First Dates, First Impressions, First Kisses
First dates can be a disaster or the start of something wonderful. Jill Kemerer and Mollie Blake rate a couple of examples from books on a kiss scale. Take notes: These could contain some useful tips for real life!
Jill Kemerer - First Dates & First Kisses
Rating the first date in a romance novel is a cinch. Ten kisses means it was the best date ever, and one kiss implies it was a complete and total dud. We’re setting out to examine what makes a first date swoon-worthy.
I’m breaking the rules a tad this month. Instead of rating a novel’s first kiss, I’m tackling Ree Drummond’s, The Pioneer Woman: From Black Heels to Tractor Wheels—A Love Story. The first date between Ree and Ladd, otherwise known as Marlboro Man, hit all the right marks for me. If you haven’t read the book, you’re in luck because Country Living shared an excerpt online, which you can read here, “Every Die-Hard Romantic Needs to Read Ree and Ladd Drummond’s Love Story.” You’re welcome.
Okay, so let’s start with the meet-cute. Ree, aka Pioneer Woman, has just returned to Oklahoma from Los Angeles where she’d been living for several years. She’s getting ready to move to Chicago but decides to spend some time with her family first. On a whim, she goes to the J-Bar, a “local dive,” to see some friends who are home for the holidays. The Pioneer Woman spots a mysterious cowboy and is struck by his masculinity to the point she checks out his hands. They’re big and strong. Yum! She knows on a molecular level she’s just found the man of her dreams. But he abruptly leaves with just a “Bye.” She doesn’t even know his name, but prays it isn’t Billy Bob.
Four months later, she’s still in Oklahoma, planning on moving to Chicago in a few weeks when out of the blue, He calls. His voice permeates to the marrow of her bones (ooh-la-la!), and he invites her to dinner the following night. She loves his take-charge attitude and promptly agrees.
When he picks her up, she melts into a puddle at his gorgeous blue eyes. She knows they’re all wrong for each other—she’s a city girl in black high-heeled boots, and he owns a ranch in the middle of nowhere. But the chemistry…
Marlboro Man takes her to a restaurant and the conversation flows. Later, he drops her off at home, and to her horror, her heel catches on a crack in the sidewalk. She knows she’s going to fall, but he catches her. And kisses her.
“After rescuing me from falling flat on my face, this cowboy, this Western movie character standing in front of me, was, with one strong, romantic, mind-numbingly perfect kiss, inserting the category of ‘cowboy' into my dating repertoire.”
I’m all about the mind-numbingly perfect kiss, if I do say so myself.
As far as first dates goes, it’s pretty standard, but the details she includes—the way her knees felt like cooked spaghetti, the fact his alpha ways were a turn-on, how his consideration appealed to her, the fact they easily talked for hours, and THE KISS—made it a 9 Kisses first date for me!
Awesome first dates are less about the actual venue and more about how they make you feel. When you’re attracted to someone—even the guy who is clearly all wrong for you because he’s a cowboy who lives in the middle of nowhere and you’re a city girl on your way to Chicago—you can’t help but notice his big, strong hands and the way his voice seeps into your bones. It doesn’t matter if you trip and embarrass yourself, because a hot cowboy is there to catch you, and his kiss will alter the course of your life.
If a first date does all that, it’s got to be pretty good!
Jill Kemerer's latest book, Reunited with the Bullrider is out now. She loves connecting with readers, so please visit her website, and sign up for her newsletter or catch up with her on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.
Mollie Blake - First Impressions
In my novel Guiltless, it wasn’t so much a case of love at first sight, as lust at the first sound of his voice! Rich and successful Lauren Chandler is bored and seeks a challenge in her life. Much to her mother’s alarm, she embarks on a mission to be the model for her company’s next range of lingerie. She needs a photographer but has no intention of offering the contract to Byron Lord. Until that is, she hears his voice. In this sneak peak, she’s on the telephone.
[Lauren] expected to hear the croaky voice of some old man……She was almost feeling sorry for him already, what with the name too, when he suddenly started to talk.
“Hi, Byron Lord...”
Lauren didn’t hear another word he said. His voice was absolutely incredible. Fucking adorable. Dreamy beyond belief. Virile and sexy enough to be banned by the BBC until the watershed.
Now, I don’t know about you, but I can find a man’s voice very appealing. I even share a true-life experience in Guiltless. In my former role as a finance director, I had to speak to a member of Her Majesty’s Service—a VAT inspector. His voice was stunning and I couldn’t wait to meet him. But guess what? My dreamy image behind the sexy voice was shattered as a balding, rotund figure turned up at the office. Of course, I wasn’t going to let that happen in my story. The hero had the face and body to match the sexy voice.
The first date in Guiltless wasn’t your usual, romantic invite to have coffee, or share a candle-lit dinner. It was an ultimatum. Byron needed Lauren to help him with a project he was working on. Lauren agreed, on the condition that he spent the night with her. But Byron Lord had a condition of his own.
Each eager to get what they want, they agree to a date. But this is no ordinary date, and tension mounts. As things progress to the bedroom, romance begins to permeate the evening. Byron takes time to discover what Lauren likes on a date.
“Do you like to be touched?” He ran his fingers lightly down her bare arm. “Do you like to be stroked?” He smoothed his hand over her hair, stroking the silky mane that fell against her shoulders. “Or do you like to be kissed?” He leaned in and lightly brushed his lips over hers once more.
His soft voice was hypnotic. Lauren submitted to its power. She melted under the feel of him. Her body tingled and her senses were delighted by the smell of him. The memory of disappointment in other dates disappeared from her mind…
…For now she was entranced as he continued to bathe her in soft kisses and pepper her skin with his fingers… Nothing had ever made her feel so calm and relaxed. All it had taken was this enigmatic man, who had excited her from the first moment she had heard him speak.
And as the heat between them rises, it’s almost too hot for Byron to handle...
His face was expressionless but inside, his emotions were on a rollercoaster—he was riding high on lust and passion but he was fearful of falling to depths of loss and regret. Byron loved sex without love. He craved the touch, the smell, the taste of sex and he hungered for more each time, never feeling satiated. But he had learned to discipline himself, to ration himself almost, and to protect himself. He had three rules…
…In the pit of his stomach, he was afraid he was going to want to break every one of those rules. Lauren’s ultimatum had given him justification for having to break his rules tonight. But his desire to break them was scaring the hell out of him. He had never met a woman like Lauren Chandler before.
So. A one-off romantic date. Or is it?
I write hot, sexy stories laced with danger, so my main characters are not run-of-the-mill, cosy people. They are often rich, successful, even powerful, and there will be dangerous obstacles to overcome before they reach their “happy ever afters.” Did I mention what Byron’s condition was?
“I don’t spend the night alone with a woman, Lauren. I share. Always.”
And you may have guessed. This one-off date is not enough for Lauren and she embarks on a Guiltless relationship with Byron, getting far more than she bargained for.
Can this happen in real life? Well, I take snippets from gossip and let my creativity mix excitement and love into a heady mix of erotic sex, thrilling danger and intense romance. Take a man who suffers from OCD following an accident, has never been, nor wanted to be, in a monogamous relationship, and loves sex. Add a woman who is rich and successful, and used to getting her own way. She is also bored and reluctantly single. Looking for that new challenge in her life leads to wanting sex with a hot guy. Who knows how far they would be prepared to go to get what they want.
This could happen in any cosmopolitan city or quiet village. You just don’t know where people’s lust and imagination will take them. Now, if you like your romance to be memorable, exciting and worth fighting for, this first date has to be worth a few kisses on the scale.
Awesome first dates are less about the actual venue and more about how they make you feel. When you’re attracted to someone—even the guy who is clearly all wrong for you because he’s a cowboy who lives in the middle of nowhere and you’re a city girl on your way to Chicago—you can’t help but notice his big, strong hands and the way his voice seeps into your bones.
It doesn’t matter if you trip and embarrass yourself, because a hot cowboy is there to catch you, and his kiss will alter the course of your life.
What is your perfect first date? What was the worst first date you've ever been on? Do first impressions count? Have you ever been swayed by a sexy voice on the telephone only to be disappointed when you met face to face? Do you have a favourite fictional first kiss? Tell us about it here or on social media using the hashtag #KeepLoveAlive.