One of my favorite moments in a story is when the hero or heroine kisses his or her true love and the curse breaks. It's such a wonderful thought, that love is strong enough to cure any ill.
For me, it's more than a thought, though. It's a belief. Love has the ability to soothe any villain, comfort the grieving, and liberate the oppressed.
And, of course, I have a few favorite true love moments....
1) When Emma Swan kisses Henry, her son, and wakes him from the sleeping curse in Once Upon A Time.
2) When Prince Philip kisses Sleeping Beauty and wakes her from the sleeping curse.
3) When Wesley and Buttercup kiss at the end of The Princess Bride.
4) When Emma Swan and Captain Killian "Hook" Jones triumph in the ultimate true love test in Once Upon A Time.
5) When Stephen Dawson kisses Constance Forrester for the first time in The Editor's Kisses. (Unfortunately, I don't have a video clip of this. Because this is from one of my books!)
Yes, #5 is one of my own, and while there isn't anything literally magical about it, it does wake up Stephen and he's able to unchain himself from the toxic control another woman had over him. It was absolutely beautiful how it worked out, and even though you can't watch it happen, you can read it...
Scene: The parlor of the Talbut home
Problem #1: An embarrassing parlor game – being locked in a broom closet with a member of the opposite sex
Problem #2: Stephen and Constance are in a fake courtship – Stephen is trying to make someone jealous and Constance gets to be a reporter for his paper
Madeline’s spinning of Constance was a little rough, but Stephen held his tongue. When their hostess let go, Constance fumbled for a moment before Stephen raised himself up and yanked her into his lap.
The shouts of excitement and delight that went around the room nearly deafened him. People playfully called out “cheater”, but Stephen didn’t care, especially when Constance whisked off her mask and looked immensely relieved to see he’d successfully caught her.
They headed to the closet without fuss. Constance almost looked as if she was dying to climb inside. She probably wanted to get the farce over with.
Once they were squeezed into the confining space, with their chests pressed together in a way Stephen had only fantasized about, she said, “Thank you. I don’t know what I would have done—”
He covered her mouth with his hand, having dislodged it from his side. Then he leaned near her ear. “They might be able to hear us,” he whispered.
He lowered his arm, and she let out a slow breath. He wished he could see her face. For more reasons than to satisfy his worry she was all right.
He did everything he could to ignore the touch of her body along his front. He tried not to remember how she looked, how her eyes lit up, how her expression sharpened when she was interested in something. Why had he watched her all night?
But he knew. He knew very well. She was captivating. Intriguing. And so damned lovely.
Why was he having feelings for her? Wasn’t his love for Madeline strong enough to withstand attraction for another woman? But if it was, he would be in the closet with his hostess and not the lady he pretended to the world held his fancy.
He had to kiss her. He had to discover if this attachment was real. Besides, if he didn’t kiss her, everyone would wonder why. And for some strange reason, he needed every fellow out there to understand Constance Forrester was his. He closed his eyes and realized his attitude was no better than a caveman’s. But the need to possess and brand raced through him without pause, and he couldn’t fathom how to check it. Except to kiss her and get her out of his system once and for all.
“Constance,” he uttered. “I’m gonna kiss you.”
She flinched again.
“I won’t hurt you, I swear it. But if I don’t kiss you…they’ll all question us and our…attachment.” He was an ass. He was using their agreement to coax her into acquiescence, and while he knew it, and was ashamed of it, he continued. “It will only be for a second. I’ll just brush my lips with yours.”
In the darkness, he felt her slight nod against his chin. His heart pounded at her quiet surrender.
When she pulled back as far as the space would allow and lifted her head to his, heat slashed through him. He’d never needed a kiss as much as he needed hers.
Madeline had kissed him. Once. Behind the schoolhouse when they were sixteen. And that moment hadn’t caused nearly the anticipation this one did.
He lowered his head and swallowed her gasp. It wasn’t a brush, even though he only set his lips on hers. It was a fire. A shot of whiskey that whipped through him and pooled in his gut. He deepened the connection, and she let him, sighing and sinking into him despite already being as close to him as he could get her.
He melted. He needed to move to the ground and cover her, press her down and make her his. He used his tongue, tasting her. She capitulated instantly and opened her mouth under his. He took what she allowed without hesitation as his free hand came up to grip her waist.
The damn closet was too small. His left hand was wedged between her side and the slender door. But though he couldn’t get his arms around her, he didn’t stop the kiss. It went on and on, stealing his breath, tightening his chest and making him doubt everything he’d ever known about his heart.
Rapid footsteps had him surging backward, and he knocked his head on the wall.
The door flew open, and cool air blasted his cheeks. He and Constance fell out of the space, their limbs tangling as they tried to right themselves.
Peals of laughter rung around them as Stephen reached out a hand to balance her. She latched on as if she didn’t want to let go, and his muscles vibrated with hope she had enjoyed the moment as he had.
It had taken less than a few seconds for him to realize kissing her had been the wrong thing to do. But also the most right, most perfect, most sound judgement he’d ever made in his life.
As those who’d crowded around the entrance to the kitchen went roaring with laughter back into the parlor, he gazed at Constance. And his world tilted.
Her flushed cheeks and bright eyes made his heart constrict with an emotion he was too afraid to name at the moment. But he knew what it was. He knew.
How in the devil had it happened? Was he a fool? A fickle man?
He swallowed. “Do you want to leave?”
And before his eyes, he witnessed a transformation that set his blood on fire. Determination changed her expression, and she lifted her chin.
“Certainly not. I’m quite all right, I assure you.” She gave a shake to her skirts. “We’ve a job to do, Stephen Dawson, and I’ll not let you down.”
She exited the kitchen with a swirl of satin, and he followed with less sure steps. She wouldn’t let him down, he knew it. But he feared he might disappoint her, for if she knew the direction of his thoughts, she would never forgive him. Constance Forrester had no time for any man. She had plans. Plans that didn’t include caring for the heart of the newspaper editor.
The Editor's Kisses
Constance Forrester has no intention of getting married. She is a suffragette and determined to change society. When Stephen Dawson, her school chum, starts a newspaper in their sleepy little town, Constance discovers an opportunity. With confidence and an unflinching will, she asks Stephen to take a risk and employ her as a journalist.
Stephen is stunned by Constance's impossible proposal and immediately turns her down. But the small moments he's spent with Constance have peeked someone's curiosity, and Stephen finds himself sought after by the town princess, Madeline Talbut. Stephen has loved Madeline for years, and when the young lady finally shows an interest in him, he concocts a plan: enter into a fake courtship with Constance in order to make Madeline love him, and in return, Constance can be a journalist for his newspaper. Anonymously, of course.
It’s a chance Constance can't pass up. So what if she has to attend parties and withstand Stephen's heart-melting kisses? A suffragette must forge through barriers, break down walls and risk all for the sake of freedom. But Stephen changes the game, and Constance finds herself the object of the editor's desire…