I Love Me Some Romantic Tension

This week we're talking about our favorite parts of our own writing.  I've loved reading these posts, because it's fun to see if what the authors love about their writing is the same as what I love as a reader.  And so far, it's panning out that way (although I could add a lot more things I love about the Muses' stories).  One of my favorite things about Donna's work is the Texas characters and real-life anecdotes that add humor and a real sense of the community to her stories.  And, I'm always amazed by not just the level of detail in Katherine's books, but the care that goes into selecting just the right detail, the thing that adds more than historical background to a scene, but adds layers of meaning or subtle irony.

Tanner Halston from the upcoming SPIES Book Trailer
For my own writing, I would have to say that my favorite thing is the romantic tension.  It's certainly my favorite part to write.  I love the dance between two characters who are attracted to each other, building until they finally give in to their feelings, that giddy feeling of falling in love despite the complications.

One of my favorite romantic scenes takes place between Brianna and her former nemesis, Austin in GOLD.   Brianna knows that Austin is attracted to her, and she decides to use him to get revenge on her estranged boyfriend.  Turns out Austin is not so easy to seduce:

"What are you doing, Brianna?"

He’s not supposed to ask questions.  He just needs to let me do this.  I close the distance, standing just in front of him, close enough that I could fall into him if I leaned forward.

            “Does it matter?”  I brush my fingertips along his cheek and slide them down his neck until my hand rests on his shoulder.

            His smile is wicked.  “Doesn’t it?”  He covers my hand with his own.  

            I move a step closer, although there’s barely room to do so, until our chests are nearly flush.  His body heat contrasts sharply with the cold air, and I shudder.

            He bends his head toward me.  I lift my chin and close my eyes, waiting.  But he doesn’t kiss me.

            I open my eyes. His lips are right there, less than an inch from mine.  I lean closer, but he puts his other hand on my shoulder and holds me in place.  He doesn’t move away.  If anything, he moves closer.  His chest touches mine, so lightly that I might imagine it.  I want him against me, but he holds me still.  

I bring my free hand to his waist and let my fingers trail down his hip, savoring his swift intake of breath.  His reaction is exactly what I’m after.  

“Kiss me,” I say. 

            His hand at my shoulder still keeps me from stretching up to him, but his head dips lower.  I feel the heat of his breath against my mouth.  I can almost taste him.  “No,” he whispers.

The tension in the scene comes from Austin's barely restrained desire, because as much as he wants Brianna, he doesn't want her this way.  He wants more.

In SPIES AND PREJUDICE, the romantic tension comes from the conflict between the character's hearts and minds.  Berry and Tanner find themselves attracted to each other despite the fact that they don't initially like each other.  It was fun to play with unwanted attraction between two characters who were really fighting against themselves when they thought they were fighting each other:

Berry Fields from the upcoming SPIES Book Trailer

Jason watches the Dead Presidents walk away.  “What were they doing over here?”

I reach for my latte, still sitting in the cardboard container on the wall.  “Hitting on his royal hotness, what else?”

Tanner’s voice is low and warm next to my ear. “You know I can hear you, right? I’m standing right here.”

I clutch the latte to my chest, creating a makeshift shield.  "So you are.  What's the matter? Yogurt not your thing?"

"Something like that."  He starts to smile.  "You think I'm hot?"

"You think you're hot.  There's a difference."  I spin away, heading in the opposite direction even though it's nowhere remotely near my first class.  At least I don't have to see his smile.

And, more recently, in my current work in progress, I play with romantic tension that comes from two characters who want each other, but don't feel like they are good enough for each other:

I can’t remember the last time I wanted something for me.  It’s not like I deserve anything, but God help me, I want to kiss Ten. 
            His eyes fall to my lips, and I know I have him.  My fingers curl in the soft hair at the back of his neck. 

            “Yes,” I whisper.

He leans forward until his lips are nearly on mine.  “Please don’t hate me,” he says against my mouth.  Shifting slightly, he closes the tiny space between us until nothing but our breaths separate us.  His tongue licks against my lower lip so softly, and I let him in, in, in.  
The kiss is controlled and focused.  It’s nice, sexy even, like he knows exactly how to kiss a girl, but it’s too perfect.  All I can think is that I want to break him, to find a way past his practiced kisses to the raw, wild ones he keeps locked up tight. 

So, yes, I admit it.  I'm a sucker for romantic tension.  Deal with it- or just kiss me.


Excellent examples of tension! Sizzles and goosebumps!

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