My heroines might be many things (misguided, judgmental, sassy, arrogant, demanding, etc.), but they’re never dumb. As such, I find I can’t write a heroine who doesn’t think about practicing safe sex in the context of a contemporary erotic romance. OK, I have written stories where it’s been forgotten in the heat of the moment, but the fact that there’s some level of realization and perhaps apprehension, is still addressing it in an indirect way. Historicals I think can get away with leaving it out entirely, depending on the time period. Paranormals, urban fantasy, even science fiction are also able to avoid it perhaps because certain diseases have been eradicated or the characters are immune or there’s some other unique element that makes it obsolete. In contemporary romance though, it’s pretty hard to ignore, at least for me. If I read a contemporary romance and it’s not mentioned at all, I can’t help think ‘yeah, but what about…’. Now, don’t get me wrong. This isn’t me preaching anything in my books and the practice of safe sex is not emphasized in my stories at all. In this day and age, ‘taking care of business’ is just part of modern sex. Is it not? Sometimes it’s as basic as ‘he sheathed himself quickly’ or some reference to him taking care of the condom afterwards (while she gets to check out his tight butt LOL). It’s not a big deal and I don’t make it out to be, but I do worry about how this is perceived by readers.
Would the preference be for this to be left out of books completely? It is expected that it be addressed in some fashion? Is it OK if it’s consistent with the story and characters or does it just pull you out of the story too much?
So, tell me. How ‘safe’ do YOU like your sex (in books, of course)?
Ellora’s Cave – June 29, 2010
Desperate and young, Jillian Moore did something she knew would one day come back to bite her in the ass. She’d posed nude. For money. Years later, and on the fast track to a successful career, she’s still haunted by her mistake. She can’t help but wonder when her past will catch up with her.
Samuel Steele is not short on female attention, but the women who warm his bed pale in comparison to the fantasy he’s created of the seductive temptress in the painting hanging prominently in his bedroom. A fantasy that has ruined his once satisfying sex life. When he discovers that her exact likeness works in his building—for him—things get…interesting.
Copyright KAILY HART, 2010
All Rights Reserved, Ellora's Cave Publishing, Inc.
“Well, thank you for your time and for the information. It was very helpful.”
Jillian put the phone down a little harder than she’d intended. It slammed back into the cradle with a sharp crack that more than matched her mood.
It’d been sold, again, three months earlier. Private auction, anonymous bidder and there was no way for her to find out who’d bought it. All she knew for sure was that it’d been a man. It figured. Damn, she’d been close this time. Not that she would have been able to afford to make even one bid herself. It had opened at fifteen thousand and after some fast and furious bidding had finally gone for a cool seventy-five thousand—dollars. Jeez, she’d probably be paying off her student loans for another twenty years and some guy had dropped seventy-five grand on a picture?
Jillian sighed. She wasn’t even sure what she’d do if she could uncover the identity of the new owner. She’d kept telling herself she’d be able to buy it one day once she got established. She’d planned on it, she’d counted on it. It was why she’d tried her damndest to keep track of it for the past ten years. Her only hope now was that it would sit in some private collection, gathering dust and never see the light of day. Yeah, right. She’d never, ever been that lucky. All those years ago, who would have thought? Deep down though she’d known and it had plagued her ever since. When she least expected it, it was going to come back and bite her on the ass. She just knew it.
* * * * *
“Sam? Man, are you even listening to me?”
Sam couldn’t tear his eyes off her. The dark luster of her hair, the curve of her cheek, something about the shape of her body. It just now occurred to him, but he’d seen her around the building before. He’d noticed her legs he remembered, appreciated the toned lengths, the shapely calves and too easily imagined how they’d look wrapped around his waist or up around her ears. And her mouth. God, the things he’d thought about her mouth.
How could I have forgotten that?
As soon as the thought formed he knew the answer. He had a strict hands-off rule at work that he’d never broken, not even in his head. Until her. He’d made himself forget.
He watched her mouth curve into a smile and his dick twitched in immediate response. Something flared low and sharp in his gut. It was a sensation he didn’t think he’d ever felt before, at least without some form of specific and intentional stimulation.
“Who’s that?” he demanded.
He heard rather than saw Duncan’s puzzlement. He motioned across the expanse of the elegant lobby. “The woman there. Slim, dark hair, black suit. Talking to the blonde.”
“I thought you didn’t fuck around with the staff?”
Sam’s balls tightened in a rush. The explicit image he got was shocking. Not just because it was of her—on her knees in front of him while he fucked her from behind—but because he hadn’t been able to censor it, or control his body’s reaction to it. Sam shot him a glare. He was in no mood to be trifled with.
Duncan cleared his throat. “Ah, sorry, I think her name’s Jennifer, something like that. She works in Finance. Or maybe it’s Legal.”
“Jillian?” he managed to choke out. “Could her name be Jillian?”
“Last time I checked you were head of Human Resources, Duncan.”
“Jesus, Sam, we have over four thousand employees, two thousand in this building alone. I can’t personally keep track of all of them. I haven’t worked with her directly. She’s probably—”
“Find out. I want her file on my desk in ten minutes.”
“What’s got into you?”
Sam took a deep breath. “Schedule a meeting with her.”
“Yeah, with me.”
“You don’t know where she works or what she does in your company, but you want a meeting with her? Why?”
Sam felt the impatience he’d tried to contain roar through him. He wasn’t used to having his orders questioned and he sure as hell wasn’t used to explaining himself to anyone.
“Because I’m the fucking boss and I said so.”