Writing With The Stars - Vote For The Love Scene

Best Love Scene

The Votes continue to pour in for Writing With the Stars! We had another record-breaking number of people voting for their favorite contestant to become the next Kensington Brava author. The voting for round four has been counted and for the first time ever we’ve had a tie for second place! That means we’re advancing three people to the final round, as opposed to our usual two. For now it’s time to say goodbye to Dale Mayer (“Tuesday’s Child”). We look forward to hearing more from her in the future. You can keep up with her at www.DaleMayer.com.

For the final three it’s time for round five as they show us their best love scene. Evaluating the contestant entries this month is guest judge Kathe Robin, who says of the entries, “What I like most about a love scene is the sexual tension that builds up before the actual lovemaking. It’s good to know where someone’s hand, mouth, etc. is, but it’s that Dirty Dancing tension or like in Jayne Ann Krentz’s Granite Man where the tension builds for chapters before the consummation that can truly titillate as much as the actual explicit scene. I realize these are short scenes taken out of context and though none of them made me wiggle, they are all well done.”

Voting for round four runs today until February 27th. As with the previous rounds, you can only vote once but are welcome to post as many comments as you’d like on the page below. The winner will be announced in the May issue of RT Book Reviews and at the RT Booklovers Convention in Los Angeles, from April 6th -10th.

So get ready, get set — vote!


If Robin’s name is familiar to you, it’s because she is RT’s senior historical reviewer and historical romance champion. Since the founding of Romantic Times magazine back in 1981, Robin has been letting fellow readers know which historical romances are the best of the bunch each month. And even though she reads dozens of books each month, she remembers each and every story, plot — and of course the authors!




Maeve Greyson

Gilbertsville, KY


Eternity’s Mark (Paranormal)

LOVE SCENE: “Come closer.” Stretching over the side of the tub, Taggart reached for her, ignoring the bar of soap she offered in her outstretched hand. He wasn’t going to miss his chance this time. The woman wanted him. The burning filled her eyes. Passion danced in the darkness of their depths and he smelled the scent of her need.

“I … ” Hannah paused, licking her lips as her gaze raked across the delectable expanse of his sculpted, glistening body. “I don’t want to get wet.”

With a wicked chuckle, Taggart crooked a finger to summon her closer. “I can tell by the look in your eyes, lass. I think it’s a little too late for that.”

Color flamed high on Hannah’s cheeks as her eyes widened with realization. “You know what I mean!”

Taggart chuckled again, leaned forward and hooked his finger into the front of her jeans, tugging her body toward him. His voice rasped deeper as he caressed the curve of her cheek. “Aye, Hannah. I know exactly what ye mean.” Yearning blazed hotter than the fire pits heating the water. He’d grown tired of waiting and the tenets could be damned. “Come to me, Hannah. Let us be done with these games. I’m weary. I’m lonely, and I need ye.”

Hannah wet her lips again as his gaze entrapped her. She’d heard all she needed to hear. His words paired with the eyeful of battle-hardened flesh filled her with liquid fire. She retreated a step, peeled off her shirt and shucked her jeans. Breathe, Hannah. Hannah hugged herself to stop the shaking. The drumming of her heart drowned all other sound. The pounding in her chest choked her. She’d only been with one man before and there hadn’t been anyone since. But lord, she wanted Taggart. She ached to wrap her legs around him and ride. The depth of the water did nothing to hide the fulfillment his body promised. He was right. She’d already soaked her clothes.

And then he stood, scooped her into his arms and cradled her against his slippery chest. Her chilled breasts hardened against his steaming, hot skin as she pressed against him. He settled with her into the hollowed out corner of the tub. She straddled his body, rubbing against his deliciously, hardened shaft.

Taggart cupped her breasts and thumbed her nipples into aching, demanding points. He swallowed Hannah’s moans with a claiming kiss while she writhed upon his lap. Hannah shuddered, clenching him tighter. A glorious ache possessed her body, threatening imminent, mind-reeling explosion. How could he make her come so quick? He wasn’t even inside her yet. She panted against him, ground her hips and locked her legs around him. Dammit. She needed more and she needed it now. “Taggart, you’ve got to take me.”

“Slow down, Maemos. We have all night.” Taggart nibbled his way along the trail of her throat while teasing her nipple with his thumb.

The heat of the water. His prodding erection against her aching nub. Dammit. He didn’t understand. She wanted him inside her now. She grabbed him and attempted to slide down the length of him. “Oh … my … g?,” she hissed with an ecstatic groan. It had been so long. She held her breath while her body struggled to accommodate his size. “Oh yes,” she purred as she buried him to the hilt.

Taggart grabbed her waist and stopped her. “Maemos ma dao! Uthe dina cuma!”

Hannah knew she hadn’t had sex in forever but apparently, this was so damn good she’d lost her ability to understand words. “What did you just say?” Hannah gasped as she flexed her thighs and gyrated her hips again.

With a guttural groan, Taggart cupped her face between his hands and fixed her with a threatening glare. “I spoke Erastaedean! I said, Slow —down — Love — before I come!”

Hannah turned her head, suckled one of his fingers deep into her mouth and pulled his other hand to her breast. Tickling her tongue into the palm of his hand, she smiled as she half-closed her eyes. “You talk too much. I’m not about to gear down this ride.” Raking her fingers down his side, Hannah moaned and rode him hard.

MENTOR REBECCA ZANETTI: The love scene is hot, hot, hot and I didn’t have much to suggest. I just asked for a bit more description of Taggart’s sexy body (as you can see, Maeve added the perfect amount) as well as a bit of a clarification on whether they were in a shower or a tub. The scene is passionate, emotional and truly excellent.

JUDGE’S TAKE: This was a good strong scene and readers get a “feel” for the characters through the dialogue as well as the action. Placing the hero in the bath is always sexy and the author puts it to good use. Her alpha hero, though in control for much of the scene, does lose that control to the heroine, which is empowering for women readers and definitely plays into the “women on top” fantasy. I would have loved it if she said “Taggart, take me” instead of “Taggert, you’ve got to take me” — this would come across as a powerful sexual need on her part. It isn’t easy to talk in complete sentences when you’re really aroused. The only part of the scene that didn’t work was the fact the he uses the same erotic gesture twice “and thumbed her nipple” and later “her nipple with his thumb.” I know he’s far more inventive than this.

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You can find this contestant online at MaeveGreyson.com and MaeveGreyson.Blogspot.com. You can find her mentor, Rebecca Zanetti, at her website, www.rebeccazanetti.com


Diana Quincy

Ashburn, VA


Seducing Charlotte (Historical)

LOVE SCENE: “Do not allow this.” His eyes flared. “Tell me to stop.”

Charlotte ached for him. She shook her head. “I want no pretense between us.”

Abandoning any show of gentlemanly restraint, he ripped her bodice, tearing away the delicate fabric of her shift and the lace of her stays, leaving Charlotte bare breasted to his gaze. Cool air bathed the engorged pink tips of her pale mounds.

A primordial noise escaped Cam. He lifted Charlotte up against the wall and anchored her there. His head came down to ravish her softness. He took one bud into his mouth and toyed with it, suckling her, his teeth skimming the sensitive point.

Heat threatened to incinerate her. Wrapping her legs around Cam’s hips, she welcomed the feel of his hard flesh against her bare thigh. While Cam continued to mouth and tease her breasts, Charlotte clawed at his shirt, anxious to feel the warmth of his skin.

Cam released her, letting her feet slide back to the ground. He tore off his shirt before returning to caress her breasts, their tips slick and glistening from his mouth. He handled them almost reverently, his deft fingers continuing their sensuous assault. Shots of gold flickered in his green eyes when she reached to unfasten his breeches.

She half sobbed with relief when his manhood sprang out, stiff and massive, impossibly ready. Charlotte stroked him with firm, sure strokes, the way he had taught her. Cam closed his eyes and groaned, arching toward her hand.  

He grabbed the skirt of her mangled dress, bunching it around Charlotte’s waist. Then he cupped her buttocks, firm and strong fingers clasped her bare skin. As Cam lifted her, she straddled him again and urged him on.

Her body screamed with anticipation when she felt Cam’s hard arousal breech the core of her femininity. Cam gave a quiet roar, slipping into her with one quick stroke. Charlotte cried out, the fullness of being joined with him banishing the hollow desolation inside of her. Cam thrust into her with a ferocity they both craved. She bucked into him, taking as much of him inside her as she could. Both moved in a frenzy, their bodies quickly finding a matching rhythm.

Cam plundered Charlotte’s mouth, his tongue plunged inside and possessed her completely. His unshaven face abraded hers, stinging Charlotte’s sensitive skin. She relished the sensation, and kissed Cam back hard, intertwining her tongue with his, tasting the lingering brandy.

Cam clutched her as they pounded against each other. They exploded together, a wild and noisy climax, crying out with relief as sensation crashed over them in powerful waves.

They stilled for a moment, panting and intertwined, their bodies slick with perspiration. Charlotte’s body pulsated, her legs quivered from the ferocity of her release.

Still intimately connected, Cam buried his face in Charlotte's neck. “Did I hurt you?” he murmured, this voice thick with remorse.

She shook her head, unable to speak, her eyes burning with unshed tears. Charlotte clasped him to her, both loving and hating him all at once because of what he would do next.

He released her with a tenderness that made her want to weep. Cradling Charlotte’s jaw with warm fingers, Cam brushed a kiss over her lips, this one gentle and sweet. He lingered as if savoring her taste, then stepped back to fasten his breeches.

Charlotte swallowed hard. A useless attempt to ease the strangled feeling in her throat. “Cam, what will you do now?”

Regret glinted his eyes. “You know what I must do. It would be wrong of me to allow more people to die.” Cam reached for his shirt and pulled it on over the lean rippled muscles of his chest. He turned toward the door and hesitated, turning to lock gazes with her. The fine creases around his sun-lit green eyes seemed to have deepened overnight. “But also know this, there will never be another woman for me. I’ve already taken you to matrimony in every way that counts. When you leave me, there will be no other. You are the wife of my heart.”

MENTOR MARY WINE: What a great scene, I love it and hate it because it left me on a cliff … wondering how this couple was ever going to turn their relationship into a happy ever after. Diana painted a vivid picture of scorching passion, the sort that can’t be ignored but also infused with tenderness which told me these two are deeply in love. Well done!

JUDGE’S TAKE: This excerpt harkens back to the ‘80s historical because it has a rough edge to the sex. Perhaps this is because the author set the stage with a sense of urgency for the characters to come together quickly and in great emotional and physical need. There is an underlying power, the kind that rises from the pages enhanced by the rapid-fire dialogue  and “hot” action, but it is the last paragraph that gives the real emotional punch and makes this more than a rougher sex scene as compared to the others in this finalist group. It has a “grab you by the throat and hold your attention” aspect.

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You can find this contestant online at DianaQuincy.Blogspot.com. You can find her mentor, Mary Wine, at her website, www.marywine.com.


Meredith Simmons

Wilson, NC


Indentured Hearts (Historical)

LOVE SCENE: Cassy jerked open the door and dashed into the shed. The dim interior smelled faintly of rotting vegetation, pungent but not offensive. It was, at least, dry.

Anders followed her in from the sluicing rain, leading the still harnessed mare. 

She drifted toward the shadows at the back of the building, taking off her sodden hat and shaking it. The poor, limp thing wiggled in her hand. She wanted to hide in the darkness, she felt such a wreck.

“I’m sorry about your hat,” Anders said softly. “I know it was new.”

Unexpectedly, tears rose to her eyes. “I should have known better than to wear straw on a day like today.” Her skin prickled and she sensed his nearness. Turning slightly, she looked up into his dark eyes. “I wanted to make you proud.” Her lower lip quivered and she caught it in her teeth.

“You always make me proud,” he murmured, his voice husky. He ran a thumb over her bottom lip. Her breath caught when he brought his mouth to hers. His touch was soft, tentative.  Heat raced through her, warming her damp skin. She put her hands on his wet waistcoat for balance. How had she ever thought his lips were thin and stern?

He deepened the kiss. His tongue stroked her lower lip. It seemed natural to relax her lips and allow his tongue to slip in to tickle the sides and roof of her mouth. Cassy had been kissed a few times before, but this was like nothing she’d experienced. The kiss was wondrous, intoxicating. She hadn’t known a kiss could be like this.

Anders straightened, moving his warmth away. “Sorceress,” he muttered.

The loss of his lips was like pain. Sliding her hands up to his neck, Cassy pulled him back down toward her and reclaimed his mouth. She kissed him with enthusiasm, caressing his lips and the velvety texture of his mouth with her tongue. He groaned softly, tightening his arms around her, pulling her flush against his body. 

Breathing became difficult. The solid wall of his chest pressed against her tingling breasts. She remembered what he’d looked like sitting naked near the pond, the symphony of his sculpted muscles. She longed to play her fingers across every polished inch. She rose, rubbing her aching breasts against him. It felt incredible.

Without breaking the kiss, Anders lifted her and settled her back against some burlap sacks leaning against the wall behind them. The bags crackled as he lowered his massive frame to hers. He moved to one side, his weight pinning her, the sensation both frightening and exhilarating.

His lips left hers, moving to kiss the side of her jaw, her ear, and slowly down the column of her neck. Simultaneously, his hands moved over her body, sending tendrils of heat to lodge between her thighs. Her hands copied his movements, roaming, stroking along the broad plain of his shoulders, feeling the muscles bunch and quiver. He trembled at her touch and her hunger grew. She realized, at this moment, she was just as powerful as the man above her.

He brought his head lower, running his warm, silken lips along the tops of her breasts. His hand encircled one of them, his thumb slowly stroking the sensitive tip through her dress. She pressed up into his hand, enjoying the friction, feeling her nipple tighten into a nub. Her soft gasps echoed in the stillness. Her skin burned. 

When he worked one breast free of her bodice, her heart stilled in anticipation. She quivered in his embrace, impatient to feel his mouth on her bare skin.  As if responding to her unvoiced request, Anders gently kissed her breast, running his tongue across the throbbing tip before taking her fully into his warm mouth. It was heaven.

She arched wantonly against him, making strange mewing sounds.

She wanted. Dear God, she wanted something, she wasn’t sure what.

The horse stomped and snorted near the door, rattling the harnesses, the sound rising above the pounding rain. Anders came to his feet in one smooth movement, his expression stunned. His heated gaze swept every inch of her. “Sweet Jesus,” he said.

MENTOR BRONWEN EVANS: I suggested Meredith up the emotional tension by looking at the structure of her sentences and the word choices she made. The first kiss scene flows beautifully and is emotionally satisfying. A job well done.

JUDGE’S TAKE: There’s a tenderness shown at the beginning of this excerpt that sets the stage very nicely for the rest of the scene. The author gives readers a sense of her character motivation before moving on to anything sexual. This is the sweetest and most sensitive of the finalists’ scenes  and touches readers’ emotions on an appealing level. This works well. The author’s juxtaposition of tenderness and sexuality displayed here in simple, straightforward prose is engaging. By allowing the couple to share a heated kiss and then be interrupted readers feel a sexual tension and can anticipate what’s coming. It’s a scene reminiscent of Jodi Thomas.

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You can find this contestant online at MeredithSimmons.com. You can find her mentor, Bronwen Evans, at her website, www.bronwenevans.com.


Voting for the final round of Writing With the Stars is now open. Voting is now closed. The winner will be announced duriing the RT Book Reviews Awards Ceremony on Thursday, April 7, 2011, at the RT Booklovers Convention in Los Angeles, Calif., and in the May issue of RT Book Reviews.



Indentured Hearts

Submitted by Sunnymay on February 15, 2011 - 1:39pm.

The apology and tender caring clearly lead you deep into this sensitive personal scene. The horse gives the
warning company's coming and made me giggle with this interruption at a most inopportune moment. It leaves me begging for what's next after this turn in the action.

Eternity's Mark

Submitted by roxhill on February 15, 2011 - 1:32pm.

Fantastic! The little bit of humor there really did it for me. It made them very real. Keep up the good work.