UPDATE: The winner is…Latifa Morrisette!
Kissing Booth Fees:
1 second shy – $0.50
3 second air-kiss chaste – $0.75
5 second pucker up – $1.00
When Delilah put out the call for this new anthology I was Johnny-on-the-spot. I’d always wanted to write a romance involving firefighters, and here was my chance. Only, I’m a historical storyteller and the term “First Responder” didn’t really come into vogue until the horrific events on September 11th. That’s a historical date, but way later than my turn-of-the-century historicals. My hero and heroine couldn’t be first responders in that sense. I tried a story in a contemporary setting, but nothing was coming to me. I was a writer blocked.
So I put my historical glasses back on and read Delilah’s call for submissions through those lenses. I read and re-read these two phrases from the call: “stories about those brave people who sweep in to the rescue, regardless of the dangers” and “Just remember, our ‘boys’ have to behave badly—to give the rescued just what they’ve always secretly craved…” She also urged us to think out of the box, not be limited to certain scenarios.
With that in mind, I thought of rescues that weren’t physical, like emotional or spiritual. I also mused firefighters and cops aren’t the only ones who sweep to the rescue regardless of danger. Soldiers do, too. What if my “first responder” was a firefighter with a military background, but had had a bad boy reputation because he grew up on the wrong side of the tracks and had been considered a juvenile delinquent? That’s how I came up with Rob Williams. A WWII vet now a firefighter in the hometown that shunned him for being illegitimate and a rule-breaking thumbing-his-nose at society youth.
Who would be the perfect damsel in distress for a bad boy like him to rescue? His exact opposite. Someone from a highly respected family, a toe-the-line-do-as-she’s-told girl but who longed to be free of the societal conventions and expectations placed on her. That’s how I came up with Beverly Reynolds, a minister’s single daughter. Needing to choose between the straight and narrow or walk-on-the-wild-side liberation offered by Rob was her dilemma. I also wanted a rescue in which the damsel could offer salvation too…a sense of worth to the hero and a little satisfying sexual release in the bargain.
I was now a writer unblocked. Beverly’s longing, Rob’s bad boy tendencies and a public event placed in 1946 set my muse on fire. The result was “The $5.00 Kiss of Life”. My historical heart was satisfied. When you read it, I hope yours will be satisfied too.
An excerpt from “The $5.00 Kiss of Life”
More than a card and a five-dollar bill lay on the table. Her goody-goody reputation lay there, too.
Quite a few of the people who had greeted her, and now lingered at nearby booths, numbered among her father’s congregants. The more senior of them had watched her and her brother grow up. More times than she could count, she’d allowed the approval or possible censure of these people direct her actions.
Around her, astonished murmurings flitted through her hearing.
“She gave him five dollars!”
“She paid for five dollar’s-worth of kissing?” A whistle rent the air. “That’s a whole lot of smooching.”
Out of the corner of her eye, Beverly caught expressions of surprise on the faces of women her age, scorn on those of the older ones, amusement on the faces of the men her age, and envy on those of the older men.
Heat rose up her neck as she waited to see what Rob would do next.
He placed her five-dollar bill into the jar then crooked a finger, beckoning her closer.
Beverly squared her shoulders and leaned in. He placed his hands palms down on the narrow table separating them.
“’What-you-will’ means you’re in charge of the kiss, Beverly,” he said. “It’s up to you to make it what you want it to be.”
She blinked, her mouth gaping in an O of surprise.
I’m in charge.
She was in charge to choose between the danger of losing her goody-goody dutiful pastor’s daughter reputation or the danger of losing a chance to be who she’d always dreamed but never dared to be. In this kiss lay the freedom she envied John for, the freedom she admired Rob for, the freedom she told herself she longed for.
Slowly, quietly, she moved closer, cupped his face, then pulled his mouth to hers. He responded in kind. Despite the table separating them, he was able to reach around and press his palms against her back, securing her to him. She shifted so neither of them had to lean forward too far.
The press of her lips to his was careful but full of impatience. A moan from him signaled he was as excited as she was. The sound sent a jolt of delight throughout her body. Her nipples tightened and strained against her blouse. Her stomach muscles fluttered, and the beat of her heart matched the throb between her legs.
He moaned again.
Like a cape waved before a bull, the sound sent her charging ahead.
Her tongue lined the seam between his lips until they parted, and she slipped her tongue into his mouth.
She hummed at the delicious pressure of his lips, at the teasing tussle of his tongue with hers. Their tongues danced in time to the growing swirl of arousal. Joy rose at what she happily realized was a shared eagerness to explore and be explored.
Moments ago, she’d been dying under the possible opprobrium of the onlookers who attended her church. Now, she was dying with delight.
For a chance to win a $5 Amazon gift card, let me know whether you would have bought that $5 kiss!
Psst! Remember, that yesterday’s contest is still open!