Warning: this post contains spoilers for Lora Leigh’s Forbidden Pleasure and Joey W. Hill’s The Vampire Queen’s Servant, and it references sexual acts that are a) kinky, and therefore b) just plain wrong
So I read these two books, and I gotta say — I don’t get it. Because I’m reading along, quite certain that these are romance novels, and that the characters I’m reading about are the good guys … but then they start doing things. And I think to myself: that can’t be right! All of this must have just been setting up the suspense part, showing the villains getting ready to move in on the real main characters of the story, the good guys.
So I flip to the back covers. And yes, the characters I’ve been reading about are mentioned on the cover copy — the names match. So I scratch my head and carry on, even though I feel a little betrayed by the publishers who’ve listed this as a romance. Feel a little betrayed by the authors for making me like these characters, when I know they can’t have a happy ending … because any woman who engages in these types of sexual activities is ALWAYS a villainess. But I read on, because I can’t help myself. There’s double penetration, oh my god. A female dominant. Sexual toys. One “hero” makes two women come on a table at the same time while his heroine watches and the author actually makes me root for them! And they get a HEA!
I know that’s not right. I know that can’t be right. I can’t help but think of the skanky villainess in Katherine Kingsley’s In the Wake of the Wind, who pretended to be paralyzed whilst attempting to destroy the relationship between the hero and heroine, and so what if I kind of wanted to have a footman and a riding crop after reading the scene that the heroine stumbled upon and that showed exactly how twisted and Evil the villainess was. *sob* I should have been shocked and disgusted like the heroine was! And I was so ashamed, because I thought the villainess was probably having better sex than the hero and heroine! *sob* I knew I was a dirty girl then, I knew it.
And now I’m reading these two books, and I see these dirty, dirty villains falling in love and being decent people and I just don’t know what this means for me as a writer. Because I overwrite, people, and I was thinking the next book I’d just make it really easy, and show how bad the villainess was by having her dominant AND using sex toys AND taking it up the ass AND maybe even forcing the hero to have sex with someone because there’s no way that could be hot, only skanky — but, goddammit, now that won’t work, because the good guys are doing this now, too — and I like reading about it as much as they apparently like doing it, because at the end I’m convinced they are in love, and not dirty-evil-love, but good, they’re-a-really-great-match and all-the-happier-for-it love.
But what will the romance genre come to if we can’t use that kinky-sex-shorthand for Evil?
Someone hold me. *sob* I’m so cold.