Years ago, my husband informed his aunt that I’d written a novel. “Does it have sex in it?” She asked. “People like to read about sex.”
His aunt was right of course. Many readers do like to read about sex. Today, thanks to self-publishing and e-books, readers have a wide range of choices that run from tasteful to swaddling your lover in a diaper like a baby. Not my cup of tea, but obviously there is somebody out there who likes that kind of thing.
I did have a moment of pause before adding sex to the books in the Dark Horse Trilogy. Mostly because there is still a bias that books with sex are not of consequence. It’s not as if I was expecting a National Book Award for WOMAN KING, but I did want people to take the books seriously. In the end, I realized what matters most, is that readers enjoy the books and find the characters interesting.
Vampires? It’s practically the law that they be attractive, seductive creatures! Olivia is a woman in touch with her sexuality. Her father is French. The French invented the art of seduction, which applies to many things in life beyond just sex. A voila! You can see why things needed to get spicy in my novels. But, like so many things in life, writing a good sex scene is not as easy as it looks. We’ve all read passages in a book that captivated our attention and we’ve read clunky, awkward sex that made us cringe. Recently I read a scene where the male character calls the woman “babe” in lieu of her name the entire time they’re in the bedroom.
“What is it babe?What do you want?”
“You know what I want!”
“No babe, you have to say it. Do you want this?”
“I want it all.”
At which point, I said, “see you later babe,” and returned the book to the library. ATTENTION: in order to draw the reader in, you need the characters to have good chemistry, an electric spark and an air of inevitability. There must be tension and a buildup that makes everything satisfying when the metaphorical dam breaks and they can no longer fight their attraction.
Funny enough, William and Olivia don’t have sex the first time they spend the night together. Olivia would have in a heartbeat, but William puts the brakes on to keep her from doing something she might regret later. In many respects, he is an old southern gentleman courting his beloved. Their relationship is much more modern and sexy, but the point is, he’s not in a hurry. When they finally do come together, William’s kidnapped her and they’re skinny dipping in the subterrain pool at Hearst Castle. It’s love at first bite and the rest as they say, is history.
By the second book, William is MIA and she is alone with Josef who has none of the subtlety of his vampire brother. The sexual chemistry between Olivia and Josef is explosive. She knows he’s bad for her – like cigarettes and ice cream – but she wants him anyway. DARK HORSE, like its title, is a far edgier story. Olivia is kidnapped, drugged and tattooed. Josef is haunted by his WWII past. The two of them spend their days sparring to toughen her up. Josef must provoke her to sharpen her fighting skills. They stew in this relentless proximity, until longing and lust win out. But even then, it’s not a traditional seduction. There will be no candlelight and gifts with Josef. The two end up in bed after he stitches her up from a knife fight and laments that he is always the one “who looks but cannot touch.” Ultimately Olivia gives him the physical intimacy he needs to feel loved.
So where does all this lead in Book 3? Two men, one methodical and confident in his feelings for his lover. The other an outsider who burns for a woman who belongs to another. Does Olivia need to choose, or can she decide that both men have a role in her life? It’s not unusual for romance novels these days to explore triad relationships. I decided it was worth delving into. I mean two vampires in your bed is better than one, right ?
Now, tell me that doesn’t sound sexy!