Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Valentine’s Day. A day for lovers. Romance. Wining and dining.

Whether your sweetie totes home a last-minute bunch of store-bought flowers, or wins your heart with a candlelit dinner, we all want to be remembered on Valentine’s Day.

And, umm, fellas? You out there? Ya’ listenin’?

The bigger the better.

Not cost, mind you.


It’s all about the show, the giving, the open display of affection that makes jealous hearts pitter-pat when you’re the one getting flowers, a Pajama-gram or a Vermont Teddy Bear package at work.

We want it open, lavish and at the workplace, preferably. This shows everybody how great our man is, how much he really cares and just how special we are.

Mm hmm.

For those of us in the real world, this doesn’t happen nearly as often as it should. The fun thing about writing romance is that we have the power in ten little fingers to create a man that finally gets a clue and does it right.

After we redeem him, of course.

Who doesn’t love a good love scene, something rife with emotion that transcends everyday life?

In Fearless, a debut novel by Andrea Wilder who is guest-blogging for us tomorrow, her hunky Scottish hero casts down his sword in favor of life with his wife and family….

Didn’t cost him a cent but meant the world to his wife.

Romance doesn’t have to cost, and doesn’t have to be for show. Here’s a scene from one of my recent waiting-to-be-published novels, done in the hero’s POV:


Alicia forwarded plain, unadorned and somewhat boring dog reports, when what he wanted was to sit her down, gaze into her eyes and see if what he’d dreamt was true or the leftover visions of a fever-racked brain.

Probably the latter, but he felt pretty sure the image he carried from the short minutes they shared at Lahiere’s was old-style Alicia. Did she really give him that ‘come hither’ look, the one that brought him to his knees? Tease him about food and timing?

Not likely. A more likely scenario had his fevered dreams mixed with depressing reality. Perfectly understandable although most disappointing.

He stood and made his way to the window, eyeing the famous Big Apple park, its footprint a stamp of snow-covered green and gray against concrete and stone.

The doorbell sounded. He stiffened, then relaxed. Foster would handle whomever, whatever.

A strange combination of sounds drew his attention toward the foyer. A four-footed sound clackety-clacked across the floor, followed by a huge, “Woof. Woof. Woof.”

Conor stepped forward as a glorious black and tan German Shepherd trotted into the room, head high, ears perked. The dog’s profile stood magnificent, despite short spots marring his thick, wooly coat. “Sarge?”

“Yes, it’s him. And me,” puffed Alicia, unknotting a long scarf from around her neck. “Did someone fail to tell New York that it’s March? Hello? Like they don’t have a calendar handy in this thriving metropolis? Where’s spring when you need it?”

A tiny spark began to burn somewhere in Conor’s belly. He shifted his look from Alicia to the dog and back again. “I can’t believe you’re here.”

Alicia handed off her scarf, hat and coat to a waiting Foster, ran her fingers through a bank of dark auburn curls, and huffed. “We got more than a little tired of waiting for you to come back to Princeton.”

“We?” Conor took a step forward, an eyebrow up.

“Well, him, mostly,” Alicia answered, tugging off gloves. She tossed them onto a sofa table. “I kept telling Sarge you’d be back soon, we’d go through the whole story, each and every morning, didn’t we, fella?” She reached down and patted the dog on the head. “But that’s been my story for weeks, and he got tired of waiting, so...”

“You brought him here.”


“To New York.”

“That is where you live, right?”

Conor nodded and moved closer, near enough to smell the hint of spice in her cologne. “Although I plan to exercise more options in the future.”

“Really?” Alicia copped him a smart aleck look that took him back to that fateful night at Lahiere’s.

“See, I bought this house in Princeton.”

“Our house.”

The spark burned a little brighter.

“And I’ve got this great carpenter who’s agreed to fix things up.”

“Any way I want, right?”

Conor frowned. She wasn’t supposed to be privy to that bit of information. Wait ‘til he got a hold of Jerome Biltman.

“Stop scowling, Jerome didn’t breathe a word, he’s as thickheaded as the rest of you men,” Alicia announced as she closed the distance between them, her footsteps confident. Sarge followed. She ran a hand across his head, the dog’s, not Conor’s. Immediately the pooch relaxed on his haunches, arching his neck, no doubt enjoying her touch, her caress. Conor had the strangest urge to stand in line, see if she’d do the same for him.

Alicia patted the dog, then took one more step. “You owe me.”

“No doubt.” Conor tried to read her expression, see how much was play, how much was passion, but she kept her intentions sheltered in a casually off-hand manner. “How much?”

Alicia angled a look at him. “Hmm?”

“How much were the vet bills?”

“Conor, I’m perfectly capable of taking care of Sarge’s vet bill. Do you have any idea how much you pay me in alimony each month?”

He did, actually. If he weren’t filthy rich, the very thought would cause him undue pain. He winced anyway, hoping for sympathy. “Yes.”

“Then you know money’s not a problem.”

“But...” Conor paused, thinking back. “You said I owe you.”

“Oh, yeah.” This time she looked up. He read her eyes, the look in them, and wondered if he might still beasleep, lost in a dream. “Big time, actually.”

The dog moved to a firm second place on his agenda. “Because?”

“You made me some promises a few weeks back.”

“Oh?” Two could play this game. He moved in, crowding her space, watching emotion swim in her eyes, those beautiful eyes, dark blue with amber specks. Behind her he saw Foster remove his coat from the foyer closet and head for the door. Smart man, that Foster. “About cabinets?”


“And dogs?”

Alicia swept a hand toward Sarge, all soap and water clean, his eyes bright, his body lean but muscled. “Done.”


“See, it’s like this.” She smoothed a slow hand through her hair, letting the curls fall back on her shoulders. “I’ve decided to put my house on the market.”

“You... What?” She wanted to talk real estate at a time like this? Conor hoped he heard wrong.

She nodded. “It’s too big, for one thing.”

“Yes?” Like this was news? The stupid house hadn’t grown in the twelve years she’d been there. Oops, there was that word again, watch it, Conor.

“And I always liked living right in town.”

Conor’s heart went to full pause mode. “Oh?”

“I figured we could board the horses at any one of several fine choices.”


“And who needs two houses?”

“Two?” The import of her words struck him. He looked down at her, his heart expanding that last little bit, wondering if she meant... “What do you need, Leash?”

She stared up, into his eyes, lips parted, her breathing unsteady but her gaze secure. One hand snaked around his neck, pulling him down. “Us,” she whispered as his lips met hers, the touch soft and warm, heady with invitation. “I need us, Conor.”

Somewhere in the back of his head he heard the dog whine, then make the customary three-circle spin before curling up in a ball on the living room rug, ready to wait them out.

Obviously the dog was as smart as the butler.

Alicia and Conor’s story is that of a divorced couple whose romance rekindles after years apart.

So share with us. Show us the love scenes that make you smile, make you yearn. You can post yours or someone else’s work. Show us the warmth and passion inherent in romance. It’s Valentine’s Day, and I’m pretty sure I don’t have a hot date tonight (more’s the pity) so I’ve got plenty of time to chat it up.

Let’s see what you’ve got.



Missy Tippens said...

Pretty amazing. I just started typing this comment (I wrote, great writing, Ruthy). Then I had to go back and see if it was really Ruthy's post. Isn't it funny how I could recognize it without ever looking?

Maybe it was the mention of New York or of a big dog, though. :)

Seriously, it was your voice, Ruthy. You write like you talk in person and online. I hear your voice, your personality. Great job!

Missy (who doesn't have time to post a romantic scene right now. I've got to go grade tests!)

Julie Lessman said...

Ooooooo, Ruthy, what a way to kick off a Valentine's Day!!!! Your scene definitely got me in the mood ... which is tough to do this early in the morning! Love it!!

My favorite romantic scenes tend to be more conflict-oriented ... you know ... they want each other, but can't have it? So here's a scene from A Passion Most Pure that particulary lights my candle:

Collin blinked, and then instinct kicked in with the slow smile. His eyes traveled from her face, down her body, and back up again. Even in the moonlight, he could see her blush. "No," he drawled, "I just thought you wanted me for yourself."

She caught her breath and jerked her robe around her shivering frame. "You are the most egotistical, low, selfish human being ..."

"Well, you might have me on egotistical and low, but lady, on the selfish, I'm afraid you got it all over me."

He heard the soft catch of her breath as her lips parted, the whites of her eyes expanding in shock. "Me? Over you? You must be

Collin chuckled to himself and ambled over to the porch swing to sit, his long legs sprawled out before him. "Yeah, I've had a few, no question about that. But I'm not drunk––at least not too drunk to see things the way they are." He watched her from the shadows of the swing, taking in the way her hair glinted in the moonlight, spilling over her shoulders. Her slight form shivered in her thin robe, which she clutched tightly with pinched fingers.

"And what way are they, exactly?" Her tone was curt.

Collin took his time answering. Never had he derived so much pleasure from rattling a woman before. She was this sweet, demure, little thing whose temper could be tripped faster than flipping a switch. A pretty powder keg, to be sure, righteous and noble until you
lit the spark that made her blow. And then the fun began. He cocked his head sideways to look up, his lips easing into a knowing smile.
"Well, I'm not the one who's keeping her sister from spending time with the man she loves …” He paused for effect, then continued. “Nor am I the one telling Bree Muldoon she's on the path to hell if she, shall we say, spends time with me?" His smile flattened, replaced by intense scrutiny as his eyes pierced hers. "I'm not sure, but it looks to me like one of two things. You either are the most selfish thing around or … "

Her eyelids flickered and her mouth opened slightly, as if she couldn’t breathe.

"You want me for yourself. So which is it? Tell me, Faith O’Connor, have I gotten to ya?" It grated how his heart hammered in his chest whenever she was near, but he truly relished the effect he obviously had on her. He was glad he could get a bit of his own back. She had possessed his thoughts too much of late, and he wanted her to pay. She had no right to interfere—in his relationship with Charity––or in his thoughts. He watched her now, a frail thing shuddering in the wind, all defenses stripped, and fought the urge to jump up and grab her in his arms. He swore softly under his breath. Why did she make him feel this way?

She looked sick standing there, the frigid wind whipping at her hair. Without a word, she moved to the door, then turned to confront him, her back stiff and her face set.

"You know, Collin, I feel sorry for you. You think every woman will collapse under your spell. The charming Collin McGuire, so irresistible to women. Well, you're wrong. Not every woman chooses to do so, at least not this one. I'm looking for someone I can give my heart to and know it will be safe. Someone strong and good and moral. You––you're just bent on your own quest of misguided lust, and I doubt if you will ever be satisfied."

She turned the knob, and in a split second he was there, his face inches from her own. She turned away as if she could smell the liquor on his breath. "Pretty high and mighty, aren't we, Faith O'Connor? I think you're lying. I think I have gotten to you, only ya don't want me to know it. Why don't we just see?"

He pressed her back against the door, his lips muffling her response. He kissed her long and hard until the fight faded away. Only then did his lips leave her mouth to stray the curve of her chin and nip at her earlobe. She moaned, her passion igniting him like no other woman had ever done. He was breathing hard and fast as his lips smothered her neck, and the ecstasy of it all was so staggering, he thought he would lose his mind. What was he doing?

Ruth Logan Herne said...


Such a bad boy!

Love him!

Okay, Jules, you definitely lit the spark there, sweetcakes. And no matter how bad Collin wants people to think he is, I rooted for him from the beginning.


Because I'm Irish?


'Cause you made him believable. His struggle, her struggle, the family dynamics.

Okay, who else has the chutzpah to plug something in?

Come on, guys and gals....

Show us some romance.


Melanie Dickerson said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ruth Logan Herne said...


Beautifully touching scene. Our little Rose...

Marrying the Duke????

Who'd have thought?


Great scene, Mel. Your writing emotes gentility and warmth. Wonderful qualities.

And I can see a strengthening from when I first saw this work 1 1/2 years ago.

Good job. I love people with chutzpah. It takes guts to put stuff out there where other writers and countless unknown lurkers might see it.

Did I scare you?

Naw. You're a pretty tough cookie.


Ya done good, kid.


Melanie Dickerson said...

I knew your voice, too, like Missy said. You have great voice. And I like that you did a book with two divorced people getting back together. Not done very much, especially in CBA. And your scene made me want to know what came before. Well done.

Yes, my writing has come a long way in a year and a half, but Woodcutter's needs more revising, since I keep on learning stuff, doggone it. Don't you hate that? I mean, don't you love that? It's a love-hate thing for me.

Myra Johnson said...

If you look up "voice" in the dictionary, you will see Ruthy's picture! Yesterday I was listening to a workshop from the last ACFW conference, and the speaker was explaining how, when the author has nailed her voice, you can read a few paragraphs and know immediately who it is. Great job, Ruthy! I don't think I've quite reached that stage with my writing voice yet.

As for Valentine's romance . . . you won't want to miss the super-romantic post by tomorrow's guest blogger at Writer at Random ( WOW!!!!

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Hey, Myra! What a great compliment. Thank you, my friend.

If by 'voice' you mean 'snarky and snippy', then, yeah, I think I've got it down, LOL!

That book was fun to write because it's a light inspy and the hero and heroine are like Jordan and Perry on Scrubs, ever bickering, but totally drawn to one another.

And ready to learn from their mistakes, albeit somewhat reluctantly.

And Mel, you're right, you don't see much in CBA that deals with divorce although the divorce rate among Christians is at something like 50%...

I recognize divorce in a couple of my works, which might make them more ABA appropriate. We'll see. My theory is that since divorce happens, and we know it happens, better to deal with it in the open and make the most of a very real situation for American Christians.


Julie Lessman said...

Whoa, Mel, knock it off -- I'm at work and my husband is in another building way across the campus, so there's no relief in sight!!!

Geez Louise, girlfriend, talk about "steamy"!! You had me way before the hair pins hit the floor! Great job, girlfriend. Dear Lord, get that sucker published ... fast!!


Melanie Dickerson said...

Oops. Sorry. :-) It's really G-rated, I promise. No, probably PG.

I knew I should have posted the scene where he just kisses her hand. . .

Mary Connealy said...

Well, Ruthy, you know me and love scenes...

This is from Calico Canyon. Grace and Daniel are fighting, as usual, they have been married a while in a very unfriendly forced marriage but they 'slipped' once and now Daniel is worried Grace might be pregnant.

“Quit crying. I can’t abide a woman’s tears.” He tightened his grip on her shoulder.

“How could I know such a thing?” she whispered. “I wasn’t even aware that. . .well, what I mean is, I’ve never had a mother to explain things. And. . .for a child to begin. . .I’ve never given it a thought.”

“You’ll know because your. . .” Daniel fell silent. He had to force the words past his throat. “Y-your. . .uh. . .lady’s time—” He lapsed into silence.

She gasped. “I’ll not discuss such with you, sir.” She tried to step away from him.

He held on doggedly, his eyes closed tight so he wouldn’t have to look at her while he discussed such an embarrassing subject. “A lady’s time. . .doesn’t. . .come when a woman is with child. Has yours come?”

“It doesn’t?”

Daniel shook his head.

“But that will take months to know.”

“No, it doesn’t. It only takes a month.”

“Why is that?” Grace asked, her eyes wide with confusion.

Nearly in physical pain from the topic, Daniel growled, “Because it comes every month, so if it doesn’t come that month, then you know.”

“Mine doesn’t. . .come. . .every month.” Grace licked her lips as if her mouth had gone stone dry. “I mean, it never has. I had no idea it was supposed to.” With a sudden flare of temper, Grace added, “Every month? That will be a nuisance.”

She exasperated Daniel past his embarrassment. “You’re a woman grown, Grace. You’re supposed to have one per month.”

“Well, I’ve only had a couple of them in my whole life.”

Daniel glared at her. “How old did you say you are?”


“I was married at seventeen. My wife was the same age. She told me it started when a woman was twelve. Every month. You’re not doing it right.”

Grace looked angry for a moment, then her mouth formed itself into a straight line and her brow wrinkled. “I’m s-sorry.” Her eyes filled with tears again. She looked down at her skinny body.

“It’s okay. I reckon you can’t help doing it wrong.” He patted her on the arm with his big clodhopper hands.

“I doubt if I’m carrying a baby. I’ve never been much good at any woman things. I can’t cook. I’ll probably fail at this baby-having business, too.”

“It’s not a failure if you’re not expecting. It would be for the best.”

Grace shook her head. “You’ve got five children. You must love them. Of course you want more of them.”

“No, I don’t.”

Grace looked up at him, her heart in her eyes. “Why don’t you want to have babies with me?”

Daniel looked at her and ached with the loneliness of married life. “Why has God allowed such a wicked temptation to exist? He has to know how dangerous it is.”

“Dangerous? What do you mean?”

“Margaret barely survived the twins. She felt sickly for months before and after they were born. We never should have risked another child. Never!” Daniel gulped and felt his Adam’s apple bob much as Adam’s must have when he swallowed that tempting apple in the Garden of Eden.

“I was weak. I let Margaret convince me.”

“Well, Daniel, God probably made people that way.”

“No, it’s not God.” Daniel shook his head. If he could just convince her then she’d help him resist. It would be so much easier with her help. Margaret had worked against him. “It’s the devil himself that lays this temptation down before me. I figured that out as soon as the twins were born.”

“Why would you think that? God created man. He wanted children to be born so the world could go on.”

“If he wanted the world to go on”—Daniel caught her by the upper arms and held her so tight his hands shook—“then why did he make Margaret die?”

Grace was silent.

Daniel’s grip loosened, knowing he must be hurting her. “The Bible says ‘And thy desire shall be for thy husband.’ It was part of the punishment of Eve. I’ve read it over a hundred times. Eve got desire for her husband and pain in childbirth. Adam got hard work and weeds in his field.”

“I have no idea what you’re talking about, but I would love to have your child.”

“No! I don’t want to lose you. I can’t lose you.” Then he lowered his head and captured her lips with his own.

Melanie Dickerson said...

Ooo, Mary, I like it. Can't wait to read more!

Mary Connealy said...

Melanie, I loved yours. This book needs to be published and on the shelves. I need to read it.

Mary Connealy said...

And Ruthy, I know what they mean by your voice, too.

It's clean and sharp and emotionally deep. I love it. Love that butler making himself scarce, too.

I just read an old favorite book called "No Greater Love" by Katherine Kingley. Not Christian fiction but lots of faith in it, the title means what you think it means.
So smart and sharp...regency England so forget it if you don't like that, but Mel, I'd say you like that, huh?

Old book. Just the perfectness of the dialogue, so sassy and smart I can hardly give it or Katherine enough credit.

Here's a really short excerpt from the 'proposal' scene. It's just hilareous and the whole book is like this.

No Greater Love
by Katherine Kingsley
“So will you please marry me, Mrs. Wells?”
“Well?” he repeated anxiously.
“Well, I suppose I have nowhere else to go and nothing more important to do. I do hate my position here, and it’s true that I have no way out of it other than your offer.”
“Yes, and you will give me the satisfaction of being able to rescue you, as well as the satisfaction of infuriating Lady Raven. She will no doubt be beside herself.”
Georgia laughed. “Infuriating Lady Raven is almost reason enough in itself. Your teeth appear strong, your physique is fine enough, and you do have all your hair. It could have been worse. You could have been a corpulent, bald prince come to rescue me.”
“Thank you very much, madam.” Nicholas said, amused. “And I also have no objection to your physique, your teeth or your breath, for that matter. Can we come to terms?”
“It’s madness you realize.”
“It’s an arrangement,” he replied. “Most marriages are arranged.”
“May I think about it?”
“I’d rather you didn’t. It’s not the sort of thing that bears thinking about.”

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Mary, that's beautiful. Your language and timing suits the time frame perfectly, and the idea of a man with five kids marrying a 17 year old...

What a crazy time that would be.

And since this book actually implies sex in marriage (big Petticoat Ranch grin here) then we know these guys have at least a chance for connubial bliss...

What a time that must have been for women and men, ya know? Although with our constant sex-streamed world these days, maybe they were better off in the dark, filled with wonder. At least the idea of sex and lust wasn't thrown at them from every possible outlet.

Mary, great scene. Poignant. Humorous.

Who else has something to share? Come on, don't be chicken. We don't bite.


I don't.

Mary does.

And Tina's working so you're safe from her.

And Camy pretends she doesn't, but WE know better.

Come on.

Hit the 'send' button. We'll be kind.


Ruth Logan Herne said...

Mary, LOL!

That's a great scene! So funny and colloquial...

(Word of the day. Try to use it often...)

I loved it. And my last post referred back to your first post, not your last post.

Ah, forget it!

Great scenes, both!


Laughing in WNY,


Mary Connealy said...


You've GOT to look at this:

Have you ever seen Julie Garwood's website, we've talked about it.

Here's another one just as cool.

Cheryl Wyatt said...





Mary Connealy said...

I noticed neither Cheryl nor Missy included a scene...hello chickens!

Happy Valentines day there in the henhouse.

Pam Hillman said...

I've read Conor and Alicia's story and the 300+ pages BEFORE you get to that scene are just as riveting! An absolutely beautiful book. Editors and agents need to get over here and READ that scene, and ask Ruthy for a complete NOW!

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Ladies and gentlemen, that last message was a paid announcement by the "Let's Get Ruthy Published" Committee.

I'm Ruth Logan Herne and I approve that message.

Janet Dean said...

Ruthy, What a terrific idea for a Valentine's Day post and what a great love scene! It's beautifully written, flirty and fun, yet tender and emotional, I want to see more of this man and his lady.
And I totally agree what's been said about your voice. It's strong. It's wonderful. It's you.

Mary, your scene is delightful fun, and emotion packed. I can't wait to read Calico Canyon!

Oh, Julie, I remember that love scene. Whew! I'm not likely to forget. Wonderful writing!

Melanie, your words paint a beautiful picture. You and Julie know how to stoke the flames.

Lots hotter than I can write at Love Inspired. I'd share but I'm a long way from writing a love scene in the book I'm working on down here.

Thanks all for those great scenes!

Beth said...

Ruthy, I LOVE that book. That scene is wonderful of course, but the entire story is so good. It should definitely be published ASAP. I forgot to bring a copy of it with me to MN. I might have to get one from you on my next trip back to NY! I can't wait to read more of your work. :)

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Since Beth is related to me, she gets to be my initial editor...

And her move to Minnesota (read: How far can I get from my mother and still be on the same planet?) gave me inspiration for the new series I'm setting about two hours out of the Twin Cities in mid-Wisconsin.

And Janet, LI's have their own gentle embodyment of sexual tension. I'm reading Missy's book right now and loving it. Nothing is overt, but overt can be overdone, you know?

Different styles suit different audiences. I know we're all okay with that.

Beth, thanks for checking in, kid. Your mom loves you.


Audra Harders said...

Ruthy, you do know how to kick off Valentine's Day, dontcha?? I love that book of yours. I love your emotions, your wit, your humor. . .and of course. . .YOU!!!

Thanks for sharing that snippet. Your hero has always been to die for, and Alicia? I liked her : )

Romantic scenes are the bestest!!

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Umm, Ms. Harders????

Where's yours, Cupcake?

Tina M. Russo said...

Oh, wow, what fun to read these posts. Thanks for the great blog, Ruth!!

Julie Lessman said...

MARY!!!! Are you breaking new ground for Barbour???? That scene from Calico Canyon seems a bit edgy to me (and dear Lord, if it seems edgy to me, that's gotta be edgy!!). Has me chomping at the bit to read the book, you racy thing, you. Tell me, are the actual love scenes as potent (dare I hope?)??


Ausjenny said...

Oh wow Ruthy, i love that scene only thing i want to read more!

Mel loved your scene too and Julie i remember that part of your book.
(im up to 313 now)

Mary I cant wait for Calico Canyon that scene is wonderful.

love the word colloquial but can never spell it to use it but i tend to be looking for colloquism's
(hope i got it well) a good aussie word. (words like Steve Erwin used all the time)

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Jenny, you're too cute. Australia's lucky to have you, chica.

And Tina, I know how hard you are working right now...

Hope a little romance lightened things up a bit, even if it was the written word, LOL!