swaying slightly, and a look of pain washed over his face.

“What’s going—” The words died in my throat. A movement out of the corner of my eye caught my attention.

When I turned in that direction, I saw a figure slip between the trees, into the darkness.

My mother.

I stared hard at the area where she’d disappeared, searching the shadows. She was there, I knew she was even though at the same time I knew this was impossible. Mom was dead and her body was buried in a little cemetery in Tennessee. My mom was not wandering around Pirate’s Cove in Swans Landing.

And yet I smelled her perfume. She whispered my name and then laughed. She was there.

“Mom!” I called.

But Josh clasped his free hand over my mouth, his eyes still closed and his face contorted in pain. I struggled against him, trying to break free. Mom was there in the woods and I needed to find her. But the more I struggled, the more Josh pulled me against him, his arm wrapped around my ribcage and crushing me to his chest.

I fought against him, kicking and hitting. My teeth clamped down on his hand.

“Ow!” he cried, letting me go.

With my newfound freedom, I lurched forward, stumbling over roots. I ran through the trees, narrowly missing hitting my head on a low branch. “Mom!” I shouted. My eyes scanned the darkness of the forest, desperate to find her.

Josh caught up to me and grabbed me again. I tried to break free, struggling against the violent craving for salt water that wracked my body in order to keep my wits about me. But maybe I had long ago lost my sense of reality. I didn’t know what was really true anymore.

Josh’s fingers dug into my wrist. “Mara, no!”

“I have to find her,” I told him, my voice high-pitched and wild even to my own ears.

He wrenched me toward him. I raised my fists to push away, but Josh’s arms enveloped me, pressing me close.

And then his lips met mine and the world I barely had any remaining grip on slipped away completely.

In the moment that Josh’s lips met mine, the entire world changed. Whatever the song was in the forest around us, it seemed magnified as we kissed, the sound thundering in my ears. My own heartbeat matched its melody, my breathing rising and falling with the voices in the night beyond us.

Inside the trees, it was only us, wrapped in a cocoon of wind swirling through the branches and leaves brushing by our feet. I forgot my mom, myself, everything—except the feel of Josh’s warm lips pressed to mine, our tongues dancing around each other’s in exploration. His hands squeezed my body, trying to press me closer to him, and I responded the same.

I didn’t know how long we stayed like that, but it seemed as if a thousand years had passed in the blink of an eye. By the time Josh broke away and I realized the song had finally faded, I shivered with a cold sweat. He released me, letting his hand slide down my arm to mine.

And then, I slapped him.

You can find out more about Surfacing, the island of Swans Landing, and the people who live there on my website.

Do you have a favorite first kiss from a novel you've read (or written)?

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