Authors Monica Burns and Emma Wildes are both known for their steamy romances. So, we asked them about their favorite ways to turn up the heat in their novels and which type of smoldering hero they prefer! 

Monica Burns: Hey, Emma! Remember our conversation the other day about the varying levels of heat in romance? I was thinking about it last night, and about what actually makes for a hot book. I’m thinking it’s not the quantity of the sex, but the level of tension between the characters. Although I confess, I do love a great sex scene. For me it’s that sizzle. Of course, the squirm factor works for me too. What works for you when you're reading?

Emma Wildes: Sizzle works for me, too, but I think sizzle is defined in different ways. For me it isn't so much physical as it is dialogue. I like a bit of sarcasm, a little resistance to the romance itself, and a hero who might be in hot pursuit sexually, but not so sure about the big commitment. That being said, I've written books that have just the opposite and the heroine is the unsure one. Both are really sexy, in my opinion.
EW: I really love alphas too ... like your sexy Sheikh Shaheen in Kismet, he's a delicious alpha … I adore those wicked hot-blooded men (you can tell now I write Regency, right?) but I also have a soft spot in my heart for the beta heroes. What are your thoughts, Mon? Which are sexier, dominating alpha heroes, or their more sensitive counterparts?
MB: Alphas, oh my, what’s not to love about alphas? I’m really torn as to which I like more, but if I had to choose, I think I’d have to say I love the alpha males that are tortured in some way. The type of alpha that generally feels unworthy of being loved by anyone. When one these guys are tamed by a strong heroine I love it. Particularly if he can entice the heroine into being naughty with him. Better yet, she entices him. Love that!

MB: But I also want there to be a taut, heated emotional connection between the two of them. I want it to be so hot that they’re burning up inside even if all they’ve done is kiss. You did that extremely well with Nicholas and Caroline in your book An Indecent Proposition. And I think you’re spot on when it comes to dialogue. It generates sexual tension better than any other writing device I know. Speaking of kisses, tell me what kind of a kiss scene you like to read or write?
EW: Okay, I adore the tempestuous kiss. Don't we all? The one the hero can't help. Even beta heroes do that now and again. Impulse over good sense. My absolute favorite. The I-can't-stand-it-I-must-kiss-you kiss. There are others. Seductive kisses, convenient kisses, appropriate kisses ... but nothing like the "inappropriate kiss." That's what I'll call it. I adore the "inappropriate kiss." He does it, or she does it, but they just shouldn't.

Emma Wildes: Since we are talking erotic here, let's address sex scenes. We aren't virgin sex scene authors so tell me, what do you think makes an intimate scene both erotic and yet uniquely intimate?
Monica Burns: You’re right, Emma. The two of us are all about experience when it comes to the sex scenes we pen. Let me think, what makes for an erotic sex scene? Hmm … emotions. I think the most erotically unique scenes are ones that hang solely on the personalities of the book’s characters. I love it when a hero picks up on something about the heroine and uses that knowledge to tantalize and seduce her, whether with words or caresses. It’s that emotional connection that makes me sigh and think that is so romantic.

MB: Speaking of romance, I’ve got a book I need to finish writing. Sex scenes and all. But, I definitely want to finish this conversation after the smoke is done rolling off our keyboards. Sound like a plan?