by Thea Devine
In that first book I had created a situation where the hero was going to take the heroine against her will, even though there had been a fair amount of tension building between them for various reasons that could lead to an explosive sex scene.
But, novice that I was, I kind of got that if my hero forced the heroine in any way, there was nowhere to go with the story. She'd be backed into a corner, with no control, no recourse, no help, totally at his mercy and whatever he chose to do, and there would be nothing but regrets, recriminations and no place for her to go in the aftermath.
Why I chose to have her put her hand between his legs at that crucial juncture is a decision lost in the mists of time. What is important is that as I wrote that scene, I saw that instantly the power shifted. Suddenly they were equals. My heroine (and I) saw she could affect the hero just as much as he could her and in a very potent way. And that was -- they were equals and now the decision to have sex was in her hands, not his.
It changed everything, that scene, and has informed everything I've written since. I set my I set my own ground rules for the erotic component early on: The heroine will always have some control. The hero won't force her or hurt her. They'll be together at the end. They'll be in love or on the cusp of it.
However the crux of all that is something a reader keyed into a long time ago in an on-line discussion -- that is, that my heroes and heroines are always trying to get control over each other. She will not be submissive, and he will not be dominated, and that organic pull and tug drives the plot and the love scenes. They are, as I've often said, going the same way but in opposite directions.
The eroticism of that doesn't necessarily play out in the naming of body parts. It could be a look, a touch, something not said but known, a memory, an acknowledgement, the reader witnessing of moment of pure yearning that seemingly can never be satisfied, or the realization of a love that cannot be. Those moments can be as every bit as erotic as any graphic sex scene.
Giving my heroine control in that first book meant she had some power over the hero which she then used to buffer her lies and further her own plans and schemes. It was nothing I plotted intentionally; it came out of that one scene where, for reasons I'll never remember, I let my heroine take control.
I learned a lot, writing that first book, which was rated "very spicy" by Romantic Times. It set the stage for every love scene I've written since. *
Thea Devine's books defined erotic historical romance for which she was honored as a Romance Pioneer by Romantic Times. Her first book, SHAMELESS DESIRE, was published in 1987. Her 25th novel, THE DARKEST HEART was a June 2011 release from Gallery Books. She's currently working on the sequel. Visit her at http://www.theadevine.com/.