It depends, of course, on YOU. It can be a look, a word, a touch of hands. Doesn't have to be a connection of bodies.
It can happen between two people, or in one of my sci fi romances it's quite likely to be between sexy aliens who share some characteristics of humans but are enhanced in other ways. They may even be half-human, half-alien. That makes for some great, angst-y conflict!
I read a review of one of my books that really made me think. The reviewer first mentioned the things she liked about the story and then the things she didn't.
She liked the story and the characters, and especially the way the heroine set the arrogant alpha hero back a few paces by standing up to him and letting him know she would accept nothing less than his respect and love.
But she did not like one of the erotic plot devices; the heroine appeared naked in front of others, without her express consent. I hit one of this reader's hot buttons. We all have them, just as we all have our own private fantasies, both romantic and sensual.
The story was written, I may as well admit, as a private fantasy of mine. One (do I really need to say it?) that I would never want to actually experience, but enjoyed imagining.
It was one of those 'What if you had to …' fantasies. What if you had to placate an incredibly sexy, alpha shifter … by having sex with him? What if he was barely in control, and you, a smaller, more fragile female, were the only creature capable of keeping him from going mad in the grip of his male passions? What if you discovered that the episode was all your wildest dreams come true?
Yep, it's a fantasy, all right. I'm a real woman. Touch me when I'm not in the mood? Nope, sorry. Expect me to cater to every male mood, and don't hold your breath. I love my husband, but there are limits, right, ladies?
But my private fantasies are a different bottle of wine. Romantic and sexy are different for every woman and man on the earth. We've all read stories that we loved, until … that particular thing happened in the story, and we didn't enjoy it anymore.
As a romance writer, I hope readers who enjoy getting lost in a sexy adventure, will discover that I've unleashed a fantasy you never even knew you had until my heroines and heroes show it to you. The story I mentioned has done this for many, many readers, I'm happy to say. It just keeps selling. Readers have sent me personal notes, and posted reviews.
Of course those folks with the hot button? They've let everyone know too! But that's all right with me. I'd rather someone got steaming mad and hated my hero, hated 'that moment' than to have them shrug and say 'Eh, it was okay. Probably won't read any more of what's-her-name's books.'
A review of my newest book, Stark Pleasure, includes the words that 'I've read all of Cathryn's books'. It also includes the opinion that my newest hero (who admittedly needs to do a lot of personal work) verges on being a socio-path. Ouch!
But that's honesty for you. And since the reviewer smacked the hero upside the head, and not me as a writer or human being taking up too much space on the planet, I'm fine with that. She's gonna love his eventual smack-down, which believe me, is coming. Hang on through the series, and Logan Stark will be schooled by a small woman!
If you love the romances you read, of course the writer hopes you'll say so. If you don't … can I send you some chocolate, and we'll keep it between us? No, seriously, I hope you'll try another, one that will give you just the experience you're looking for.
I'm currently spinning another personal fantasy series, one that I hope will resonate with readers.
For now … I'd love to know, what do YOU look for in a romance? What do you LOVE in a story? What are your personal hot buttons?
Best-selling author of sci fi romance
... it's hot in space, red hot!
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