Where would romance be without lips? Lips are where the first spark flies, when the first thrill enters the nervous system.
I’m pretty sure all my books have got lips in them; if not mentioned overtly then certainly they assume pole position on the faces of my characters. I was just thinking it was about time somebody took a closer look at lips, their role not just on a face but in the heart of romance.
BTW: I’m not talking about just the TOP lip as my title may imply; I’m talking about both lips: top and bottom.
“Giving lip”. This is not as rude as it might sound. In English-English it means talking back in an offensive manner, like my heroine in BRAKE FAILURE when she refuses to be arrested.
If your heroine is from the English upper-crust and is about to do something she doesn’t want to do – like, say, get into a police cruiser just after she’s had an argument with the handsome-hunk of a Sheriff - she will have a “stiff upper lip.”
“She pouted her lips.” Your heroine could be having a tantrum and/or urging the hero to do naughty things to her.
"She licked her lips." In Romance, this doesn't mean she's salivating, vulture-like, over a fresh cream cup-cake. It means she's giving the "come-on" to the guy. And he would be pretty dense to miss this universal expression of intent.
It’s not just the heroine who has lips. So does the hero. “He brushed his lips down over her neck.” Animal-esque, but, boy! does it send a tingle down your reader’s spine.
“Their lips touched.” Sometimes this is all you need to tell your reader. You don’t need to put in the whole sex scenario. Leave it to your reader’s imagination. Trust me: it’s dirtier than yours.
“As his lips pressed down on hers, she felt a flame shoot up from between her legs.” Of course, this is not a real flame. Hopefully not, anyway. Of course your character could be a fire-eater. Here is an observation from Harry Houdini which few can refute and which I suspect is the origin of the phrase “hot lips”:
“Flames from the lips may be produced by holding in the mouth a sponge saturated with the purest gasoline.”
Generally, though, lips in romance should avoid flammable liquids.
Let’s crit. some lit. Charles Dickens was an intense writer. Listen to what he had to say:
“To conceal anything from those to whom I am attached, is not in my nature. I can never close my lips where I have opened my heart.”
(To be honest he must have been doing it wrong; it’s actually pretty easy).
Lips can say a lot about us. Take a look at this picture. Look at the lips. They tell you immediately that this is Penelope Cruz, the famous Spanish person. If she didn’t have those lips she would not be Penelope Cruz. So lips say who you are. They also often say a whole lot more about you that the hugely over-rated heart.
Lips in Romance are best used:
1. as a complete pair
3. to show inner turmoil on the face of your heroine
4. used in a non-flammable environment
5. to kiss the hero
…and as hot, red, and moist as they need to be for the task in hand.
BTW: If you want to read about hot lips in action, grab an e-book copy of BRAKE FAILURE publishing on 9 Januay, 2017.