Ten Things I Love About Sex (Scenes)

A little while back I bitched about my ten least favorite things in romance novel sex scenes—things like nipple scissors and cervical penetration. Now, I tease because I love, and I think most readers of romance take the silliness that occasionally pops up in romance novels with a grain of salt. I heard via the Twitter rumor mill that some people on Facebook used my post as fodder for deriding the romance genre. I can’t confirm this, but obviously that was not my intention when I posted my bitch list.

To be fair, there a lot of really amazing sex scenes in romance. I’m talking about authors who use sex not just to titillate but to show character growth and intimacy in an important way or to push the boundaries of what’s typically considered acceptable in the genre.

So here’s my list of the Big Ten—sex scenes I found compelling, thought-provoking or just plain fun.

Secure your dental dams, here we go:

 

Book Mr Darcy Takes a Wife 10. Mr. Darcy Takes a Wife by Linda Berdoll ( A | BN | K | ARe)

Admit it, you’ve wondered what Darcy was like in bed, haven’t you?

I read this book back when it was The Bar Sinister and I was studying abroad in Germany. Want to know what I remember about Germany?

What Mr. Darcy is like in bed, that’s what.

“Pray, can you bear it, Lizzy? I fear I must have you again.”

Hot damn.

 

 

Book Unbuttoned - Maisey Yates 9. The Silver Creek Cowboys series by Maisey Yates ( A | BN | K | ARe)

Let’s be honest here, sex is often funny. As long as you’re not pointing and laughing, cracking up while getting it on can be a good thing.

If you like characters who banter during sex, look no further. Yates writes sexy-quippy-snarky-giggle sex. Her characters are vulnerable and self-deprecating and often very funny, even during those intimate moments. It's hard to come up with a good excerpt to show this because the tension, both comical and sexual, builds over pages. 

Carly and Lucas in Unbuttoned drive each other crazy. She thinks he's an irresponsible playboy, and he thinks she needs to loosen up. When they finally reach critical mass and wind up in bed, Carly neglects to mention she's a virgin. This is the “aferglow” scene:

“Dammit, Carly,” he breathed, rolling to the side.

The loss of his body over hers made her feel cold. Exposed.

“What?” she asked, staring at the ceiling.

…He put both hands over his face and drew them down. “Why didn't you tell me?”

“That's a very open-ended question. Why didn't I tell you that Pluto isn't considered a planet anymore? Why didn't I tell you that I can believe it's not butter?”

“Why didn't you tell me you were a virgin?”

“Oh…that. I forgot.”

“You forgot?”

“In my defense, your hymen really doesn't do much, so it's easy to kind of let it slip your mind.”

 

 

Book Seven Nights to Forever I cannot even begin to tell you how much chiffon and fabric is exploding all over this cover like a pastel farm exploded 8. Seven Nights to Forever by Evangeline Collins  ( A | BN | K | ARe) (SB Sarah's review: B-)

If you want to read a book that will tear out your guts, stomp on them and then stuff them back into your body BUT LIKE IN A GOOD WAY, this is the book for you. Seven Nights to Forever is probably the most emotionally wrenching romance I’ve read.

The hero is being emotionally abused by his wife, but he can’t leave her. The heroine is a prostitute he hires in a desperate search for affection as well as sex. The sex scenes are so full of bittersweet goodness they’ll make your teeth hurt. Despite the fact that Rose is a prostitute, she and James don't make love intiially. Their night together is chaste, far more about intimacy and comfort than sex.

But above all, it had felt so good to hold her, to have the soft, light weight of her body pressed against his. To have her small hand tight in his. To have the sweet, subtle scent of her fill his every breath. It had been too long since he had simply held a woman. Before his marriage, he would never have considered such a simple act a luxury. But after three years of famine, he had soaked up Rose's presence as if she were a precious drop of rain in the desert.

So they haven't even had sex yet and I've been soundly kicked in the feels.

 

 

Book So tough to tame a woman with her back against a guy smiling at him 7. Anything by Victoria Dahl

Because her heroines masturbate. Okay, maybe not all her heroines (I haven’t read all her books yet), but some of them do. And I appreciate a heroine who isn’t a stranger to her dewy petals of delight when she first meets the hero.

In this except from So Tough to Tame ( A | BN | K | ARe), the heroine, Charlie, lives in the apartment next to the hero, Walker. The share a bathroom wall and one night she's taking a bath when she hears him in the shower, groaning. She assumes he's masturbating which really turns her on. This is a solo sex scene that's as steamy as when Walker and Charlie do hook up:

Charlie slipped a hand between her legs. She was already wet, slippery despite the water. She bit her lip to keep from crying out at the pleasure, but that didn't stop the feeling. It didn't stop her thighs from clenching or her hips from jumping. Her other hand toyed with her hard nipple, pinching and teasing it as she stroked herself.

She wished she could watch him. God, she'd love to see him as he jerked off, one hand braced against the shower wall as water sluiced down his back.

 

Book Burn - a red plume of smoke 6. Burn by Maya Banks ( A | BN | K | ARe)

Banks made my last list because of my irritation with three-ways where the dudes do not touch (she’s not the only one guilty of that, obviously). She’s also on this list because she writes really hot, steamy awesome sex in general. Go read Rush.

Do it right now.

Go on. I’ll wait.

Okay?

I just listened to Burn on audio and aside from the narrator sounding disturbingly like Keanu Reeves (Whoa! Josie!) I enjoyed it. One thing I liked is that the heroine isn’t able to orgasm from penetration alone, and the hero, Ash, doesn't get all asshurt about it. He also doesn't magically make her come with his mighty wang of lovin'. There's nothing wrong with Josie, so there's nothing for him to “fix.”

Color flooded her cheeks and suffused her body, making it delectably pink. “I've never been able to come from just penetration.”

He lowered himself, coming to rest on his forearms so his face was just above hers, their mouths precariously close.

“A lot of women can't come without clitoral stimulation,” he said gently. “Doesn't mean there's anything wrong with you. Furthermore, even if it was an oddity, you don't ever hesitate to tell me what you need in bed. Got it? I can't please you if I don't know what turns you on and what doesn't. And I want to see you pleased because it makes me happy.”

There’s a lot statistics out there about the elusiveness of the vaginal orgasm vs the clitoral orgasm. In my opinion, the vaginal orgasm in current romances are like the simultaneous orgasms in Old Skools. I tend to look at both with squinty eyes.

It’s nice that Banks went there so Josie could…you know…get there.

 

Book An Affair Before Christmas - a woman in a red gown with white hair piled high on her head and a red mask over her eyes 5. An Affair Before Christmas by Eloisa James ( A | BN | K | ARe)

Full disclosure, this book didn’t really work for me. I love James, but this one was a ‘meh’ in my book.

That said, she addresses sex in historicals in new and refreshing ways. Ever wonder how a historical heroine could get hot and bothered while wearing 80 pounds of skirts and a corset? Yeah, me too. In this book, Poppy, the heroine, doesn’t really enjoy sex because she’s encumbered by the trappings of the day. She has a giant, powdered Marie Antoinette bouffant hairdo for fuck’s sake. She’s lying there thinking “Christ, my hair itches” while they’re getting it on.

Here Fletch bathes Poppy, and starts to realize what she sacrifices for the idea of beauty. Because she has that crazy bouffant, it takes a couple of hours to wash her hair at night.

“A couple of hours!” Fletch stopped trying to get his fingers through the snarls of hair. “You're wasting a couple of hours every night on this. And what about the nights I when I came to your bed–you would stay up for two more hours washing your hair?”

Poppy blinked up at him. Wet rat tails hung over her eyes. “Sometimes when I'm very tired, I almost fall asleep, but I cannot sleep with powder in my hair. It starts to itch horribly after a day. On a bad day I can absolutely crazed by supper time. It's hard to sit still.”

Fletch stared down at her. “Poppy,” he said slowly, “would you say that your head was itching when we were making love?”

She went still for a second and then, “Only sometimes.” She sounded like a guilty little girl. He stared down at her head feeling as if dawn had just broken over his head.

I personally thought that Poppy should have squirreled a cookie or two away in that massive ‘do, so while the duke was going to town she could at least reach up and sneak a quick snack. Instead she cuts off all her hair. Pixie cuts of the world unite!

Now I’m waiting for the book where the heroine unlaces her corset a little so she can fart. Admit it, you’ve thought about it too.

 

Book Outlander 4. Outlander by Diana Gabaldon ( A | BN | K | ARe)

I read this book when I was about 15 or 16. It was amazing, and it also blew my little ol’ mind. If you’ve never read Outlander, stop here and go check it out.

Read it? Spoiler free?

 

 

 

 

 

 

If not, be ye warned, spoilers abound!

Okay, in this book our hero, Jamie, [SPOILER – highlight to read] is raped and has to learn to be intimate with his partner, Claire, again. Now, when I read this it never occurred to me that a hero could be raped. It was the first time I’d read it and I was shocked. I’d read enough Old Skools that I was used to the heroine being raped (either by the hero or the villain or both) and shamefully, I was sort of immune to it. When I read about Jamie’s assault it made me wonder how he could recover, how he could still be the hero. At this point all the heroes I read were sexually experienced and invulnerable. Their epic man-titties were like bronze breastplates, keeping all the hurts of the world at bay.

When Jamie and Claire are intimate again it’s in a sort of PTSD-haze, and it’s raw and wrenching. This book changed the way I thought about sexual assault and about literary heroes.

 

 

Book Escorted

3. Escorted by Claire Kent ( A | BN | K | ARe)

This is a book about a heroine who hires a male prostitute to take her virginity. Yes, there are two prostitution books on this list. I have a Pretty Woman thing.

The thing I liked about this book was Kent shows her characters practicing safe sex. In most contemporaries if there is condom use during intercourse, they hero and heroine don’t practice safe sex during oral sex. Anders, the hero, packs a dental dam, and it doesn’t ruin the scene at all.

She felt him making adjustments farther down the mattress and heard the rustling of what must be the dam. Then she gasped loudly when she felt something slick touch her intimately.

“May I start?” [Anders'] voice came from between her legs.

“Yes.” She clenched her fingers around the edge of the headboard so tightly her knuckles must have whitened. 

Now, I learned about dental dams in high school health class. The teacher, my Phy Ed teacher, was so uncomfortable that he’d just read really fast out of the textbook and skip any words that made him nervous, words like “penis” and “vagina.” The result was a fucked up Mad Libs. All I knew was that a dental dam was placed on the NOUN during NOUN to prevent the contraction of PLURAL NOUN.

I’m willing to suspend some disbelief in terms of safe sex in romance novels, but no way would I have bought a prostitute hero not practicing safe sex. Kudos to Kent for being real.

 

 

Book Once upon a tower 2. Once Upon a Tower by Eloisa James ( A | BN | K | ARe)

Yes, James makes this list twice because it’s my list and YOU ARE NOT THE BOSS OF ME. If you’ve read a lot of deflowering scenes filled with shimmering orgasms and thought “for reals?” then this is the book for you.

Gowan and Edie are virgins on their wedding night, and Edie doesn’t enjoy the sex. In fact that night, and subsequent attempts, hurt her. She fakes her orgasms. When Gowan finds out about this he’s all asshurt about it and hence the conflict.

Edie and Gowan have to learn about each other as people and grow as a couple. Gowan needs to see his wife as a whole person with hopes and dreams, and Edie needs to be honest with her husband. Then the orgasms will come, grasshopper.

James writes some great books about intimacy within marriage, and this is one of the best.

 

 

Book One Final Step 1.One Final Step by Stephanie Doyle ( A | BN | K | ARe)

Doyle has big brass balls (figuratively speaking, of course). It’s like someone handed her a list of things that won’t work in romance, then she sets fire to the list and uses it to light her bad-ass cigar. She addresses two taboo topics in this book: erectile dysfunction and [SPOILER – highlight to read] a hero who is raped in prison.

Yup, her hero pops little blue pills to get it up, and he can't orgasm. And his backstory affects his ability to be intimate with women. And she writes it all without having the heroine and hero sitting in separate bathtubs staring out at a sunset (what the fuck, Cialis? JUST PUT THEM IN THE SAME GODDAMNED BATHTUB).

Doyle fearlessly pushes boundaries, and I commend her.

 

 

The best sex, at least in romance novels, is often infused with emotion, whether it's angst or joy, and it shows the characters in a meaningful way. When it's also hot and reflects the average person's sexual experience without resorting to purple prose? That's golden. So which scenes make you happy? Who do you think writes great sex?

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  1. 1
    blodeuedd says:

    Even in bed, oh sigh Darcy :)

  2. 2
    Rose Lerner says:

    Ruthie Knox! Big Boy has some of my favorite romance sex scenes ever. The roleplaying in that book is full of so much playfulness yet so much emotional weight.

    Also, the sex scenes in Welcome to Temptation—back when I first read that book, it basically changed my expectations of what sex in a romance could be. That scene where he throws her clock at the wall? Amazing!

  3. 3
    Sarita says:

    The line about corsets and farting made me giggle. Because I am, evidently, twelve.
    I’m having trouble remembering specific examples, but my favorite thing is authors managing to keep the characters in character in a sex scene, which I’ve certainly seen done well, but the memory, she is swiss cheese. Much hotter when I can read it and think, yes, that’s what these people would do, and how they would feel.

  4. 4
    Des Livres says:

    I’m waiting for someone to write up the sex scenes for Betty Neels’ books.

  5. 5
    ohhellsyeah says:

    I always like the way that Sherry Thomas uses sex in her novels.  It never feels gratuitious and I always feel like it advances the plot or the emotional arc of the characters in some way. I loathe novels which all the characters do is have the sexy times for 80% of the book.  If you want me to invest in the HEA, the characters need to have a relationship outside of the bedroom too. As far as the prose goes, that it is a matter of option.  She is one of those writers that you either love or hate.

    I also enjoyed the awkward, not awesome sex between two virgins in Courtney Milan’s The Duchess War. It added a level of authenticity and I loved that it was the heroine, and not the hero, that got them going on the right track.

  6. 6
    Miranda says:

    I thought the scene in Jennifer Crusie’s Agnes and the Hitman was really good.

    I also like the various scenes in Lauren Willig’s Pink Carnation and Charlaine Harris Sookie Stackhouse series.

  7. 7
    Charlotte Cotton says:

    One of my favorite books for best sex; is Veils of Silk by Mary Jo Putney. The hero Ian is in the British Army in India, and while on a mission is captured by Ali Pasha and has been in a dungeon for over a year. His eye has been plucked out he has been circumcised by his captures and starved and beaten almost to death. The only thing that kept him alive was his fellow prisoner a Russian spy. When his Russian friend dies he gives him his bible and tells him to take it to his only living relative. The heroine Larissa. They marry, for many reason, but he is impotent and she is afraid of sex.  The love that grows between them is tingly. And the sex scenes are really hot.  I really love this book.  One thing about this book is it is a trilogy. The first two books are about Ian’s sister when she saves him from the dungeon. Which is really amazing too…. The first book is about a man who is after revenge. He was raped as a child by a English Lord and that is rather gut retching too. Rape of children is discussed and honestly makes your skin crawl. As it should. But, lots of happy times too.

  8. 8
    Dora says:

    I liked Escorted for a lot of the reasons you mention, but I found how completely and totally and without end oblivious the heroine was to the hero’s feelings unrealistic because she’s supposed to be this blindingly brilliant romance author, and I also kind of raised an eyebrow that the heroine’s pen name was actually the name of the author who wrote the actual book, so it made all the talk about how amazingly brilliant and funny and wonderful her writing was a little distractingly self-congratulatory.

    I liked The Devil Wears Plaid, by Teresa Medeiros, simply because the hero and heroine kept their personalities during sex. I think a lot of the time during sex scenes characters can lose a lot of what makes them unique and reduce them simply to writhing, moaning bodies with flowery euphemisms. Here, the hero and the heroine retained everything about them. They teased, they chatted, they were generally themselves, and it made everything seem so much more passionate and intimate (in addition to being pretty hot) because they seemed like actual people than just actors having sex.

  9. 9
    Vasha says:

    I credit the short story “Ball Lightning” by Nalo Hopkinson for doing something I hadn’t realized was possible when I read it. It’s pretty much all sex, in the present and flashbacks, about a husband and wife who can’t connect except in bed. During the story they fight and fuck and figure out where they’re going wrong. It’s intense and you get to know them well in spite of the short length. Test of an author’s ability to reveal character through sex scenes when there isn’t much else!

  10. 10
    kkw says:

    Jennifer Crusie.

    And Nora Roberts. I mean, her sex scenes are by definition standard, because she sets the standard, but I am so ok with that.

    I love Eloisa James books as a rule, but her sex scenes can go either way for me. It’s like SEP, and for a lot of the same reasons. Both humor and boundary pushing can go wrong.

    Also great: Ruthie Knox, Julie James, Sherry Thomas, Victoria Dahl, Sarah Morgan, Loretta Chase, Karen Robards, Susan Wiggs…too many to name. Sometimes the sex is hotter, sometimes it’s more loving, sometimes it’s fun, sometimes it’s angsty, but basically, good sex scenes make for good romance novels, and bad sex scenes can kill them*, and hardly anyone anymore writes a romance novel without sex, so…pleased to report there’s a lot of great sex happening.

    *or make you hurt yourself laughing and redeem an otherwise worthless reading experience.

  11. 11
    laj says:

    But Elyse, isn’t the Berdoll book the one where Lizzy is recovering from the birth of twins?
    The one where Darcy has to have her in the park at Pemberley…..even though it’s too soon after Lizzy has given birth to twins!!!

  12. 12
    Deborah says:

    I adore Nora Roberts’ sex scenes, my favs are those between Dora and Jed in Hidden Riches. Also loved Wulfric and Christine in Slightly Dangerous, oh and Devil in Winter by Lisa Kleypas. Also loved Burn and the others in the series

  13. 13
    Faellie says:

    The first sex scene between the hero and heroine in Flowers From the Storm is memorably wonderful, where Christian seduces Maddy in the tower bedroom at the castle.

    Best sex scene on film: Kyle and Sarah in The Terminator.

  14. 14
    E. Jamie says:

    I love sex scenes that draw you in to the emotions of both characters along with what is physically happening. Paullina Simons writes some of the hottest angsty passionate sex I’ve ever read in her Bronze Horseman series. (SUCH a fangirl for that series! Mmm…Alexander…) I think Diana Gabladon’s Outlander series depicts the best ‘married sex’ between Jamie and Claire! Mmmm…..Jamie….

  15. 15
    LML says:

    @Des Livres   Interesting thought.  “I’m so glad we’re married.” Sighs a character at the end of one of Neels’ books.

  16. 16
    LauraL says:

    One of my friends and I were talking about the “getting busy” scenes in romance novels recently. We were in a public place after all. ;) She doesn’t care for them and puts the blame on more sex scenes in romance novels quite squarely on the Fifty Shades of Gray phenomenon. I have not recommended Elle Kennedy to her. LOL

    Personally, I’m all for sex and intimacy scenes, especially when the lovers stay in character and it fits with the plot or moves it along. There is a scene involving a parlor table in Julia Quinn’s When He Was Wicked that is way hot. I am also a fan of Eloisa James and was happy to see two of her books on the list. I think she is one of the best at using “getting busy” in her stories.

  17. 17
    SB Sarah says:

    I have talked about this a few times, but with some books, when the sexxytimes start, the language sometimes changes into mechanical descriptions of what is going where and how, with a few cliches folded in. If I find myself skimming, it’s a bad sign – especially if there’s not any dialogue at all.

    But when I read an author who writes eloquent and evocative sex scenes, especially when the language style doesn’t change, oh, that is the best. Some of my favorite writers of sex scenes are Julie Anne Long and Lisa Kleypas. So good. SO so good. I don’t find myself skimming at all. I should do a side-by-side comparison between scenes I didn’t enjoy and scenes I did to see if I can figure out the difference other than “the language is different.” I’d much rather articulate how it was different if I could.

    @LauraL:

    Personally, I’m all for sex and intimacy scenes, especially when the lovers stay in character and it fits with the plot or moves it along.

    YES. That’s precisely what I mean. It’s not a stopping point of other stuff so the characters can “Now let’s do the sex.”

  18. 18
    Jen says:

    YES TO VICTORIA DAHL! If I look at the whole of her work (I have read all her contemporaries but not all her historicals), I’d say she writes my favorite sex scenes in general. Not every single one is earth shattering, but for overall sexiness she *always* brings it. I love that everyone masturbates—separately and together. Women are confident and knowledgeable about sex (except maybe for the heroine in Bad Boys Do, but that was part of her story arc). Her characters talk dirty, crack jokes, experiment, etc. It’s not erotic romance, but it’s closer to that line than many other romances.

  19. 19
    Stella says:

    I’ll chime in with Sarah.  I think Lisa Kleypas is a master of bringing the intimacy of the characters to the forefront.

    I’d like to add a comment about Eloisa James’ scenes.  Hers stick in my memory because of the descriptions.  She doesn’t sugarcoat the physical reactions the first couple of times the couple are together.  The reader sees not only the emotional evolution of the romance but also the physical romance.  Makes the characters’ romance all the more real for me as a reader. 

    I’d like to add Elizabeth Hoyt and Anna Campbell as wonderful writers of sex scenes.  Plus, Lorraine Heath!

  20. 20
    DeborahD says:

    I love the way sex is handled between Wulfric and Christine in Balogh’s Slightly Dangerous. Also one of my all time favs is Nora Roberts Hidden Riches, sex between Dora and Jed, so good. Also Lisa Kleypas’ Devil in Winter, nicely done. Myra Banks does a great job in Burn and the others in the series

  21. 21

    Great list!

    I agree about Dahl’s books—they are sexy and fun and real. I loved So Tough to Tame, and rereading that snippet totally made me shiver. In a good way. :D

    I also agree with you about Eloisa James; I have read An Affair Before Christmas and loved it, due in great part, I think, to the fact that it is different from what many historicals typically showcase sex between the hero and heroine as. Again, the sex seemed real, if awkward and imperfect, and I liked that! I haven’t read her other book on your list, but I do have it in my TBR pile, so I’m glad it worked for you. :)

    And of course, who could resist Jamie? *sigh*

    Now you’ve grabbed my attention with the others, I’m off to add them to my list . . . and perhaps start one-clicking. Damn you!

    Enjoy,
    TBQ

  22. 22
    Lori says:

    I would like to add another Crusie – Faking It – for when it is not working and she tries to “fake it” and then for when Mathilda is not hiding who she is and can enjoy the sex.

  23. 23
    E. Jamie says:

    Oh goodness, yes! Julia Quinn’s When He Was Wicked is one of my absolute favorite of hers!

    For myself, I want to be completely immersed in the hero and heroine’s journey and I think if you don’t give the reader the experience of these characters in the setting of sexual intimacy, you’re depriving them of the full scope of their journey to their happily ever after. If I can’t see how these two express their love/passion/attraction physically, I’m not invested in the characters and don’t care if they get their HEA. I know there are sweet romances out there, they’re just not my thing because I feel left out of the most fundamental part of these two characters…er…coming together, as it were. *grin* For all I know, they’re all lovey dovey and emotionally drawn to each other and they get their HEA and then the sex off screen may be a disaster of incompatibility. I want to be sure there are fireworks between my hero and heroine and they’re going to have a lifetime of happy sexytimes together after the last page!

  24. 24
    Cordy says:

    “Pray, can you bear it, Lizzy? I fear I must have you again.”

    GASP. Now I have to read this.

    I am starting to think that part of why I read so much historical romance and am consistently meh about contemporary romance is that I really like it when characters are not instantly 90s Cinemax softcore confident and everybody is arching and stroking and it’s just so awesome for everyone. I mean, sex, when you have it when a new partner, is fraught and nervewracking, in addition to being sexy. I think historicals, because they at least pay lip service to ideas of more rigid sexual mores, have more stuff to work with in that area.

    I am currently reading a Lisa Kleypas book (Worth Any Price), and in the opening chapter, the hero, who is a virgin in his mid-20s, visits a brothel and has hot-but-awkward sex with the much-older madam. I really felt like “Yes! Yes! More of this! More of the sex that is emotionally engaging, instead of just an attempt to be Super Hawt!” I really liked how it played with the hero being basically incapacitated by lust and longing, and also his own vulnerability. I understood how intense and overwhelming the experience was for him, you know?

    I wish more sex scenes where like that – that they really involved more about the emotional experience of the person who wants (male or female). I don’t know, maybe that’s too convoluted to explain? I feel like I’m making a mess of it!

    I also, probably for the above reasons, secretly really like sex scenes that don’t actually involve sex. More weirdness and sexual tension, please. A book I liked in this vein was Laura Kinsale’s Seize the Fire, wherein the semi-dastardly hero is dry-mouthed with lust for the heroine, but preserves her virginity in a technical way for many chapters. I like Kinsale in general: I liked the kissing scene on the floor of the hallway in Flowers from the Storm, wherein the heroine describes the sensation of being thoroughly kissed by this man she thinks she ought to resist as “the terrible pleasure”. Yes! More things where the characters are overwhelmed by the sexual encounters they are having.

  25. 25
    Jenn says:

    Mr. Darcy Takes A Wife…

    That book went immediately into my cart on Amazon based purely on one of the reviews that had the words filth and smut in the title… The reviewer was so irate, I had to read it!

  26. 26
    jimthered says:

    It’s far more erotica than romance, but I’d have to go with WHITE ROSE ENSNARED by Juliet Hastings.  In this historical novel from Black Lace Books (“erotic fiction written for women by women”) set during the War of the Roses, you have: heroine Rosamund de Verney, one of those virtuous innocents and virgin brides/widows who has what would today be considered a borderline-fetish for bondage; Geoffrey Lymington, the handsome squire who falls immediately for Rosamund (and vice versa); and Sir Ralph Aycliffe, the boo-hiss kinky villain who wants to conquer Rosamund’s lands and get her in the process.

    So in chapter five, both Rosamund and Geoffrey have been captured by Sir Ralph—and that’s when Hastings pulls out all the tricks.  You have bondage, outfits, multiple men and women (besides the leads), verbal and physical s&m, and everything that will make a reader go “Whoa!”  It’s not emotional (though there are scenes later in the novel dealing with the aftermath), but it’s about as wild a sexual ride as you can get.  (It also highlights the frequency in the Black Lace books that the hero is more emotionally supportive but possibly bland, while the villains are selfish and forceful but a lot more sexually varied.)

  27. 27
    Jessi Gage says:

    I too liked the dental dams. I had never heard of them outside of the field of dentistry before reading ESCORTED. It was eye-opening. And a great book.

  28. 28
    CarrieS says:

    Seconding Courtney Milan – best one IMHO was in The Governess Affair, Jennifer Crusie for being unafraid to write awkward and funny sex, and Zoe Archer Skies of Gold.

  29. 29
    Cordy says:

    @jimthered – just reading your description, I was like “Hmm, the villain sounds much more interesting than the hero”, even before I got to your addendum. That’s interesting! I wonder at why that’s such a frequent theme in books published by that house?

  30. 30
    Mandy says:

    I am a huge fan of Delilah Marvelle. There is something about her sex scenes that are hot.

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