Monday, September 12, 2011
Bending the Romantic Template: The Eternal Triangle, A No-No in Romance?
The eternal triangle has been around for centuries, playing a central role in both real and fictional life. Many wars have been fought for love. Think Lancelot and King Arthur. Helen of Troy. Many crimes have been committed in the heat of passion, all because of a third party’s unwelcome intrusion. In my stories, I like to either have two women lusting after the hero or two men chasing after the heroine. Their motives can either be good or bad. The trick is to guess which one is doing what and a mystery unfolds as to who the real hero is. I’m not suggesting anything illicit, just good old-fashioned competition. In The Secret Sentinel, Savannah Rutledge is kidnapped by the mysterious Antonio Desada, but still carries a torch for Eric Gale. In The Montezuma Secret, TV star Erica Kingsley is still in love with handsome survivalist Trey Zacco, but must compete for his attentions with his lovely producer, Morgana Montez. One of my favorite authors, Sandra Brown, writes in Envy about a book editor who is married, but has a strange attraction to a mysterious writer. In Brown’s Chill Factor, the main character has an ex-husband who wants her back, but instead falls for a guy who might or might not be a serial killer. It’s so much fun to figure out who she’ll end up with and why.
I remember reading once that romances are usually about “two dogs fighting over the same bone.” Kind of an unattractive analogy, but true. The two main characters are usually squabbling over something they both desperately want: the family business, the ranch, the country estate, a treasure, etc. as well as fighting for each other’s love. The end, we know, will be a happy one. Thank goodness! They get what they want in love and resolve their ultimate quest. And doesn’t it add something spicy and complicate things if they’re also competing with a third party to win the love of their life?
Here's an excerpt from my latest book The Montezuma Secret:
Reappearing ten minutes later, dressed in a tiny gold lame bikini with a fresh layer of lip gloss applied, Erica stopped short at the sight of a half-naked Trey astride his Harley, a pair of sleek wraparound Rayban sunglasses perched atop his head.
Without his shirt and his shoulders buffed to a bronzy glow, he looked like a young Adonis. He fixed her with a mesmerizing gaze, his peacock blue eyes piercing hers, an obvious sexual come-on, she was sure of it. A shock of thick wiry hair flopped forward onto his forehead, adding a charming touch of boyishness that only added to his alluring all-male appeal.
And the way he ogled her in that bikini, she knew he liked what he saw. It hugged every curve, accentuated her ample cleavage and made her legs look as long as an Amazon’s. She felt like one too, brazen, aggressive and totally lacking in inhibitions.
She got on the motorcycle behind him, riding it sidesaddle. This time she needed no encouragement. Her arms flew around his naked waist and she let her long legs dangle so they made contact with his thigh. She leaned forward so her breasts caressed his bare back and when the photographer turned on the wind machine, her long hair flew behind her in the breeze. His body heat and strong muscles acted like an instant aphrodisiac.
The photographer handed them each a glass of champagne in tall crystal flutes and began snapping. Trey could not keep his eyes off her legs, she noted with pride, as the photographer had to keep reminding him to stare into the camera. Finally, he asked them to clink glasses and stare into each other’s eyes. She knew she had him then. She’d apologize to her father later for reneging on her promise not to fall prey to Trey’s charms again.
After a few more shots, the photographer motioned them off the cycle, then removed the vehicle and the backdrop, leaving them awkwardly standing next to one another, half-dressed, champagne glasses still clutched in their hands.
Trey broke the stalemate first and grinned mischievously before downing his champagne in one gulp. Erica copied him and they both laughed. Trey walked over to the food cart next, slathered some caviar on a cracker and popped it into his mouth before pouring himself more champagne and re-filling Erica’s glass.
Suddenly feeling wanton and not the least bit self-conscious, Erica picked up one of the sinfully rich pastries loaded with whipped cream and fed it to him. When some of the cream landed on the corners of his mouth, she wiped off the excess with her index finger and made him lick it off. She watched his tongue slowly swirl off the cream and take her finger in his mouth until he stopped at her knuckle.
“Mmmm,” she purred in approval.
“All right, you two. I don’t want to get out the fire hose,” the photographer joked.
He’d changed the scenery again. An oversized wing chair, one big enough for giants, sat where the motorcycle once stood. The Paris skyline, complete with the Eiffel Tower and the Arc de Triomphe, now served as the new backdrop.
“All right, Trey. Climb up into that chair and Erica, you sit on his lap. Get it? ‘Lap of Luxury.’ And fill those glasses again.”
After pouring them more champagne, Trey clambered up onto the huge chair while Erica held the glasses for him. He gave Erica a careful boost so as not to spill any of the champagne and then she maneuvered herself onto his lap, throwing an arm around his bare shoulder. The liquor had loosened his inhibitions and that was just the way she wanted it. Getting him back again was going to be easier than she’d planned.
“Feel free to ad lib some dialogue, guys,” the photographer instructed, zeroing in on both of them with his lens. “So far, it’s looking great.”
“Contrary to public opinion,” Erica began, a little giddy, as she downed another glass of champagne, “Trey and I do get along. Even though we’re from opposite sides of the program guide. As a matter of fact, I like wild things and I think wild things like me. Tune in to see the fur fly.”
Trey laughed uproariously at the pun.
“Cut!” the photographer yelled.
Erica inched up higher on his lap, feeling Trey’s swelling erection poking her bottom.
“Do you like it wild, Trey?”
He shifted uncomfortably, suddenly eager to remove her from his lap. He shimmied off the chair, leaving her sitting alone and feeling foolish perched atop the gargantuan thing, still wearing the tiny bikini. She wondered what she’d done to cause such a strange transformation.
Straining to see what was behind Trey’s agitation, she scooted off the chair seat and leapt down, then followed him to the doorway, her high heels clacking on the slick hardwood floor.
Morgana Montez, Trey’s beautiful producer and his most recent ex, stood in the door way. And behind her lurked the threatening hulk of Gordon Gosich.
The Montezuma Secret available from Amazon.com
Click on the cover at right to purchase.
Also available on Smashwords
FIVE STARS on Amazon and Goodreads
Next Week: Who makes the bestsellers? You and me or the news media?