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This blog tends to wander from its main purpose -- updates on my fiction. I do have updates and excerpts of my work. But I also write about my obsessions -- food, friends and pop culture and my weird life in Los Angeles. Enjoy!

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Cleanliness Means Nakedness -- The Bath and Romance Novels

I've been remiss in my posts of late. I hope this delightful excerpt and my musings thereupon make up for the lapse.

The bath is prevelant in romance novels, especially historical romances. That's ironic because, save for ancient times, baths weren't as prevelant as they tend to be in these stories. We've all heard the stories of heavy perfumes being used to mask the musk under all those folds of clothing. And we've all heard about how wild west hookers were popular because they were generally cleaner than their clients (I saw this on the History Channel). But who reads romances for tales of body odor? This is supposed to be an escape!

But drifting from bathing reality has another purpose. It gets characters naked. Skin gets caressed. Hair gets played with. If one character is bathing the other, there just isn't any better foreplay. It's a natural by-product of the bathing, and it's a very loving and intimate act for the couple.

In The Price of Surrender, Sarianna uses a very intimate bath to reward Nikulainen for tackling a very delicate subject. It is also a private time for them to re-connect after a long day. The following is still unedited, so be kind.

They looked at their beautiful daughter for a moment before Nikulainen gently pulled his wife along to their bedroom. He was surprised that neither Hanna nor Jorgen were present. However, the bath had been drawn, the fire stoked and their clothes for the nest day were laid out.

“I told them to go as soon as the bath was drawn,” Sarianna said. “I was unsure how long you would be with Alkarin. Am I forgiven?”

“Yes. He is very pleased that you sent wood to his new friend,” Nikulainen replied. “Have I fulfilled your requirements?”

“Quite well,” Sarianna admitted. “All could sense a change in Laurila’s demeanor. Yet she did not seem upset. What did you say?”

“It does not matter, my love,” he replied pulling her close. “You are pleased and our guest is happy.”

“And I have a boon to bestow. It seems my duties never end,” Sarianna murmured against his throat as they embraced. “But I do not mind.”

“For that I am grateful,” Nikulainen said.

“What is your wish from me?” She asked softly.

“Have me, Sarianna,” Nikulainen sighed. “Just have me, please.”

His beautiful Queen pulled away from him. She stroked his cheek then run a thumb over his lower lip. “Remove your garments and wait for me in the water.”

Nikulainen smiled as he leaned into her touch. Even after six years, her touch still had the power to move him to his core. He still trembled at the thought of her using him for her pleasure.

“Yes, Milady.”

As always, Nikulainen undressed in a flurry of hurried movement. Garments, bracers and boots dropped to the floor in a neat pile. Sarianna laughed undoubtedly because she was thinking of their son’s same bad habit. Her laugher turned to a sigh of appreciation when the leggings dropped to the floor.

“Unbraid your hair, fair King,” Sarianna murmured.

“As you wish, Milady.”

Nikulainen’s hair tumbled over his shoulders. As always, some of the veil fell over his eyes allowing him to covertly watch his wife undress. The water was quite warm and fragrant. He was in up to his shoulders watching her. After six years and two children, Sarianna had grown more beautiful and desirable. Her curves had become fuller though no less firm. The sparkle of youth in her deep blue eyes had turned to a smoldering warmth. The songs heralding the Queen were as impassioned as ever. Nikulainen swore that persons outside of Arinpera sought audiences merely to get a glimpse at her. But she was his.

“What thoughts are behind such a curious look, beloved?” Sarianna asked as she slid into the tub in front of him.

“I think I shall limit the number of foreigners seeking an audience,” he replied.

The Queen laughed. “That again. I would agree. That would keep the number of panting maidens and widows from my eyes, beautiful Nikulainen.”

Many still called him beautiful. As a male, that still dismayed him. Sarianna was the only one who made him believe such sentiments were true. She made him feel that truth with words, and glance and touch. She was doing it then in that tub as she stroked his hair away from his face. Her kisses covered his brow then graced his eyelids and his cheeks.

“I bestow upon you this gift for your gallant service, brave and fair King Nikulainen,” she said softly. “Are you ready?”

“Yes, I am ready.”

Sarianna straddled him impaling herself on his arousal in one move as her mouth possessed his in a hungry kiss. Nikulainen gloried in the feel of her tight heat surrounding him while her tongue cleverly used his mouth. She held his head firmly by the hair while she moved against him. Sarianna had him in such a way that he couldn’t move as she used him for her pleasure. And from the lovely gasps and moans she made between the deep, needy kisses coming from her, Sarianna was getting a great deal of pleasure. However, it seemed to Nikulainen that he was the one getting the better part of their joining. It always seemed that way to him. Even while his beloved was shouting out her pleasure against his mouth, it was Nikulainen who was moved to incredible release as her body tightened around him.

Afterward, Nikulainen had to move his wife with gentle hands to sit across from him. It took some long moments to recover themselves before they could actually bathe. Private baths between the King and Queen took some time to achieve, but Nikulainen’s patience prevailed. Even after the birth of their children, Nikulainen managed to be the one who cared for his wife. Lord Valtias taught him how to heal and that gave him the authority to take over the cherished task. And how he adored caring for her. He loved to wash the heavy silken hair. He loved the way her skin felt under the creamy soap. And he loved her hands on his skin and in his hair. Bathing with Sarianna was almost as powerful as making love to her. That night was no different. As they settled under the blankets that night, he felt their bond had been renewed.

“Hearing the news about your brother has made you very happy,” Sarianna said softly as she rested her head against his chest.

Once again, Nikulainen basked in the singular joy he had seldom been without since first laying eyes upon her. He was pressed against her lovely body under the warmth of the blankets with her scent enveloping him and her heart beating against his. There was naught but the gravest of emergencies that could wrest her from his side. The King was loathe to travel anywhere that meant sleeping apart from his Queen.

“Yes. At the very least, he has come out of a cycle of self pleasuring and re-joined the world,” Nikulainen replied quietly. “His actions have set him on a path toward a reunion. That has made me very happy.”

Sarianna hugged him close. “I hope so, beloved. I know how much you want your family whole.”

“I want everyone to be as happy as we are,” Nikulainen murmured sleepily.

“A fine reason. May that soon be so.”

Thus the bath works for an erotic moment and an intimate and romantic one. So, fair readers, where have you seen the bath used in this way? I'll take novels, films or TV shows as answers. Name a good one and win an advanced reader copy of The Price of Surrender once it's edited (June 1st).

Though this novel can be read on its own, readers should really read The Gift of Surrender first!

Buy it at: http://sybpress.com/titles.htm#Surrender

1 comment:

snowflake said...

Lisa Kelypas's Then Came You contains the very first intimate bath scene I encountered in a romance novel. The heroine has got paint on her body as part of her scandalous costume and of course the hero had to masterfully remove her from the party and back to his house where the bathing scene ensues, and of course before that they had to argue, tussle and engage in a form of energetic activity... *wink*. I've reread it countless times over the intervening years and it still remains for me a very memorable seductive and romantic scene.