Good Morning everyone! I am thrilled to be part of the tour for Amber Lin's new Book, Giving it Up. Today she is here with a guest post so I happily hand over my blog to her dirty little hands! Take it away Amber!
Badass Heroines in Erotic Romance
Once upon a time, romance novel heroines were either sweet or feisty, preferably both. Some of my favorite heroines of all times were docile… well, with a core of steel. I’m thinking of the heroine in Laura Kinsale’s The Shadow and the Star, who I ADORE, but there are plenty of examples of quiet strength.
Today I’m talking about a different type of girl… you might even say more modern: the badass heroine. A woman who takes no shit. She flouts the conventions. Often she doesn’t need or want a man at all… of course, this is romance so that’ll have to change, but she’ll fight it!
The bad-ass heroine is right at home in paranormal romance and urban fantasies, where heroines get to kick demon (or vampire, shifter, etc) butt and look great in leather doing it. She’s also in romantic suspense, with a female FBI agent or even in contemporaries with a career-driven high-powered professional.
The badass heroine is also a bit of an anti-heroine, in that she does certain things that are not really acceptable. She swears too loudly, fights too much or insists on getting the corner office.
These heroines can get away with an awful lot, but sometimes they still don’t get away with a whole lot in the bedroom. Often they are chaste or relatively innocent. They kick ass on the street, but are timid in the bedroom. Unfair, I say!
Women get seek their pleasure in TV shows, they do it in movies, and it’s considered swanky and liberated. But in erotic romance… that’s not for the heroine, it’s the providence of the villainous woman with fake boobs and evil claw nails. Boo.
When was the last time you read about a heroine who had sex with any sort of frequency with men who aren’t the hero(s), even in erotic romance? They’re out there, but it’s a short list. Even books with BDSM clubs, where sharing and swinging is common, often feature an “outsider” heroine… because I guess the regulars aren’t good enough for the heroes? …oops, did I just get snarky?
That’s part of the problem. I’ll admit I’ve got a small rebellious streak of my own. I can be a good girl, too (really, I can!) but I have a harder time relating to the Heroine Without a Flaw.
And (surprise, surprise) the heroine of my book Giving It Up is one seriously flawed woman. Okay, she’s got issues. The book opens with Allie at a nightclub, looking to hook up with a guy. Not just any guy, someone who’ll be rough with her and dump her when it’s over.
She has her reasons, of course. This wasn’t just a random occurrence of promiscuity in the clubbing wilds. Just like the chaste badass heroines of urban fantasy didn’t wake up with a sword in their cradle or a snarky comeback on their lips. Usually there’s some sort of hurt there, underneath all that swagger. And it takes the love of a tough (and persistent) hero to break through.
In the case of Allie, it takes Colin. He likes what he sees on the outside, but more importantly, he want to know her on the inside. And best of all, she can dish it out, but he knows exactly what to do with it. Instead of giving her rough sex, he treats her gently. Instead of using her, he pleasures her. What a bastard!
Who are your favorite tough-girl heroines, from any genre? Have you read any romance heroines who break the mold in the bedroom, who have participated in bad behavior before meeting up with the hero?
And thanks so much for having me!
“Giving It Up is original, affecting, emotionally draining, but well worth reading if you are brave enough to go along for the ride.”
—Annabel Joseph, author of Comfort Object
“A ballsy departure from romantic conventions. At once gritty and tender, stark and hopeful.”
—Cara McKenna, author of Willing Victim
“Giving It Up is an erotic, compelling story that takes us to the shadowy, lonely places but doesn’t leave us there. Amber Lin shows us that romance isn’t just for the rich and shiny. Love can find its way even into the dark corners of the most damaged hearts.”
—Tiffany Reisz, author of The Siren
“This is a book you MUST read if you like gritty, edgier romance that makes you think as well as turns you on.”
—Cari Quinn, USA Today Bestselling Author of No Dress Required
“Every page is chock full of sexy, angsty must-read-moreness.”
—Karla Doyle, author of Game Plan
“Giving It Up is a gritty, real romance that deals in an honest way with what happens to sexuality in the aftermath of rape…. Read it. You won’t be sorry.”
—Ruthie Knox, author of About Last Night
“Dark and edgy…but don’t be fooled. There’s a wonderful love story running through this book. Sharp, intense writing, sexy as hell, and such a cool idea!”
—Charlotte Stein, author of Sheltered
About Amber Lin
Amber Lin writes erotic romance with a dark, gritty bent. Think urban fantasy without the paranormal element and with more sex. On a more personal note, she’s married to her high school sweetheart, mother to a kid smarter than she is, and she spends her nights writing down dirty thoughts. In other words, life is good.
Giving It Up
Allie prowls the club for a man who will use her hard and then ditch her. Hey, it's not rape if she wants it. Instead she finds Colin, who looks tough but treats her tenderly, despite her protests.
He tempts her, but kindness and a few mindblowing orgasms aren't enough to put her back together again. Allie has no hope for a real relationship. Two years ago her best friend betrayed her in the worst possible way – she’d be stupid to trust a man again. Besides, she has her daughter to think of, the only good thing to have come from that dark night.
But when her rapist returns, threatening her sanity and custody of her daughter, Allie turns to Colin. Under his protection and patient touch, Allie begins to heal and learns to hope. Colin’s no saint, though, and his criminal past draws danger of its own. Allie must fight to protect her child and the man she loves, hoping her new found power will be enough to save them all.
There’s a certain sultry walk a woman has when she’s bare that can’t be faked. No hose and no panties. The nakedness under my skirt was as much about keeping me aroused as it was about easy access.
I’d perfected the art of fuck-me clothes. A surprising number of men asked me out, even at a grungy club on a Saturday night. Cute little college girl, they thought, out for a good time. I saved us all time by dressing my part.
Tonight’s ensemble consisted of a tight halter and short skirt with cheap, high-heeled sandals, bouncing hair, and bloodred toenails. The scornful looks of the other women didn’t escape me, but I wasn’t so different from them. I wanted to be desired, held, touched. The groping fingers might be a cheap imitation of intimacy, its patina cracked with rust and likely to turn my skin green, but they were all I deserved.
My gaze panned to the man at the bar, the one I’d been watching all night. He nursed a beer, his profile harsh against the fluid backdrop of writhing bodies. His gray T-shirt hung loose on his abs but snug around thick arms.
His expression was unreadable, but I knew what he wanted. What else was there?
He glanced over but didn’t hit on me. I didn’t know why I kept tabs on him either. I wasn’t exactly discerning. I was trolling for sex, not a life partner. There were plenty of men here, men whose blackened pasts matched my own, who’d give it to me hard.
A woman approached him. Something dark and decidedly feminine roiled up inside me.
She was hot. If he wanted to score, he probably couldn’t do better, even with me. I tried not to stare. She walked away a minute later—rejected. I felt unaccountably smug. Which was stupid, since I didn’t have him either.
Maybe no one had a chance with this guy. I was pretty enough, in a girl-next-door kind of way. Common, though, underneath my slutty trappings—brown hair and brown eyes were standard issue around here.
I glanced up to see a cute guy wearing a sharp dress shirt checking me out. Probably an investment banker or something upstanding like that. Grinning and hopeful. Had I ever been that young? No, I was probably younger. At twenty-two, I felt ancient. The world had already crumbled around me and been rebuilt, brick by brick.
“Sorry, pal,” I said. “Keep moving.”
“Aww, not even one dance?”
His puppy-dog eyes cajoled a smile from me. How nice it might feel to be one of the girls with nothing to worry about except whether this guy would call tomorrow morning. But I was too broken for his easy smile. I’d only end up hurting him.
“I am sorry,” I said, wistfulness seeping into my voice. “You’ll thank me later.” Regret panged as the crowd sucked him back in, but I’d done the right thing. Even if he were only interested in a one-night hookup, my sex was too toxic for the likes of him.
I turned back to the guy at the bar. He caught my eye, looking—if possible—surlier. Cold and mean. Perfect. I wouldn’t taint him, and he could give me what I craved. Since tall-dark-and-stoic hadn’t deigned to make a move on me, I would do the pursuing. A surprising little twist for the night, but I could go with it.
I squeezed beside him at the bar. Up close, his size was impressive and a little intimidating, but that only strengthened my resolve.
“Hey, tough guy,” I shouted over the din.
He looked up at me from his beer. I faltered a bit at the total lack of emotion in his face and fought an automatic instinct to retreat. His eyes were a deep brown, almost pretty, but remote and flat. Dark hair was cut short, bristly. His nose was prominent and slightly crooked, like it had been broken. Maybe more than once.
He looked mean, which was a good thing, but I was used to a little more effort. Even assholes provided a fake smile or smarmy line for the sake of the pickup. There was a script to these things, but he wasn’t playing his part.
We stripped at the same time, both eager. I wanted to see his body, to witness what he offered me, but it was dark in the room. Then he kissed me back onto the bed, and there was no more time to wonder. The cheap bedspread was rough and cool against my skin. His hands stroked over my breasts and then played gently with my nipples.
My body responded, turning liquid, but something was wrong.
I’d had this problem before. Not everyone wanted to play rough, but I was surprised that I’d misread him. His muscles were hard, the pads of his fingers were calloused. I didn’t know how he could touch me so softly. Everything about him screamed that he could hurt me, so why didn’t he?
I wanted him to have his nasty way with me, but every sweet caress destroyed the illusion. My fantasy was to let him do whatever he wanted with me, but not this.
“Harder,” I said. “I need it harder.”
Instead his hands gentled. The one that had been holding my breast traced the curve around and under.
I groaned in frustration. “What’s wrong?”
He reached down, still breathing heavily, and pressed a finger lightly to my cunt, then stroked upward through the moisture. I gasped, rocking my hips to follow his finger.
“You like this,” he said.
Yes, I liked it. I was undeniably aroused but too aware. I needed the emptiness of being taken. “I like it better rough.”
Colin frowned. My eyes widened at the ferocity of his expression.
In one smooth motion he flipped me onto my stomach. I lost my breath from the surprise and impact. His left hand slid under my body between my legs and cupped me. His right hand fisted in my hair, pulling my head back. His erection throbbed beside my ass in promise. I wanted to beg him to fuck me, but all I could do was gasp. He didn’t need to be told, though, and ground against me, using my hair as a handle. That small pain on my scalp was perfection, sharp and sweet. Numbness spread through me, as did relief.
The pain dimmed. My arousal did too, but that was okay. I was only vaguely aware of him continuing to work my body from behind.
I went somewhere else in my mind. I’d stay that way all night.At least that’s what usually happened.
This probably has to be one of the darker romances I've read yet. The heroine, Allie is completely different from all others. She runs from her past, but in her actions in a way repeats the past with wanting her sex rough, hard and with a guy she can walk away from. She has her reasons, with the one guy in HS whom she cared for having raped her and leaving her pregnant. She has a distorted view on whats normal. So when she goes looking for sex in the local bar and she spots Colin she thinks he's just the type to give it to her how she wants it.
Colin has a hidden life he'd do anything to protect Allie from finding out about, but when a man from the bars tries to rape her just outside Colin inflicts his brand of pain, to make sure this guy knows she's off limits. Colin asks her out and she agrees, but their relationship is anything but normal. Colin is attentive and affectionate, but there's a side to him Allie hasn't seen. If it came out she'd leave.
However, when Allie's rapist shows up she's ready to flee town to keep her daughter safe from meeting her father. Colin offers to let her come stay with him, without limits. It's only after she moves in that things only get worse. The cops start to show up, suddenly her place of employment has been robbed and closed down, leaving her without work, and Colin is getting frequent calls from his brother to do "work". Allie begins to find out that some things Colin does can cause him more trouble and get him arrested. She's lead to do desperate things to protect her daughter, but when she gets caught in the cross-hairs can Colin pull her out, or will she be left to fend for herself and find out the truth and try and save whats worth fighting for?
I felt a lot of pull towards Allie and Colin as their relationship was anything but normal. With a dirty cop, a lot of secrets and a love that will be tested and stretched to its limits this was full of surprises. Allie is not afraid to protect the things she cares for. Having a rough life has made her more weary of people. Colin on the other had, has a good career in the restaurant industry, but his family has some skeletons of his own. How they finally got through everything was full of surprises and getting past pain to learn to trust. It was gritty, dark and full of mysteries that will keep you turning pages to find out how it ends. Amber Lin has written a very dark, but telling tale of love, trust and giving in to your heart to fight for what you desire most. A 5 star read for sure!
Amber Lin is giving away a Kindle Fire along with 10 erotic books, as well as either a custom erotic story or a 30-page critique of a romance manuscript. There are many ways to enter, for both those who have and haven’t yet read Giving It Up.a Rafflecopter giveaway
Hope you enjoyed the fun and having Amber in for a visit! I know I did!!