Love Scenes by Gayle Callen

So...did I hook you? Of course, I did!

We're lovers of romance. One of the reasons we enjoy romance novels is seeing how the characters fall in love and what goes on between them when they're alone.

Authors can handle love scenes several ways, of course, from “closing the bedroom door” to graphically writing so much we get flushed just reading it. But, frankly, it's a very difficult thing to write--and not just because we have to forget that our moms will be reading it!

We have to be very careful that our characters aren't too happy immediately after making love. Of course, we know that the sex was good. They're our hero and heroine! But we always have to make sure there's a lot going on emotionally and within the external plot, so that by the next morning, they're rethinking what they did, or seeing it in a different light, and perhaps telling themselves it won't happen again.

Unless it's the end of the book, they can't be happy and in love, or all the tension goes out of the plot. Yet, an author has to be so careful that there's a good reason the characters retreat from each other, not just, “Gee, I shouldn't have done that.”

In my newest book, NEVER TRUST A SCOUNDREL, there's a wager between Daniel and Grace that he can't seduce her; all she has to do is resist for two weeks. During this time, Grace goes from wanting to defeat him to wanting to reform his rakish ways to wanting him to fall in love with her.

When she gives in to his seduction at last, she has the terrible fear that now he will tire of her; that maybe she was just a challenge to him all along, that she was the only one falling in love. I played up her trepidation throughout the story, so that, hopefully, the reader will worry right along with Grace and pray that Daniel doesn't disappoint her.

So...are you happy with the way authors handle plotting their love scenes? If sometimes you're disappointed, tell me why!


Blogger Helen said:

I have just finished your new book and totally loved it I loved the way Daniel and Grace reacted to each other and the right amount of tension was put in I didn't want to put the book down it is a shame I had to go to work otherwise I would have finished it sooner. I loved the bath and carriage scene they were so hot.
I don't think I have ever been dissapointed with the way authors handle the love scenes of course some are better than others some are so hot I am sure the books nearly catch on fire love those ones LOL
Congratulations on a fantastic book I am really looking forward to Christophers story.
Have Fun

6:41 PM  

Anonymous Gayle Callen said:

Thanks, Helen! So glad you liked the book--and the love scenes! Christopher's story (Never Dare a Duke) will hit the shelves in December, so not too long to wait!

6:49 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:


I think perhaps my favorite sorts of love scenes are the ones that take forever to build up to..where the hero/heroine try to resist each other over and over again..for various reasons!

I love it when the love scene finally happens after lots of "teasing"...and then for the man to be the one who feels bad that it actually happened..I like to see the soft side of our hunky heros in romance novels..let's us see that he really wants the hero..for more than one good roll in the hay! The man declaring his undying love while the woman is hesitant!

I really love to see a huge hunky hero cry...cry out of's sexy

9:28 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

oh..I forgot to leave my name!...

Melissa D

9:29 AM  

Anonymous Gayle Callen said:

Melissa, thanks so much for your comments! You're right, it's so fun to have lots of "teasing," but sometimes it can be so hard to do! I, as the author, have to find lots of good believable reasons why they delay the inevitable. They can only be "interrupted" so often! I have to tie the foreplay scenes into a good emotional moment, so we see why they're resisting their desires. And let me tell you, it can be so much fun to do!

And yes, it's neat when the hero declares his love first, isn't it? It almost seems more emotional to me, more surprising. I like when my plot lets it work out that way. But sometimes a character takes over, so you never know...

12:51 PM  

Blogger Shannon said:

Hi Gayle! I definitely agree that the stories which build up the tension, and continue with the conflict after that "magical moment" are the best ones, the page turners. The stories that I will lay awake until the wee hours of the morning reading.
I can't wait to pick up my own copy of Never Trust A Scoundrel. I loved your The Duke in Disguise!
Shannon Robinson

2:56 PM  

Blogger Holly Greenfield said:

Great post topic, Gayle! I think you are spot on. I love the build up to the love scene. W/out the build up what's the point, right? Then the next best thing is the regret. Because no matter how much they say they shouldn't have done it, they would do all over again. My biggest dissappointment is when love scenes happen w/out build up and tension. I need to have them craving each other to give in. And I also need emotion. Lots of emotion. Their hearts have to be in it before their bodies. That's what makes the conflict afterward so great.

3:16 PM  

Anonymous Gayle Callen said:

Shannon, so glad you liked Duke in Disguise! That was a fun book to write. Gotta love governess stories.

Holly, I totally agree about the build-up. That's why I've always been drawn to historicals. Sexual tension is the best. Only once, in a novella, did I have a big foreplay scene in the first chapter. It set up a marriage of convenience, so I had to make it work--but it was hard work! ;)

3:36 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

I love DID as well! A Woman's Innocence, I think, is the perfect example of tension/plot/mixed with the internal wars of passion. I mean the plot was so deap, that the payoff for me was so fabulous when the love scenes played out. It of course helps when I have someone to cheer for like Julia. I think that one was my fav GC book.

Other books, by authors like J.D. Robb, Eloisa James, Lori Foster, Lisa Kleypas (I could go on forever...) also have creative ways to surprise the readers. I am always surprised, happy, and thankfull when authors give us everything we are asking for in so many new ways. The little hints and small meetings b/t the h/h leading up to the big payoff are always my fav's.

~Laura T

6:17 PM  

Anonymous Gayle Callen said:

Ah, thanks, Laura! I'm so glad you liked A Woman's Innocence. That was an interesting book to write, because I made the villain of two books the heroine of the third. I love a challenge! In my Julia Latham books, I've made the villain of the first book into a hero by the third. Secrets of the Knight comes out in September. Maybe helping them overcome their flaws gives the book an added punch.

7:11 AM  

Blogger Erika said:

What a great conversation! Thanks, everyone, for the thoughtful input.

9:54 AM  

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