One of my favourite scenes from A Shop Girl At Sea...

One of my favourite scenes to write with every book is the hero and heroine's first kiss and it wasn't any different with A Shop Girl At Sea - by this stage in the story Amelia and Samuel have been on the Titanic for four nights and their relationship was moving from passenger and seaman to something closer.
They are beginning to know each other, their intimacy developing, and I chose this scene to take place just before the iceberg is hit...knowing that at that moment everything in their worlds would be changed forever...

Amelia stepped closer to Samuel until only the smallest space separated them, praying her nervousness didn’t show through her enforced bravado. 

Purposefully, she met his impenetrable gaze. ‘I want you to stay in America. Stay there and make a life for yourself. Let me live vicariously through you. Let me know what it is to not have to worry about your reputation, your past, convention and propriety. America is a new world. A place anyone can make their fortune. You must go. For me. Please.’

Confusion shadowed his eyes. ‘What are you talking about?’

She sought the right words, the right conviction to make him understand how he had ignited a wish in her for more, just by speaking about his possible escape. ‘Don’t you see?’ She shook her head. ‘Opportunities like this don’t happen for people like us.’

‘Like us? What do you mean us?’

Heat warmed her cheeks that he might think she in any way meant to insult him. She clutched his hand. ‘People who work hard every day, Samuel. People who are the backbone of England. This is your chance to be more than that. To be a risk-taker, a pioneer, a person in charge of his own destiny.’

He slowly pulled his hand from hers and stepped back, pushing the fallen hair from his brow, his eyes boring into hers. ‘And if all that is possible for me, why is it not for you, too? What is there to keep you in Bath? Are your commitments holding you captive any more than mine?’

Words battled on her tongue. Didn’t he realise how free he could be? How the responsibilities holding him back could be assuaged with regular money wired home, telegrams and letters. For her, everything was different. Everything was tainted in violence. Rape. Reputation. She had to stay on a regulated path. Keep her head down, work hard, pay her rent and hopefully retain some friends along the way.

This entire world was a man’s, and Samuel was entirely male without need for proof or struggle. He was rapidly becoming the most different of men as any she had ever met. Kind, thoughtful, pensive and passionate. A man who articulated his feelings, found amusement amid responsibility. A man who made her smile, stand taller and made her dare to dream that anything was possible.

If that wasn’t the measure of a true man, she might as well give up hope of ever finding one. Finding a man with whom to share her life had not occurred to her since the attack. Now Samuel had evoked all sorts of emotions in her. Emotions that were terrifying. Yet, still, she wanted so much for him.

She closed her eyes. ‘It’s not the same for me.’

A heavy, ensuing silence lingered, the pressure of sharing more with him growing with each passing second. But she wouldn’t. Couldn’t. How could she bear to see the disgust in his eyes if he should learn of her being so soiled, so violated?

He gently touched his finger to her chin, and her eyes popped open.

Yet, he didn’t step back or recoil as though he’d overstepped an invisible mark. Instead, he placed his thumb beneath her chin, holding her softly, yet firmly, so that he might look deep into her eyes.
Did he see her pain? Her shame?

‘Samuel…’ Heat infused her body from head to toe. She could not think. She could not breathe. ‘You must understand.’

‘What must I understand?’

Tears pricked her eyes and she blinked, sending a single tear slipping over her cheek. ‘I am not free like you. I’m a woman. We don’t have the same liberties as men.’

‘Why don’t you? Am I really to believe you care what others might think?’ His thumb traced the tear as it travelled to her jaw. ‘I know you don’t have a family as I do, but you love your occupation. Still, I know there is more to you than Pennington’s. Don’t you, too, want to discover what else is possible?’

Hope sparked inside her and a little of the tension left her shoulders. ‘So, you do want all the things I spoke of? Liberty? Success?’

‘Of course, but it doesn’t mean I can act on my wishes. I’ve already explained what awaits me back home. I’m not the sort of man who turns his back on his family or his friends.’

He had no need to tell her such a thing, she instinctively knew how reliable he was, how steadfast. ‘I see.’

‘Do you? Because… I have no idea why, but it’s important to me that you understand the sort of man I am, Amelia. That you know you can trust me, that I like you.’

She couldn’t stem her smile. ‘I like you, too.’

Their eyes locked, his filled with relief and then something else. Longing.

‘Might I… kiss you?’

Fear started a steady thrum deep in her chest and her mouth drained dry. ‘What?’

He smiled softly, his eyes gentle. ‘Can I kiss you?’

Her heart picked up speed even as she nodded, even as she slowly licked her lips. An overwhelming, uplifting anticipation passed through every nerve in her body. How was he to know she had never willing let anyone kiss her before? That nobody had ever asked her permission before taking from her what he wanted?

‘Yes.’ She nodded. ‘You can.’

Desire mixed with admiration in his eyes, darkening them to a midnight blue that was completely and utterly mesmerising. Slowly, he inched forwards and Amelia’s eyelids drifted closed, his breath a soft whisper against her mouth.

His lips were gentle at first, his hand moving from her face to lay softly on her cheek. An alien stirring twisted deliciously low in her stomach and she inched closer, pressing her mouth just a little more firmly to his. She wanted him to know, to feel, that she wanted this. Wanted to be in his arms, in his protection.

He eased back and whispered, ‘Amelia.’

Indescribable power rippled through her body making her reach for him. She gripped his waist and pulled him back to her. This time, it was her leading the connection, the intimacy.
She pressed her mouth to his, a soft whimper escaping her as she kissed him, relishing in the new, unexpected sensations that overtook her every emotion.

Then the moment was cruelly sliced by a sudden shuddering vibrating through Amelia’s body and she pulled back, her gaze moving past the staircase. ‘What was that?’

A Shop Girl At Sea is available to buy now! 

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