Anything But Bashful–First Kiss Flash Fiction Blog Hop

I was invited by the lovely Audra North to participate in the First Kiss Flash Fiction Blog Hop. Want to know what that was all about? Of course you do!

Remember the video where 20 strangers kiss for the first time? Right after it came out, it went viral, and even though it was later revealed that it was shot as an advertisement, the effect was pretty amazing.

Attraction is…attractive.

So attractive, in fact, that it inspired a group of us got together and write our own version of “20 Strangers Kissing.” Except in this case, it’s over 20 authors, each writing a flash fiction piece about two strangers who share their first kiss on camera. Here’s mine. Enjoy!

Anything But Bashful

If there was one thing Shayne had learned after four years of dating in New York City, it was that it sucked.

It didn’t just suck. It was hell.

It wasn’t that she hadn’t had relationships. She’d had a dozen boyfriends since starting college and a handful of one night stands that should have ended before the night did. She wasn’t overly picky, didn’t even really have a type, but that hadn’t opened the field up. Her entire senior year had been peppered with stilted, uncomfortable dates ending in too-much-tongue kissing. They never seemed to get when to stop either, even when she angled herself away from them, a gulf the size of the Hudson between their bodies.

She’d tried bars and the noisy club scene, but everyone there always seemed to have an agenda. The dating sites sucked, too, because you couldn’t just get to know someone without the inevitable when-are-we-going-on-a-date looming in the distance. And speed dating? That was the seventh circle of dating hell. You could never just meet anyone, share a smile when reaching for the same book on a shelf in the library, or a laugh when accidentally grabbing the wrong drink at Starbucks. Nothing was organic. Genuine attraction didn’t exist, or if it did, it was a load of crap laden with beer goggles, a tentative thing that disappeared at first light. She’d bet that even if she matched twenty good-looking strangers up, keeping in mind their orientation and preferences, it still wouldn’t work. And that bet was how she ended up here, in an empty studio on Bleeker, a camera set up and a list of names in her hand.

Shayne saw the world through the lens of her sociology major at NYU. She’d been fascinated by the intricacies of human interaction and its development in urban society since her intro class, when she’d stayed up late with the works of Marx and Freud. The social factors that influenced love and dating, the nature of sexual expression and her own jaded experiences had led her to this human experiment, the final research project for her Sex and Love in Modern Society class.

Twenty strangers paired off and put in a room alone together. It was the same as the concept that if you gave a bunch of monkeys a typewriter, they’d eventually come up with Hamlet. Except Shayne was waiting for her monkeys to start humping.

Actually, she was expecting them not to hump. Although she had to admit from the photos she’d gotten when she put an ad out in the Voice, a lot of her subjects were damn fine.

They didn’t need acting experience—she’d said that in the listing—or even be actors at all. They just had to be comfortable on camera. She’d culled the responses into a short list, emailing the rules and payment information along with a survey. She matched them better than even the dude on the eHarmony commercials could have, and gave them each a time to arrive. When they did, she told them to let whatever happened happen, kissing included.

The studio door stayed closed. Shayne waited in the office next door, only coming in to check over the videos in the buffers she’d scheduled between appointments. Dude number one she’d nicknamed Hot Shot, and set him up with Fashionista Wannabe. They’d talked about reality TV and exchanged business cards, nothing more. The next five heterosexual couples did variations of the same. Dudes six and seven managed to peck on the lips and hug. The two pairs of girls did end up kissing, but it was with nervous laughter and awkward placement of hands. Nothing attractive about it. Her last two appointments didn’t even show.

Satisfied with her data, she started shutting down the studio lights.

“Um, hello?”

Startled, Shayne’s head snapped up. At the door was dude number ten. She’d called him Bashful from the dimpled cheek and mop of brown hair she’d seen in his photo, the thick lashes and shy smile. But the picture hadn’t shown the size of his shoulders, the sheer bulk of him. She hadn’t thought he’d be so…






“Is this the right place? I’m Devvan. Are you Shayne?”

“That’s me.” Why did her voice sound like that? “You’re late.”

“Yeah, the subways were backed up.” He dropped his backpack and crouched down next to it to slip his phone into a pocket. Other guys had come dressed to impress, but Devvan was in a tank top and shorts that showed off his arms and the sculpted slope of his calves.

Shayne swallowed.

“So.” He stood and swung his arms out, fist coming in to meet the palm of his other hand. “What do you need me to do?”


She’d promised her professor twenty couples. Girl number ten could still show.

Devvan smiled, dimple showing. His brows lifted.

Girl number ten could suck it.

“I need you to close the door.”

Shayne turned the camera on, making up her mind even as her heart started to pound.

When was the last time anyone made her heart pound?

Devvan shut the door and jogged back to her. Expectant, like a puppy.

“Are there lines I have to say or something?”

“Nope. Just talk. Off the cuff.”


She nodded. “Tell me about yourself.”

His lips stretched into a grin that was followed by another wide swing of his arms. “I’m twenty-four. I’m not really into this whole on-camera gig, but my sister did the headshots for me. Said I’d be stupid not to try modeling, but I dunno.” He shrugged and glanced at the floor. “My real passion is nutrition. Helping people with health and fitness. I’m a trainer, and I do some boxing on the side.”

So that explained the miles of smooth muscle. He stretched and his shirt lifted.

Oh, God. Happy trail.

Devvan’s lip quirked. “What?”

Shayne blinked. “Huh?”

“Nothing, I just thought you were… nothing.”

He blushed—fucking blushed. Jesus.

Shayne bit her lip. Devvan’s gaze dropped to her mouth. He shook his head and laughed. “I’m sorry. This is crazy.”

“What is?”

“Well, I’ve got a camera on me, I’m alone in a room with a girl I met like two seconds ago who’s barely told me anything about her, but for some reason I really want to kiss her.”

She would have thought it was a set-up, that he’d heard about the experiment, but the others had signed waivers. They wouldn’t get paid unless they kept quiet.

“You want to kiss me,” she repeated.

“I don’t know what it is.” Devvan searched out her eyes. He wasn’t laughing anymore. “Can I kiss you, Shayne?”

Her pulse skittered through her throat. “Okay.”

He reached for her hand and tugged her a little closer. His forehead met hers and he smiled down at their fingers, dimple showing, bashful again. She was trembling everywhere, arms, legs, belly, a tension that could only be soothed by closing this awful distance between them.

So she did. Pressed her pelvis to his.

“Fuck.” His exhale was a low rumble, and then his hands were on her face, thumbs skimming over her cheek, his mouth slanting over hers, wet and soft. He wasn’t sloppy, but his kiss was hungry, demanding, deepened with a spark of his tongue between her lips. She tangled her fingers in his shirt, bunching the cotton along his sides. He kissed her harder, tongue slipping into her mouth, a tease that coaxed her to do the same. She bit down on his lower lip and he grunted, dropped his hands to squeeze her waist, sliding around to a blissful pressure at the small of her back. Shayne grew greedy, reached up and grabbed two fistfuls of thick, coarse hair. Their bodies rocked together until she could feel the stiff shape in his jeans, and her breath caught, the pleasure just right and so close and oh, fuck

She pulled back and fought for breath, clinging to his shoulders, her head spinning.

“Whoa.” Devvan exhaled a tight breath that could have doubled for a laugh. “Um, I don’t know about you, but that’s never happened to me before.”

She found her sarcastic side. “You’ve never kissed a girl?”

He smirked, then went serious again. “Never had something get that hot that fast. You?”

Shayne rubber her top lip over her lower one. They were tingling. “Nope.”

“Hmm.” He cleared his throat, but didn’t move his hands. “So, what was it that we were supposed to do here, anyway?”

“Prove something for my Sociology class.”

“And that was?”

“That instant attraction between two strangers is impossible.”

Devvan laughed, his head thrown back, anything but bashful now. He brought her closer, his nose against hers.

“Well, I guess that’s been shot to hell, huh?”

Shayne nodded. “Damn you, you just ruined my whole theory.”

“Sorry. Can I ruin it again?”

She pulled away to shut off the camera. “Absolutely.”

(1495 words)




  1. I LOVE it!!! I am humming for more…..!

  2. Christine says:

    That was great! Lovely way to start off the week 🙂

  3. Fun short! The humping monkey line made me laugh out loud 🙂

  4. Piper Vaughn says:

    Nice! I really liked the description of Devvan. Yum. <3

  5. Cute! I love that she disproved her theory. And spark of his tongue!

  6. You gave me the giggles (which I think is even harder than the smexy) and the smolder! I loved this. I want more.

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