We have all heard the phrase, Sex Sells, right?
I think that in romance it isn’t so much the sex as it is the sexual tension that keeps the pages turning. From the moment the hero and heroine set foot on the same page, the reader should feel that insane pull between the characters. I like to think of it as prolonged foreplay that spans the entire length of the novel: the more the couple resists the attraction, the more sexual tension is created, and the more reader roots for the couple to finally get together.
Pretty much, the longer you draw it out, the harder they fall.
In KISSING UNDER THE MISTLETOE, I placed two sworn enemies, who can’t seem to keep their hands off of each other, in the same small town where neither is willing to move. Regan Martin is a single-mom looking for a fresh start and Gabe DeLuca is a smooth talking vintner who can’t decide what tops his Christmas List: Regan’s sweet ass swishing right out of his town or waltzing toward his bed in nothing but a red bow. The goal was to see how far I could push Gabe and Regan before they were able to let go of their tumultuous past and give in to the chemistry between them, because I knew that if they stopped arguing long enough they would see how perfect they were for one another. Take a look:
Regan opened her underwear drawer and started tossing lace and satin—and a depressing amount of cotton—into a box. Not willing to admit that she was in serious need of some new lingerie, she stuffed the practical panties at the bottom of the box and draped the sexy and slinky ones over the top. She’d just folded the flaps over when the doorbell sounded.
Hoisting the box in her arms, she grabbed the tape and made her way to the front door. ChiChi had said she would come by to help keep an eye on Holly so Regan could take the first load to the new place. The thought of how wonderful her three Mrs. Clauses had been over the past two days made her perk up as she opened the door.
Her smile vanished and something entirely inappropriate began to burn low in her belly.
Even in faded jeans and a worn Stanford T-shirt, Gabe looked expensive and full of himself—and good enough to strip down and lick. His dark hair, still damp from a shower, was rumpled like he’d just run his fingers through it, and based on the shadow of stubble, he hadn’t even bothered to shave.
Gabe DeLuca was a perfect specimen of the male sex. And suddenly, the only thing she could think about was sex. With him. And that incredible package Jordan talked about. Which she was currently gawking at.
Gabe cleared his throat and Regan jerked her eyes up, away from his prize-winning package to his face that was crinkled into a knowing grin.
“Morning, Vixen,” he said in that low, you-know-you-want-me voice.
She scowled by way of greeting. His eyes dipped to the floor and Regan squeaked. Somehow in the process of mentally stripping him down, she had dropped the box and now her entryway looked like Victoria’s Secret after a two-for-one blowout.
“Let me help with that,” Gabe offered.
“I got it.”
They both bent down at the same time, Regan scrambling to shove handfuls of panties back into the box, Gabe pulling them back out one by one to inspect them.
Satisfied that she had gotten every last scrap, Regan yanked the yellow demibra out of Gabe’s long, lean fingers, dropped it in the box, slammed the flaps shut, smacked away his hands, and taped it secure. She stood, ready to give him an earful. Her day was stressful enough without having to deal with him.
Only, when she looked up she was speechless. Between Gabe’s two pointer fingers, the elastic stretched tight, hung a pair of red panties with a big green bow and “Merry Christmas, Love, Santa” written across the crotch.
His lips twitched. “I didn’t know we were exchanging gifts. I think you have to be wearing it for the full effect, though.”
Ignoring the way her toes curled into the rug, she snatched the panties and shoved them in her back pocket. “Do you have a reason for being here? Other than to bother me?”
Regan Martin stopped believing in Christmas miracles six years ago when she lost everything—her house, her job, and her impeccable reputation in the wine industry—after she fell in love with a man she had no idea was married. Then Regan gets a chance for a fresh start in the Napa Valley. With her dream job, dream home, and her daughter enrolled in a wonderful new school, she starts wondering if holiday wishes really do come true.
But she soon tumbles back down to earth when she learns that her new boss is none other than Gabe DeLuca, the scorned wife’s brother. Gabe wants nothing more than home-wrecking Regan Martin out of his life, his sister’s world, and his family’s business. Mostly, he wants the lush beauty out of his head. Yet his attempts to run her out of town have him thinking twice, especially when he sees that Regan may hold the key to tracking down his sister’s stolen start-up capital. Even worse for Gabe, Regan might just be his Christmas wish and hold the key to his heart.
Marina has graciously decided to give away an ARC paperback copy to a random US winner! Giveaway open until 11-12-12 @ 11:59pm EST with winner announced shortly afterward. Simply comment to enter and answer this question:
“Do you enjoy sexual tension or are you more of a wham bam thank you mam type of person?”