I remember it like it was yesterday: my first romantic suspense. I started reading category romance as a teenager and I couldn’t get enough. My favorite lines were Silhouette Intimate Moments and Harlequin Temptation. One day I discovered that there were longer, fatter, even more explicit books. Oh yes! Come to mama!
Sandra Brown’s Slow Heat in Heaven was my dazzling introduction to single-title RS. This steamy potboiler set in Heaven, Louisiana grabbed me by the ladybits and wouldn’t let go. The heroine gets attacked by a pit bull in the beginning of the story and takes revenge on the neglectful owner by shooting up his dog pen. Not exactly a likeable move for a heroine, but I was enthralled by her daring. I was also enthralled by Cash, the hero. In one scene he tugs down the heroine’s panties for “a delicious tongue-f*ck.”
What can I say? I’ve been hooked ever since. I love the mixture of sex, romance and danger. Always have, always will.
Another favorite of mine from the “old days” was One Summer by Karen Robards. This gem features a schoolteacher heroine and her former student, bad boy Johnny. He got convicted of murder and sent to prison for ten years. When he gets out, he’s kind of a mess, riding motorcycles and drinking to excess. I absolutely adored the portrayal of a struggling ex-con with a hard-knocks past. And there’s cunnilingus. I’m sensing a theme here…
It’s no surprise that I continued to seek out RS with strong heroines and steamy sex. I like noble, upstanding law enforcement heroes (I’ve written several), but I also have a weakness for darker, more subversive types. I’m drawn to redemption stories about criminals, professional hitmen and cold-blooded assassins. From Linda Howard’s Cry No More to Anne Stuart’s Ice series to Carolyn Crane’s wicked-cool Associates, I’m all in.
My hard limit for killer/criminal heroes relates to his actions toward the heroine and women in general. I’m more sensitive to abusive situations and sexist attitudes as I get older. I steer clear of dubious consent, non-consent, and disrespectful or harmful treatment of women. I gravitate toward smart, independent heroines, outdoor settings, a balanced power dynamic…and cunnilingus. Always cunnilingus. ;)
What do you think about bad boys in romantic suspense? Do you prefer an alpha-in-charge, a straitlaced sheriff, or a ruthless motorcycle club member?
Ace Clemmons has wanted Janelle from the moment he first saw her. Taking her captive while he carried out his last hit as a member of Dirty Eleven nearly broke him. Now that he’s gone straight, he’s back in her life, looking to stake his claim. He can’t erase the past but he’ll do anything to make it up to her.
Janelle Parker needs a new start, far away from the trailer park and the strip club. A down and dirty affair with a tattooed criminal is a step in the wrong direction, but she can’t resist Ace’s deliciously commanding touch, which has haunted her dreams for months. Soon they’re both in too deep, falling hard and fast—until an old feud with a rival motorcycle club explodes into an all-out war. Dirty Eleven’s enemies won’t hesitate to hurt Janelle to get to Ace. She has to fight to survive…and for the fiercest love she’s ever known.
Book two of the Dirty Eleven MC series
Jill Sorenson is the RITA-nominated author of more than a dozen romantic suspense novels, including the Aftershock series by HQN. She lives in the San Diego area with her family. She’s a soccer mom who loves nature, coffee, reading, twitter and reality TV.