Mar 13 2014 11:15am

Bite Me, Baby: Why Are There Love Bites in Paranormal Romance?

Walk on the Striped Side by Jessie LaneToday we welcome author Jessie Lane to Heroes and Heartbreakers. Jessie's new release, Walk on the Wild Side, is the latest in her Big Bad Bite series, so of course she's here to talk about her favorite bad-boy heroes—shifters! And whenever there's a shifter, she says, there's bound to be a love bite. Thanks for being here, Jessie!

Any which way you read it, there’s always a strong alpha male in paranormal romance. Perhaps he’s a werewolf, perhaps he’s a tiger shifter such as Gage Ivanov from my book Walk on the Striped Side. No matter what type of were-creature he is, you know he’s dominant, virile, protective and oh-so-sexy. You want him to sweep you off your feet, rip your clothes off, claim you as his and then sink those humongous fangs of his in the area between your neck and shoulder.

Hold up. You want him to pierce your flesh and not in the carnal oh-yeah-baby-that’s-the-spot sense? Say what? If you’re a reader who likes your book boyfriends to turn furry and four legged, well yeah, you want that bite. It’s possessive. It’s erotic. It’s the “mate bite.” In paranormal romance stories that revolve around shape shifters, that bite is the physical equivalent of “She’s MINE—hands off!” That bite tells every person who sees it and knows it for what it is that she’s loved, protected, and thoroughly off the singles market.

I’m sure some readers have wondered, “Well why in the hell would the writer think the shifter should bite his woman? Yeah, he’s half-animal, but he’s also half-human. Humans do not go around scarring each other up with bites.”
This is true. Humans generally do not go around biting their partners until they leave scars unless it’s some bodaciously angry sex, and then, yum—angry sex! But, the fact is, we’re not dealing with characters who generally live by their human tendencies.

Most shifters prefer their animalistic impulses. A common instinct real tiger males have in the wild is to subdue their mate during sex with a grip on the back of their neck via a bite. This is their way of pinning a female in place to have their wicked way with her. Romance readers don’t want to read about the act of biting to subdue their female, though. They want something more meaningful. An act that is both sensual but emotionally significant.

Milly Taiden, author of A Mate’s Bite, offers why she feels the mate bite is important in her paranormal romance stories. “Like a wedding band to humans, bites in the shifter stories are filled with meaning. Mainly those of passion and need. It’s their way of showing commitment. In my stories, a mate bite is the ultimate way a wolf shifter can tell his mate she is his and there is never going to be anyone else for him. It’s a raw and basic proclamation of need, lust, love and possession.”

A great example of how emotional a mate bite scene can be is found in Milly’s book Scent of a Mate. Her protagonists have a sexy scene surrounding the bite, but the emotions and commitment of it are what will pull you in.

Yes, the mate bite is the equivalent of marriage, but let’s not stop there. The act of a shifter giving their significant other the toothy version of a wedding ring can also be insanely erotic.

Picture this. You’re in the middle of some intense loving. You’re a panting, sweaty mess on your hands and knees while he powers into you from behind, totally blissed out on carnal sensations with all of your nerve endings screaming hallelujah because your supernatural lover is filling you like you’ve never felt before. You’re on the precipice of an orgasmic explosion that’s going to blow all your preconceived notions of nirvana out the window when he pulls your upper body up until your back is touching his chest. He then wraps a gentle hand around your throat, sending shivers down your spine because of the submissive position it puts you in. Without stopping his thrusts into you, he maneuvers your head to the side and sinks his teeth into the soft spot where your neck meets your shoulder and BAM! You’ve crossed that threshold where pain becomes pleasure and rockets you into an exquisite supernaturally induced la petite mort that’s forever ruined you for any other man. Your mate now owns you mind, body and soul.

Shew. Is it hot in here now or is it just me? Okay, maybe not just me.

Celia Kyle, author of Big Furry Deal, elaborates on the saucier view of the role of mate bites in romance. “I see mating bites as the sort of ultimate domination, the ultimate claiming of a woman. In everyday life, women are encouraged to be empowered and stand up for ourselves. But sometimes we need a guy who’ll grab us by the hair and drag us to bed already. Shifters and mating bites allow us to fictionally indulge in those cravings. Plus, well, it’s just hot.”

The shifters in my Big Bad Bite Series battle with the need to mark their mates. Both Adam in Big Bad Bite and Gage in Walk on the Striped Side want nothing more than to give their mates the marks that will bind their women to them forever. But their distinct circumstances render that more difficult than they'd like, which creates conflict.

What do you think of mate bites in shifter romance novels? Love them or hate them? And do you prefer bites given sweetly with romantic settings? Or do you prefer bites given in the heat of the moment while anger, lust or intense need is the driving factor of the moment?

Learn more or order a copy of Walk on the Striped Side by Jessie Lane, out now:

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Jessie Lane is the writing team of Crystal and Melissa. The two sisters-in-law share a passionate love of naughty romance, cliff hanging suspense, and out-of-this-world characters that demand your attention, or threaten to slap you around until you do pay attention to them.

They write YA/NA & adult paranormal romance as well as adult contemporary romance. They're currently working on their next three novels, Walk On The Striped Side (Big Bad Bite Series #2), Stripping Her Defenses (Ex Ops Series #2) and The Frozen Star (YA/NA Star Series #2).

Please visit them at for more information!

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Heather Waters
1. HeatherWaters
I hadn't really ever analyzed whether or not I'm a fan of the "mate bite," but I have to say that, yeah, when I'm reading paranormal romance it is pretty hot, because who doesn't like a little possessive behavior, within reason? Fun post!
Nicole Nobles
2. Nicole Nobles
I love both! To choose..hmmm...I would have to go with a shifter but vampire is right there!
Nicole Nobles
3. mikilectureaventure
shifters! and i prefer them because usually they are deeply loyal and have only one mate which they love deeply and protect ( oki a little to overboard sometimes but it's for love)
Nicole Nobles
4. Crystal Napper
Wolf shifters are my favorite.
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