The moment I crack open a new book, I always rush through the beginning, the budding relationship between the hero and heroine, and anticipate that spontaneous moment when one of them makes their move. The First Kiss. The first turning point in every story.
Every week here on the blog, I’ll be sharing First Kisses from my books and those of other authors.
Precious Atonement by Melissa Maygrove
Jacob smiled at Rachel and took her by the hand. They ambled on in companionable silence until they came to the pond and gazed out over the cold, calm water.
Rachel stared down at their clasped hands with an expression that held puzzlement and something else he couldn’t identify.
“Don’t worry. It’s still there.”
“Your hand.” His was so large, it all but hid hers from view.
The corner of Rachel’s mouth lifted the way it often did when he teased her. “That’s not what I was thinking.”
“What were you pondering, then?” It had occurred to him right as he asked it, she was pondering something.
Rachel still hadn’t looked up. She stayed quiet so long, he thought she wasn’t going to answer.
“I was thinking,” she finally said, “about how nice it feels when you kiss my hand and wondering if it would feel the same–” She touched her lips with the fingers of her free hand. “–here.”
Her comment drew him up short. Of all the things she might have said, he hadn’t fathomed that. “Would you like to know instead of wonder?”
She nodded as her fingers fell away.
Jacob urged her closer. “Look at me, Rachel.”
She did, and he spent several moments studying her face and her eyes. Uncertainty mingled with trust and curiosity, but longing was there, too.
Jacob brushed her bottom lip with his thumb. He gently grasped her chin and touched his lips to hers. When she sighed instead of stiffening or backing away, he grazed her lips a few times in a lazy nibble.
He restrained his kiss so as not to frighten her, but there was no restraining his body’s reaction. He’d been forced to bend at the waist to reach her, which had put space between their lower bodies. He was suddenly glad for their disparity in height.
Rachel sighed again and leaned into his chest. She smelled of roses and tasted of soft, sweet woman.
Jacob nibbled some more, this time not so lazily. Rachel didn’t open her mouth, and he didn’t seek entry. He contented himself with what was given and enjoyed a simple pleasure denied him far too long.
A few moments later, she withdrew, and he let her. Her slender fingers returned to her lips. This time her expression was indecisive, almost troubled.
“Well?” he prompted. “How was it? And take care in your answer. If the look on your face is any indication of my skills, my fragile male pride is in terrible jeopardy.”
She lowered her hand. “It was… nice. More than nice. It was better than I ever dreamed it would be.”
“You say that as if it’s a bad thing.”
Rachel grimaced. “I didn’t think I would like it so much.”
The shame that flitted over her features made everything clear. Genteel women weren’t supposed to lust. En masse, they shunned bodily stirrings in the name of purity.
A fallen genteel woman did so one hundred times more.
“You’re supposed to like it,” Jacob said a little too firmly. He tipped up her face with his index finger. “You’re a married woman, Rachel Evans. You are free to filch as many kisses from your husband as you can—and like it.”
Precious Atonement by Melissa Maygrove
Ruined women don’t hope, killers don’t dream, and the dead don’t feel pain.
Rachel Emerson is resigned to live as a spinster. Her parents keep her shameful secret, and her only brother, Seth, vanished mere days after witnessing her rape, taking her dishonor with him and giving them all an alibi for their grief. But none of that matters. Appearances are useless if she can’t bear the touch of a man.
Jacob Evans welcomes pain as much as he seeks to escape it. The graves of his wife and child remind him of his sins every day. When Lawrence Emerson offers him a job and a chance to move west, Jacob permits himself a fresh start. But letting go of his past is only an illusion. Lawrence’s sweet, shy daughter captures Jacob’s heart and provides him a perfect tool for self-torment.
Despite painful lessons of the past, history soon threatens to repeat itself, and as Jacob’s love for Rachel grows, so does his agony. Giving his precious new wife the life she deserves might cost him the very thing he values most—her.
Content warning: Although the moral context of the story is old fashioned, Precious Atonement contains descriptions of physical intimacy, adult themes including rape, and violence including sexual violence. It is intended for mature readers.
Purchase your copy at the retailers listed below.
About Melissa Maygrove
Native Texan Melissa Maygrove is a wife, mother, nurse, freelance editor, and romance writer. When she’s not busy caring for her tiny nursery patients or shuttling teenagers back and forth to after-school activities, she’s hunched over her laptop, complicating the lives of her imaginary friends and playing matchmaker. Melissa loves books with unpretentious characters and unforgettable romance, and she strives to create those same kinds of stories for her readers.
Website | Blog | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads
Authors, would you like to see your romance book featured on Friday First Kiss? Find out how HERE.