We at RT love a great contemporary romance — especially if there are a few laughs thrown in with all that angst. So our interest was piqued by Lauren Layne, whose funny, sexy Stiletto series debuts next week with After the Kiss. Set in NYC at glamorous Stiletto magazine, the series follows three heroines who write for the periodical's Love & Romance section, though their own romantic lives are disasters. (Let it be known that most of us working at the glamorous, Brooklyn-based RT are quite happily paired off, and we're happy to give you advice on your love life anytime, no problemo.)
Curious to hear more about Julie Greene, Stiletto editor, who's about to take on far more than she can handle in one Mitchell Forbes? Then check out this exclusive excerpt we cajoled Loveswept to let us post here, just for you, all about the perfect first kiss!
Julie had written the book on first kisses.
Well okay, technically not a book. But she definitely had no fewer than four different articles in her portfolio that outlined the nuances and categories of the first kiss.
In the bad category:
The Slug: Involves a tongue that is shoved into one’s mouth and just…stays there. Completely immobile, as though its very presence is supposed to light your fire. It doesn’t.
The Labrador: Also referred to as Bad Dog!, this is another tongue offender. Hint: if either party’s face is wet after a kiss, you’re doing it wrong. Julie carried baby wipes for just this occasion.
The Heavy-Breather: No. Just no. Your short-rib scented breath should never be all up in someone else’s business.
The Dentist: This one had multiple meanings. It could refer to trying to clean someone else’s molars with your tongue, or the repeated front-teeth grinding. Saliva exchange is acceptable. Plaque? Not so much.
Poke and Swirl: Self-explanatory. Also, horrifying.
The Biter: A gentle nip was okay, but drawing blood? Only sexy if it involves one of the hot guys from Buffy.
And Julie's personal least favorite...
The Moaner. Sure, a sexy moan here and there could be a turn-on. When it came from the woman. A man going all Meg Ryan in When Harry Met Sally? So wrong.
There were fewer types of good kisses than bad, because, well…kissing was hard to do well. But that’s not to say there wasn’t plenty to look forward to. In the good category:
The Tease: Playful and light, this was like the romantic comedy of first kisses. The best ones involved intentional hesitation in which there was a beat of tension before the meeting of lips. Playful nips, teasing pecks and flirting tongues were all allowed.
The Hot and Hard: A favorite of alpha men. Typically a precursor to sex. Enough said.
The Dream Sequence: Practically required its own dramatic ballad. Long, steamy and lingering, best suited for sultry summer nights or fireside kisses. Not welcome first thing in the morning.
The I Love You: The unicorn of First Kisses. Julie was reasonably sure it didn’t exist. Grace had made her include it.
The Teen: Reckless, a little messy, possibly in public. Hard to get right, but a personal favorite of Julie’s when done right.
But Julie was stunned to realize there was a first kiss she hadn't yet experienced.
The first kiss that didn't feel like the first kiss at all.
Kissing Mitchell was so right and so unnervingly familiar that she almost pulled back. The sheer rightness of it felt wrong. She didn’t even know him. Where was the curious exploration? The trial and error?
Try as she might to analyze the peculiarity, Julie was finding it hard to think at all, because the kiss felt so damn good. It was as though he'd kissed her a thousand times before and knew exactly what she liked.
The hand on the back of her neck held her still as he took her mouth with devastating confidence. His lips brushed back and forth against hers several times, each touch making her more and more desperate to be closer. She tried to pull him closer, but he pulled back to sip at her lips with soft pleading motions. Every touch was deliberate, every move perfectly calculated for her pleasure.
He seemed to know the moment she wanted more because his tongue touched the center of her bottom lip for the briefest of seconds. Open.
She did, and his hand slid to her jaw as he tilted his head and took the kiss deeper. His tongue moved along hers softly and she let out a tiny whimper.
Great, now she was The Moaner.
His teeth found her bottom lip gently, perfectly and this time she let out a gasp. She might be able to identify the different types of kisses, but Mitchell had mastered them. He’d taken everything she’d ever experienced, picked out the best part and delivered them perfectly.
And it was effective. Too effective. His time was up. Julie had a steadfast rule that the first kiss should never last more than two minutes. Enough to get a feel for the other person, but just enough mystery to leave him wanting more.
Pull back. Pull back now.
Instead she dug her fingers into his hair pulling him closer. She had no finesse, no awareness, no control. Julie tried to pull Mitchell on top of her, but he resisted. Julie pulled back slightly and frowned. How was it that he still had some restraint while she was practically panting?
He gazed steadily into her eyes, looking completely unfazed. Correction: looking completely smug.
No. Hell no. If she was losing her mind, she was taking him with her.
Forgetting all about the types of kisses, both good and bad, Julie launched herself at Mitchell, pinning him to the couch while she climbed on top of him like a horny teenager. His eyes flashed in surprise and she very slowly, very intentionally brushed the front of her ancient boxers against the front of his jeans. His eyes went smoky and wary. This time it was Julie’s turn for the smug smile.
Interested? Then pick up After the Kiss Monday, August 26th, from your favorite e-tailer. And for more on love stories, visit our Everything Romance page!