Thursday, 30 January 2014

Day Eight of #TemptedToWrite

Day Eight:  What are Their Thoughts the Morning After the Night Before?

Sex in Mills & Boon books, and in Modern Tempted books in particular, is only there to further the plot.  It makes sense, within modern books, to have a modern attitude to sex, but here sex always causes some kind of conflict.

That conflict could be internal (a character might become more confused about their feelings and whether they're in love or in lust); or it might be external (they could discover that that guy they slept with, is their brother's best friend, or a best friend's ex).
But in order for this to happen, the sex beforehand has to be fairly extraordinary and some kind of buzz of this needs to leak into the next morning, whether through thoughts, feelings or the ultimate wake-up call...  ;)

Example Number One:  Victoria and Liam in Natalie Anderson’s The Right Mr Wrong

When she'd been with him, it had been as if the rest of the world could crumble around them.  Such a cliche.  He'd been her escape.  But he'd also been her prison.  In the end she'd needed to be free of that too.  The intensity still frightened her. 

He stepped back, looking oddly pale under the dim light from the bedside table.  "You regret it."

"I think..."  She hesitated again.  "Yes."
What makes this stand out? Natalie Anderson doesn't mess about.  Her characters have fierce reactions to what's happened the next day; reactions that have serious repercussions for the future of their relationship.  That's the external conflict.  And the internal conflict is written about there so beautifully - Victoria just doesn't know how to love without trapping herself.  But she deserves that HEA, as does Liam...

Example Number Two:  Ella and Chase in Jackie Braun's After the Party

Sex complicated things.  Chase had never been in a relationship with a woman when it hadn't.  So he was a little surprised that after a few hours of indulging in the mind-blowing variety with Ella, she hopped up from the bed - they'd eventually made it out of the dining room - and announced that she had to be going.

No clinging.  No covert glances.  No asking when he would call or even if.  The only question she posed was, "Any idea where I left my panties?"

Like he was supposed to remember something like that.  Hell, Chase figured he was doing pretty well to recall his own name in the afterglow of some of the best sex he'd ever had.
What makes this stand out?  Ella doesn't just surprise us, she surprises Chase!  It's always good to note that not all romance heroines are the same and, despite the sensitive side of Ella that we've come to love during the novel, she's still incredibly practical.  Braun makes us question what we expected Ella to do in the first place.

My personal favourite response was ML Smith's, as I'm a massive fan of a decent wake-up call:

Katrina cautiously opened one bleary eye and surveyed the plush hotel suite. Other than Alex's rhythmical breathing, it was eerily quiet.
Squeezing her eyes shut again, she reviewed recent events. She had broken two of her cardinal sins. 1) Thou shall not sleep with your boss. 2) Thou shall not fall in love with your boss. A wave of nausea swept quickly through her making her face flush. She silently eased her petite, buck naked body out of the king-size bed to make her way to the bathroom. Her feet hit the thick carpet just as Alex's lips brushed her freckled shoulder.
"Good morning Kat. Did you sleep well?" he whispered as he trailed delicious kisses across her sensitive skin.
"Good thanks. You?" she mumbled before she sprinted towards the bathroom door. Alex heard the door shut with a soft click. Moments later the shower started running. He lay back on the dishevelled bed and let out an exasperated breath. What the hell was that about?
What makes this move stand out?  I think it's the way that she manages to capture the sensuality of the night before, in Kat and Alex's responses to each other in the morning.  Also, you really get a sense of Kat's voice - well done!

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