Admit it: your favorite part of a romance novel is the first kiss.
It’s okay, this is a safe space. You can be honest. We’re all here for the same reason – we love clean, contemporary romance. We’re not looking for sex or swearing, but that kiss … There’d better be at least one, and I want it to make my heart twitter!
I’m a big fan of kissing. It shouldn’t surprise me. I’ve read Gary Chapman’s book The Five Love Languages. I’m one of those rare females with the “Physical Touch” love language. That means I feel most loved when being touched.
Now, don’t let your mind take you to the gutter. (Remember, clean romance!) Being a “Physical Touch” girl means I love to hold hands and sit close enough that my leg touches my husband’s leg. He’s also figured out how to “speak my language,” so he keeps a hand on my back when we’re in crowds and he always has an arm around me at the movie theater. It doesn’t have to be behind-the-bedroom-door intimate, there just needs to be contact.
After more than a decade together, my husband has learned how the smallest touches can soothe my hearts. He’s also become a willing test subject.
That’s right – my hubby will let me practice kissing scenes (either those that I’ve written or those that I’ve read and have a hard time visualizing). Sometimes I take advantage of my profession and will get in a few extra snuggles on the couch (no, really, I need to see if it’s possible to cuddle like this for an hour … or six). I’m pretty sure he sees through paper-thin excuses, but he’s a champ and he plays along.
As much as I love the physical connection that we share, our backstory is really what makes the connection count. We’re not touching for the sake of touching. He’s my best friend and the person I trust most in life. Every year (month, week) my love for that man deepens, and I’m so blessed to have him in my life! I wouldn’t want to snuggle with anyone else.
That emotional connect is one of the reasons I love clean romance novels. If characters are only looking for a physical connection, they can find it with any number of other characters; the only thing a reader needs to see is physical attraction.
But what if the characters want more than sex? What if they want all the snuggles, not just the intimate ones? That takes a deeper emotional connection, and that takes a bit more time to create on the page. For me – as a reader and a writer – it’s worth it to take the time to get to know the characters and show those building relationships because I want that connection with the characters too! I love that first kiss but, more than the kiss itself, I want to know why it matters to the boy and girl. Those are the characters that stick with me, and that’s what I love about clean romance.
Who are your favorite romantic couples? Do they have a “touching” scene that makes your heart pitter patter?
Here’s one of my favorite scenes, from Short-Straw Bride by Karen Witemeyer:
“I’ll be watching for you.” His hat shielded his face from her view as he ran his fingers along the chestnut-and-white pattern of Ginger’s shoulder. His hand reached the cinch, and she thought the daft man was going to check it a fourth time, but he skimmed over the strap and settled instead upon her ankle. The solid pressure of his hand filtered through the leather of her boot top as he assured himself that her foot sat securely in the stirrup. It seemed an intimate, husbandly gesture, and Meredith’s heart swelled. Then his thumb stroked upward and bushed against her stocking. Her breath caught.
He finally lifted his face to hers, and the heated look in his eyes left no doubt in her mind that they touch had been deliberate. “Hurry home.”
Karin Beery – Writer. Editor. Novelist. Karin writes contemporary fiction with a healthy dose of romance. Represented by literary agent Steve Hutson at WordWise Media, her debut novel, Summer Plans and Other Disasters, released September 15, 2018.
When she’s not writing fiction, she’s editing through her business, Write Now Editing. And when she’s not doing either of those, she teaches Substantive Editing for Fiction and Romance Editing through the PEN Institute. Karin is also the Managing Editor for Guiding Light Women’s Fiction at Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas, where they publish stories that entertain, encourage, inspire, and enlighten.