Tuesday, March 5, 2013

A Hopeless Romantic

I have a confession to make – I’m a hopeless romantic. I realize this is an unusual thing for a guy to admit but it’s true. I like all aspects of romance and I’m a pushover for a romantic comedy with a happy ending. I’ve even been known to choke up when the couple gets together by the fade-out, especially when it looked as though they wouldn’t. If you think I’m kidding, catch me at the end of The Ugly Truth or Sleepless in Seattle. Just have the Kleenex handy.

I have fun writing the relationship aspects of a story and exploring the different ways people get together. I’m interested in the discovery phase, where two people who don’t seem to have much in common discover that they actually do. Naturally, being a writer of erotic romance I enjoy crafting the sex scenes, but I like making it real, versus something quick and dirty between two near-strangers. Those encounters are okay, too, in the right setting, but the challenge is keeping it sensual and realistic.

I’ve always been a fan of the “opposites attract” theory and don’t usually write in the “love at first sight” vein. I broke that rule with one story, though called The Sweet Distraction. Here’s how it went:

The door opened and a young woman approached the table. She gave Vito Pasquale a hug.

“Mr. Sullivan, I hope you don’t mind that I asked my daughter to join us,” he said. “Francesca, this is Mr. Sullivan.”

George was instantly dumbstruck by the Italian beauty that stood before him. Francesca was in her late twenties, five-foot-six and perfectly proportioned with olive skin that boasted a natural tan. She had a button of a nose perched under a pair of almond-shaped hazel eyes. Her mane of dark brown hair with a slight curl cascaded past her shoulders and came to rest on her bare upper chest, encased by a low-cut top that showed enough cleavage. Several strands of hair partially eclipsed her left eye, adding a degree of sensuality. He smiled and extended his hand. “My pleasure.”

Francesca delicately shook his hand while her eyes did a quick yet thorough scan of his face. Her gaze moved south and her smile broadened slightly as she ogled his torso. Her eyes traveled north again and locked onto his. Between her visual feeling up of his body and the sensuous glow that emanated from her eyes, George felt himself getting mentally aroused. He hoped she wouldn’t look below his waist and notice that she was having a physical effect on him as well.

What the hell have I gotten myself into?

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Flirting scenes are also fun to write, especially with two characters that are committed to each other. Showing that they’re keeping the flame aglow is a natural progression in any relationship. This is from the interracial romantic thriller Never Look Back:

Nick’s daydreaming was interrupted by the sound of feet descending the stairs. Felicia planted a kiss on his cheek then perched naked on the stool next to his. Nick’s eyes lustily traveled from top to bottom, taking in her trim physique and long brown hair. The gold ankle bracelet with her name on it was the only thing adorning her body and contrasted nicely with her bronzed skin. And the best thing of all, the one that gets me up every morning.

She caught his look, smiled then spoke in her West Indies accent. “You gonna keep starin’ at me like that, at least get me a cup of coffee for my trouble.”

Nick poured another mug then set it front of her. He gestured at the rain. “This is what they call a soft day in Ireland. What do you call it on Barbados?”

“Typical. What you doin’ up so early?”

“The storm woke me.”

“I always liked the rain, hearin’ it bounce off the roof. Makes me sleep like a baby.”

Nick eyed her again. “A very beautiful baby.”

Felicia gave him a coy look. “So early in the mornin’?”

“Can’t help it. You just bring out the honesty in me.”

She sipped her coffee. “What we do today with all this rain?”

“It’ll pass in a couple of hours, but if you’re bored, I’m sure we could come up with something to kill time.”

“You never quit, do you?”

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Sometimes it’s fun to use the “I know I shouldn’t get involved with you but I can’t help it” scenario. This is from the romantic mystery, Lido Key:

Vic entered The Daiquiri Deck in Siesta Key Village and scanned the crowd. He wasn’t actively looking for a hook-up after a day of beachcombing but when he locked eyes with the blonde beauty across the bar there was no escape.

Vic moved to the stool next to hers, drawn in like a marlin hooked by a determined fisherman. “Excuse me, miss, but I’m new in town. Could you please direct me to your house?”

She began with a chuckle that escalated into full-blown laughter then she playfully smacked his forearm. “That’s so lame, it’s cute!”

“Thank you.”

Her eyes traveled up and down his torso. “I don’t think I’ve seen you around here before, have I?” she asked in a low, smoky voice.

“No. Do I need a reservation to sit here?”

She laughed again. “A smart-ass. I like that quality in a man. Where are you from, smart-ass?”

“A whole other world. Would you like me to provide references before we go any further?”

She placed her hand on his on top of the bar and locked eyes with him. “I don’t think that’ll be necessary, but since we’re going to be friends I think I should call you something more formal than smart-ass.”

“Are we going to be friends?”

“Unless you think you already have enough of them.”

“You can never have enough friends. Why don’t you call me Blake?”

“Is that your real name?”

“No, my real name is Vic. I just use Blake to fool people. What should I call you besides totally hot?”

“I like that, but let’s go with Ariel.”

“Pretty name.”

“Thank you. I’m rather attached to it.” She massaged his hand. “I should tell you something, Vic. I’m married to a rich older man, we don’t have any kids and we’ve always had separate bedrooms. He doesn’t really notice if I’m not home, since he’s only there long enough to change clothes before he meets his latest girlfriend. He doesn’t ask me any questions and I don’t grill him about where he drops his pants. Does that bother you?”

“One man’s ignorance is another man’s bliss.”

“Ooh, a clever smart-ass. That’s another quality I like.”

“And we’re just getting started.”

                                                                        * * * *

For any skeptics in the crowd, I assure you that romance is not dead. It may have been in hibernation for the winter, but it’s still very much alive.

Tim Smith is an award-winning, bestselling author whose books range from romantic mystery/thrillers to contemporary erotic romance. His website is www.timsmithauthor.com.


Tina Donahue said...

Great excerpts, Tim!

I love movies about romance. I know "He's Just Not That Into You" got awful reviews, but I really liked it. I was rooting for the girl who liked the guy who worked at the bar (can't recall the characters' or the actors' names). When the guy finally 'discovered' he really liked her, I was grinning like a fool and my eyes got teary. *sigh*

Fiona McGier said...

Ooh, more of your books that I must find and read!

I think flirting is the mutual acknowledgement that "it could happen between us", and the momentary wondering of what "it" might be like. Most flirting ends there, especially when you are happily married, as I've been for many years. But I remember many times before I was married when the instantaneous attraction led to flirting led to...well, you know. It was fun while it lasted! And reading about it happening to others is a great way to recapture that fun!

Great excerpts...thanks for sharing.

jean hart stewart said...

Love your sense of humor...that's so hard to write, at least for me. Great excerpts...

Tim Smith said...

Thank you. Tina, I liked that movie, too, and by the time I was at the climax of "Couples Retreat," I was really wondering who would end up with whom! I know it isn't technically a romantic comedy, but I also loved "The Game Plan."

Fiona, there's the lesson - in good relationships, flirting never goes out of style.

Renee Vincent / Gracie Lee Rose said...

As always, I loved your post and the example excerpts you gave as well. I think my favorite one was the banter back and forth between the "smart ass" Vic and Ariel. Great snippets!

Hey Tim, are you going to Lori Foster's this year?

Tim Smith said...

Thanks, Renee. Glad you liked them.

I am registered and paid for Lori Foster's gathering this year.