Blending Erotic Romance with Suspense by Tori St. Claire
I’ve been asked this frequently, much to my surprise. You see, I thought it was sort of a given. But as the question popped up here and there, I tried to do a little (key word little!) research on what I sincerely thought was a genre.
Well, color me stupid, there isn’t a genre “erotic romantic suspense”. Needless to say I was quite floored. There are a few of us authors who are writing it, there are a few lists that compile books that fall into the category, but nope, no subgenre called ‘erotic romantic suspense’.
It still doesn’t make complete sense to me. As I look at erotica, and romantic suspense, they are such a splendid pairing. Almost natural. In suspense, be that romantic suspense to thrillers, you have a level of danger, of edgy encounters. You get into the grit of human nature by putting characters through trials that endanger their lives.
In erotica, you get into the grit of human sexuality by putting characters through scenarios that challenge their desires (and sometimes their beliefs).
If you combine the two, you have a world of possibilities. Not to mention, in erotica, we typically see a set of characters who walk on the edge of life. Typical themes involve the ‘bad boy’, the character with a dark secret. The character with even darker needs sexually. We brand this, openly, and it’s referred to in the writing as ‘dark needs’ time and again. The heroine couldn’t possibly accept his darker nature, his darker desires…
In romantic suspense we typically see characters who are somehow associated with law enforcement and have been working with the dregs of society. They have secret pasts, they’ve been places no human being particularly wants to go. They’ve seen things they would rather forget.
And frankly, I imagine they’ve done things that we would only fantasize about as well. Ahem! Cough.
Seriously though, if you have the hero or heroine who’s engaged in the darker aspect of humanity through their chosen form of work, then the darker aspects of sexuality are a natural fit into their lifestyles. And not even so much in the way of BDSM or Ménage, or any set of fetishes. But with the simple fact that these heroes and heroines who are fighting for the ‘right’, are hard-core people. They are raw. Putting all the intensity of the suspense aspect into the writing, building up sexual tension, and then closing the proverbial door on a sweet kiss… it seems very forced to me.
They would want to experience their partner with just as much candid reality, just as much raw truth, as the world that surrounds them.
STRIPPED fit into my ideals very well in the sense that Natalya, my heroine, is entrenched in the dregs of society. She’s been working with the worst, she’s done deeds that make it difficult to look in the mirror… she’s on the edge. Brandon, the hero shares similar past experiences. But though they want each other, if they can’t be together, it only heightens the danger that comes with the surrounding plot. Which adds fireworks to the stolen moments they claim, and another layer of overall suspense.
Which gives an author all kinds of angles to write from, and at least for me, the crafting of the story never becomes boring.
I’m very curious about your thoughts. Why do you think erotic romance and suspense go so well together? Or, do you disagree?
Body of secrets…
As a member of the CIA’s elite, Black Opals, Natalya Trubachev must live a lie, working undercover as the lover of Dmitri, a Russian mob boss. His business is trafficking vulnerable Las Vegas strippers overseas for twisted sex games. Natalya’s business is to blow the ring wide open and bring down Dmitri and his American contacts. But the stakes are raised when she learns that the next target is her own sister Kate, a dancer in the famed club Fantasia. Only now does Natalya realize how personal her mission has become, and how far she’s willing to go to complete it.
Body of lies…
The manager of Fantasia is Brandon Moretti, an undercover detective who keeps a close eye on his girls, and an even closer one on his sinfully sensual hire. For Natalya, working the club could be the break she’s been waiting for. But for Moretti, Natalya is a possible link to a killer. Only he never counted on her being so lethally seductive or so dangerous to get close to. As every forbidden pleasure between them is stripped away, his own secrets threaten their security, but it’s Natalya’s that could destroy them both.
Tori St. Claire grew up writing. Hobby quickly turned into passion, and when she discovered the world of romance as a teen, poems and short stories gave way to full length novels with sexy heroes and heroines waiting to be swept off their feet. She wrote her first romance novel at seventeen.
While that manuscript gathered dust-bunnies beneath the bed, she went on to establish herself as a contemporary, historical, and paranormal author under the pen name, Claire Ashgrove. Her writing, however, skirted a fine line between hot and steamy, and motivated by authors she admired, she pushed her boundaries and made the leap into erotica, using the darker side of human nature and on-the-edge suspense to drive grittier, sexier, stories.
Her erotic romantic suspense novels are searingly sensual experiences that unite passion with true emotion, and the all-consuming tie that binds — love.
Tori can be found at:
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