This is the cover of my upcoming release, To Kiss a Rake. (It’s up for pre-order now and comes out July 29th. Squee!!) Here’s the blurb:
WHEN A LADY IS ABDUCTED BY MISTAKE…
Melinda Starling doesn’t let ladylike behavior get in the way of true love. She’s secretly helping with an elopement, when she’s tossed into the waiting coach and driven away by a notorious rake.
REVENGE REALLY DOESN’T PAY.
Miles Warren, Lord Garrison, comes from a family of libertines, and he’s the worst of them all—or so society believes. When Miles helps a friend to run away with an heiress, it’s an entertaining way to revenge himself on one of the gossips who slandered him.
Except that he drives off with the wrong woman…and as if that wasn’t scandalous enough, he can’t resist stealing a kiss.
(I’ve had quite a few books out now, most of them romances, but this is my very first cover with a half-naked man on it. I’ve blogged about sexy torsos and clinches on covers before. It has always been an issue with me (apparently an unresolvable one).
Sex sells, judging by the ads for beer or cars or clothes or whatever. My first reaction to many ads is annoyance, because it’s absurd to imply that because you drink a particular brand of beer with your buddies or drive a fast car or win a million bucks, you’ll be sexy, rich, beautiful, and happy ever after—but that’s exactly what those ads want you to believe deep down, even if your commonsense tells you otherwise.
The implication of sex on the cover of a romance novel makes a lot more sense – at least there’s sexual attraction and often explicit sex in the book – but that’s not really what I wanted my cover to convey. Yes, the growing sexual attraction between the characters helps them toward their happily ever after, and yes, they have sex, but the main thrust (bad word choice??) of the story is romance – two people falling in love and having their happily ever after. I guess what I’m saying is that although sex is a natural aspect of a love relationship, it’s only part of the picture. What about trust and forgiveness and kindness and understanding and intimacy and warmth and sacrifice and compromise and so on? Without these ingredients, you don’t get lasting love.
I’m not immune to sexy covers, but I’m much more likely to find them appealing if I can somehow sense the romance as well. Lasting, sigh-worthy love is what I like a romance novel cover to convey, because sex by itself isn’t enough for a happily ever after, any more than money or clothes or cars are. So I’m happy with the cover of To Kiss a Rake, because I think it does just that.
Now for the question I always ask when I blog about this subject. What sort of cover art makes you want to look inside? Specifically, does a naked male torso make you want to read a book? How about a clinch or a woman in a long gown with quite a bit of skin showing? (These seem to me to be the three most popular sorts of covers that imply sex inside.)
Or to put it another way, which is sexier, a half-naked man or Mr. Darcy coming out of the water wet and fully-clothed?
I’ll give a copy of one of my novellas (winner’s choice) to one lucky commenter.