It can be difficult to determine if the contemporary romance novel you picked up will be sweet, steamy or scorching hot. The cover art and book description are not always good indicators, especially since social networks and booksellers are now requiring publishers to tone down the message. This can cause some confusion but there are a few clues readers can follow.
The low sensuality level is the main selling point to their audience and the terms “clean”, “traditional” or “wholesome” should be mentioned somewhere on the book cover. In these stories, the hero and heroine are very attracted to each other but the intimacy doesn’t go past hugging or kissing. There is also no suggestion of a love scene on or off the page.
A sweet romance is all about the emotional intimacy and is often promoted as a “tender”, “heartfelt” or “feel-good” story. Anticipate the zip of sexual tension and the probability of a love scene. In the past, the sex occurred behind closed doors (meaning it’s not shown on the page). These days, a sweet romance might have a couple of love scenes, but they are described in euphemistic detail.
Most contemporary romances are in this heat level. The sexual chemistry is just as important as the consummation of the relationship. If you find any hint of a bed, getting naked, or sizzle in the book description, then it should be a sensual romance. The sex is essential to the story but there may not be that many love scenes. It depends on the author’s storytelling.
If the story is about a red-hot premise or set-up, then it will probably be a sexy romance. Think illicit encounters or no-commitment flings. A lot of times the character (usually the heroine) is exploring a sexual fantasy. The love scenes might range from explicit to graphic, but remember that these stories are about lust and love.
An erotic romance is about the physical aspect of a romantic relationship. Readers often can find stories that highlight a specific sex act or desire. Whether it’s about bondage, reverse harems (one female is the love interest of three or more men) or a monogamous ménage (an exclusive relationship involving three people), the romance story still offers an emotionally satisfying and optimistic conclusion.
(Image via GIPHY)