I live in Houston, so it’s hot much of the year. Really hot. But what I’ve found is heat can be relative. When I was in New York a few months ago, people were talking about how hot it was (and then it got Houston hot a few days later), but the weather felt mild and comfortable to me. Living in oppressive heat for much of the year has made me inured to it. In fact, what people in the North might think is comfortable, I probably think is cold.
Heat works this way in relationships too. After a few years married couples get used to each other’s “moves,” and start looking for ways to spice things up. That’s why there are so many magazine articles on “Rekindling the Romance.” I Googled that phrase and found 414,000 entries.
I've always wondered why most novels aren’t about married couples. I think the perception is all the excitement is in the meet and the getting to know one another. But if that were true, then we wouldn’t have such wonderful stories of people who have been married for fifty years and are still wildly, passionately in love. And that’s what we imagine for our favorite heroes and heroines, right?
That’s definitely what I imagine as a future for Adrian and Sophia, who are my characters in Lord and Lady Spy. As the book opens, they’ve been married for five years, but neither has put much effort into the marriage. After all, they’re both out there trying to save the world from French domination, and who has time for chitchat over dinner with Napoleon’s latest scheme on one’s mind?
So how does a couple who’s been intimate but not invested reconnect and begin to invest. Well, there’s a lot of heat. Here’s a brief excerpt.
“I-I don’t want to argue with you,” she said, keeping her face averted. “I don’t want to fight anymore.”
It was true. She was weary in body and spirit. She didn’t think she was up to yet another battle of words and will.
She felt Adrian’s solid presence behind her, his heat tickling her back. “Then let’s not fight.”
His fingers traced a lazy path down the back of her neck, and she couldn’t stop a delicious shiver from zinging through her body. Lord, but his hands were so warm. She hadn’t realized she was cold until he’d touched her. Then again, his touch had always been a revelation to her.
His touch was light and feathery—playful—but she knew from experience it could also be intense and demanding. She knew from experience she liked it intense and demanding.
His fingers breezed along her neck, caressing her chin, and moving down her collarbone. She couldn’t stop her eyelids from fluttering closed. Her head wanted to loll back, to find respite against his broad shoulder, but she resisted the impulse.
She knew she should also tell him to stop touching her, to stop the inevitable path of his fingers down her bodice, but her lips were paralyzed. Her body was paralyzed by his fingertips—those tender, teasing, slightly roughened fingertips.
“Do you want this?” His voice rasped in her ear like a cat’s tongue against silky fur. “Do you want me?”
She wanted to say no, to deny all she was feeling, but her body seemed disconnected from her mind. No, that wasn’t quite true. Her flesh was blatantly disregarding her brain’s better judgment.
Adrian’s fingers dipped into her bodice to brush lightly over the swells of her breasts. She felt her flesh heat in response and her legs wobbled.
“Tell me you want me, Sophia.”
Her name. It sounded like a foreign language on his tongue. She couldn’t remember the last time she’d heard him use it in that seductive tone.
“Tell me,” he whispered, his hand cupping her breast. His touch was becoming more intense, more demanding. She knew she wouldn’t be able to resist much longer.
Hmm. Marriage isn't looking quite so dull anymore, is it?