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Tina Donahue discusses Sex and the Erotic Romance

Sex and the Erotic Romance

Readers who are unfamiliar with erotic romance mistakenly believe that the most important element of the story is the physical encounters between the characters. While no erotic author or reader will deny that there are few things as gratifying or pulse pounding as a great sex scene, it’s the journey to that point that makes all the difference in the ultimate impact.

To explain what I mean, recently there was a Calvin Kline Jeans ad where a young woman (nude to the waist) is on a couch kissing one bare-chested young hunk, while another embraces her, and a third lays on the floor asleep as if he’s already had his fun. Titillating? Sure. Shocking? Maybe to some. Gratifying. Hmmm, not so sure.

There’s another ad (can’t recall the advertiser, but I believe it was for life insurance), where a muscular young guy – also bare-chested – is holding an infant in one hand. The baby is curled up and sleeping blissfully while this oh-so-virile guy looks down in wonder. The contrast of the baby to the fully grown man brings a smile because you just know that guy will protect the infant with his life. He’ll do anything for the child. And you know what – that makes him sexy as hell. . .far more so than the good-looking dudes in the CK ad.

And that’s why books with lush sensuality, physical and emotional, are called erotic romance. It’s about the soul-deep connection between two people that precedes the physical gymnastics. It’s the look in the hero’s eyes when he first sees the heroine. How his heart beats wildly. How the world seems to shift for a moment, a warning that his life is about to change and in the best way possible. That’s sexual tension and it’s what brings the most satisfaction when the characters finally do make it to the bedroom.

In my latest novel, Adored, I wanted readers to feel the pull between my characters Danni and Adam, to know the torment of their being apart, and to root for their eventual connection (or reconnection). Here’s the blurb of the story and an excerpt to illustrate what I mean:

Adored – A shameless fantasy come true… When tall, dark and delicious Adam Farrell crosses Danni’s radar at a trade show in Vegas, it’s not lust at first sight. He’s been the star of her wicked fantasies for a while, pleasuring her in acts of domination and submission that leave her breathless. Aching for his masterful touch, believing she’ll never have it, Danni indulges in a public sex act Adam alone witnesses. What follows is a night of wild and unrestrained passion in his powerful arms. It’s only the beginning. An undisclosed business deal has turned Adam from competitor to Danni’s new boss. His hunger for her is absolute and he’ll make her fantasies seem tame as he takes her in ways she never imagined – whenever he wants, wherever he desires. Seduced by Adam’s plan to mix exquisite control with adoration, Danni’s swept into a sensual adventure she can’t resist. Until corporate politics intrude and she learns what Adam’s been hiding to protect her. . .a secret he’s long feared will tear them apart.


Planting his hands on either side of the sink, Adam’s shoulders bunched. He was so hard his teeth hurt, and Danni wasn’t going to be giving him any relief. Damn. How different he’d expected this morning to be. For days, his mind imagined his and Danni’s legs touching beneath the conference table while Roger droned on about the business. He pictured her naked toes sliding up his calf. They’d reach for a pen or printout at the same moment, their fingertips meeting, lingering. Each time she looked at him, her expression would say he owned her. After the meeting, she’d follow him down the hall, obedient to his will. They’d slip into one of the empty offices and he’d bury himself in her snug warmth, making good on his promise to have her where he wanted, when he wanted.

Yeah right. Adam’s head fell forward. He inhaled deeply, trying to relax. Didn’t work. He ran the company’s outlays in his mind. Minutes later, his temples ached from all the figures, but the mental exertion did deflate his cock. Now, if he could just keep it down and find a quick solution to this mess. Cursing Roger and himself, he opened the door and flinched.

Danni’s pale brows lifted slightly. “Hi.”

A moment passed while his heart slowed enough for him to speak. “Hi.” He swallowed and kept his voice down. “This is the men’s room.”

“We need to talk.”

The muscles in Adam’s chest tensed, making it difficult to breathe. Of all the things he wanted to do with her, talking wasn’t on the list. “All right.”

Her composure wavered, as if she’d expected him to stall or refuse. “Not here.” She snuck a look to the left, women’s voices coming from the end of the hall. “Don’t worry, Adam,” she said loudly for the others’ benefit, “I have that data. Come with me, and I’ll show you where it’s stored.”

Reluctantly, he followed her down the hall toward the empty offices on the south side of the building. With each step, her fragrance wafted toward him, driving him wild. The ends of her ashy-blonde hair glided across her shoulders, reminding him of how it fanned over his thighs as she’d sucked his balls in Vegas. Her ass bounced within the confines of her trousers. He looked for the faint line of her panties or thong, until she slowed and went into a corner office.

The moment he was inside, she closed the door and leaned against it, facing him.

Color darkened her cheeks. Her eyes shimmered. Tension filled the air. Never had Adam wanted a woman more, though he didn’t dare make a move.

She regarded him for a long, agonizing moment, as if challenging him to confess.

When he said nothing, she frowned. “Did you know about the acquisition when we were in Vegas?”

His belly twisted at the righteous anger in her voice. “I knew the plans. I wasn’t certain they’d go through.”

“And that’s why you didn’t tell me?”

He stepped closer. She stiffened. He stopped. “I didn’t want the acquisition to color your responses.”

Her brows lifted. “You mean you thought I might pretend I was having a good time after I spilled my guts to you about my fantasies and lousy boyfriends and…” The rest of her words trailed off in a mortified moan.

He struggled for the right thing to say. Shit, he hated to see her like this and all because of what he’d done. “What I meant is…would you have allowed me to touch you if you’d known?”

She turned her face away. Her words came out on a sigh. “I don’t know. Maybe.”

“Because you genuinely wanted me or because I was going to be your new boss?”

Her head jerked to him. She pushed away from the door and approached so quickly, he instinctively stepped back. “You mean would I have slept with you because I wanted to get in good with the boss?”

“No. Would you have thought you had to?”

“No. Now if you’d been Roger? Yeah. He strikes me as a real prick. But I slept with you because I thought you were a nice guy and I genuinely liked and wanted you.”

His cheeks stung at her use of the past tense.

The conflict in the above scene builds and builds until the inevitable happens. And when it does? Magic. And that’s what makes erotic romance sexy.

To purchase Adored, click here.

***Leave a comment or a question to Tina for a chance to win a paperback copy of  her previous Kensington title, Close To Perfect!