Saturday, January 2, 2010

A Steamy New Year's Kiss... Almost

Here is my almost-kiss for Frankie Diane's No Kiss Blogfest. It's from an old novel I never finished called Cast Away, a regency-era stranded-on-a-desert-island kind of thing. Marisa is seventeen, Nathan is twenty, and they're freshly shipwrecked in the Caribbean after her first "season" in London.

**Edited to add: Cast Away would have been my second novel had I finished it (my first was the 120K medieval romance I keep mentioning, never to see the light of day). I only got about a hundred pages into Cast Away because I kept going back and forth with a new YA story idea I wanted to write (Sinister, for those who keep tabs on this. I should really put it in my sidebar). So I decided to focus on the YA novel and see what happened, and I've written YA ever since. 
But anyway, I like the almost-kiss in chapter one, so here it is!

Nathan stopped rowing and his turquoise eyes grew round. Gabriella found it difficult to breathe when he looked at her that way, a fact that frustrated her further. “In any case,” she said, struggling to keep a civil tone, “I wanted to thank you. After all, if it hadn’t been for you--”
“We’ve struck,” he said, his voice hushed... almost disbelieving.
“Oh, I see,” she mumbled, then realized what he’d said. “You mean we’ve struck land?”
Nathan tugged on his oars to demonstrate. Gabriella peered over the boat’s edge with a pounding heart. They'd been rowing toward that infernal island for so long she almost didn't believe they'd ever arrive.
Instantly her mind dropped all thoughts save one: land! A bubble of laughter rose in her chest and she clapped her hands over mouth. Nathan clamored out of the boat, not bothering to suppress his own laughter. “Come on! It's shallow enough.”
She splashed out after him, doing her best to help pulled the boat along the gentle low tide. Land, land! She hardly dared believe the soft rush of sand along her feet as they made their way toward the shoreline. 
Despite the low tide, the pull of the ocean rushed their boat forward, propelling it to the white strip of beach ahead. Gabriella's skirts swirled around her as she struggled to catch her breath, nearly falling over in the waves. “We’re saved,” she panted, realizing she'd been muttering the phrase like a mantra.
“And to think,” he said, holding her arm as she steadied herself against him. “You were so certain we'd perish at sea. Are you disappointed? You so detest being proved wrong.” 
She laughed, too giddy to stop herself. “I am still certain we shall perish, though now it will be on this savage island.” A wave pushed past them, swelling to Nathan’s thighs and Gabriella's waist. His smile faded, his breath coming in shallow pants of leftover exertion. Gabriella swallowed the last of her laughter.  Shimmering droplets fell from his hair, and those bright blue-green eyes of his churned like the sea around them. 
Her gaze dropped to his chest and the wet linen shirt that clung to each hard, muscular ridge. The warm current urged them together. Gabriella exhaled as their bodies made contact. She tasted the salt water on her lips, felt his hand tighten on her waist... when had it gotten to her waist?
No. No. This was Nathan. “The tide is coming in,” she said in a clipped voice.  “We had best get back to shore.”
He was so close, still touching her... holding her. She waited, though it was difficult to meet his eyes with him so intensely close. “This is a liberty,” whispered harshly.
“Perhaps I'm the sort that takes liberties.”
“Well I am not the sort that gives them,” she retorted automatically. 
He raised a brow and she blinked past a moment's shame. Too late she recalled what he'd seen between her and that idiot in London. Her blush set her skin to scalding. Another wave rolled by, propelling their boat to the beach and Gabriella into his solid frame again. She refused to rest allow her gaze to linger on the rise and fall of his chest... his smoldering eyes-- they held no appeal for her. Even the rows of golden stubble covering his jaw didn't stir a ripple of hot longing. She refused to wonder what that unshaven face might feel like pressed against her hand, those lips against her own.
He cupped her chin and she could only blink up at him. His other hand, still on her waist and hidden below the water’s surface, made its way to the small of her back, urging her closer. 
“Nathan.” The word came from deep in her throat, embarrassing in it's intimacy, startling her back to her senses. He brought his lips so close she could feel his warm breath as she turned her face away. She couldn’t keep her eyes open against the pleasure of his rough, bristly cheek against her skin. She could barely trust herself not to grab his jaw and kiss him like she'd wanted to do since before she could remember. “Let go of me,” she said, sounding harsh in her effort to keep control. “Let go.”
Thanks for reading, I can't wait to read all of yours! 


  1. No fair Diana! Two almost kisses! How could you do this to me? Hot, very hot!

  2. Ha ha, Mary! I love making my characters suffer *grin*

  3. Ohhh just kiss him! But then it wouldnt have made it to the no kiss category. I might be partial because my hero in The Kindrily is Nathan, so your Nathan is already irresistible to me. :)Great scene!
    My Blog

  4. Wow, two almost kisses! This was fabulous! Thanks for sharing, I really hope they end up kissing eventually.

  5. I almost want to kiss Nathan! Nice job with this scene. I love reading these!

  6. That was really fun! I hope you finish this someday, I love the chemisty between the two!

  7. Ooooo, sigh-worthy, indeed! I love regency!!! And to be stranded...that sets up a book full of tension! :)

  8. Very UST-tacular! They have great chemistry, and I love how she is trying to tell herself she's just excited about finding land, even though she knows it's totally a lie. Great job! Thanks for sharing this!

  9. Ooh, I haven't read a good Regency romance in a while...and I'd really love to read this one:) Nice job!

  10. Wow that was amazing Diana!!! Why didn't you finish this book? This scene alone makes me want to read it!!!

  11. ooooh that was awesome!! I loved how she said his name and then got embarassed. Thanks so much for participating and helping to make this fest so awesome!

  12. That was really great! It's got me hooked. I want to know how they got shipwrecked. I like how she tells herself she's not interested but she so is.

  13. *Sighs* That was wonderful. Thank you so much for sharing and *bats eyelashes* if you ever feel like posting more I'd LOVE to keep reading.

  14. I've been off reading fabulous almost-kisses full of steamy goodness. Thanks for all the comments everyone, you're all the best. Thank you Frankie because this was a great idea!

    I'd forgotten about how yummy Nathan is. This was fun :)

  15. I love your voice here! I really feel the era in how they speak and act, so civil and yet not really...

    Thanks for sharing, I enjoyed it a lot.

  16. Thanks Elle, these characters were so fun to write :)

  17. My goodness, Diana. That was so hot, I imagine the ocean was steaming around them! This no kiss day is driving me nuts.

  18. Great tension and I like how spunky your heroine is. These almost kisses are killing me though, lol.

  19. Nice work, Diana! You've captured all the strict codes of behavior so well--and your characters' varied reactions to them. I loved the "perhaps I'm the sort that takes liberties." Whee!

  20. Great scene! I could feel the tension, nice job!

  21. Ha ha Bethany, and it's getting me in a kissing mood with my husband!

    Thanks Roni, I liked writing her :)

    Thanks Laurel, I've read so many Regency-era I guess it sunk in!

    Thanks Hayley, it was a fun write :)

  22. Alright, THAT'S what people mean when they say the almost kiss can be hotter than the actual kiss. Killing me with that one! If you ever decide to finish the novel, let us know!

  23. I loved reading this! Her denial over wanting to kiss him had me cracking up.
    Thanks for sharing, and awesome job. I can't wait to read more!

  24. Nothing like a little self-delusion to ruin what could have been a really hot kiss. ;-) I really loved this scene, I just wish there was more!

  25. Whoa! and these two are going to be stranded together for awhile??? Definitely feeling the heat. Great job!

  26. oh just kiss him already !
    ahhh, great scene ! (:

  27. Donna- I am so happy to hear that! Hot was definitely what I was going for... as close to sizzling as I could get without any kissing!

    Lizzy- Thank you, I'm glad you liked it :)

    Julie- Thanks :) I thought that was funny too. She's stubborn, that's for sure.

    CR- Awww thank you! Marisa gets over her self-delusion pretty quick at least, hehehe!

    Tricia- Oh yeah, this was really steamy. They'd known each other since they were children so being thrown on an island together pretty much sealed the deal ;)

    LittoMiss- Ha ha, she does in chapter two... that's why she was so fun to write!