By: Karen Stivali
Congratulations to "Jonetta", the winner of Karen's giveaway. Thank you to all who participated!
My favorite thing about writing romance is that for each new set of characters I get to watch them fall in love. How cool is that? It’s such an amazing time in a relationship. It’s exhilarating, nerve wracking, exciting, scary, intense, passionate. Seriously, what’s not to like? It’s a rush. Being unable to stop daydreaming about the person…wanting to be with them all the time…wondering if by some miracle they actually feel the same way about you…then finding out, yes, they do. *sighs* Love it.
Of course, when you find the guy or gal of your dreams and you fall in love, you usually kinda wanna touch them. And kiss them. And that’s where the sex part of my books becomes extremely relevant to the type of stories I choose to write. I often compare it to telling a friend about a fabulous new restaurant. You wouldn’t call your friend up and say “I had the most amazing meal of my life. The place was gorgeous with tall ceilings and candlelight, the menus were hand written in beautiful calligraphy, and each plate that came out looked like a work of art!”….and then not tell them what you had for dinner. If you didn’t describe the food, all that build up would leave them hanging. It’s the same with romance and sex. I’m not going to spend countless pages telling you how attracted a couple is to each other, how beautiful they find each other, how much they long for each other, then when they finally get together not tell you what happens. That’s the good stuff. That’s what everyone’s been waiting for. All the heart-pounding nervousness, all the daydreams, all the does-he/she-feel-the-same-about-me is all build up to the couple finally exploring their passion for one another. And I’m not about to close the door on that!
The way characters are in intimate scenes---giving, loving, dominant, shy, worried, carefree---tells you so much about them, both as individuals and as they relate as a couple. I love writing those scenes, those moments, to see how they are when they’re finally together. It doesn’t stop with the first time either. If you have sex after a big argument it’s different than sneaking off for a quickie because you’re both in the mood and it’s different still from spending a lazy morning in bed together that turns frisky. Sex scenes are ideal, unique ways to get glimpses of the characters that you might not otherwise see. They’re important details about the emotional and physical relationship. That’s why I write the steamy stuff. (That and it’s fun to write.)
With all this talk about sex it must sound like that’s all that’s in my books. It’s not. There’s plenty of talking and banter and eating and usually some intense sexual tension before the couple gets together. There’s also my favorite part…the first kiss. Below I’ll give you a sneak peak at the first kiss in my latest contemporary romance release, LEAVE THE LIGHTS ON. Parker and Sophie’s first kiss is over a decade in the making. Although they’ve secretly crushed on each other since grade school, one thing or another has always kept them apart, until now. Neighbors again for the first time in years they’re both single, both healing from traumatic events and both experiencing a resurgence of all the feelings they never had a chance to express when they were younger. So, in honor of those heart stopping moments when the object of your affection finally makes the move, here’s a sneak peek at Parker and Sophie’s long-awaited first kiss.
Excerpt from Leave The Lights On:
I’m kissing Parker. Sophie repeated the words to herself but couldn’t quite believe they were true. His hand left her face, and she instantly missed his touch until she realized he was just moving it lower. A strong arm curled around her waist, drawing her closer. Broad chest pressing against hers. Hips rocking into her. Tongue. Oh, God, velvety soft tongue circling hers. Words ceased to exist as she rode the mind-numbing swirls into a blissful oblivion.
His lips closed, brushing hers once more. “It’s still raining.”
“I hadn’t noticed.” She was breathless enough that the words came out as a whisper.
She caught the quick grin that passed over his face before his mouth returned to hers. Holy shit. She’d always imagined he’d kiss well but nothing like this had ever even entered her fantasies. Gentle yet hungry, subtle but commanding. She moved in toward him, somewhat dizzily aware of the fact that he was hard. Her heart beat so fast she was sure he could feel it through their drenched clothes.
“We’d better get to the car.” His voice startled her, and she realized her eyes were still closed.
Shaking her head, she felt the heavy, water-soaked tips of hair hitting her cheek. “Okay.” She’d have agreed to pretty much anything he suggested at that point. All she really wanted was another moment with his mouth on hers.
“Come on.” Parker held out his hand, and she slipped her fingers into his.
He’s holding my hand. Her fourteen-year-old self did a happy twirl in her head. Her twenty-four-year-old self felt more excited than she had in… When was the last time she felt this? Heat flooded her face. Breathless, she ran with him through the rainy streets until they finally reached the car.
Parker opened her door, and she climbed in, tossing her purse into the backseat. Watching in the rear-view mirror, she saw him open the hatch and stow the bags. God he looks good soaking wet.
The door slammed shut, and Parker trotted to the front of the car, swinging into the seat next to her. His shirt clung to the muscles of his chest, his hair dripped. This must be what he looks like in the shower. She felt her cheeks tingle, realizing she was picturing him naked.
“You okay?” he asked, raking his hair off his face, beads of rain still clinging to his long dark lashes.
Nodding, she tried to focus on getting the keys in the ignition. “You?”
She turned to find him looking at her with a smile she’d never seen before. His eyes were dark and expectant, twinkling at her like two mischievous sapphires. Tumbling over its own beats, her heart danced a jig.
The rain continued, battering the car in solid sheets as she made her way home. By the time they pulled into her driveway it was nearly three thirty. “Sorry we got back so late. Are you going to make it to your appointment?”
“It’s right in town. I’ll be fine.” He got out of the car and opened the hatch.
“I’ve got it, you go. I don’t want to make you late.”
Grabbing the tote bags, he laughed. “Will you please just get in the house?”
Sophie fiddled with the keys until she found the right one. She held the door, sneaking a look at Parker’s clingy shirt from behind as he moved past her. The defined muscles of his back looked just as tempting as his chest. Not to mention his ass. Get a hold of yourself, will you?
“Good thing these bags are waterproof, or all those samples would have turned into soup.” He set the bags on the kitchen counter.
“What? Oh, yeah.” Free samples were the last thing on her mind. She wished he didn’t have to go.
“Thanks for taking me to the show. It was great.”
Great didn’t begin to cover it. “Anytime.” Say something else. Her brain refused to function.
“I better get going or I really will be late.”
“Oh, okay. Sure.” Think, dammit.
Parker headed back to the door.
“Do you want to borrow an umbrella?” Brilliant. Very seductive. How can he possibly resist a come-on like that?
“You can only get so wet, and I think I’m there.”
You and me both. She held her breath, hoping she hadn’t said that out loud.
Parker reached for the handle of the screen door then paused. “I’ll be done with PT by six—do you want to grab dinner later?”
There was nothing she’d rather do but she shook her head. “I can’t. I’ve got to meet with one of my clients tonight. Her fiancé lives out of state, and this is the only time they’re both available before the wedding.”
“Okay.” Parker’s eyes shifted away from hers.
“But I’m free tomorrow night.”
The smile that curved across his lips sent a tugging sensation from her heart straight to her thighs. “Tomorrow’s great. It’s a date. How’s six o’clock?”
“Perfect.” A date. She had to keep from bouncing on her toes.
He leaned in and gave her a soft kiss that left her feeling completely devoid of oxygen. “See you then.”
Nodding, she watched as he stepped back out into the downpour and jogged back to his car. I have a date with Parker. What the hell do you wear on a first date with the guy you’ve been pining after for over a decade?
Official blurb for Leave The Lights On:
When love throws you a curve, swing for the fences.
Parker Wood’s dreams of becoming a professional baseball player are shattered when he’s injured in a devastating car crash. After two years in hospitals and physical rehab facilities, he’s ready to move back to his childhood home and take over the family landscaping company. The house and business are his, now that his father has passed.
Sophie Vaughn has suffered through a hellishly public divorce from a husband who couldn’t manage to stay faithful for two months of marriage. Determined not to let her personal drama impact her successful wedding and party planning business, she buys her parents’ old house, hoping the comfort of familiar surroundings will help her heal.
When Parker and Sophie discover they’re neighbors once again, it’s as if time has stood still. Their friendship is quickly rekindled, along with the decade-long crush neither of them ever admitted having. Then the heat between them exposes a long-held secret that threatens to tear them apart…unless they can detach from their painful pasts and move forward—together.
Warning: Contains sultry summer nights, steamy pool-side encounters, and you’ll never look at a jar of peanut butter the same way again.
Do you like steamy sex scenes in your romance novels? If you do, leave me a comment and tell me why and a lucky winner will win his/her choice of ebooks from my back list!
Author Info for Karen Stivali:
Karen Stivali is a prolific writer, compulsive baker and chocoholic with a penchant for books, movies and fictional British men. She is a multiple award winning author of contemporary and erotic romances for Ellora's Cave, Turquoise Morning Press and Samhain Publishing.
Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/c/karen-stivali
Giveaway ends 11:59pm EST Jan. 10th. Please supply your email in the post. You may use spaces or full text for security. (ex. jsmith at gmail dot com) If you do not wish to supply your email, or have trouble posting, please email maureen@JustContemporaryRomance.com with a subject title of JCR GIVEAWAY to be entered in the current giveaway.