The following is my entry for the Cupid’s Literary Connection Kissing Scene Competition. This contest is already over, and as you can see from the comments, I learned a lot! Thank you everyone!
Intro (added 2/7/13): South Carolina, 1864. With only a few months between their birthdays and a few miles between their homes, Kate and Ephraim grew up teasing each other at every picnic and wedding in the county. Then the war comes, and their fathers and older brothers leave to fight for the Confederacy. Kate and Ephraim become the eldest children at home; suddenly responsible for far too much, and no longer capable of getting along “capital”. Three years in, Kate meets a Yankee journalist with whom she just might run away from her father’s bankrupt farm. Ephraim has other plans.
Ephraim frowned, a pencil of light falling across his face. “The hell you say. I’m not going to let your sisters subsist on roots, Kate. I’ve more of a crop and less mouths to feed.”
The view of the hall likely grated on him. Throngs of women to the occasional fourteen-year-old boy, the air lacking the comforting haze of cigar smoke. But there was something else. Something different.
“We shouldn’t be fighting. Not tonight.” Kate meant it.
This wasn’t goodbye, was it? Don’t enlist, Eph. You’re too young.
“Your Boston artist is here,” he said suddenly.
Kate just stood there in her only organza, wringing the fingers of her hand-crocheted gloves. Did he expect her to run to Graham? Now?
Ephraim strode back into the dark of the music room, a smirk on his tanned face. “Oh, he’s not missing you. Already besieged by several lonely arms.” He rolled his brandy around in the bottom of his glass, the man of the place. Sole owner of a worthless cotton kingdom.
He turned, close to her. Very close.
Kate backed away, bumped into the piano, her chest tight.
He put a hand to the bare skin at her throat, bent her over the back of the grand, brought her shoulders down to the varnished wood, nudged her mouth open with a hesitation that was not like him. She struggled— briefly and half-heartedly— her fingers slipping on his waistcoat. A desperate feeling clamped down on her. And then it was last summer, making hay. His shirt off, sweat running down rivulets between the muscle. Too close. Too antagonistic. Too…
Deep. In hay, in water, in a sinking raft, in his arms as he lifted her out.
She pulled away, lips wet, a hand nervously going to the back of her head. Where his hand had been. Good God. I kissed him back, didn’t I. Her fingers were tingling from stroking his shirt. Just how hard had she pressed the fabric against his flesh?
His voice was ragged. “You’re not going to marry no damned Yankee.”