Thanks so much to Sarah for inviting me to be her guest here today. A little about me. I did NOT write my first book in crayon. I didn't major in English. (I was a Psych major/Biology minor). As a matter of fact, I was a card-carrying AARP member before I even considered writing. But now, I've got 7 novels and an assortment of short stories published. Almost all of them are romance.
So, you write "those" books…I'm sure any romance author has heard it, clearly from someone who's never read a romance. (Confession – I was halfway through writing my first manuscript before I'd read a romance. I thought I was writing a mystery!) Well, yes, I do write "those" books. My publishers call them "Romantic Suspense." Me, I like to think they're "Mysteries With Relationships."
I think one of the lines of demarcation between a mystery and a romantic suspense is the sex. If you're a romance writer, eventually, you're going to have to deal with that moment of relationship consummation. If you're a mystery writer, sure, you can have sex scenes, but the relationships can develop over a series of books, and usually the relationship is secondary, so the sex tends to be more "in passing" rather than a milestone. But in all of my books, the characters have to earn that moment together.
I've been places where readers will ask, "Is there sex in your books?" When I answer in the affirmative, some grin and say, "That's great!" and snatch the book up. Others frown and walk away. I sent a reviewer—who said he reviewed romance as well as mystery—one of my romantic suspense books, figuring it covered both his genres. He refused to review it because it was, in his words, "Porn." Yet the publisher had labeled it "sensual".
I've got some good friends who write erotic romance. As with any book, there are some I enjoy, some I don't care for. For me, a lot of it boils down to vocabulary. Sometimes, it feels like I'm reading an anatomy text. Others, it's just a word that I react to differently. Everyone has trigger words, and there's nothing right or wrong about using them. You just have to know readers will react differently depending on their prior conditioning. For me, there's nothing erotic about the word "pussy" … I get the picture of two sleazy guys in a bar asking the bartender where they can get some of the same. Yet for others, it's a perfectly acceptable word with positive, even sensual, connotations.
In my first book for Five Star, my editor warned me against using the word "penis" because she said their final copy editor wouldn't approve it. She said their readers didn't mind blood and gore in mysteries, but were more picky about the romance vocabulary. (For the record, in my third book with them, the word is there. I didn't avoid it, and the new editor didn't cut it.)
The beauty of the genre is that there's something for everyone. And I'm not ashamed to say I write "those books."
He opened the door for her and turned on a lamp by the couch. "You want dessert now?"
"Right after the ice cream."
Randy chuckled. "I'll serve. How about we eat on the couch?"
Sarah settled on the couch and toed off her sneakers and socks while she adjusted the three-way bulb in the lamp to the lowest setting. Candles would be better, but she hadn't thought to bring any.
Randy appeared with two sundaes. "What are you thinking?"
"That was not a 'nothing' look, that was a 'something's missing' look."
"I thought candles would be nice. But they're not important. The moonlight is enough."
Randy set the ice cream on the end table and disappeared down the hall, returning in a moment with a green foil gift box. He arranged half a dozen pillar candles on the coffee table and lit them. The scent of vanilla filled the air. Sarah turned off the lamp and picked up her bowl. An ice cream purist, she turned the spoon over as she put it into her mouth so that the initial sensation on her tongue was the creamy richness of the ice cream. She grinned as Randy followed her example, eyebrows raised.
"This way, you don't get the metallic taste of the spoon," she explained. The scent of the candles intensified the vanilla flavor of the ice cream.
Randy nodded in agreement, matching her bite for bite.
Sarah scraped the remains of the sundae from her bowl. She licked the spoon, enjoying the chocolate's creamy sweetness. She glanced at Randy, sitting beside her in the flickering light. A flush rose to his face as he set his bowl on the coffee table. Lowering her spoon, she glued her eyes to his and let her tongue dance circles around her half open mouth while she savored both the chocolate sauce and the thought of his mouth against hers. The look in his eyes made her forget the chocolate. Her breath quickened.
Randy dipped his fingertip into the chocolate residue in her bowl and brought it to her lips. Her tongue swirled around his finger. He pulled his hand away and covered her lips with his own. She pressed deeper into the kiss, her tongue feeling the chill in his mouth turn hot. Somewhere in the distance, she felt him remove the bowl and spoon from her fingers, heard the soft thud as he placed them on the coffee table, but the kiss took on a life of its own, transcending awareness of anything else.
He pulled her on top of him so that she straddled his lap. She leaned her head into his chest, listened to the pounding of his heart, the rapid rhythm of his breathing. His hands sent shivers down her back as he reached under her sweater and unfastened her bra. Murmurs of pleasure intertwined as one. She wanted his hands to envelop every inch of her. Shifting herself closer into his body, she began rocking gently, her mind oblivious to all but the fluttering sensations building deep within her.
She ran her fingers through his hair, caressed the velvety softness behind his ears, rubbed her hands up and down his back, began working his shirt free of his pants. His hands moved to her chest, kneading her breasts, rolling her nipples under his thumb. Sparks shot through her at his touch. She reached to unbuckle his belt, to touch him, to share the pleasure.
"Sarah," he gasped. "Wait." He put his hands over hers.
She let go of his belt, unable to speak. He couldn't have changed his mind. Not now. Randy put his hands at her waist and shifted her down toward his knees.
"You're making me … I'm so … I'm not sure I can … Oh, God, Sarah, I don't want to spoil it for you. It shouldn't be this quick."
She slid off his lap and ran her fingers across his lips. His breathing was rapid and shallow. She extinguished the candles and extended her hand. "We said we were going to do this in a proper bed. Will you take me there?"
FINDING SARAH is available as an e-book from most e-tailers. There are also some out of print copies still out there (some of which are at my house, and I'm happy to autograph them for readers.)
For more about Terry and her books, visit her website at www.terryodell.com
She'd also love for you to follow her blog, Terry's Place, www.terryodell.blogspot.com
You can find her on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/terry.odell
And at Twitter, she's @authorterryo