Thirsty Thursday is a weekly feature, hosted by Nikki & Keira @ Lazy Book Lovers, where we discuss all things swoon-worthy: from quotes, book covers, book boyfriends, and even that worth-the-wait book kiss.
Book: Romancing Mister Bridgerton by Julia Quinn
Characters: Colin and Penelope
Swoon Quality: that awesome shift from being friends to something more
He was lost. There was something heartbreaking in the way she was gazing at him, as if she might die if he didn’t kiss her. Not from heartbreak, not from embarrassment—it was almost as if she needed him for nourishment, to feed her soul, to fill her heart.
And Colin couldn’t remember anyone else ever needing him with such fervor.
It humbled him.
It made him want her with an intensity that nearly buckled his knees. He looked at her, and somehow he didn’t see the woman he’d seen so many times before. She was different. She
glowed. She was a siren, a goddess, and he wondered how on earth no one had ever noticed this before.
“Colin?” she whispered.
He took a step forward—barely a half a foot, but it was close enough so that when he touched her chin and tipped her face up, her lips were mere inches from his.
Their breath mingled, and the air grew hot and heavy. Penelope was trembling—he could feel that under his fingers— but he wasn’t so sure that he wasn’t trembling, too.
He assumed he’d say something flip and droll, like the devil-may-care fellow he was reputed to be. Anything for you, perhaps, or maybe, Every woman deserves at least one kiss. But as he closed the bare distance between them, he realized that there were no words that could capture the intensity of the moment
No words for the passion. No words for the need.
No words for the sheer epiphany of the moment.
And so, on an otherwise unremarkable Friday afternoon, in the heart of Mayfair, in a quiet drawing room on Mount Street, Colin Bridgerton kissed Penelope Featherington.
And it was glorious.
His lips touched hers softly at first, not because he was trying to be gentle, although if he’d had the presence of mind to think about such things, it probably would have occurred to him that this was her first kiss, and it ought to be reverent and beautiful and all the things a girl dreams about as she’s lying in bed at night.
But in all truth, none of that was on Colin’s mind. In fact, he was thinking of quite little. His kiss was soft and gentle because he was still so surprised that he was kissing her. He’d known her for years, had never even thought about touching his lips to hers. And now he couldn’t have let her go if the fires of hell were licking his toes. He could barely believe what he was doing—or that he wanted to do it so damned much.
It wasn’t the sort of a kiss one initiates because one is overcome with passion or emotion or anger or desire. It was a slower thing, a learning experience—for Colin just as much as for Penelope.
And he was learning that everything he thought he’d known about kissing was rubbish.
Everything else had been mere lips and tongue and softly murmured but meaningless words.
This was a kiss.
There was something in the friction, the way he could hear and feel her breath at the same time.
Something in the way she held perfectly still, and yet he could feel her heart pounding through her skin.
There was something in the fact that he knew it was her .
Colin moved his lips slightly to the left, until he was nipping the corner of her mouth, softly tickling the very spot where her lips joined. His tongue dipped and traced, learning the contours of her mouth, tasting the sweet-salty essence of her.
This was more than a kiss.
His hands, which had been lightly splayed against her back, grew rigid, more tense as they pressed into the fabric of her dress. He could feel the heat of her under his fingertips, seeping up through the muslin, swirling in the delicate muscles of her back.
He drew her to him, pulling her closer, closer, until their bodies were pressed together. He could feel her, the entire length of her, and it set him on fire. He was growing hard, and he wanted her—dear God, how he wanted her.
His mouth grew more insistent, and his tongue darted forward, nudging her until her lips parted.
He swallowed her soft moan of acquiescence, then pushed forward to taste her. She was sweet and a little tart from the lemonade, and she was clearly as intoxicating as fine brandy, because Colin was starting to doubt his ability to remain on his feet.
He moved his hands along the length of her—slowly, so as not to frighten her. She was soft, curvy, and lush, just as he’d always thought a woman should be. Her hips flared, and her bottom was perfect, and her breasts… good God, her breasts felt good pressing against his chest. His palms itched to cup them, but he forced his hands to remain where they were (rather enjoyably on her derriere, so it really wasn’t that much of a sacrifice.) Beside the fact that he really shouldn’t be groping a gently bred lady’s breasts in the middle of her drawing room, he had a rather painful suspicion that if he touched her in that way, he would lose himself completely.
“Penelope, Penelope,” he murmured, wondering why her name tasted so good on his lips. He was ravenous for her, heady and drugged by passion, and he wanted desperately for her to feel the same way. She felt perfect in his arms, but thus far, she had made no reaction. Oh, she had swayed in his arms and opened her mouth to welcome his sweet invasion, but other than that, she had done nothing.
And yet, from the pant of her breath and the beat of her heart, he knew that she was aroused.
He pulled back, just a few inches so that he could touch her chin and tilt her face up toward his.
Her eyelids fluttered open, revealing eyes that were dazed with passion, perfectly matching her lips, which were lightly parted, completely soft, and thoroughly swollen from his kisses.
She was beautiful. Utterly, completely, soul-stirringly beautiful. He didn’t know how he hadn’t noticed it all these years.
Was the world populated with blind men, or merely stupid ones?
“You can kiss me, too,” he whispered, leaning his forehead lightly against hers.
She did nothing but blink.
“A kiss,” he murmured, lowering his lips to hers again, although just for a fleeting moment, “is for two people.”
Her hand stirred at his back. “What do I do?” she whispered.
“Whatever you want to do.”
The Aftermath: There was just something quietly awe-inspiring about Colin’s and Penelope’s first kiss. They’ve known each other for a long time and while they’ve been friendly, they were never really ‘friends’. But something has changed and they’re finding the presence of the other in their lives gradually becoming that which they’re not sure if they can live without. I love the build-up to this first kiss, the ‘rightness’ of it, the certainty that what is happening is what’s supposed to be. And that’s a great experience for me as a reader.
Note: This screen shot is actually from North & South, the BBC TV adaptation of Elizabeth Gaskell’s novel. Richard Armitage and Daniela Denby-Ashe were amazing in this. Credits to the owner/s.
That’s it for me for this week’s edition. What are some of your favorite first kisses?