Slow Burn or White Hot and Fast?

How do you like your sex scenes? Do you like the heroine and hero to circle each other and let the tension pulse and tease with snippets of the inevitable till you’re hoping against hope that it soon leads to some full-on contact? Or are you partial to the smoking hot, can’t resist each other, eruption of hot, sweaty, and fast sex that burns up the pages with intensity and leaves the reader breathless? I’m a fan of the slow burn and that is what I usually portray in my historical romances. Read below a snippet that does EVENTUALLY lead to the inevitable! Our hero and heroine Maximillian and Jolene marry by proxy, and Jolene fully plans to have a loveless and sexless marriage as they intended from the start, both satisfied with companionship only. But there’s heat between the two of them from the beginning.



And Maximilian Shelby would be a complication. He had some innate charm that made those in his circle hang on his every word. He was so very comfortable with himself and had such an easy confidence in who he was, with no pretension or regrets, it seemed. It had been natural to laugh with him and smile back at him while they entertained the McCastors. For just a second it felt like what she thought happy people must feel like. It had been a charade for her, but what had he thought, she wondered.

There was a knock at her door, and she rose from the chaise and pulled on her pink satin robe. She wondered why Alice hadn’t come through the door in her dressing room to check on her one more time before she retired.

Contract to Wed eBook Cover Extra Large“Come in,” she said and picked up her brush from her vanity. She wanted to think, and she didn’t want to make small talk or even acknowledge that someone else was in the room. “You may go to bed, Alice,” she said as she turned.

Maximillian Shelby stood in her doorway. She gasped. “What are you doing in here?” she said as she cinched her satin robe. “What do you want?”

But he just stood there staring at her. It was disconcerting and strangely provocative. She was covered but felt as if she was naked in front of him. She could feel the cool shimmery satin against her breasts. One strap fell away from her shoulder under her robe, and she forced herself to let it alone. He swallowed, cleared his throat, and walked within inches of her until she had to look up at him.

“You are the most gorgeous woman I’ve ever set eyes on.”

With those words, Maximillian wrapped his hands around her upper arms, touching the sides of her breasts as he did. Every bit of her being was focused on the pressure of his fingers where he held her.  She was aware of herself. Sensually aware that she was taking short breaths and that her lips had parted and her eyelids had drooped. Her mind was screaming that she should twist out of his grasp, but she made the ghastly error of looking at his face, at his tanned skin with a shadow of a beard, dark brown eyes and a well-defined mouth filled with even white teeth. He was breathing hard, too, and she could smell the whiskey on his breath. He was magnificent.

Maximillian growled low in his chest, pulled her tight against him and covered her mouth with his. He released her arms and slipped a hand around the small of her back, while the other tangled in her unbound hair. She could feel the outline of his sex against her stomach, and he angled his head to deepen their kiss and touched his tongue to hers. Her arms hung at her side until she slowly slid them up the cotton of his shirt, and her palms lay flat against his upper arms, wide and thick and hard. She was completely and utterly limp in his embrace and wondered briefly if she had the strength to stand on her own, let alone resist his attention.

Maximillian broke the kiss and scanned her face up and down as if seeing her for the first time. She touched trembling fingers to her lips and stared up at him. What had he done? What had she done? She could not, in good conscience, reprimand him again for touching her person. She had touched him back and felt her breasts grow heavy and her nipples harden against his chest. She had reacted to him sexually. Jolene took a step back, and her legs hit her dressing table stool. She sat abruptly.


Contract to Wed is available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, KOBO, and ITunes. The blurb is below.

1891 . . . Jolene Crawford Crenshaw, heiress and Boston socialite, went from her family home directly to Landonmore upon her marriage, the mansion she shared with her handsome and charismatic husband. She’d never in her life worried in the slightest over anything as crass as the dollars required to maintain that home or the lifestyle she’d been born to.  Her extensive yearly wardrobe, the stables and the prime horseflesh within it, even the solid silver forks and knifes that graced her table, were expected and required to maintain the social standing that she’d cultivated over the years. But suddenly she was a widow with little money and just her pride and her secrets to keep her upright.

Max Shelby made his fortune in oil wells and cattle, but lost the love of his life the day his wife died. Now, his happy, carefree daughter needs instruction and guidance as she grows into a young lady and his dream of becoming a Senator from his adopted state of Texas seems out of reach with few political or social connections. The right wife would solve both problems. As it happens, his sister knows of a woman, a recent widow, charming, beautiful and socially astute, but in reduced circumstances, who may want to begin again. Max signed the wedding contract sight unseen.

Will Jolene be able to shed her sorrows, anger and fears to begin anew away from the censure and hidden tragedy that marred her life? Is her new husband, confident, strong and capable Max Shelby, the man, the only man, to see past her masks to find the woman beneath?



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Holly Bush writes historical romance set on the American Prairie and in Victorian England. Her books are described as emotional, with heartfelt, sexy romance. Holly recently released her first women’s fiction title reviewers are calling ‘smart’ and ‘laugh-out-loud funny.’ She makes her home with her husband in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. Connect with Holly at on Twitter and on Facebook.

17 Responses

  1. allybroadfield

    Awesome excerpt! I prefer the slow build up of tension.

    • hollybushbooks

      I like the build-up and that’s why I think I like historicals more than contemporary stuff. I always think there’s a little more at stake in a historical.

  2. Barbara Monajem

    Fab excerpt, and I too prefer the slow buildup — although what the characters want sometimes gets in the way of my plans. 😉

  3. Sandra Owens

    For me, Holly, it depends on the story – so I’d say whatever is right for the couple.

    • hollybushbooks

      Sometimes the white hot burn does suit!

  4. Maggi Andersen

    I like both. Whatever fits the story. Love this excerpt, Holly!