First Kiss Friday – Deliverance by Jennie Marsland

Today’s First Kiss Friday featured guest is Jennie Marsland, author of historical romance Deliverance.  Welcome Jennie!  Here’s the first kiss between Carl O’Neill and Naomi Franklin.

JennieMarshland_Deliverance200 (2)Carl lowered his hand. It curled into a fist at his side. Whatever had happened must have been bad, if she couldn’t stand a simple touch. “I’d like ten minutes alone with the man who did this to you. Naomi, I’ve done plenty of things that I’m not proud of, but I’ve never, ever forced a woman to do anything she didn’t want to do. Do you believe me?”

She swallowed, nodded. “Yes.”

“Good. Because looking at you now, I think maybe you’re feeling some of the same things for me that I’m feeling for you. If I’m wrong, go ahead and tell me so.”

Naomi’s answer came out small and fearful and she wouldn’t look him in the eye, but her words rang with honesty. “I…I wish we could pretend we weren’t both so alone.”

“Maybe we can.” And Carl knew how he wanted to go about it – if he managed not to scare her off first.

He touched her cheek again, just a brush of his fingertips. This time, she didn’t flinch. “Naomi, have you been kissed before?”

Colour burned into her cheeks. “Of course I have, but that was before…” Her voice trailed off. Carl tucked  a finger under Naomi’s chin and very gently lifted it.

“Are you going to let some man take that pleasure from you forever?”

Naomi tensed, but she didn’t pull away. She met Carl’s gaze squarely, in spite of her obvious fear. “I… No.”

“Then maybe you should consider trying kissing again.”

Inch by slow inch, he lowered his head. The smell of her hair, the sound of her breath catching. The warmth against his lips when she exhaled. To Carl, a kiss had never been more than a prelude to sex, but none of the few women he’d been with had trembled when he touched them. None had made him tremble in return. He couldn’t have rushed if he’d wanted to.

He slid his fingers into the silk of Naomi’s hair, tucked a softly curling lock behind her ear and lingered to stroke her there. They were only pretending they weren’t alone, like she’d said, but why not pretend while they could?

“Easy… If you want me to stop, just say so.” Hell, she shouldn’t have to say so, O’Neill. You don’t need her to tell you this is stupid.

But Naomi said nothing. Their lips met, and Carl’s conscience headed south. So what? His conscience had never been much good at keeping him out of trouble, anyway.

He didn’t kiss her full on at first. Instead, he teased the corners of her mouth, first one, then the other. Her lips relaxed, but she still held her body tense, ready to run. He ran his fingers up her arms to her shoulders, trying to soothe her, but she flinched. He dropped his hands and gave her a little space. Hell, his own nerves were bowstring tight. He’d never made this kind of effort to be gentle with a woman before. Did he even know how?

“This will be better if you relax.”

Naomi turned her face away. “I’m not sure I can.”

Carl took her hands and twined his fingers with hers. To anchor her – or himself?

“Don’t think. Just feel.”

Feel? He didn’t have names for the feelings rushing through him right now. He brushed Naomi’s lips with his again. Her fingers curled, her shoulders stiffened. Then, between one breath and the next, she relaxed. Her mouth opened, soft and quiet, inviting him to taste her. That was all it was at first, acceptance, but the sweetness of it made him ache.

Then she started kissing him back.

Oh, yeah.


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