In a genre sometimes referred to as “kissing books,” picking the Best Kisses is not an easy task. It’s really fun one, though. Have you ever gone through your list of recently read books and searched for JUST the kissing scenes? If not, may I suggest you do so?
I read heavily in three subgenres: fantasy/paranormal, historical, and contemporary. I don’t really read about cowboys or bikers, romantic suspense, or inspirational. If those are your thing, I bet your list looks a lot different than mine. Thus the subtitle of this post: A Highly Subjective List.
Having read roughly 200 books this year, I limited the selection to books published in 2016. No 2015 or 2017 in this list though I DEARLY wanted to include a few. (I read Lord of Scoundrels this year, y’all. And Alyssa Cole’s Radio Silence. And Alisha Rai’s Serving Pleasure. This list goes on…)
Suzanne’s Awards for Best Kiss of 2016
How Have They Not Kissed Yet (aka the longest wait ever) Kiss
Never Sweeter by Charlotte Stein
This is an ANGSTY book. Given the premise (girl falls in love with her high school bully), I expected some angst. I was not prepared for the intense pants-feels and emotional rollercoaster, however. More than 60% of the way through the book, AFTER they have all sorts of other “experiences” together, they finally kiss. Would the kiss have been so powerful had it come earlier it the book? Maybe not. Anticipation is a beautiful thing.
“It was almost chaste, that kiss. It was the kind of thing two teenage sweethearts might try at first.
But that made the loveliest sense to her.
They were teenage sweethearts.
They just hadn’t know it at the time.
They hadn’t understood what this would be like: all bright and burning and brilliant. He barely did anything beyond that one tender push of his mouth against hers, yet somehow it set her heart pounding in her teeth. Her lips were tingling in all the places where he made contact, and they continued to long after he had pulled away.”
I Thought I Knew What Kissing You Was Like… But I Was Wrong Kiss
Be My Fantasy by Alisha Rai
I love Alisha Rai’s writing and her characters. And the kissing. It’s goooood kissing. In the first book in this duology (Be My Fantasy and Stay My Fantasy), Elizabeth and Luca reconnect, a long while after abandoning a lukewarm courtship. Elizabeth thinks Luca wants her only for her connections and Luca thinks Elizabeth needs to be put on a pedestal and cherished. Neither is true, of course. Watching these characters reveal their true selves to each other is beautiful. And the kissing is, too.
“Later, she’d wonder which one of them moved first. All she knew was that one second they were glaring at each other, and the next their lips were fused together. He tilted his head, his tongue slicking over hers, rough and passionate and, God, demanding.
This wasn’t how he’d kissed her before. He hadn’t taken like this.
A rush of brightly lit caution signs ran through her head, stop, danger, warning, and then they fluttered away like so many scraps of silly paper. She wrapped her arms around his neck and kissed his as fiercely as he devoured her.”
I could keep going with that quote but… just buy the book. Trust me, it’s worth it.
Literally Earth-Shattering Kiss
A Promise of Fire by Amanda Bouchet
This series is something else. All of the feels, peril, gods… and off-the-charts chemistry. The heroine has powerful magical abilities and when things get hot… they actually get hot. Lighting and earthquakes and such. When you read about a character’s orgasm and it’s all “quaking” and “waves,” Cat actually causes those in reality. Not euphemisms. After nearly half a book (214 pages, to be exact) of UST, they FINALLY kiss.
“I must be demented because I don’t even put up a fight. A long rumble of thunder vibrates through my body. Lightning races under my skin. Stunned by the strange and startling rush of power, I open my mouth, and Griffin invades it, his hot tongue rolling over mine. Desire instantly surges on a wild, irrepressible storm. I’ve never been kissed like this before – part passion, part possession, part need. All heat.”
I Didn’t Know Cocoa Butter Was So Sexy Kiss
How the Duke Was Won by Lenora Bell
I loaned this book to a friend recently, tucking it into her bag and saying “there’s a scene with cocoa butter…” Consider this the blog post version of that. The hero in this fantastic debut novel is a cocoa entrepreneur. (I know, right?!) He takes our heroine, disguised as her half-sister, to view some of his processing equipment. Unchaperoned. If you haven’t read many regency romances, let me just point out that young ladies of quality were never to be with a gentleman unchaperoned. What comes next proves why. I can’t pull a quote because of the aforementioned loaning of the book but let’s just say that there is cocoa butter. It’s warm, and smells like chocolate and is more than a little messy. There might be some rubbing. Guess you’ll have to read it to find out!
Marrying Winterborne for Lisa Kleypas’s patented hands on-face-kissing and a shy heroine finding her courage.
Her Naughty Holiday by Tiffany Reisz, for cold-weather lakeside cabin kisses. These three books, one for Halloween, one for Thanksgiving, and one for Christmas, are EXCELLENT.
Perv by Dakota Gray, for kisses that happen um… not on the mouth. ;)
In summary, there was a lot of quality kissing in Romancelandia this year. It has helped to make a year frequently referred to as a dumpster fire a bit less trashy and a lot more firey.
Learn more about or order a copy of the books mentioned in this post:
Never Sweeter by Charlotte Stein
|Be My Fantasy by Alisha Rai|
|A Promise of Fire by Amanda Bouchet|
|How the Duke Was Won by Lenora Bell|
|Marrying Winterborne for Lisa Kleypas|
|Her Naughty Holiday by Tiffany Reisz|
|Perv by Dakota Gray|
H&H Editor Picks:
When not reading All of the Things, Suzanne is raising two small valkyries and trying to open a bookstore. Book, comic, and assorted other tweets at@suzannekrohn.