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Three HQN Authors and Three Sexy Heroes
Harlequin is known for sexy alpha heroes who are tamed by the love of a good woman. Today, Harlequin authors Laura Kaye, Leia Rice and Stephanie Draven are here to tell us how they make the transition with their heroes from lover to love.
When a heroine meets a hero, sparks sometimes fly, but what did you do in your stories to keep that fire burning?
Stephanie Draven: In the Fever and the Fury, sparks literally fly whenever my hero and heroine come together because he’s an immortal phoenix, who has a habit of setting everything on fire whenever he feels like it. But the sexual chemistry actually burns slowly. It isn’t a naked chest or flirtation or even a grope that sends my heroine spiralling down into sexual pleasure. It’s a simple kiss on her hand. She’s a fury of Greek myth, an avenger, and no one has ever touched her with gentleness before. It’s her undoing. But what makes Luke Lazaros, ex-soldier on the run, so sexy is his ability to burn away the fury’s layers of protection, one right after the other. He’s an officer and a man used to beying obeyed. He’s a hero who keeps coming up with new boundaries to push, new ways to scandalize a heroine, new lines to cross...a hero who doesn’t like to hear the word no. Even once Luke has fallen deeply in love, the heroine and the reader are left wondering what depraved acts he has in store for her next...
Laura Kaye:In the Service of the King starts with a feeding ritual between an ancient vampire warrior king and a consenting young human woman. What keeps the sparks flying once they meet is the erotic nature of the act they’re both planning to partake in and their conflicting agendas (his: to keep as distant as possible to insure the ritual can’t identify her as a possible mate; hers: to do whatever she can to lure his interest, because she believes an in with the king and his warriors is the path to redeeming her sister’s murder). When Shayla’s plan unintentionally begins to work in the feeding chamber, Kael reacts badly and throws her out before the ritual is completed. I love the moment in a story when the hero completely screws up, and this is that moment for Kael. And then the question is, did he make a mistake? Will she give him a second chance? Can he let down his walls enough to see what she could be to him? Plus, in a paranormal, there’s always the revealing of the world that helps keep the reader interested and the spark building, and that’s true in this story, too.
Leia Rice: I previously mentioned that I love to explore sexual acts which don’t actually involve sexual intercourse, and this is mostly because it keeps the tension present without having to go straight to the sex. The tension is what keeps the fire going between the characters, and I hate to intensify that to a climax too soon without letting them explore each other first. In The Revolutionary Mistress, Mariette is often taunted by hands and mouths before she ever gets to do the deed with whatever partner she’s sleeping with at the time. It’s a sweet seduction, and it’s that seduction that drives forward the passion and fire of the characters.
What doesn’t your heroine know about your hero that will make him sexier to her even after they’ve made a commitment to one another?
Laura Kaye: Despite being one of a small cadre of humans who know about and have formed relationships with vampires, Shayla’s still only on a need-to-know-basis. Plus, since her only expected role was to feed the king’s appetites, once something more develops between them, she’s in completely new waters. She knows little about his powers and absolutely nothing about what happens when a vampire mates, so there’s quite a bit about Kael she learns in those moments that makes him even sexier than he already was. And the mating was a complete surprise even to me--it’s possibly one of the most erotic scenes I’ve ever written and I can’t wait for readers’ reactions to it. And, because you’re in Shayla’s point of view for most of it, you get to discover what a mating entails right alongside her. I have to say, I’m pretty freaking excited about it!
Leia Rice: Mariette makes a commitment to Rene, and in turn, to his agenda in the French Revolution. She didn’t play a part in it beforehand, but due to her infatuation with her knight in shining armor, she has no choice but to plunge into the mayhem while keeping both Rene and a nobleman complacent. Rene’s secret passion for justice in this war is what draws Mariette to him, even if she doesn’t realize what does exactly for the Revolution.
Stephanie Draven: As a law-and-order fury, bent on dispensing justice, Phaedra doesn’t really know much about sexual intimacy. Then she meets the phoenix and he opens a whole new world to her. What she doesn’t know about him--or at least what she hasn’t yet connected the dots about--is that Luke’s military training made him the kind of man who has a plan of attack for everything. He’s rich and bored and disillusioned and conquering Phaedra is going to be a constant source of pleasure for him. He’s figured out that she’s turned on by embarrassment, by shame, by doing things that she thinks she shouldn’t be allowed to do. He’s going to exploit that weapon mercilessly and she’s going to enjoy every minute of it.
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