Some of you may know me from my urban fantasy series, Arcadia Bell. Others may know me from my Roaring Twenties paranormal romance books. Next year, I’ll be releasing my first Young Adult book, THE NIGHT OWLS, which is contemporary romance—nothing supernatural in sight.
All of my books have romance. All of my books have sex. (Yep, even the YA!) And readers often tell me that my romantic scenes are intimate. I think that’s because, much like my characters, they aren’t cookie-cutter. You can’t just do a copy-and-paste on the character names and shift them into another book. My goal is always to write scenes that belong to THAT couple at THAT exact moment in time. However, if I had to pinpoint one singular reason why those scenes work so well, it’s because of humor.
Funny is intelligent. Funny is sexy. I don’t mean broad sitcom-with-a-laugh-track humor, but sharp, subtle wit. Playful banter. Charm. Bawdy jokes at inappropriate times. I’m always, always attracted to people who can make me laugh—or vice versa. I think that’s why even my most serious, damaged characters have senses of humor.
Of course, humor is subjective. So rather than talk about it, I’ll leave you with a snippet from BITTER SPIRITS. Here is Winter, my bootlegger hero with a scarred face, coaxing Aida, a spirit medium, into their first kiss. It’s night, and they are standing on the steps outside a home being built in a ritzy San Francisco neighborhood.
What do you think? Can humor be sexy?
“So you’re saying that you can judge a man’s worth by his kiss?” Winter asked.
Aida hesitated. “I . . . no, I don’t think that’s what I said.”
“That’s what you implied. Would you like me to kiss you, so you can judge my worth?”
“Just because you look handsome in that tuxedo doesn’t mean I want you to kiss me.”
Handsome? She thought he was handsome? Perhaps she was blind, because he knew from all the uneasy stares he tolerated each time he stepped out in public that this couldn’t possibly be true. But he used to be, once, and oh, how he wanted to believe she meant it, so he allowed himself to do so, just for a moment, and climbed one step.
She made a small anxious noise and tried to do the same, but the top step was barricaded by a piece of timber, while his body blocked the descent. The freckled wildcat was trapped on the step above him.
“Don’t come any closer!”
“Are you sure?”
“Of course I’m sure, and that’s final.”
He chuckled. “You said that to Florie about the séance but ended up pinning her to floor.”
“Yes, well . . . I mean it this time. What are you doing?”
“I’m considering kissing you.”
“I really wish you wouldn’t.”
He lowered his face very close to hers and smelled violets again. That drove him a little mad. His breath was coming faster. So was hers; he watched her breasts rise and fall beneath the weight of her coat. “Why not?”
“I’m sure I have a really good reason, but you’re making it awfully hard for me to remember it now.”
He chuckled. She gave him a sheepish smile.
“Maybe you’ll even kiss me back,” he said, becoming greedy.
“I doubt that. But if you insist on trying, what could I do to stop you?”
The heated look she gave him sent a bolt of heat through his already hard cock. Jesus. She was teasing him. For a crazed moment, he wondered if he’d been the one to start this or if she’d manipulated him. Maybe she wasn’t skittish after all.
He leaned in closer. She smelled so good, he worried he might pass out and crack his head open on the sidewalk. He could see the headline in the gossip rags now: Bootlegger Succumbs to Spirit Medium’s Seductive Charms, Makes Idiot of Himself.
“This is what’s going to happen,” he said in a low voice that sounded far surer than he felt. “I’m going to kiss you—just a kiss. I won’t lay a finger on you. And if you find you don’t like it, if you find my worth lacking, you can shove me back down the steps. Deal?”
She answered in a threadbare whisper. “All right.”
It’s the Roaring Twenties in foggy San Francisco. Prohibition is on, inhibitions are low, and dark magic is rolling into town… Archaeologist Lowe Magnusson is packing something everyone wants. The djed amulet, a priceless Egyptian artifact, will fetch Lowe a hefty paycheck from one of San Francisco’s wealthiest. But when the handsome Swede runs into his patron’s uptight daughter, what he once considered easy money becomes maddeningly complicated… Cursed with deadly spirits as her constant companions, curator Hadley Bacall must keep calm to hold her dangerous specters at bay and prevent them from lashing out at anything—or anyone. Trouble is, Lowe is driving her crazy, but her father needs the artifact he’s transporting. While Hadley can feel the amulet’s power, she can’t fathom the destruction—or the desire—it’s about to stir up.
Jenn is giving away winner’s choice of signed copy of BITTER SPIRITS or GRIM SHADOWS
in either paperback OR audiobook (CD) format.
Go Team Romp!
Check out what Team Stomp is talking about over at Rabid Reads with Celia Breslin.