Writing Love Scenes
Aaron Paul Lazar
When I first started writing the LeGarde Mystery series in 2001, my daughters were teenagers. I was very careful to imply desire, to hint at bedroom scenes, and to be sure all references to intimate sexual relations were confined to a healthy marriage.
After all, I couldn’t let them think that Dad “thought” like that, or that I blithely wrote about all the things about which I constantly warned them.
Raising girls in the late ’nineties and early in the millennium was not easy. Social pressures abounded. From what I heard, most of my daughters’ classmates lost their virginity in middle school, and if you were one of the few who didn’t have a boyfriend, you were an outcast, a reject who wasn’t worthy of friendship.
As you can well imagine, it drove me nuts.
So I was very careful not to write about things I preached against, and thus my first and even second mystery series were quite wholesome. Not that Gus and Camille had more than a Victorian relationship until they were married. Sure, Gus longed for Camille in a very real and normal fashion. But he respected her past—a sad life with her abusive ex-husband—and he also had trouble ridding himself of his longtime allegiance to his wife Elsbeth, who’d died before the first book was written.
By the time I was working on my third LeGarde book, my star-crossed couple was finally united in marriage, and I wanted to write their honeymoon consummation scene. It was important for me to show Gus’s tenderness and his gentle treatment of his bride. And after all, my fans had been waiting a while for this moment. I had more than a few letters from readers (mostly men), asking when Gus was gonna get the girl, so to speak.
Something funny happened around the time I wrote Mazurka. I realized that my girls were not reading my work, (not much, anyway) nor were they in the least excited about Dad’s writing career, awards, or publishing credits.
No, their lives consisted only of real relationships, school plays, and boys, boys, boys.
How do you think I got this sprinkling of silver on my temples?
As difficult as it was in this phase of their development, it did free me up to write a bit more spontaneously. So I penned the scenes with tasteful romance, including only a few references (again implied) about the actual acts involved.
With a feeling of relief, over time I relaxed and, where it seemed appropriate, included some new scenes for my readers, including a love scene in the shower after Gus and Camille were almost killed in the underground Parisian Catacombs. It was an affirmation-of-life type of scene, and gave me the freedom to begin to experiment writing about sex and lovemaking. This is rather tame in nature, mind you, and since then I’ve graduated to sizzling love scenes that I’ve included in my romantic suspense series (Bittersweet Hollow series, Devil’s Lake , Devil’s Creek, and Devil's Spring and my Paines Creek Beach series, The Seacrest, The Seacroft, and The Seadog.)
Here’s a short scene I inserted into Mazurka just before it went to press. It was a first step in crossing over the “purely wholesome” boundary which I’d put up for myself in earlier years. I hoped to imitate the impressions I’d gained over the years from John D. MacDonald’s writing. I adored his love scenes, and often wanted to see if I could do it, too. I'm sure I’m not even close here, but see what you think.
“The soap and water streamed down her skin, intimate in its contact, curving along her hips and down her thighs to her feet. As we lathered each other, a mad desire to celebrate life consumed me. My lips touched hers. She hesitated for a moment, looked up at me through long, wet lashes, and then kissed me back.
It was different from the first time, almost frantic now. There was no shame in her eyes, no glimmering ghosts of our past. Although some of my injuries ached when we pressed together against the shower wall, the warm, moist coupling washed away the blood and pain.
When it was over, we embraced beneath the spray. Without warning, I choked up. She began to shake and looked at me. I recognized the hot burst of emotion that seared and welled in her eyes.
I fluttered sweet kisses over her mouth so she wouldn’t cry. She circled my waist with her arms, and kissed me back urgently. Dark hair streamed down her back as the water flowed through her sodden curls. She lay her wet face against my shoulder and held me tight.”
In hindsight, this passage is pretty tame, isn’t it? But it felt like a huge leap for me when I “allowed” myself to write more freely.
By the time I’d written many LeGarde Mysteries and three Green Marble Mysteries (featuring Sam and Rachel Moore), I realized no matter how many free copies I’d give my daughters, they just weren’t interested in reading at this time in their lives.
Now they’re all adults with husbands and kids. I knew it was time for me to let loose with whatever I wanted to write. And if they somehow, someday discovered that Dad had thoughts like a real man, well, so be it. (grin)
Here’s a scene from Essentially Yours, book 2 in the Tall Pines Mystery series, where I’m not only writing a romantic scene, but doing it from a woman’s POV. Let me know what you think. It’s definitely spicier than my two previous forays into this realm.
“Unbidden, scenes from our youth tapped at the edge of my mind’s vision. I felt the warm breeze blowing across my bare back while we lay in Sky’s family’s pontoon boat in the middle of Honeoye Lake at midnight. His feathered touch traced my spine; his fingers trailed around my hips and lower. I pictured the blond curly hair on his strong, young chest; the hard body that lay beneath the soft fuzz.
Damn. He’d been amazing. And he’d really cared about how I felt, if I’d been satisfied. I figured I’d been lucky. Most teenage boys rushed to conquer their hill, uncaring of the pain or condition of their lovers’ bodies. And most girls just took it, thinking it was part of the “first time,” anticipated hell.
Yet, Sky had read extensively before he approached me, looking up oriental techniques I’d never heard of. He’d known about special places that make a woman moan in pleasure. Made me moan in pleasure. Focused and careful, he’d done embarrassing things that made me crazy, disappearing beneath the blanket for long spells of time. He’d worked on me until moisture coated all of my tender parts. And he’d waited until I was so ready I didn’t think I could wait another second.”
Since these books were written, I’ve released several love stories and romantic suspense books. These types of novels—while certainly not erotica—allow for much more specific love scenes than a cozy mystery or an adventure story. If you read them, however, be forewarned, they contain explicit content. The “heat level” is about the same sizzle you might find in bestselling contemporary romance stories on the market today.In my humble opinion, there’s room for a little romance in almost every genre. Mysteries, thrillers, suspense, fantasy, and even science fiction can all be spiced up a bit without dropping suspense or departing from the main story. So don’t feel hamstrung when you write your next book. If it fits into your story, give yourself the freedom to explore your characters’ life in the bedroom, too.
Today, in honor of Valentine's Day, I'm featuring a romantic mystery set in the wintry Adirondacks Mountains for 99 cents. Betrayal: a Tall Pines Mystery is book 4 in the series, but they can be enjoyed in any order. ;o)
Marcella Hollister realized a lifetime of hopes and dreams when she was given custody of a child. A cousin of her half-Seneca husband, Quinn, the baby’s mother was murdered in a political plot—and Marcella, who’s never been able to have children of her own, formed an instant bond with little Kimi.
Then a distant relative comes forward to claim Kimi—and Quinn, who Marcella thought understood her pain better than anyone, allows them to take the baby without a fight.
Confused and deeply wounded, Marcella takes off for Tall Pines, their secluded Adirondack cabin. She hopes the peace and natural beauty of the mountains will help clear her head and decide whether to forgive Quinn…or leave him.
But the situation at Tall Pines is anything but peaceful. Her high school lover, Sky, arrives to help out—and Marcella discovers her old feelings may not be as distant as she thought. Worse, a serial killer is stalking young women in the area. And when a teen girl whose mother works with Sky goes missing, Marcella and everyone she cares for wind up dead center in the killer’s sights.
Check out Aaron's books and get a free copy of Devil's Lake at www.lazarbooks.com.
Happy Valentine's Day to all!