EDITOR'S WARNING: the following contains explicit language and sexual details.
Contrary to popular belief, we romance writers don't thrive on "purple prose." Allow me to whet your appetite with the words many of us find irksome:
Manroots. Saucy breasts. Nubbins. Laving tongues. (Tongues are okay, mind you. We're just tired of laving tongues.)
As readers, we know what works for us and what doesn't. If the characters are intriguing and the story wonderful, we'll pass off the occasional turgid staff and honey-sweet love juices as minor irritants. But do we know what works--and doesn't--in our own writing? Do we recognize our histrionic prose, worn-out cliches, and silly gimmicks?
Take heed, all ye who aspire to write a love scene, lest ye fall into the fathomless pit of purple, as I did one dark and stormy night.
ELLEN, AVENGER OF MAIDENS
"No," Ellen protested, but Bryce's huge hands went to her neckline, fondling the soft bulges of breast exposed above it.
"You want this as much as I do." His voice, a dark rasp, promised darker things to come. "Why else would you lure me to this barren, rocky outcrop?"
He ripped away her bodice. (Yippee!)
"Bryce!" Her objection came out a plea. Under his heated gaze, her saucy breasts swelled and overflowed the tight corset.
"Ah, such tender love apples." He lowered his mouth to the swollen, rosy tips.
"No." Her voice went faint. She gasped as his tongue laved her nipples into taut, round nubbins, fueling her desire against her formidable will. Giggle. (Oh, sorry. That was me.)
"Mmm," he murmured. His hands swept away the remains of her clothing and sought the soft moistness between her thighs. "You're ready for me, my love."
She whimpered pitifully and arched against his caressing hand. His fingers found the pulsing center of her desire, circling lightly, then as her hips undulated, harder. She clutched his head to her breast and Bryce laughed triumphantly.
Somehow (??) his breeches fell away and Ellen had her first sight of Bryce's fabled manroot. (Aawwkk!)
"Oh, protect me, all you Saints," she breathed.
His turgid, throbbing member probed at her slick, honeyed folds as she wondered vaguely, how ever would he fit? Then she remembered her mission. "No!" she cried again, but peeked between their quivering bodies just before he thrust his steel rod hard into her, um, heated depths.
"Ahhhh. Yes! I mean, no--ooohhh, yes!"
He took her with wild abandon, inserting part A--er, his turgid staff--into part B--I mean, her silken sheath--over and over with the force of a battering ram. (Eeyow!)
His lips moved from her mouth to her breasts to her navel. His tongue ravaged that erotic orifice, matching the pace of his pounding hips. She raked her fingernails across his writhing back, wondering how he folded himself that way.
"You want me!" he growled into her navel. "You're mine, now."
"Yes!" Her head lolled. Mindless with need, she didn't notice when it crashed against a nearby boulder. (Mindless, indeed!)
Their screams of release soared heavenward. Bryce collapsed. Ellen screamed again as his weight bore her tender flesh into a knife-edged stone. She felt the nip of a crawly thing and shuddered.
"Patience, sweet fruit tart. Wait but thirty seconds; I'll pluck your fresh fruit and fill you once more," he murmured against her ear. In her other ear, a mosquito whined.
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