Thursday, May 6, 2010

Guest Author: Amber Leigh Williams

Today we have Amber Leigh Williams talking about the steam factor
Uh, I don't know about you all but I'm intrigued! *g*

Take it away, Amber!


I’m feeling wicked so let’s talk heat. Sparks. Fireworks. In romance—life and literary—it’s called sexual chemistry. And my favorite thing about writing romance is molding that chemistry around each individual pair.

Never was it so apparent to me that the tone of sexual tension is different for each individual h/h until I wrote a western romance trilogy. In Blackest Heart (1st Place More Than Magic Novella), A-list actress Stella Ridge returns to Wayback, Texas after a car accident to heal and finds solace in the most unexpected place: the arms of silent cowboy, Judd Black. Because Judd’s character doesn’t communicate with words, I couldn’t rely on banter to fill in the blanks. The tension built out of long, smoldering looks, telling gestures and raw physicality. The chemistry might be unspoken but, boy, is it deadly:

Stella recognized the broad back and thick, black hair. Breathing a sigh of relief, she walked up to Judd. “You all right?” she asked when she was within hearing distance.

His head whirled around, his brows perking up in surprise at the sight of her. As she rounded the bench he was resting on, she saw he was wrapping tape around the hand Jack had tried to rip off.

“That was a tough ride,” she said. She felt like an idiot. Of course, he knew that—better than anyone.

He nodded, dropping his attention back to the tape.

“Here, let me do that,” she said, stepping to him. He didn’t resist the hand that reached out to take his and the roll of medical tape. They were both silent as she wrapped his wrist, palm and thumb tight. Using her teeth to tear the tape, she bent her head down close to his to break it in two. She secured the bandaging and raised her eyes to his.

God, they were gorgeous. She’d never seen eyes that deep or rich. Their multihued depths left her throat bone dry. Her heart raced somewhere between her uvula and chest cavity. “That better?” she asked, voice no more than a hoarse murmur.

He nodded slightly, eyes searching hers. Had she ever noticed how full his lips were? She licked her own and watched his gaze travel down over them.

She sucked in a sharp breath and stood up, taking a step back from him. Jesus, she felt like a horny teenager. She shook her head to clear it. “I just came back to make sure you’re okay.”

His brows quirked up again in surprise. She shoved her hands in her jeans pockets, feeling awkward. “That hand going to be all right?”

She was relieved when his gaze dropped from face to his hand, unable to breathe right when he looked at her. He twisted his wrist around and ran his good hand over his thumb and wrist. She’d never really noticed how thick both were, how dark.

Swallowing hard to wet her throat though her saliva was still missing, words bubbled up on her tongue. She pushed them out on impulse. “Do you want to go to the party with me tonight?”

This time when his gaze rose to hers there was genuine shock on his face. He recovered after a moment, narrowing his eyes.

She shrugged and let out a nervous laugh. “Keefe couldn’t keep a secret to save his life.”

He studied her face for a long moment. As she waited on tenterhooks, her face grew hot. Her palms were slick with sweat…and not from the heat.

Yep, she was definitely reverting back to those unsteady, tempestuous adolescent years.

A smile moved over his mouth, stunning her. Her heart jittered hopefully. Standing, he closed the gap she’d put between them. She wanted to press her mouth over the curved line of his. Body humming from his closeness, she realized breathless inches separated them.

She hadn’t been this hot since her last fever.

Blackest Heart © Amber Leigh Williams

On another note, in Bluest Heart, Stella’s brother Casey Ridge and his heroine, Josie Brusky, brought me back to basics. Let’s face it: a story where one or both of the romantic subjects start out resisting the other is just plain fun for the rest of us. Casey has known so-called “bad girl” Josie is the one for him for some time despite the fact that Josie doesn’t want to darken Wayback’s “good boy” with her sordid past. Problem is, the good boy has never been so sexy. A story is fueled by conflict and Josie’s attraction offset by her resistance to Casey’s charms goes a long way toward building their sexual chemistry:

Josie drove without any idea where to go. That subtle scent of his filled her Jeep, making her dizzy. If she’d had a lick of sense, she could roll down the window and let the muggy air staunch it out.

She took a long drag and held the scent in her lungs. Warmth crawled up her torso. God, she wanted him.

Gravel spit under her tires as she jerked the wheel and turned into the rodeo arena parking lot.

“Whoa!” Casey yelled, gripping the roll bar over his head as the Jeep veered into the grass toward the picnic area. “Where the hell are you going?”

She braked hard under a tree and ground the shifter into park. Unbuckling her seatbelt, she wrested it aside and crawled over the console into his lap, mouth seeking his. Her kiss swallowed his sound of surprise. She couldn’t think. Until the burn he’d lit inside her died out, she just had to kiss him.

It only spread. She deepened the kiss, urgently stroking his tongue with hers. His taste was rare, lovely. Who needed whiskey when you could have Casey Ridge? Her hands snuck under his shirt, stroking the hard muscles over his abdomen. She thrilled in his shiver as her nails trailed teasingly over his chest.

He didn’t fight her. Arms winding around her, he pulled her tight against him. His mouth moved under hers, challenging, daring. She shifted, her boots knocking against the confines of the dash until she straddled him and ground her hips into his. His head dropped back against the headrest on a groan. Managing to push his shirt up over his stomach, she fumbled with the snap of his jeans.

“Whoa,” he said again, this time breathlessly, turning his mouth away from hers. “Whoa, wait a minute.”

“Shut up and kiss me,” she hissed, arching into him again. “Touch me.”

“Not here, Jos,” he said, gripping her wrists. “I won’t do it here.”

She jerked out of his hands and pushed her hair from her face, frustrated. “Why the hell not?”

“I’m not going to do it here in the car,” he explained. “That’s no way to treat a lady.”

“I’m no lady,” she retorted.

His eyes softened and his hand lifted to touch her face. “Yeah, you are. You just don’t want people to know it.”

“Oh, but you do,” she said sourly.

“I know you,” he assured her. He said it the same way he’d spoken earlier. Her heart cried out for that softness, that promise of tender love and care.

Unable to stand how weak it made her feel, she licked her lips, tasting him there. He wasn’t going to get away from her this time. She’d cry if he did, and she never cried. Hand trailing down between them, she gripped the insistent bulge under the fly of his jeans. “So where do you take all your ladies, Casey?”

He blew out a breath, a groan stirring deep in his throat. “I’m driving.”

Bluest Heart © Amber Leigh Williams

The tone changed once again for Bet It On My Heart (voted Best Book of the Week at LASR) with the so-called “playboy of Wayback,” Keefe Ridge, who gets knocked on his fine, denim-clad behind when city-slicker Calli Morlani takes Wayback by storm. Stuck on the range for two weeks, Calli finds the hawt playboy’s flirtation a pleasant distraction and winds up in bed with him in more ways than one. Calli and Keefe are all about playful banter from the onset:

“Are you a gift from God or do they make all the men like you around you?”

“What’re you talking about?” Keefe asked with a chuckle, threading his fingers through hers and pulling her close, navel to navel.

“You ride a horse like a Trojan warrior,” Calli pointed out. “You happen to look like on, too, minus the hat and boots. You’re ninety-nine-point-nine-nine percent charm. And you also happen to be a fabulous dancer.” She tilted her head curiously. “All that’s missing is ‘Great Kisser.’”

He lowered his lips. They brushed hers as he murmured, “God that covered.”

Her eyes drifted to a close while he lingered a breath away, teasing her. That fresh smell of his wrapped her close and warm. “Of course, you do.” Her lips parted under his to accept the full depth of his smoldering kiss. The hands she’d twined at the nape of his neck fell limp on his collar. Her head bowed back into his cupped palm as his tongue danced over hers in firm, languid strokes.

Heart pattering, breath stalling, she hardly noticed the hum that escaped her throat. His hand was trekking down her back, long fingers inciting the skin underneath the zipper of her dress. The song ended, but she didn’t break away from him when applause sounded around them and people began to nudge past them on and off the dance floor. His hands gripped her hips as the kiss intensified.

Good God.

Bet It On My Heart © Amber Leigh Williams

Ah, good times. And see what I mean? Not only is every character unique. The sexual tone melds differently to every story. Going deeper, Stella and Judd have a long build-up, the tension between them coming to a head in what I like to call The Throw-Down scene. *sigh* For Casey and Josie, when we encounter them in Bluest Heart, they’ve been dancing around the fire for some time. It’s no surprise things get hot fast between them and Josie learns once burned, there’s no going back to what was. Especially when Casey begins The Hot Pursuit. *g* On a two-week time clock, Keefe and Calli have no problem going from simmer to boil in a matter of days. The trouble for them is getting that boil to burn out. When it doesn’t, feelings start to get thrown into the unlikely mix and they get Tender In The Hay *wink*

So readers, it’s your turn! Tell me about your favorite romance. What about the tone of sexual tension struck you? Did it factor into why this book stands out for you? Do you like other books with the same tone? Feel free to sound off!

Oh, and the complete Wayback Ridge trilogy is now available from The Wild Rose Press

Thank you, Three Wicked Writers, for letting me share! And Anne, I bow to you for feeding my cowboy eye candy addition with your March 22 post. Nom!

Amber Leigh Williams


Madison Scott said...

Hi, Amber! Thanks for blogging with us today. Glad to have you. Love the book covers. They look really good. Thanks again!

Regina Carlysle said...

Hi Amber! Thanks for being with us today. I actually wrote the very first book for the Wayback Texas Series. Hot Night at the Blue Bug Saloon is mine. :-) It was a fun series, huh?

Anne Rainey said...

Thanks for coming over and hanging with us, Amber. Loved the excerpts! :)

Amber Leigh Williams said...

Madison, thank you! Tamra Westberry, my cover artist, does beautiful work!

Regina, I LOVED Hot Night! And I miss Wayback already : )

Anne, glad I could guest at TWW! So glad you're enjoying the excerpts!

flikchick said...

Hey there Amber, and all. I happened across this blog from a group I'm a member of and I live it!

Amber...omg...I loved those excerpts! SO much can be said without actually saying it, or even touching. That's sexier to me sometimes more than the quick and! How many books in the series? Are there any I/R thats planned for them?



Amber Leigh Williams said...

Hi Ljay, stands for stopping by! I'm so glad you enjoyed the excerpts. Judd is my favorite hero from the trilogy. These three are the only books in the Ridge family saga, but there are plenty of others in the series by different authors. In fact, Regina's HOT NIGHT AT THE BLUE BUG SALOON was the first Wayback book. I recommend it! No IR that I know of, but there are so many, it's hard to keep track :)

Celia Yeary said...

AMBER--thanks for leading me here--it's been a long time since I've pulled up 3 Wicked Writers--Hi, Rita, sweetheart!!
You did a fantastic job with three different men who uniquely showed his feelings-so different. And it's true, men are different, and I truly tire of seeing the same actions and comments from heros in romance novels. There's a world of creativity out there, and you, Amber, have caught it all. I have Rita's first Wayback and Judith's, and one anthology, and I'm waiting until every last Wayback story is out, then, I'll collect those I need. Mine is about number 14, I think. Celia

Debra St. John said...

Hi Amber,

Wow! Fabulous it a little, um, warm in here?!

Amber Leigh Williams said...

Celia, you are so sweet! I recommend your Wayback story, too! It's wonderful :)

Debra, whenever these guys are in the same room, it feels like somebody has bumped up the heat, for me ;)

Stacey Joy Netzel said...

Great examples of the differences in characters and sexual chemistry, Amber. Thanks for sharing.

Amber Leigh Williams said...

Howdy, Stacey! Thanks for stopping by :)

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