Monday, November 30, 2009

Kati Talks Chemistry On The Page

Yesterday I talked about one of my favorite topics, on screen chemistry. But today I want to talk about the characters in books who make us yearn for their HEA.

The author who always comes to mind when I think of sexual tension (an essential ingredient to good H/h chemistry) is Linda Howard. I remember specifically reading Dream Man by her and there's this scene when the couple, who have actually already been intimate, go on a drive. They're in the south, and as he's driving, one of those sultry, southern rainstorms is rolling in. The air heavy with the impending rain, the heroine decides it must be time to tease the hero. She begins touching and gets him practically frothing at the mouth. He breaks land/speed records getting her home and into bed. I remember practically fanning myself as I read the book. What I like about Howard's style is that when she wants to, she can build that tension to a fever pitch, to where I'm screaming in my head, "JUST DO IT ALREADY!"

Another couple who I thought had terrific chemistry are Lillian Bowman and Marcus Westcliff from Lisa Kleypas' It Happened One Autumn. The reader knows almost from their first encounter that the two of them are destined for each other. Mostly because she's a hoyden and he's a man of stature and dignity. You just know that she's going to live to muss up his hair. My favorite scene between them is when he finally kisses her. They're in a spot where they could easily be caught. But they both are swept away by the moment, and sort of sink into the kiss. They pull apart completely rattled and wondering what the heck got into them. It's this marvelous scene and one that made me yearn for them to consummate the relationship.

Or how about Lucas and Sascha from Nalini Singh's Slave to Sensation? Remember when Sascha, a Psy who has had emotion programmed out of her, begins dreaming about Lucas? She doesn't realize that they are mentally connected and he is experiencing her extremely erotic dream right along with her. And she's trying to make everything go the exact way she wants it to, but he's pushing her boundaries, even then, in her dreams, making her go farther than she thought she could. It's heady stuff and definitely what made me fall for Lucas as a favorite hero.

So tell me, which characters do you think have the best chemistry? Who are some of the authors who write terrific sexual tension or chemistry? What are your favorite books with incendiary reactions between the Hero and Heroine?


Anonymous said...

I LOURRVVV sexual tension/chemistry in books. Its the best!
Like I mentioned yesterday the YA book "Perfect Chemistry" by Simone Elkeles was good at that.

Authors who I think excel at chemistry...
-Linda Howard
-LaVyrle Spencer
-Judith McNaught
-J.R. Ward's first 4 books in her Black Dagger Brotherhood series
-Evangeline Anderson
-Lisa Marie Rice
-Virgina Henley
-Lisa Kleypas
-Tami Hoag

These are the authors who have earned lots of space on my Keeper's Book Shelf. These are my standard re-read authors year after year.



Carolyn Crane said...

Hey, great post! I can't wait to read Linda Howard - that car scene sounds fab. I really love the chemistry between characters in Julie James' books, too, and of course Kleypas!

Renee said...

I think dialog goes such a big way in establishing great chemistry. A few couples with chemistry (and snappy dialog) that come to mind:

Kate and Curran in the Ilona Daniels series

Payton and JD & Taylor and Jason in Julie James' books

Blue and Dean in Susan Elizabeth Phillips' Natural Born Charmer

Bridget Locke said...


Nalini Singh writes the best sexual tension hand's down. :)


Judd & Brenna (Caressed by Ice)

Theodore & Linnea (Years by LaVyrle Spencer)

Simon & Annabelle (Secrets of a Summer's Night by Lisa Kleypas)

Haven Travis & Hardy Cates (Blue-Eyed Devil by SK)

Bride & Vane (by Sherrilyn Kenyon...I get her titles screwed up all the time)

Colin & Phoebe from Romancing Mr. Bridgerton by Julia Quinn

I can think of a gazillion more, but these are the ones that stick out in my head. :)

Tracy said...

Great post, Kati. I have to agree with you, Nalini Singh does some great sexual tension/chemistry.

A couple of the ones I've loved are:

Rhage and Mary from Lover Eternal by JR Ward

Adrien English and Jake Riordan from Josh Lanyon's Adrien English mystery series.

Sam Starrett and Alyssa Locke from Suzanne Brockmann's Troubleshooter series.

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