Aug 2 2012 9:30am

Top 5 Sex Scenes in Contemporary Romance from Howard, Hart, Crusie, and More!

Feet in bedWhen I think of contemporary romance, sex isn’t the first thing that comes to mind. To me, this is a genre filled with passion, but its sex scenes tend to blend together. Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of steamy moments, but you will notice that what makes these scenes remarkable isn’t the heat, but the emotion.

Frenemies have good sex too: Alyssa and Sam in The Defiant Hero by Suzanne Brockmann

These two showed undeniable chemistry from the moment they met (even when they hated each other), and had lots of steamy sex throughout the series. But my favorite scene will always be their first time: Alyssa gets a bit drunk and after a series of not-so-unfortunate events they end up in bed, handcuffed to each other and with chocolate syrup all over themselves. What makes it even better is that it’s a sex scene told from the POV of a hero who’s clearly head over heels in love with his heroine.

She crawled forward, until she could lean even farther across him. Until she could reach the drawer and slide it open. Until she was straddling his chest instead of his hips. Until that white flash of satin was right there, nearly in his face.

He couldn’t not do it. He couldn’t possibly resist. He shifted down and kissed her, breathing in the sweet muskiness of her perfume.

Her thighs tightened around his face and she gasped. But she didn’t pull back. And that was all the invitation he needed.

He reached up and tore her panties free, and then, oh yes, he was in heaven.

The sounds she made were incredible—laughter mixed with pure, desperate pleasure. She wasn’t at all shy about letting him know how much she liked what he was doing.

“This isn’t fair!”

He didn’t bother to answer her. She had absolutely no idea how incredibly, wonderfully fair this was for him. It was stupendously fair. Amazingly fair. Deliciously fair. He held her tightly, so that unless she really tried, she couldn’t get away.

She didn’t really try.

Her breath came faster and the sounds she made were more frantic, until she gasped, “Sam, please, I want to come with you inside of me.”

(Find out why Sam Starrett made Donna Cummings’s Romance Hero All-Star Team)

Welcome to Temptation by Jennifer CrusieA good romance hero gives his heroine multiple orgasms, but a great hero knows when his heroine isn’t feeling it: Sophie and Phin in Welcome to Temptation by Jennifer Crusie.

In Welcome to Temptation Sophie, who despite being a pornographer is repressed when it comes to her own sex life, loses the momentum in the middle of sex. Phin notices and reacts with good humor, and the reader is left with a sex scene that’s original, funny, sexy, and above all, romantic.

“You’re not even close, are you?” Phin said, breathless below her, and she refocused back on him.


“Hi, I’m Phin Tucker, and I’m inside you. I know how these things slip your mind.” He didn’t sound annoyed, but she felt bad anyway.

“I’m sorry,” she said, and he slid his hand down her back and rolled to one side so that they lay face-to-face on the damp sheets, the springs protesting under them.

“Don’t apologize.” He brushed back a curl that was stuck to her forehead. “Thinking about the therapist?” He moved against her to bring her closer, and her nerves kicked into gear.

“Who?” she said, trying to figure out what the hell he was talking about.

“Well, at least you forgot us both,” Phin said. “That was very democratic of you.” He used a corner ofthe sheet to wipe sweat off her forehead. “Remind me to get you an air conditioner before we do thisagain. I’m dying here.”

She wanted to say, What are you talking about, again? This is a disaster, but it didn’t seem polite.

“Maybe we should just call it a night,” she said, and moved back from him, and he followed her to stay inside her, and that made her shiver under his hands.

(For more Jennifer Crusie goodness, check out Tara Gelsomino’s Welcome to Crusie Town: A Jennifer Crusie Appreciation)

A good romance heroine gives his hero multiple orgasms even if it nearly kills him: Sarah and Thomas in Dying to Please by Linda Howard

Sarah and Thomas are in the middle of a murder investigation. One night they engage in a friendly wrestling match that soon morphs into a, well, naked wrestling match. They both come. Twice. The result is a memorable sex scene followed by one of the best lines I’ve read:

Was he asleep? She managed to lift her arm and touch his shoulder. He stirred and turned his head so his face pressed into the curve of her neck. “God,” he muttered, his voice muffled. “That’s the first time I’ve ever come twice with one hard-on. It damn near killed me.”

ButterflyTattoo by Deidre KnightLoves cures it all (and sex helps): Rebecca and Michael in Butterfly Tattoo by Deidre Knight

Rebecca is traumatized after a vicious attack that left her severely scarred. Michael’s husband died in a tragic accident and doesn’t think he will ever love again. In each other, they find the strength to heal and the love they so desperately need. Intimacy doesn’t come easy for them, especially Rebecca, who feels insecure about her appearance. But when they finally have sex, the payoff is so intense I couldn’t leave it out of the list even if the scene isn’t particularly graphic.

“I’m in love with you,” I murmur softly, brushing my lips against hers. She wraps her small, muscular arms about my neck. “God help you and me both, but I am so damn in love with you.”

She takes hold of my face, breaking our kiss and forcing me away. Then our eyes meet, and that sacred, beautiful stillness descends upon us again. Over our moment, over this joining. It’s as if all separation or the possibility of it vanishes, and even though I’m not inside her yet—even though my whole body is trembling—we’re one. We’re already one.

Good orgasms come to those who wait: Sadie and Joe in Broken by Megan Hart

For the last scene I’ve chosen an erotic romance, so technically I’m cheating. But I couldn’t leave it out because it’s hands down my all-time favorite sex scene.

Broken is a book filled with sex scenes, 99% of which happen between the hero and someone other than the heroine. Once a month, Joe and Sadie meet and he tells her about his latest sexual adventure while she pictures herself in the role of the other woman. Despite how it sounds, the story is complex and dramatic. The sexual tension between the leads is so intense that by the time they actually have sex I was ready to explode along with them. The consummation is rewarding, but the story is emotionally draining. Not for the faint of heart, but absolutely memorable.

He slanted his mouth to capture mine again and kissed me slowly as his hand moved on me. I drew a breath and held it.

We didn’t move. Locked in his gaze with the taste of myself mingled with him on my lips, I let out the breath I held. Slowly, slowly, and slowly, too, I drew in another. My chest rose with it. My body shifted. Joe pressed the heel of his hand on me.

That was all it took. Pleasure came over me. We were looking into each other’s eyes when I came, and neither one of us looked away.

(For more Megan Hart and erotica recommendations, read Tori Benson’s post on why erotica makes her happy)

Some of the scenes  that made my Top 5 Favorites list are graphic, some are sweet, but the one thing they have in common is the emotion behind the act.


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I love talking about books just as much as reading them. I review Romance Novels on my blog Romance Around the Corner and you can also find me on Twitter.

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Wendy S. Marcus
1. Wendy S. Marcus
Loved this post! I have Welcome to Temptation on my bookshelf, but don't recall ever reading it. Well that's going to change!
Nicole Leapheart
2. BoxyFrown
I am actually rereading Troubleshooters right now and reliving everything Sam Starrett and Alyssa Locke. I love them as a couple and dammit, if I find a Sam IRL, it's so on!*sigh*

As soon as I saw the title of this post, I thought Sam/Alyssa/chocolate syrup/handcuffs had to make the cut. I love how in their HEA book she finds out he can get out of handcuffs when he wants to without a key. Oh, Sam/Roger/Houston/Mr.BoxyFrown.
Wendy S. Marcus
3. Taragel
And now I want to reread my entire Crusie library. Sigh.

And I need to get in gear with Brockmann's series too because I've heard so damn much about Sam and Alyssa.
Wendy S. Marcus
4. Michelle G.
I want to know how I can become "accidentally" handcuffed to a handsome man covered in chocolate syrup.
Heather Waters
5. HeatherWaters
So excited that Sam/Alyssa made this list. It's been a while since I've read the Troubleshooters series, but god did I love that couple's storyline and how she built it up over multiple books. Pretty epic.

Dying to Please isn't one of my favorite Howards, but I do remember that scene very well, so there ya go. :)

Fun list, Brie!
Mandi Schreiner
6. smexybooks
I need to read more Crusie!

Love the other selections. Verra good choices ;)
Wendy S. Marcus
7. Torifl
Welcome To Temptatin has to be my all time fav Crusie book.

Great post Brie.
Allison Brennan
8. Allison_Brennan
I've read four of those five books, and they're all great choices! Welcome to Temptation is one of my all-time favorite books. (I like the original cover best, though this new one is good too.) And Sam & Alyssa are my favorite Brockmann couple, and Dying to Please probably in the top two or three favorite Howard books. I don't read a lot of erotic romance, but I have read many of Megan Hart and know why you included it!
Brie Clementine
9. Brie.Clem
Thanks everyone for the lovely comments! Sorry it took me so long to answer but I’ve been having internet problems, as in, no internet for me :-(

Wendy S. Marcus: I hope you’re Reading it right now because it’s a great book!

BoxyFrown: Mr.BoxyFrown! LOL If I find Sam IRL I’ll jump him. It will be embarrassing, but also the best day of my life.

Taragel: you haven’t read the TS books? The good news is that you won’t have to suffer through all those years of waiting for them to finally get their HEA, you will be able to read them back-to-back.

Michelle G.: you have to misplace the key and then forget you’re a Navy SEAL and handcuffs can’t contain you ;-)

redline_: DtP isn’t my fav Linda Howard either, but I just love that scene, it was the first one I thought of when I started the post.

smexybooks: yep, verra sexy! You gotta read Welcome to Temptation ASAP!

Torifl: thank you!

Allison_Brennan: Megan Hart is on a league of her own. Her books are so powerful and filled with emotion that the sex never takes over even when there’s a lot of it.
Dolly Sickles
10. Dolly_Sickles
That's a great selection from Jennifer Cruise, and my favorite Suzanne Brockmann is Out of Control. Great list ... but one of my favorite contemporaries is Susan Donovan's Knock Me Off My Feet.
maria babani
11. Chica8
Brie.Clem: The blurb for Defiant Hero by Suzanne Brockmann in BN and Amazon describes 2 different characters, not Sam and Alyssa. Is this the correct title for the book? I'm interested in the summary you described. Thank you
Wendy S. Marcus
13. Henrietta Marlowe
Never understood the appeal of Suzanne Brockmann. I personally could never finish any of her books. She has a loyal fan club, though, who will recommend her to high heaven.
Wendy S. Marcus
14. Nikki H
@Chica8. The Defiant Hero is actually about another couple, with Sam and Alyssa getting their first taste of each other. Their story is ongoing with a few bumps in the road over a few books, with Gone Too Far telling the Sam and Alyssa story.
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