My idea of paradise close to home?
I’m in the bathtub, vanilla-scented bubbles are piled high from my toes resting on the silver faucet all the way up to my shoulders, made pink by the hot water. A Samuel Adams black lager sits on the edge of the tub, fat drops of condensation sliding down the brown bottle. I’m a few chapters into a steamy read and the corners of the book are starting to curl from my wet fingers turning the pages. All the banter and arguing between the main characters have lead to this moment when all of the sexual tension explodes into mind-blowing sex. It’s not nice and polite intercourse. It’s not weekday, half-asleep-already sex. It’s anything-goes, can’t-get-your-clothes-off-fast-enough fucking. Sure, I want the story to have a great plot in addition to the interplay between the main characters, but without sex in a romance novel, it doesn’t ring true. Face it, sex is a huge part of romance and I’m glad most of today’s authors have moved it from behind closed doors.
From the first time I opened the dogeared copy of my mother’s VC Andrews books in middle school to my voracious appetite for Harlequin novels in high school to my current love for more sexually explicit stories, romance novels have been my stress relief. I love being able to open up a book, stretch its binding wide until I hear that cracking sound and then diving in to a world where I know everything is going to work out in the end. Usually, I’ll start a book and stay up until two or three in the morning to finish it - occasionally finishing a bottle of malbec wine, too. Like most romance readers, I’ve had to defend my choice of reading material to those who think they are all just badly written, formulaic purple prose. They obviously haven’t explored the variety of sub-genres within romance and the deep talent pool of writers who build these wonderful worlds. Romance is the biggest selling book genre for a reason - because it’s awesome.
Now that I’ve moved from only reading romance to writing it as well, I’ve had to answer the romance skeptics. They’ve quirked their eyebrows and clutched their pearls wondering why I would do that. I stand proud. I own the stereotype and say I write trashy romance novels with fast-paced plots, laugh-out-loud humor and, of course, lots of sex. I’m writing because I love it. I want people to let go of the world and escape into the stories I’ve written. Someday soon, I hope you’re the person steaming up the bathroom while you lounge in the tub reading one of my Layton Family series books (Temptation Creek, Seduction Creek and Passion Creek) unable to turn the pages fast enough as you’re carried away by the story.