You know what I mean.
In the heat of passion, the hero’s and heroine’s clothes are flying everywhere along with dialogue that would make a porn star feel right at home. Unable to keep their hands (or any other body part) off each other, the characters put themselves into near comas with their sexual gymnastics.
And then the bliss clears, leaving an awkward moment and the ever popular question of what now? I liken it to the end of that old (but great) movie The Graduate when Dustin Hoffman has won Katherine Ross’s heart and they run from the church (where she was supposed to marry another guy) and hop on a bus. As the miles grow between them and the church, their smiles begin to waver, they start to avoid each other’s gazes, you can almost hear their minds screaming: What in the F have I done???
While that was the finale of The Graduate, it’s generally signifies the start of the middle of my books. Since conflict drives a story, I have to have one or both of my leads have second thoughts about their proverbial roll in the hay or have one of them worry that the good times are over. In my latest release Lush Velvet Nights I approach the moment with humor while also using it to get in a bit of history to enrich Adriana’s character.
Here’s a blurb (for background) and an excerpt to illustrate what I mean:
Lush Velvet Nights - When wanton desires & love demand all…
During the day, Adriana’s a lonely corporate heiress, helming a supermarket empire. At night, she hires escorts, scripting provocative fantasies of kidnapping, lust, submission and endless longing. It’s all she has to excite her until she meets Nathan Wynn. Tall, blond and muscular—like a modern-day Viking—Nathan’s a labor relations attorney representing Adriana’s union employees. His imposing presence intensifies her basest desires. When he protects her from an escort he believes is an attacker, she knows he’s wonderfully dominant and unrestrained. Fascinated by Adriana’s underlying sensuality, Nathan brings her to his secluded mountain estate, determined she submit fully to his hunger. At a gentleman’s club, he makes certain she denies him nothing. Engaging in a seductive sexual journey, Nathan’s caught off-guard by his stunning need for Adriana. An attraction he fears because of past events in his life. A growing emotional connection she will not let him deny.
Comforted by his embrace, she slept deeper than the first time and dreamt of Christmas. She was little, no more than nine, and shaking one of Joe’s gifts, trying to guess what lay inside the box. The lack of sound and movement stumped but didn’t worry her. Joe knew she didn’t like the cashmere sweaters her dad’s secretary picked out for her year after year because her father refused to bother with the holidays. And she really hated the weird-tasting candy her mother sometimes sent her from European shops. Joe knew Adriana’s weakness for Hershey’s kisses. And how she loved charm bracelets that jangled as she swung her arm, capturing everyone’s attention as she entered a room. Sparkly pink headbands and barrettes were her next favorite choice. Had she told him that? She bit her lower lip and moaned because she hadn’t. Reluctantly, she peeled away the edge of the shiny red paper.
A deep voice called out, “Do you unwrap all your presents so slowly?”
With Nathan’s remembered question, Adriana’s dream evaporated. She opened her eyes. Wan light from the cloud-shrouded sky and last night’s snow spilled through the towering windows, telling her it must be mid-morning. The soft leather molded to her naked ass and back said she was no longer on the rug.
From moment to moment, you won’t know what to expect.
Propped up on her elbow, she glanced at the sofa serving as her bed with Nathan’s parka spread over her nudity like a blanket. When had that happened? To the right, near the end table, she saw her pile of clothes and her purse. He’d brought it into the great room? Why? Oh shit, were they leaving? Had his plans changed because of a problem with his practice?
Her first thought was to close her eyes and pretend to sleep to escape the truth. Her next was to face whatever came. She sure as hell couldn’t change it. On a disappointed sigh, she pushed to a sitting position, swung her legs over the sofa, noting she still wore her stockings and heels, then flinched as Nathan came around to her right, seemingly out of nowhere. She stared at the steaming mugs in his hands.
“You okay?” he asked.
Her eyes crept down his nudity, tarrying at his flaccid cock. Even deflated, it was magnificent—long and thick, the brownish skin matching the shade of his weighty balls. The fact he wasn’t dressed was a good sign. Obviously, his plans for her were still on and they weren’t leaving. She inhaled deeply to relax and smelled something scrumptious. “Is that hot chocolate?”
“Yep.” He handed her a mug. “While you were asleep, I plowed the drive, put on chains and drove back to the restaurant.”
She finished her sip with a delighted whimper and smiled at his lie and morning grubbiness. Tufts of hair stuck up on the right side of his head and his face needed a shave. “You did not.”
With one hand on the sofa’s back cushion, he leaned down and licked chocolate froth from her upper lip. The scent of sex on his skin and the damp heat of his tongue made her ears buzz.
He murmured, “How would you know? I pulled you off the floor, slung you over my shoulder, dropped you on the sofa then threw my parka over you and you didn’t wake up once. You kept snoring.”
Adriana ignored the snoring crack and attempted to calm her sprinting heart. “There’s no whipped cream in here.” She ran her finger around the lip of her mug. “That’s how I know.”
He swallowed his sip and cleaned his upper lip with his fingers. “Remind me to have the restaurant fire the delivery guy for not bringing any.”
“No need to be a prick.”
He arched one brow. “Sure you want to commit to that line of thinking while we’re still nude?”
Adriana took another sip of hot chocolate to hide her pleasure at his playful teasing. Few men had liked her enough to bother. As far as she was concerned, verbal banter held as much intimacy as a kiss. “Did the poor man also bring food?”
“Why?” Nathan’s eyes dropped from her rigid nipples to her growling belly. “Don’t tell me you’re hungry.”
“Enough to plow your drive and chain up your tires to get back to the restaurant. I’ll even buy.”
His shoulders shook with suppressed laughter. “My caretaker stocked the kitchen while you were passed out. He came over and said hi—you were still on the floor by the way. You didn’t say shit to him. Very rude,” he added at her giddy laugh. “But I forgive you. Come on, I’ll make you something.”
Her laughter wound down. She didn’t hide her surprise. “You can cook?”
“Are you kidding?” He sounded offended. “Cocoa Puffs and milk in a cereal bowl is one of my specialties, unless you’d like me to grill you a steak.”
“I’ll make us something.” She pushed to her feet, noticing the toasty heat. He must have turned the heater up full blast to allow for their nudity. “Where’s your kitchen?”
His eyes strayed from her thatch to her breasts to her mouth and returned to the tops of her stockings. “You can cook?” He sounded as if he couldn’t care less.
Adriana relished his attention and her next sip of chocolate. Her voice gurgled with its thick sweetness. “Joe taught me.” As a reminder, she added, “He was my dad’s live-in chef. Last night, I told you about—”
Nathan interrupted, “I remember, Adriana.” He met her eyes, earnestness replacing arousal. “He raised you. He loves you.”
She stared, stunned he’d recall something so seemingly inconsequential to anyone except her, pleased he’d actually been listening. Her hands trembled with emotion. She put her mug on the end table. “Yeah. I love him too. I even applied to Le Cordon Bleu so I could become a chef like him.”
“No shit.” Nathan frowned. “So why aren’t you doing that now?”
She waved her hand, dismissing the memory. “It was a silly whim I should have never considered.”
“That’s not what your face is saying.”
Adriana rolled her eyes.
Waiting for more, Nathan sipped his hot chocolate.
She sighed. “When Dad found out my plans, he contacted Stanford and had me hauled into the dean’s office. My advisor and a school representative relayed his message. If I withdrew from school, I was on my own. There’d be no more financial help from him and no reason for me to go back to his house because I wouldn’t be welcomed there.” Her shoulders lifted. “I was only eighteen and pretty mouthy. I told them I didn’t give a damn.”
He swallowed his sip. “Good for you.”
“Yeah, I thought so too until they added that my father would also fire Joe for talking me into being a cook. They made it sound as if it was something demeaning, not something to be proud of.” She rubbed her forehead, remembering the horrible scene, the lack of emotion on their faces. Her dad contributed big-time and they didn’t want to lose his funds. Although Adriana couldn’t blame them, she’d hated the way they’d handled it. Again, she sighed. “It was get my economics degree or else so I could someday take over the family business, since there wasn’t a son to do so. The advisor and rep even said that my father didn’t want me to disappoint him as my mother had. That was the worst threat of all. I knew if I withdrew from school, he wouldn’t only fire Joe, he’d make damn certain he wouldn’t get another job at any of the really nice places. That’s the way my father operated. You gave him total control or else. I was so worried about Joe I promised to stay in school and did. After that, I did whatever my father wanted so he’d leave the poor man alone. But don’t worry, I still know how to cook most stuff. Is your kitchen this way?” She pointed to the right and moved past him.
Nathan wrapped his fingers around her upper arm before she got too far. Adriana looked over without lifting her face, not wanting him to see her sadness and shame at an event so far in the past.
“It’s all right to be angry with him,” Nathan said softly. “At times, I still get pissed at my parents for what they did.”
Tears threatened. Adriana pushed them away. “Thanks.” She lifted her eyes to his. “But I’m okay. I had Joe, remember? Now, let me make us some breakfast.”
Awkward moments between characters are some of my favorites. They allow me to dig deeper into the hero and heroine’s souls…and to build empathy for them with the reader. :)
Lush Velvet Nights is available from Ellora’s Cave
Buy link: http://www.jasminejade.com/ps-8298-50-lush-velvet-nights.aspx
Website/blog/YouTube video trailer for Lush Velvet Nights: http://www.tinadonahue.com/
Scavenger hunt: http://www.tinadonahue.com/?p=550
Monthly contest: http://www.tinadonahue.com/contest/
TODAY I'M RUNNING A SCAVENGER HUNT FOR YOUR CHANCE TO WIN ONE OF MY TITLES, INCLUDING:
2. Deep, Dark, Delicious
3. Close to Perfect
4. Bad Boys with Red Roses
5. Take My Breath Away
Rules: Periodically throughout the day, I'll be posting questions here (four in all) and at my website (home page, click on scavenger hunt link). The first person to email me at email@example.com with all four correct answers will get her choice of one of the above books.
Hope to see you here and good luck!!!