I enjoy writing bad sex.
I don’t mean sex that isn’t fulfilling for the people involved or rape—and hopefully not bad sex scenes, either, although I’ll let my readers be the judge. I mean scenes that don’t play out like something out of a porn flick.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for a steamy read that makes me glad I splurged for a Kindle, but there’s something about characters muddling through when things don’t go according to plan that’s really rewarding.
I wouldn’t be writing romance or erotic romance if I didn’t appreciate the fantasy of a good book. I like writing stories that tear me out of the mundane, whether they’re sci-fi romps or MMA tournaments set in present-day Chicago. But fantasy alone can’t sustain fiction. Even the most out-there title featuring vampires and fae on Mars will still anchor its plot somehow. We need the familiar to make sense of the strange and untested. Some of us look for characters whose background we can relate to. Others look for familiar settings.
Me, I’m a fan of blundering sex scenes.
I’m not entirely sure why, but the best way I can explain it is this: characters are only revealed through the ways they cope with the monkey wrenches (and other heavy objects) writers throw at them. A pregnancy scare can force a male character to face the consequences of his libertine ways. A choice between two suitors can tell us something about the heroine’s aspirations. Break-ups and how characters cope with separations offer a glimpse into the nature of their feelings or their mental health.
Sex scenes serve the same purpose. Beyond titillation, they’re there to show characters at their most intimate, exploring boundaries or shattering taboos, essentially evolving and coming into their own. And yes, a sex scene lives or dies depending on how exciting it is for the reader—after all, no one wants to go through pages and pages of clinical descriptions in a romance novel or slog through prose so purple no one’s sure which body part goes where. But character development is as important as the choreography, if not more so.
When sex goes wrong in real life, it’s not the end of the world. I have fond memories of elbows and knees flying, or falling off beds, or uncontrollable fits of giggling when no giggling should occur. Feelings can and do get hurt. Doubts crop up. Relationships may suffer. Sexuality is so personal and the pressure to rise to the occasion—forgive the pun—so great that unintentionally going off-script affects how we see each other and ourselves. How we cope tells us something about the relationship we’re in, whether that be a one-night stand or a long term commitment.
In my latest title, Twice Upon a Blue Moon, the recipe for sizzling sexy times is all there: an experienced dominant, a submissive who knows exactly what she’s getting into. A playroom with all the trimmings. Sure, there are insecurities on both sides and Dylan is already involved in an unconventional friends-with-benefits arrangement with best friend Ward, but mutual desire and shared passion should be enough to smooth those out.
Yet in one of their first bedroom scenes, Dylan and Hazel find themselves grappling with false starts, misunderstandings, and second thoughts. Hazel may be familiar with Dylan’s ways and excited by the prospect of having his undivided attention, but the baggage she brings to the relationship doesn’t magically evaporate in the bedroom. Their blossoming affair soon hinges on how the pair copes with minor and not so minor disappointments.
Men may not be queuing outside Hazel’s door to take Dylan’s place, but entering into a relationship with two dominant men is a leap she’d have to be very brave to take…
Twice Upon a Blue Moon is the first installment of the Surface Tension trilogy, a contemporary, BDSM ménage from Totally Bound.
Blurb for Twice Upon a Blue Moon:
This is book one in the Surface Tension serial, see the full serial listing here
Some affairs are like playing with fire, but knowing you’ll get burned is no reason to throw the game.
When her best friend doesn’t show up after a no-strings date with a man she met in a fetish club, Hazel is duty-bound to fetch her from what could be a sticky situation. She doesn’t expect to find her friend’s date so attractive—or so unflappably cool. Not that it matters. Hazel has been burned before and she knows to stay away from handsome men who are patently out of her league, especially when they’re involved with her one and only friend.
Tesla-driving, suit-wearing Dylan more than fits the bill. But every barb Hazel throws him makes him rise to the challenge, and he doesn’t want her to find a way to say no. But not only does Dylan have his own playroom and a sound grip on the S&M lifestyle, he’s also a man of many secrets. Dylan sees a place for Hazel in his bed, but what he wants is more than a one-night stand.
As she acclimates to the idea that Dylan may not be entirely straight or entirely single, Hazel soon finds herself caught between two dominant men whose bond seems to balance on a knife’s point.
Reader Advisory: This book contains scenes of BDSM.
Excerpt from Twice Upon a Blue Moon:
She heard the order and clamped down on the raging, aching bruise inside her. She raised her gaze to his. “I’m a hot mess.”
“Do you need a break?”
“No, just—tell me what I did wrong?” She reasoned that it was safe to ask now that Dylan was with her, holding her.
He pressed a kiss to her temple. “Nothing. Here. Do you want to sit—?”
Hazel shook her head, resisting when he made to pull her up. The underfloor heating made it comfortable to stay where she was. “What did you want to hear?”
“An answer—a real answer would have been nice,” Dylan said, smiling crookedly. “Sorry. I didn’t mean to make you freak out.”
You think that was a freak-out? Hazel blew out a throaty laugh. “Don’t flatter yourself.”
Dylan wasn’t so easily persuaded. “Sure you don’t want to take a break?”
“I want to do this—with you.” She slid a hand over his thigh, the soft wool of his slacks bunching up beneath her fingers. “Please?”
He considered the request for a long beat, the wrinkle between his eyebrows spelling out his hesitation. As soon as he raised his gaze to hers, Hazel knew she’d won.
“Straight answers from now on.”
She nodded, already slipping back into the familiar routine of command and compliance. The tight pull of Dylan’s hand in her hair helped in that regard. She went down a little deeper, tucking her heels and settling her racing heartbeat. It felt good to stop fighting.
Dylan gave her a few breaths to get herself under control, then tugged her to her feet. This time she went, rocking a little on wobbly legs.
“On the swing.”
It was a welcome directive. Hazel oriented herself toward the steel frame nailed into the floor and gripped the metal chains on either side. A broad strip of leather drooped loosely from the frame. It swayed as she turned and gingerly dropped her weight back. She tamped down a flash of worry at the thought of bringing the whole contraption down beneath her.
Dylan was waiting. She’d delayed long enough.
About Helena Maeve:
Helena Maeve has always been globe trotter with a fondness for adventure, but only recently has she started putting to paper the many stories she’s collected in her excursions. When she isn’t writing erotic romance novels, she can usually be found in an airport or on a plane, furiously penning in her trusty little notebook.
Enter Totally Bound’s April blog tour competition for the chance to win any eBook of your choice, not including boxsets or anthologies.