Some like it hot, on WIP Wednesday

Some like their romance hot. Some prefer as few flames as possible and skim over the grubby bits. Some like the warmth so mild that it’s hard to believe the couple are more than just good friends.

Whatever your preference, I’d love for you to share an excerpt that convinces me that your hero and heroine are attracted to one another.

Most of my stories stop at the bedroom door, and even if character development or plot requires a sex scene on the page, I tend to focus on what the couple are feeling rather than what they are doing.

This scene that may or may not end up as part of A Raging Madness is about as explicit as it gets. Ella has just given Alex a great idea about what he can do now that he has left the army.

She heard him shift and drop to the floor, and before she was aware of his intent, he was bending over her. Perhaps he meant to kiss her cheek, but she had turned her face towards the sound of his movement, and his lips dropped on her mouth, paused, and then moulded themselves to hers.

She had been right to be afraid. One touch of his lips and she burned for more, shifting to allow him better access, opening her mouth to welcome his invading tongue. No. Not invading; no conquering assault to batter down her defences, but the long-awaited and cherished advance of a caress that set her aflame, so that she moaned and locked her hands behind his head as if she feared his escape, and he stretched above her on the narrow bed and placed his own hands gently either side of her face.

“Ella,” he said, into her open mouth, and crushed his lips to her again before she could speak, though what would she say? Alex? Yes? Stop?

He was aroused. Though he took most of his weight on his elbows and his knees, still she could feel the length of him poking into her belly. If she shifted, even a little, it would rub the place that burned. Only the cotton of her shift and his shirt kept them apart, and all the good reasons for not lifting both garments out of the way had melted in the heat of his kiss.

Thoughts scattered. She pushed herself up against him, her nipples so hard that the cotton hurt, and it was a good hurt, like the burning he both relieved and heightened as he rubbed his male organ against her, setting her squirming and moaning.

Suddenly he shifted, moving down the bed so he could move her shift sideways down one arm, freeing one breast, and seizing on the nipple with his mouth, his teeth, his tongue.

She moaned again, helpless to keep the sound from escaping, as he used one hand to tease the other nipple, and the other to gather the hem of her shift until her woman’s place was uncovered, and his hand was doing delicious things that narrowed her world to him. To Alex, and his hands and mouth and body, and what was happening to hers.

Until Alex tensed suddenly and raised his head, his hands stilling. Ella suppressed a whimper, caught and subdued the involuntary movement to draw him back, surfaced from the sea of sensation, and finally heard what he had heard. Voices, speaking low. Footsteps. The soft clap of a hand on the roof of the cabin—Jonno’s nightly salute, too soft to wake them but an acknowledgement that they heard more evenings than not.

Jonno and the O’Haras were back from the tavern, and the spell was broken.

She dropped her hands from his shoulders, trying to cover her breast and pull down her hem, blushing furiously in the dark. “I am so sorry, Alex,” she said. Though whether she was sorry to stop or sorry that they had ever started, she had no idea.

After a moment, he pulled away, swinging his legs around so that he sat beside her on the bed.

“I am not that kind of woman,” she said, trying to sound convincing to herself when her whole body was screaming to complete what they had begun.

“Right.” He sounded strained. She could hear him sucking a breath in, then letting it slowly out through his teeth.

“I cannot apologise enough…” Ella began, but Alex interrupted, his voice as courteous as ever, though she could hear the edge in it.
“The fault is mine, Ella. I meant only to salute you for the gift of my future, and I forgot myself. I..” He stopped, and took another deep breath. “I cannot bring myself to apologise. For any impression of disrespect, yes, indeed. I beg your pardon with all my heart if I have offended. But for offending you, not for kissing you.” He stood, and moved away from the bed. She could not make out what he was doing, but he had not returned to his own bed.

“It was everything I have dreamed this age,” he said, almost under his breath. This age? He had been dreaming of kissing her this age?

But she had to correct his misconception. “Each other,” she said.

Whatever he was doing—it sounded as if he was putting on his boots—he stopped. “Each other?”

“We kissed each other,” she explained.

The amusement was back when he replied. “We did, and very nicely too.”

“And we cannot do it again,” Ella warned, hoping her regret was not obvious.

“No, I suppose not. I am going to take a short walk, Ella. I won’t go far, but the cold will be… beneficial.”

He had opened the hatch and was leaving before she spoke again, giving him a gift of words in return for hers.

“It was better than I dreamed.”

His only response was a catch in his step before he continued, but a few minutes later she could hear him begin to whistle as he walked the canal path. It took her only a few bars to recognise the tune, and she smiled in the dark, mouthing the lyrics in time to his whistling.

And I will pledge with mine;
Or leave a kiss but in the cup,
And I’ll not look for wine.
The thirst that from the soul doth rise
Doth ask a drink divine;
But might I of Jove’s nectar sup,
I would not change for thine.


4 thoughts on “Some like it hot, on WIP Wednesday

  1. Well OK, if it’s sauce you want… here’s John and Mary’s wedding night (10 July 1783, if you’d like to celebrate their anniversary… as, erm, I often do). I originally skipped this scene, until one of my beta readers demanded I put it in. There followed the most harrowing day of my life as I desperately tried to stop my novel turning into “50 Shades of Chatham”. Apologies for the length, and also look away if you don’t like a bit of rough and tumble.

    (Also yay, because “The Long Shadow” is finally my proper WIP again!)

    “The bridal bedroom had been carefully prepared. The bed and walls were hung with fresh damask roses, all releasing their heady perfume into the warm evening air. John was there already. He wore nothing but a shirt that hung down to his knees. Mary stared at him for a moment, taking in his long, muscled legs and the triangle of skin visible at the base of his throat. Something shifted, not unpleasantly, at the base of her spine. The sensation intensified when he caught sight of her and smiled.

    ‘Good evening, Lady Chatham,’ he said, and she felt herself blush.

    ‘Good evening, Lord Chatham.’

    John put his candle on the side table and climbed into bed beside her. They faced each other without touching, eyes wide in the semi-darkness, then John reached out gingerly and put his arms around her. They lay like that for a while, accustoming themselves to the sensation of their bodies in such close proximity. Under John’s nightshirt his muscles were tense. Mary realised with a shock that he was as shy of her as she was of him.

    He kissed the top of her head. ‘Nervous?’

    ‘No.’ Mary’s voice came out muffled. After a hesitation she corrected herself, ‘A little.’

    ‘You don’t have to be.’

    She bit her lip, then blurted out, ‘Harriot says you have left a string of broken hearts all over the world.’ [Harriot, of course, being John’s sister]

    ‘Well, I wouldn’t believe everything Harriot says.’ John kissed her again, then gently untied the ribbon holding her cap in place. His touch sent flickers of flame across her skin. He undid her braid and laid out her long, dark hair on the pillow. There were glints of gold in the depths of his eyes; he did not take them off her for a moment as he pulled at the string of her chemise and slipped it off her shoulders.

    He guided her fingers to the buttons of his nightshirt and helped her ease it off him. Her eyes widened at the sight of his dark chest hair and his lips twitched at her obvious astonishment. He smiled reassuringly, brought his mouth down onto hers and rolled her gently onto her back. She let him do it, waiting for him to tell her what to do, tensed for the moment she knew could not be far away.

    He seemed to have lost all trace of his former nervousness; his kisses were firmer, his touch lighter, swifter, more sure. Her body tingled as he cupped her chin then traced a line down her neck, between her breasts, across her stomach and below her hips. Her own fear began to melt away into a riot of sensation. She shuddered and dug her fingers into his skin. He kissed her ears and throat and she followed his lead, amazed at how pleasurable it was, how intoxicating it felt to feel him so close, to smell the sweat and the desire on him.

    The longing at her core focused to a sharp ache, so intense she was almost relieved when he kissed her long and lingeringly, pushed her hair back from her face and said, ‘Ready?’

    She caught her breath, then buried her face into his shoulder and nodded. The fire between her hips overrode her fear, but she still could not help closing her eyes involuntarily when he shifted on top of her. She felt his lips curve as he kissed the corner of her eyelid and eased himself in. She gasped in discomfort, but then felt herself opening inside like a flower, every inch of her body alive with wonder and love.

    They lay entwined for a while after they had finished. The candle had burned down to nothing, and Mary stared up into darkness. This, then, was the end of the journey she had begun on Albemarle Street’s terrace when John had shown her his heart. He was like a child who had yet to find himself, whose destiny had been handed to another. She felt a wave of love and pity for him, and the intensity of it robbed her of breath.”

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