And in today's romances, we have such a variety of styles from short and sweet, to short and steamy and longer, bigger, hotter, with more and more action-adventure!
For me, as a reader--and as a writer of more than 18 print romances--and now 3, soon to be 4, romanticas--I think a great romance is built on quite a few qualities.
First, for reasons that we should see in the text, the hero must adore the heroine to the point that we not only smile at his vain attempts to disentangle himself, but he must need her to make his soul complete. To see this in their dialogue and in his actions is vital to the believability that he is meant for her, as no other can be.
For the heroine, the hero must be the greatest temptation AND the finest man she could ever know. No matter what he appears to be in the beginning, his character must come shining through to her. She, please god, should not be a wuss or a whimp. But a woman with a solid past, a problem or two that only the help of the hero can help solve. The heroine, to me, must be solidly grounded in who she is. Because, after all, if she doesn't love herself, how can she love another wholly and to their mutual benefit and joy?
What makes a great romance for you?
Is the hero tragic and wounded? The heroine drop-dead gorgeous or realistic?
Are their conflicts huge or small?
And what are your favorite romances, in print and on the silver screen?
First Excerpt for MIA DOLCE:
Sergio’s arms came around her like steel bands. “Mia dolce,” he whispered to her ear, “you are a treasure.”
Reggie wanted to ask if anyone had ever pleasured him like she just had. But that required a boldness she did not possess. She had no rights to his private life before last night. If she knew, she would want more—and she knew that knowledge would be dangerous to her peace of mind. Instead, she leaned back in his arms and smiled. “Shall we have breakfast?”
His lips curved gently. His eyes caressed hers. “Come sit with me.” Hands on her hips, he sat in a large chair with wooden arms. He leaned forward to kiss her belly and then patted his thighs. “Sit to face me, drape your legs under the arm rests.”
She threw back her head to laugh. “You are amazingly inventive.”
He winked at her. “I want to see your eyes and mouth and breasts and this black cat,” he grabbed a handful of her bush, “as we eat.”
She settled down upon him, wiggled to get comfortable and in the process, made him laugh. “As long as I may enjoy you as well,” she said as she ran her hands down his hard chest to his groin and nestled her fingers into his neat little patch of curls.
He inhaled. “Do as you wish, my sweet. I am yours.” He took a strawberry from the cart and held it before her mouth. “Open your talented lips, bella.”
She did as she was told, ate and then he produced another berry. He took a piece of pineapple, gave it to her, licked juice from her lips and then broke off a piece of a croissant to pop into her mouth. She did the same for him, licking crumbs from her fingers and his lower lip until she saw that between her legs, his cock grew hungry too.
He inserted a thumb inside her lips and licked his own in contemplation. “I regret I must leave you this morning to your own devices. I must consult with the chemists in the pasta factory and then, a conference call with my lawyer in New York.”
“Again? The one you saw yesterday?” she asked.
“Yes, I have a few things to tell him. I will be down at the office in the city. But I will be home as soon as I can.” He pulled down the sheet to expose her breasts and filled his one hand with one globe. “My god, how I will miss you,” he whispered and leaned over to suck one nipple like a greedy baby.
She sighed and pouted peevishly. “You cannot tease me like this and leave me alone.”
“Mmm,” he turned to lave her other breast with his scorching tongue, “I know it is torture. But I have a small solution.” He straightened. “Want to try?”
“Oh, yes,” she knew she sounded like an eager child. “I love your ideas. What?”
He drew a finger down her torso to her pussy. His fingers tangled in her hair. “Remember you asked me if I had toys?”
She clamped her legs together in anticipation, trapping a few of his fingers against her. “Yes. What do you have?”
He went to the bureau and returned to display three silver balls, strung together by rounded silver ribbon. “From my ancestor, the duke who helped to fund the expedition of Marco Polo. Chinese love balls.”
“Marco Polo, why am I not surprised?” Her eyes, she was certain, danced as she examined his possession. “How do they work?”
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MIA DOLCE~4 1/2 Blue Ribbons from Romance Junkies, at www.jasminejade.com
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