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.
Natural Attraction by Catherine Haustein
(In this scene, Clementine is posing as a man named Calvin, a scientist. A mysterious tonic has given her the appearance of a man.)
He wrestled me to the ground and lay on top of me. We assumed stereotypical mounting courtship behavior, and the sweat of our chests mixed. My legs fell apart and the force of Wesley’s penis pressed between them, shrouded in our clothing. I envisioned being a woman with my hands on the reins of a man, driving him, in control of a powerful beast. Something new ran through my veins. I became amorphous. I was a body of water flowing beneath him. I could go wherever I wished. The sensation grabbed me and shook me like a badger with a snake. It was lust. This whole notion of copulation without conception was giving me a heady feeling. I abandoned my plan to deflate him once aroused. A shudder ran through me, and we spoke as in a dream:
Wesley: Do you feel like the better man now?
Me: I’m not afraid. Are you?
Wesley: I’m trying not to be, but there’s a strange look in your eyes and the wind through the grasses is making my head spin.
Me: Only your mind is afraid. Some of you is not afraid. I feel you pressing on me. You are a big man. Do you have something extra in there? (I laughed at my own joke.)
Wesley: Don’t laugh when I am lying on you. I can feel the vibrations.
Me: If you were a little drummer boy, you should pick up the rhythm easily.
Wesley: I never said I was a little drummer boy.
Me: Why don’t you let go of my wrists? You’re not a person to take what you want by force, are you? Besides that, your hands are sweaty.
Wesley: You are cocky for such a small man. And you, too, have sweaty hands.
Me: You’re the cocky one, and your chest is too hairy. It’s tickling me.
Wesley: If you’re grown and a man, where is your chest hair? I thought that Malachite Overland Mining didn’t employ children. There’s something wrong here. We need to get up.
Me: We don’t need to get up. Children don’t have beards.
Wesley: (touching my cheek): Your beard seems to be coming off in my hand. It’s not real.
Me: I have another one. And two beneath my arms.
Wesley: Your heart is telling mine how to beat. Stop it.
Me: Bah. I must admit, this heart thing is alarming me as well. There’s too much thumping. I feel ready to explode.
Wesley: How is this happening? Who are you?
Me: Call me Calvin.
Wesley: I already call you that. I want to know your complete name.
Me: When I know you better, I’ll tell you.
Wesley: How can I know you better?
Me: (seeing my chance to establish if he favored the Word or the flesh): How do you prefer to know someone?
Wesley: Talking. Disclosing one’s dreams and hopes. Revealing things. Telling the truth to each other.
Me: There are deeper ways of knowing. We both see that.
Wesley: The deeper knowing you refer to is shallow knowing. Knowing is a mingling of souls. We shouldn’t do this again. It is a sin.
Me: Nature gives us no value judgments. It’s only that fucking book of yours that’s holding you back from knowing me better.
Wesley: The Handbook of Infidels?
Me: No. The Bible.
Wesley: It is not a fucking book. It is the Word of God!
Me: It has fucking in it.
Without much warning, we kissed each other, swirling together as sugar in water, attracted to each other until they became one solution. He had a firm strong mouth like a good horse. I wondered if this was the way two men kissed. If so, I would never change back. The kiss didn’t last long enough. He pulled away.
“It was a sin. Forgive me.” We buttoned each other’s shirts. His hands shook. “Something’s come over me. I have thoughts a man shouldn’t have.”
Natural Attraction by Catherine Haustein
To get ahead she’ll have to become a man—and a man, she always thought, never lets love get in the way…
Clementine dreams of being a naturalist—a career that leaves no time for romance. To sneak on an adventurous prospecting expedition, Clementine will have to convince everyone she’s a man. A mysterious tonic offers her just that disguise.
But “Calvin,” as she calls herself now, had no idea what she was giving up. When Wesley, the expedition’s gentle preacher, catches her eye, she can’t get him out of her head; not his lush lips, wide brown eyes…or broad chest. Dare she reveal her secret to him? Can she keep her career if she does?
Among run-ins with cowboys, natural disasters, and traveling shows, Wesley’s most fascinating adventure is meeting Calvin. Though Wesley’s betrothed to another, the cute, clever naturalist threatens to make him fall into temptation…
About Catherine Haustein
After a year of pursuing her graduate degree in chemistry at The University of Iowa, Catherine Haustein couldn’t get fiction writing out of her system. She was accepted into the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and enrolled in the MFA program there without telling her chemistry adviser. Thus her career as a writer of scientist characters was launched.
She’s written plenty of short stories. Her latest will appear in the anthology The Female Complaint to be released this fall by Shade Mountain Press. Natural Attraction is her first novel.
Most of her life has centered around science and raising a family. She barely wrote a word of fiction when her kids were teenagers–but put her efforts into writing for encyclopedias and companies. Her scientific research focuses on analytical chemistry and biologically active chemicals in plants. She hopes to release a series of novels with scientific women as protagonists. She’s a professor at Central College where she teaches chemistry and short story writing.
Find Catherine around the web at the following links