Today’s First Kiss Friday featured guest is Frankie Robertson, author of fantasy romance Dangerous Talents. Welcome Frankie! Here’s the first kiss between Cele and Dahleven.
Dahleven waved her into the dimly lit storeroom, then locked the gate and relieved her of the torch. Holding it aloft, he led the way down a dim aisle formed by wooden boxes and hundreds of sacks of grain. The torchlight flickered across hollows and recesses; shadows wavered and jumped.
Suddenly, a blackness shot down from above, landing abruptly at Cele’s feet. A spike of fear shot through her, and she shrieked. Breath jerked raggedly in her lungs, and she jumped back, banging against the boxes. Her eyes, adapted to the dim light, followed the shape as it streaked down the aisle.
It was a cat.
Dahleven swung around, sword drawn, just in time to see the mouser before it disappeared into another hidey-hole. Cele laughed shakily. Her eyes met Dahleven’s in chagrined amusement, and his tight expression returned a crooked half-smile. He chuckled before sheathing his weapon.
Something tight released in Cele. A giggle bubbled to the surface. She shook with it, overcome by the absurdity of startling at a cat after what she’d been through in the last week. Laughter bounced through her, shaking loose from the uncertainty and fear, anguish, and loss. Her breath came in gasps, and she propped one shoulder against the wall of boxes.
Dahleven’s half-smile spread across his face, and his chuckle grew to full-throated mirth. He leaned on the boxes next to Cele, his shoulders quaking with the force of his laughter, then threw back his head and let it pour out of him.
It was a beautiful sound, delightful and rich, and it triggered another gale of merriment from Cele. Tears trickled from the corners of her eyes. The tension poured out of her. Gradually, the wildness of her laugh faded back to giggles.
Close by her, Dahleven’s laughter subsided as he wiped moisture from his cheek. He faced her, left shoulder against the boxes, right hand holding the torch, and smiled into her eyes. He was barely a foot away, and the closeness felt comfortable, bonded as they were by humor and the release of days of worry and fear. When he leaned over and kissed her, she didn’t pull away.
It was a brief and gentle query. Then he pulled back a scant inch.
That small kiss wasn’t enough. Cele turned her face up, seeking Dahleven’s mouth. That seemed to release him, and he took her lips again, caressing them with his own. He stood, pulling away from where he leaned against the wall of boxes, freeing his left arm to slip around her. His hand bumped into her belt-pack, then collided with her backpack before he finally pulled her close. She giggled, and Dahleven snorted his amusement, then bent to kiss her again. Cele’s fingers gripped his shoulders. Every point of contact sizzled over her skin like a Fourth of July sparkler, and each spark threatened to ignite a conflagration. He tasted warm and salty and of something more that was ineffably Dahleven. His beard was soft, and she sighed with pleasure when he trailed little kisses down her cheek and neck.