Michille: Cosmo’s Take on Historicals


Or The 10 Sexiest Nonsexual Things That Happen in Historical Romance Novels in Eliza Thompson’s opinion. She starts with hand touching that is unimpeded by gloves, which is stage four according to Desmond Morris’s stages of intimacy. She gives an excerpt from In Bed With the Devil by Lorraine Heath. I’ve never read one of hers, but I have When the Duke Was Wicked in my TBR pile. It may have just moved to the top of the pile.

One of my favorite stories is Devil in Winter by Lisa Kleypas (and I’m anxiously awaiting Devil in Spring). She used it as an example of how watching a man do a job is sexual. I wouldn’t say the passage she chose is my favorite. Watching him work the cards with his hands did more for me than conversation. Fast forward to contemporaries and watching Colin build a wall in SEP’s Ain’t She Sweet was pretty hot.

She used another Kleypas from the same series for another thing – disappearing to isolated locations with a chaperone. Her quote, I believe, is actually when Lillian went off with St. Vincent and not Westcliff, but I’m not sure and can’t put my hands on my copy of It Happened One Autumn.

Another thing is exchanging notes with an excerpt from Eloisa James. She gave a couple more nods to Lorraine Heath with things like platonic bed sharing, addressing each other by their first names, and defending the heroine.

Watching your crush interact with a child is a good one in my book, except when the child is used as a plot moppet which I know is one of Jilly’s peeves. As I recall, there’s a scene like this in an old Jude Deveraux – A Knight in Shining Armor – however, it’s been so long since I’ve read it, I could be wrong about that. Christina Dodd has some good scenes in Rules of Engagement.

Dressing up as a man so you can do stuff that good society ladies can’t is another thing. Her excerpt was from The Rogue Not Taken by Sarah MacLean. I usually love her books, that one, not so much, but the excerpt was good. Stephanie Laurens does a much better job of it in  A Rogue’s Proposal. Good bottom.

What is your favorite sexy nonsexual thing?


9 thoughts on “Michille: Cosmo’s Take on Historicals

  1. I love it when a man touches a woman in a polite way (such as putting his arm out for her to rest her hand on, or putting his hand in the small of her back to escort her through a door). A small touch, but boy, can there be sparks!

    • I like that, too. That works in contemporaries as well as historical. In historicals, it’s kind of racy because of all the rules of touching (or not touching). In contemporaries, I think of it as more proprietary.

      • In contemporaries I think there can be a lot of sexual tension by being restrained and “polite,” for lack of a better word. Holding the door, then putting a hand to the back, opening the car door and offering your hand to help the lady out…for me, that sort of old fashioned manners business is quite attractive.

  2. That’s a really interesting and fun article, Michille, thanks! I’ve heard good things about Lorraine Heath but have never read her – she’ll be top of my list next time I treat myself to a historical.

    The best exchange of notes I’ve ever read is in Loretta Chase’s novella Lord Lovedon’s Duel. Witty, funny, sexy messages travel back and forth as fast as the messengers can carry them. If you’re ever in short of a quick pick-me-up, I strongly recommend that novella. Georgette Heyer’s Faro’s Daughter is good on notes, too. The heroine’s family is deep in debt, the hero acquires the promissory notes and mortgages, and the package of paperwork goes back and forth between them. In the end, the hero sends them to the heroine ripped into tiny pieces 🙂 .

    In Miss Wonderful, Loretta Chase’s first Carsington book, the hero expertly restores and secures the heroine’s pinned-up hair, a skill he honed during his previous relationship with a ballet dancer. And he re-designs an industrial development project (a canal) so that it won’t spoil the landscape the heroine loves. That’s very cool, and I know the area the book is set in, so I can imagine it.

    Oh – and there’s Heyer’s Devil’s Cub. The hero is at a ball, fidgeting with his cousin’s fan when she asks him what he’d do if another man tried to take away the woman he’s in love with. He thinks about it for a moment, and when he returns the fan, he say whoops, sorry about that, I’ll buy you another – all the sticks are broken. Whoo! That would be beyond creepy in real life, but in context, it’s totally hot.

    • I’m ashamed to admit that I’ve never read any Heyer. But that scene does sound totally hot in a fictional sort of way. If someone did that today, I’d be looking for the alter hidden in a closet somewhere.

  3. I loved the note exchanges in Faro’s Daughter! And I thought it was pretty thrilling when Ravenscar burned his hands from the candle to escape from the cellar when Deb locked him in—but then, although free, chose not to overpower her. Not exactly your typical wooing scene, but she had to let him out to patch him up, and—well, you just have to read it.

  4. I think it has to do with the Love Filters we wear when we are crushing. The same action taken by someone we aren’t attracted to is “meh” while something totally mundane is endlessly fascinating when we’re falling in love.

    I have to say one of my weaknesses is a man who plays piano. It doesn’t have to be romantic music even. If he’s playing for friends some cheerful tune (I’m pulling on memories of 1930s movies, I think), it’s still so attractive that he can bring pleasure to people like that (through his hands, hee-hee!).

    Men smoothing fabrics is also really a good trigger for me. Smoothing a bed sheet, or even just “shooting his cuffs” of a tuxedo or suit. Detailed work, and it shows he thinks about others.

    I will have to apply this more to my writing!

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