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Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Romance’s tender, quiet moments. . .


Although it’s always fun to write between-the-sheets encounters in a romance, some of my favorite scenes are those in which the hero and heroine are first discovering each other, learning about each other’s pasts.

These can be powerful moments in a romance, whether it’s a graphically erotic tale or not, which adds depth to the inevitable sex scenes.

In the following excerpt from one of my earlier erotic romances, Deep, Dark, Delicious, Rafe has just arrived at Eden’s home to begin his 30 day stay as her guest. She needs his fee to save her house from foreclosure. He simply needs to be close to her, having already lost his heart. However, he must woo her, as she’s been hurt badly in the past. Their romance at this point is tender and quiet, laying the groundwork for the intense passion that comes later. Read on:

She led him past the curved doorway into the formal dining room, equally attractive with numerous windows, plants and a sunroom just beyond the finely crafted table and chairs. There, he stopped once more, touching the edge of the chandelier hanging above the furnishings. Its countless crystals created a waterfall of light on the table, floor and walls. The small pieces of glass jingled beneath the air-conditioning’s rush of air, sounding like wind chimes. “This is amazing.”

Eden’s arm bumped his. “It’s Trish’s design. I’ll tell her you like it, if that’s all right with you. Or will I be giving away too much?”

Amused at her sarcasm, liking her goading, he swung his face to hers, his manner deliberately somber. Without the heels she’d worn last night, the tip of her nose barely reached his shoulder. Haltingly, her eyes ticked upward from it, her expression distracted, disoriented. The look a woman wears in bed after being fucked good and hard by a man.

“No, it would not,” he answered.

She closed her eyes slowly, breathed deeply and looked at him again. “What?”

She’d lost track of their conversation. Poor girl. After today, she’d have trouble concentrating on anything except him and their pleasure. “Your kitchen, where is it?”

Again, she gestured generally east. “Through the doorway.”

The room was an eighth the size of his mansion’s gourmet kitchen with a thousand times the appeal. Dark brown Spanish pavers graced the floor, complementing the pale mustard walls. Two more ceiling fans were above the kitchen table and prep area, their shiny copper blades turning slowly. A series of gourmet cooking utensils hung from a pot rack over one of the counters. The cabinet below the kitchen sink yawned open. Beside it lay a metal box as big as a suitcase, crammed with every gadget imaginable. “Are those your tools?”

“Some of them. This place is really old. I have to repair it on a daily basis.”

His brows lifted at the C-clamp in the center of one of the pavers. He didn’t know any woman Eden’s age who would’ve been able to identify, much less use the device. “Before you bought this place, didn’t you have an inspection done of the plumbing, electricity and other structural matters?”

“I inherited it from my grandmother when she died. I’ve been fixing this stuff since I was a kid so I could save her some money.”

Pride and sadness rang in her voice. He put the wrench on the counter and looked at her.

She’d crossed her arms over her chest just as she always had in front of the judges’ table during the competition. Unlike her voice, her expression held no emotion. “You lived with your grandmother?”

Her eyes moved past him to the window by the kitchen table, its view of the backyard and pool. “My mother dropped me off when I was twelve. Mitch, her boyfriend at the time, wasn’t into raising kids and wanted me gone.” She lifted her narrow shoulders as if to say she couldn’t have cared less. The slight tremor in her voice said otherwise. “Grandma was so happy to have me she decorated the spare bedroom in all this frilly pink junk a fairy princess would’ve gagged on.” She smiled at the memory, her eyes sparkling with tears. “I lied and told her I loved it. I would’ve died for her. She gave me my first real taste of home. She was always here when I got back from school. She sat with me after dinner to help me with my homework. She even took out a loan on this place to send me to the culinary institute. That was before the housing boom caused the house to appreciate. I paid her back within a year of graduating. I worked three jobs in order to do it. I didn’t want her to struggle or want for anything.” She sighed deeply.

Compassion flooded Rafe, urging him to take her in his arms and comfort. He didn’t move, suspecting empathy wasn’t what she required. She needed his respect and had it. Her story awakened memories of his own childhood, wanting to succeed so he could make life easier for his parents. Here was the soul missing from her dishes during the challenge. Here was the real woman buried beneath the confident ‘I-have-to-be-perfect’ chef. “When did you lose her?”

She fingered the corner of her eye and looked at the tears she’d wiped away. “Five years ago. A stroke. It was very sudden. She hadn’t even been ill. She lasted only a few days before it was over.”

“I’m sorry.”

She dropped her hand and shrugged, then added softly, “Thanks.”

“Do you ever see your mother?”

She exhaled loudly, more a complaint than a weary sigh. “She manages to come around when she needs money.”

“Do you give it to her?”

New tears brimmed in her eyes. Her voice was whispery, belonging to a twelve-year-old child who still missed her mom. “If I can spare it. How could I say no? She’s my mother.”

He moved closer, but didn’t touch her. He wondered what type of a mother could willingly give up her own child. And what of her father? Had she known him or even met him or was he a shadowy figure her mother seldom mentioned? “Eden, are you certain you want strangers to live in your house?”

She stepped back, arms across her chest again, no sign of tears in her voice. “I don’t have a choice. In order to open my restaurant I took out several home equity loans. Grandma left the house to me free and clear. It kept appreciating and the restaurant was doing well. Until the economy tanked, I didn’t think I’d have any problem meeting the payments.”

He now understood the depth of her financial situation. She surely owed more than the home’s current worth and bankruptcy would forestall the inevitable for only so long. “Is the bank threatening to foreclose?”

“Not since you wrote me the check last night for your stay. Even if you end up hating it here and decide not to invest, I’ve bought myself a few months, more than enough time to get new vacationers. And no way am I losing this place. I couldn’t do that to Grandma.” She inclined her head to the sink, her voice stiff. “That’s not going to fix itself. If you’ve changed your mind, I can –”

Patiently, he interrupted. “I haven’t changed my mind.” He grabbed the industrial-sized flashlight from the counter and handed it to her. “You do know what to do with this, no?”

She tapped its head against her palm, making small thwacking sounds. “If you fuck up my plumbing, I get to whack you over the head?”

He laughed. “You’re going to pay for that.”

The tapping stopped. Her skin pinked up nicely. She looked at him from beneath her lashes. “How?”

“That would be telling. Time for me to fix your leak.”

“Wait.” Her free hand went to his upper arm, her moist fingers hugging it. “It’s dirty down there. You’ll mess up your clothes.”

Heart pounding, he studied her fingers on him. “You want me to work in the nude?” His eyes slid to hers.

In the following pages, they come together – man to woman in a powerful sex scene that I believe is all the more satisfying because of the quiet, tender moments that preceded it.


Amber Skyze said...

Tender quiet moments are what makes the book, in my mind. :) Great excerpt.

Paris said...

You're right, there is power in tenderness and you've shown it beautifully...and made me want to read more:)

Linda Kage said...

Amen. Emotional inserts always make the sex scenes stronger and the story so much better!

jean hart stewart said...

Lovely excerpt. Makes you want to hug them both....Jean

Katalina Leon said...

The tender quiet moments are the glue that holds the story together, and you write them so well, Tina.

Tina Donahue said...

Hi, ladies - thanks for your kind comments. I've been out of town since Monday on my EDJ, so I didn't have a chance to swing by until now. :)

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