Hey Girlfriend! So good to have you hear today! And with no further delay here' Julie!
Sigh. Call me old-fashioned, but I love the stolen kiss, although I do realize it’s not always politically or socially correct in today’s world where things like spousal abuse and date rape are a sad reality. Please note—in no way do I condone either of these types of behavior nor are my scenes meant to be perceived as such. They are written in the old-fashioned “Calgon, take me away” style of romance so prevalent in the old Hollywood movies and in absolutely every case, the dominant hero is called to task for his behavior and eventually learns from it. At least, in my books they are!
So I thought I’d show you what I mean in this somewhat “tense” version of the caveman kiss, which is closer to a retaliatory kiss by a bitter ex-boyfriend in Isle of Hope:
Her thoughts drifted to Jack, and a heaviness settled on her shoulders like the cloying press of humid air when the sea breezes refused to blow. He and her father were the main reasons God had sent her back, to show them His unconditional love just like God had shown her. Not only to bring healing to them and herself, but a renewal of hope and faith to the people she loved. Through grace, patience, and hard-earned humility.
A low groan ground from her lips as she buried her head in her arms, voice raised in frustration. “Ooooooh … I screwed up, and I’m so sorry.” With a harsh grunt, she gouged up two fistfuls of sand and pelted them toward the water, emitting a growl. “Talk about epic fail.”
“A talent of yours, apparently.”
Lacey’s head jerked up and spun around, heart thumping like a flat-bottom gigging boat on the water at full speed. “Jack,” she rasped, a brain-freeze chill blasting full body at the shock of seeing him standing not five feet away, hands slung low on his grass-stained pants. “W-what are you doing h-here?”
He slacked a hip, moonlight revealing a scowl on his handsome face. “No, a better question is why a girl who’s supposed to have a brain in her head is walking the Redneck Riviera at night by herself?” The scowl thinned into a smirk as his gaze trailed from her sandy feet up her bare legs to the short hem of her sundress, now bunched to her thighs. “Unless, of course,” he said with a nasty smile, “you’re looking for that kind of trouble.”
She bristled. Nope, but apparently I found it. Hopping up, she yanked her dress in place and brushed off the sand, fully aware that sniping back at a bitter ex-boyfriend was no way to make amends. With a silent prayer, she tamped down the old temper by counting to ten. Taking her time to pick up her purse, she finally looked up with as much humility as she could scrape together. “I appreciate your concern, Jack,” she said in a careful voice, slinging her purse over her shoulder. “I suppose it was stupid to wander off like that.”
A muscle twitched in his cheek. “Yeah, well, I guess it can’t be helped.”
She blinked, brows crimped in confusion. “Pardon me?”
Those wide lips that once had devoured hers pinched flat, as narrow as his cobalt-blue eyes, which now morphed to black. “It’s in the DNA, apparently—both ‘wandering’ and ‘stupid.’”
Her mouth fell open … right before she slammed it shut again, afraid of what might come out. One. Two. Three. Four …
He shifted with a casual fold of arms, muscles corded as hard and tight as the flex of his jaw. “Both clearly talents of yours …”
A snappy comeback all but rammed against her teeth. Five. Six. Seven. Eight.
His eyes raked her head to toe. “Along with teasing and tempting the locals, I guess,” he drawled, his mouth hooking into a cold smile that told her he was baiting her, pure and simple.
She slanted in. “Okay, I’ve had about enough of your snide remarks, Jack O’Bryen,” she said with a step forward, all but spraining her finger when she poked him hard in the chest. “I came back to make amends, not butt heads with some hotshot Romeo who’s not man enough to let bygones be bygones.”
He grabbed her wrist, fusing her to the spot. “Real easy when they’re not your bygones, Mike,” he hissed, all but spitting the words in her face.
She stared at him in the moonlight, his grip as stiff and smarting as her neck, now painfully craned to confront his towering six-foot-three. Anger throbbed in his eyes as wildly as her heart throbbed in her chest, and the smell of beer on his breath was a painful reminder of just how much she and her family had altered his life.
And then in one fractured beat of her pulse, the years suddenly washed away like the tide from the shore, revealing the godly boy she’d once pledged to marry. A kind and good man meant for far better things before tragedy had befallen them all. Fingers quivering, she slowly placed her palm over the hand that shackled her wrist, her tears blurring the features of this man who still claimed a piece of her heart. “Oh, Jack, I still grieve over the pain my family and I caused, and I hope someday you’ll find it in your heart to forgive me because I so desperately want to be your friend.”
“My friend,” he said in a slow, menacing drawl, hand dropping listlessly to his side while his gaze bore into hers. “The last time I saw you, Mike, you wanted way more than that, as I recall.”
Her heart stuttered when he slowly skimmed the side of her face with his thumb, sending once-familiar shivers through her body while he caressed the shape of her mouth. Warm, dangerous shivers that collided with pinpricks of warning when his gaze drifted to her lips.
No, Jack, please—not now, not like this. Not while beer and bitterness poison your mind …
“I wasn’t willing then,” he whispered, slowly tugging her close with a slide of his hand to her waist. He tightened his hold, and alarm rolled in her belly as paralysis struck. “But trust me, sweetheart, I’m more than willing now …”
All protest seized in her throat when his mouth took hers with a vengeance, as if he were paying her back for every kiss he’d denied himself so many years ago when virtue trumped attraction. She shivered at the taste of beer and bitterness in his mouth, tinged with a touch of Tootsie Roll, his trademark candy that instantly swept her years back to his kisses on the dock. Only this wasn’t that kind and tender boy anymore who’d once treasured and taken care of her. No, this one jerked her close, hands wandering at will, and she suddenly knew he was punishing her, not only for breaking his heart, but for all the times she’d punished him with temptation, testing him to the max.
Just like he was testing her right now.
“Jack, stop!” She shoved him away, stumbling back when she broke his grip.
His eyes glinted with anger. “What’s the matter, Lace? You begged for it once, remember?” His mouth curved in a hard smile. “I’ll just bet you give out more samples than the little old ladies at Sam’s.”
Needles of shock stabbed over the cruel intent of his taunt. To make her feel small and cheap like her dad always had, his painful barbs sending her sobbing into Jack’s arms, the one person who’d always understood just how much Daddy had hurt her.
“Don’t think you’re anything special. Any street walker can get ’em excited.”
Against her will, the hot sting of water welled in her eyes, familiar tears over a father she could never please no matter how hard she tried. And, apparently, an ex-boyfriend with no qualms about turning the knife. Fingers quivering, she adjusted the purse on her shoulder and turned away, salty wetness slicking her face as she stalked across the beach.
She heard the regret in his voice, but she dare not stop, not with sobs rising in her chest over the wound he obviously meant to inflict. A sharp and slicing stab straight to the heart, meant to make her bleed. She broke into a run. Well, good for you, Jack—you met your mark.
But she couldn’t because distance was the only thing she wanted from Jack O’Bryen right now. A hurt, little girl bolting away from rejection like she had so many years ago. Vision bleary, she stumbled on until a buried piece of driftwood hooked the strap of her sandal. It flung her headlong into the sand, breaking both her pride and her spirit as she lay there and wept.
The moment he touched her, she flailed and bucked like a catfish on the shore, wanting no part of Jack O’Bryen ever again. “Leave me alone,” she hissed, eyes swollen and body gritty with sand. “I don’t want you to touch me.”
Ignoring her, he knelt on the beach and bundled her in his arms, immobilizing her completely from any further thrashing about. “Lacey, I’m sorry,” he whispered against her head, tucking her body to his as he knelt beside her, his steel hold gentle but firm. Her heart drummed like that of a baby bird with a broken wing while his thumb slowly caressed her arm, his voice husky and low. “I didn’t mean it, I swear. I’m just …” She felt the hard shift of his Adam’s apple against her hair, the ache in his tone revealing the caring and tender boy who long ago had stolen her heart. “Angry inside, you know? And … still pretty hurt, I guess … over what might have been.”
Her body stilled in his arms. “I know,” she whispered, “me too.”
YOU HAVE TWO CHANCES TO WIN AND Here’s how it works:
1.) Individual Blog Treasure Hunts:
- Julie, MaryLu, and I are giving away separate prizes on each of our blogs per the schedule below, so be sure to come by all three blogs on the days listed. Then, simply enter each of our individual contests via the Rafflecopter box at the bottom of our blog pages. You can then earn extra chances each day of the schedule by answering a question that pertains to that particular blog on that particular day.
Links for Each of our Blogs:
- Debbie Lynne Costello — http://theswordandspirit.blogspot.com
- Julie Lessman — http://www.julielessman.com/journal-jots1/
- MaryLu Tyndall — http://www.marylutyndall.com
Treasure Hunt Schedule:
- Wednesday, February 10, 2016
- Friday, February 12, 2016
- Friday, February 19, 2016
- Friday, February 26, 2016
- Monday, February 29, 2016
- Friday, March 4, 2016 — Winner’s Announced
Kindle Fire Treasure Hunt:
- While you are visiting each of our blogs per the schedule above, simply collect the “treasure hunt clue” listed at the bottom of the page and write it down.
- Continue to collect all the clues at each of our blogs on the specified dates.
- Once you collect the final word clue on Monday, February 29, you will have a 15-word sentence that will allow you to enter the Kindle Fire Giveaway by entering that sentence in the Kindle Rafflecopter box on any of our blogs.
WINNERS WILL BE ANNOUNCED ON EACH OF OUR BLOGS SIMULTANEOUSLY ON FRIDAY, MARCH 4TH, GOOD LUCK!
DON’T FORGET TO HEAD ON OVER TO JULIE'S AND MARYLU’S BLOGS FOR MORE CLUES AND PRIZES.
Question of the day:
The moment Jack touches Lacey, she jolts away from him like a what?
BUT … before you go, make sure you WRITE DOWN THIS CLUE — TEACH — which is the #10 CLUE in our 15-word sentence you’ll need to enter the Kindle giveaway on February 29th.
DON’T FORGET TO HEAD ON OVER TO JULIE'S AND MARYLU’S BLOGS FOR MORE CLUES AND PRIZES.
Prizes I'm giving away on The Sword and Spirit blog.
|Kindle Fire - Grand Prize|
|2nd place- Charleston bag full of Charleston!|
|3rd place- Antique spoon bracelet|
|4th Place- Starbucks cup and $10 SB gift card|
|5th Place- Signed copies of Shattered Memories and Sword of Forgiveness|
|6th Place- Kindle Versions of Shattered Memories and Sword of Forgiveness|