Let me start all this by saying, I was weaned on historical romances. By the time I was a senior in high school, I was devouring these types of novels at a rate of 3-4 a week. Considering I was a full time student who participated in sports each season, I find that quite an accomplishment. I’m not sure my mother would agree it was the best use of my time, but hey, what’s done is done, and I managed a fairly good score on my verbal SATs thanks in large part to my reading vocabulary.
Due to my voracious appetite for romantic stories, I can say I’ve read pretty close to every kind of romance there is to be read in every genre from erotica to the paranormal, contemporary to historical, and just about everything in between. In all that reading, I have learned one true fact when it comes to what I find sexy in a story. My answer is a simple and emphatic – EVERYTHING. Setting matters, time period and plot matter, the characters and their relationship with each other matters – and it’s ALL sexy in that it all leads the reader to that wonderful sigh-worthy ending where all is tied up neatly with the perfect happily ever after ending. What could be sexier than that?
You know, in hind sight, this may be why I had such a hard time with relationships when I was younger. Mere mortal men cannot compare with the swoon-worthy heroes in my favorite romance novels…but I digress.
What a novel needs to have for me to consider it sexy is rather simple once boiled down. I need the story to feel relevant and important, I need to have a connection with at least one of the two main characters in the romantic relationship, and the plot needs to make sense to me. It has to have some weight to it. I have a hard time enjoying romances where the plotline or main conflict is what I would consider superficial versus something with more “life” and import.
Must haves are, of course, different than preferences. I swoon over anything with a pirate (be it the male or female character) and have a supreme weakness for any story with some Irish lore in it. My preference with respect to the characters is dark, brooding leading men with a chip on their shoulders and something to prove, while I prefer my female leads to have brains and a sense of humor. Sarcasm on both ends of the relationship is also a plus. I like when the characters don’t immediately fall for one another, and the relationship takes its time to develop. Some friction, a little arguing, tension are all a bonus as well.
I guess I just like it when sparks fly.
How about the rest of you? What are some of your romantic reading MUST HAVES?
Blood and Fire
Blurb: College student, Francesca Morgan has finally met the Dominant man of her dreams. Kevin Stevenson is sexy, sure of himself, and knows just how to make her knees quake.
When he takes Frankie to her first fetish party, she is reminded being collared means her Master can do what he wishes with her, including offering her "services" for the evening to a sexy Dominant business associate he is trying to impress.
It doesn't take long for Frankie to realize their host, Bartholomew Andrews is nothing like any Dom she has ever served. Aside from his devastating looks and heaping financial fortune, Bartholomew can read her thoughts, and knows just how to make her body react.
Can Frankie keep her wits about her and serve at his feet without falling for him, or will Master Amazing steal her heart and her soul in one steamy night of servitude?
Be warned -- Contains elements of horror, BDSM, S&M, and a Dom/sub dynamic
Excerpt: We took a left at the end of the hall. Kevin stopped in front of an etched mahogany door. He released my hip, put his hand on the brass knob and faced me.
My stomach flip-flopped as his gaze dipped to my collar.
He smiled, and returned his eyes to mine, melting me into my boots. “Time to lose the protective layer.” He held out his hand, lifted a brow. “Coat, please.”
Oh, boy! Heat flushed my cheeks as I untied the belt with quivering fingers and shrugged out of the trench coat. Air rushed over my exposed flesh, raising goose bumps. Rubbing my arms, I looked to Master for approval.
Kevin tilted his head and folded his arms with the coat draped over his elbow.
His reaction sent my teeth in search of my lower lip while my gaze fell to the floor. What am I forgetting?
My toe dug at the tiles. Kevin’s words echoed in my skull--when we get to the party, you’ll be wearing nothing but those pretty boots and a smile. My eyes sought his, a smile of understanding curled my lips.
His foot tapped, the slight sound somehow drowning out the pounding music just beyond the door.
Focused on the expectant look in his dark eyes, my arms bent behind my back. I unfastened the bodice clasps. In a show of bravado, I tossed it aside. My nipples puckered at the sudden change in atmosphere, drawing Kevin’s gaze.
His grin widened. “Nice.”
Before I lost my nerve, I wriggled out of my drenched panties and added them to the satin garment on the floor. Standing upright, I looked to my Master. Shoulders back and chin high, I flashed my collar, pride blooming in my chest.
“That’s my little tigress.” Kevin reached into his jacket pocket and withdrew a chain leash. He clipped one end to the o-ring on the collar, and gave it a yank that vibrated all the way down to my toes. Holding the other end of my leash over his shoulder, Kevin turned the knob and pushed open the heavy door.
BIO: R. Brennan is a subbie brat with a bitch streak, a single parent, and a reformed gaming addict. She works FT as an IT geek for the state of NY and lives in the rolling hills of Upstate NY (you know, where it takes a ten minute drive to buy a gallon of milk and the scent of cows linger in the air). When not reading or writing steamy stories, she enjoys spending time outdoors or travelling with her family.
Where you can stalk her: