Everyone has favorite scenes from the books we read – I wanted to share a few of mine, then would love for you to tell me what some of yours are from your favorite romance books.
We begin with Ian MacGregor — he finds his intended’s spinster cousin, Augusta Merrick, in her dressing gown, searching for the bathing chamber. As a conscientious host, he takes it upon himself to see her to her destination…
“Has anyone shown you how to work the taps?”
And from the look on her face, Miss Augusta Merrick would perish of excessive train travel before she’d ask.
“It’s not complicated.” Ian moved into the marble temple to cleanliness and refined English sensibilities and felt Miss Merrick mincing along behind him. “The one on the right is the cold, the one of the left, hot. You start with cold because the boiler can be cranky, and…”
He trailed off, turning both taps only to find someone hadn’t opened the upper valves. In the small confines of the water closet, he had to reach over Miss Merrick’s head—her hair bore the scent of lemon verbena and coal smoke—to open the feeder taps.
The next few moments happened in a series of impressions.
First came the sensation of the door thwacking into Ian from behind. A stout blow more unexpected than painful, but enough to make him stumble forward.
Then, Fiona’s voice, muttering the Gaelic equivalent of “Beg pardon!” followed by a patter of retreating footsteps.
And then, in Ian’s male brain, the woman with the pretty, anxious eyes became the woman who was soft, lush, and still beneath Ian’s much greater weight.
She didn’t push him away. She didn’t even touch him. The sole indication that his weight was any imposition as he flattened her to the wall, that the impropriety of the moment was any imposition, was her closed eyes.
The final impression threatened to part Ian from his reason: her breasts, heaving against his chest. In preparation for her bath, she’d left off her stays, and the feminine abundance pressed against Ian ambushed his wits.
Shrewd, noticing, and astoundingly well endowed.
When he wanted to press closer, Ian pushed himself away with one hand on the wall and made sure both feeder taps were open. “I do beg your pardon, Miss Merrick.”
“A mishap only. I stumbled upon leaving the coach.”
She would recall that, while Ian had thought nothing of it. His damned male parts were thinking at a great rate now, and all because…
He wasn’t sure why, though lengthy deprivation might have something to do with his reaction—and pretty eyes.
“The valves are open, but mind the hot water.”
She nodded, and Ian got the hell out of there before he said something even more stupid.
I added this little exchange as an afterthought, when Madam Editor suggested I needed to get the chemistry between Ian and Augusta burbling earlier in the book. This scene takes place in the first 10 percent of the book, and once it was on the page, I realized Madam Editor had been right.
Before a first kiss, before sexual tension, before anybody goes careening away from home plate in search of more intimate objectives, there must be sexual awareness. This is the scene where Ian becomes aware of Augusta as a woman—a curvaceous lady who doesn’t fit all the conclusions he drew about her based on her “poor relation” appearance.
I like this scene in part because I couldn’t have written it in a Regency. A well fitted out bathing chamber, complete with hot running water, would have been very unusual in 1815. By 1850, though, many of the old country houses had been modernized such that a communal bathing chamber in the guest wing is an acceptable—if unusual— setting. Then too, early train travel was a filthy undertaking, and another aspect of the story out of reach in a Regency setting.
Finally, I enjoyed using the plumbing as a general metaphor for Ian’s plan to marry for money. He’s starting with a cold-hearted motivation, or trying to, though the taps aren’t open and Ian’s going to get nowhere fast with his plan to marry an heiress. Ian’s efforts to open the taps slams him into Augusta’s generous curves (the blow to his awareness/backside being more symbolism), and by the time he leaves his guest, he’s warning her about hot water and trying not to babble.
So there’s a good, unique, period-specific setting, some sizzle, and some symbolism all in fewer than 500 words, so yes, I do like this scene!
What about you – what are some of your favorite scenes in the books you’ve read?
Giveaway – 3 copies of The Bridegroom Wore Plaid to 3 randomly chosen winners, US and Canada only
WINNERS Announced below – congrats!
THE BRIDEGROOM WORE PLAID BY GRACE BURROWES – IN STORES DECEMBER 2012
New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Grace Burrowes keeps winning reader awards for her gorgeously imagined books. If you’re already a fan, you’ll devour her new characters and if you haven’t yet discovered the richly drawn worlds of Grace Burrowes, you’re in for a treat….
His Family or His Heart — One of Them Will Be Betrayed…
Ian MacGregor is wooing a woman who’s wrong for him in every way. As the new Earl of Balfour, though, he must marry an English heiress to repair the family fortunes.
But in his intended’s penniless chaperone, Augusta, Ian is finding everything he’s ever wanted in a wife.
Praise for Grace Burrowes:
“Historical details enrich Burrowes’s intimate and erotic story, but the real stars are her vibrant characters and her masterful ear for dialogue. Burrowes is superb at creating connections that feel honest and real.” —Publishers Weekly, Starred Review
“Memorable heroes. Intelligent, sensual love stories. This author knows what romance readers adore.” —RT Book Reviews, 4 Stars
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Grace Burrowes is a bestselling and award-winning author of historical romances. Her debut, The Heir, was selected as a Publishers Weekly Best Book of the Year for 2010 in the romance category, and Lady Sophie’s Christmas Wish won RT Book Reviews Reviewer’s Choice Award for Best Historical Romance of 2011 and was also nominated for the prestigious RWA RITA award. The author of the bestsellers The Heir, The Soldier and Lady Maggie’s Secret Scandal, Grace is a practicing attorney and lives in rural Maryland. She’ll conclude to the Windham Family Series with Lady Jenny’s story in October 2013, and will begin a new regency series with Darius in April 2013. The next book in Grace’s Scottish Victorian series, Once Upon a Tartan, will be in stores in August 2013. Please visit http://www.graceburrowes.com/ or follow her on Twitter for more information.