Monday, February 19, 2007

Beach Blanket Bingo

Most of us have a special place we think of when we long to escape the real world. My husband likes any frigid and fishy lake in Maine, a holdover from his Boy Scout days. But I’m a beach baby. And how I wish I could escape this Maine winter right now. Give me some sand in my bathing suit and peanut butter sandwich, the smell of Coppertone and I’ll be a girl again, hanging out with my parents in the dunes.

That’s right. My parents. Bet you thought I’d talk about my old boyfriend the lifeguard. But the fact is, every weekend when I was growing up, I went to Jones Beach with my parents at the crack of dawn. My father was big on “beating the crowd.” Consequently we had the Atlantic Ocean to ourselves, because sensible people were still in bed. My father would mix up a huge jug of grapefruit juice and vodka for breakfast (none for me), set up an umbrella and chair for himself and a chaise lounge in the sun for my mother. He brought binoculars, not to watch the seagulls. When I got a little older I was permitted to move my blanket down toward the water, and he kept an eagle eye on me and my friends so we wouldn’t drown or, worse, get picked up by pimply boys.

There is something about the pull of the waves. Who can forget the infamous sex-on-the-beach scene in From Here to Eternity with Deborah Kerr and Burt Lancaster? I’ve used the sea scenario myself in a novella that might be a novel someday. My characters, Neil McInnis and Abigail Anthony, are swimming in Scotland somewhere around 1850.

“Race you,” she said, looking behind her and laughing.

“You’re a cheater, Miss Anthony. You know what happens to cheaters.” Neil was catching up, but she plunged into the surf first. Every inch of her smooth skin contracted into gooseflesh. She dove under the dull green water and came up sputtering, her black hair a midnight curtain of silk.

“Water witch” said Neil softly. “Selkie.”

Abby grinned, wondering if her lips were as blue as the sky above. “It’s odd you should say that,” she said, wiping the sea’s tears from her lashes before their sting made them hers. “My two older sisters, very proper, perfect, teased me all the time. They called me Little Witch, and I would cry my eyes out. I vowed to cast a spell on them.”

“You’ve certainly cast a spell on me.”

Abby stopped bobbing in the water and became very still.

Neil reached for her, drew her close, his chest pleasantly abraded by the coarse wool of her bathing costume. He combed his fingers through her hair, tracing it as it fell to the small of her back.

She could feel his hardness. Everywhere. Something loosened within her as she sought his mouth.

Just a small kiss.

She closed her eyes and felt his arms encircle her more tightly in the choppy waves.

There was nothing small about any of it. He kissed her deeply, his tongue probing and teasing until her weightless body wrapped around him. His lips moved down her throat to feel her pulse racing, taste the salt and her sweetness.

This was madness.

Questions and Culture:

So, where’s your special place to escape the madness? I’ll be at the shore---with plenty of sunblock.

When you write, do you put your lovers in a feather bed, or are they apt to be found on the library floor?

Reveal a favorite love scene that you’ve read that isn’t all under the covers.

Wild nights! Wild nights!
Were I with thee,
Wild nights should be
Our luxury!

Futile the winds
To a heart in port,—
Done with the compass,
Done with the chart.

Rowing in Eden!
Ah! the sea!
Might I but moor
To-night in thee!
- Emily Dickinson

The painting is Psamathe by Lord Frederick Leighton, c. 1880. My lucky daughter did an internship at the Leighton House Museum in London in the summer of 2004.


Elyssa Papa said...

How I love From Here to Eternity!!!

So love scenes that don't take place in the bedroom? The first one that came to mind is from SEP's latest Natural Born Charmer where Dean and Blue make love in a gypsy caravan. Come to think of it... there are some other outdoor making love scenes. Of course, I'd be thinking: Ew, bugs and I'm never going to get this sand out of here but... it's always fun to read about them in books. I need to get more adventurous I think. LOL.

Janga said...

The From Here to Eternity scene is a classic, Maggie. How many times have you seen it parodied? Clear evidence of its iconic status.

I'm looking forward to EJ's new one with the promise of love scenes in a boat under the willows and in a snowstorm under a fir tree. Anybody else see a tree pattern here?

And then there is la Dodd's famous elevator scene.

I'm not so adventurous in my own writing. I find just writing a love scene in a predictable setting challenge enough.

Elyssa Papa said...

But Janga, I remember that one love scene that you shared with us BBers and I thought that it was really good! When are we going to get more of Dorie and Max?

Anonymous said...

I know that lots of readers like the sex scene in the courthouse bathroom in one of the Linda Howards. I can barely remember it. Obviously, not too memorable for me.

Lisa Valdez had the H/H do rendevous in the British Museum (or was it the V&A?) in PASSION.

I remember Jackie, the aviator heroine of Jude Deveraux's "The Invitation", talking of some dude trying to seduce her as she is flying on her plane (but not succeeding)

Ive been to the Leighton House in London. Your daughter is indeed lucky ;-)

terrio said...

I'm pretty sure there is a really good scene on the floor in the library in one of the Bedwyn books. I'm not at home to look so someone will have to help me out. There is always the shower scene. I know NR does it all the time but I never seem to tire of it. In Divine Evil, the H/H barely got in the front door before they were in the throes so to speak on the floor. I'm sure there are plenty in carriages but I couldn't name a specific one right now.

Oh, and in the garden. At a masquerade usually. That was the one with the hero that was a twin. Alex? Damn, I wish I had any memory at all.....

Maggie Robinson/Margaret Rowe said...

I was doing some research (which will probably wind up in another blog in the future, LOL), and 57 percent of the people responding to a survey said they had had sex out of doors or in a public place! So be on the lookout.

Janga said...

Hey, if we are taliking real life, I am a product of the 60s. Drive-in theaters weren't called "passion pits" for nothing. And concerts? I blush to remember what I have seen.

Hellie Sinclair said...

I think one of the most memorable for me was Julie Garwood's The Bride. It's her wedding night, they've been riding all day (in a hurry to get back to Scotland), and the hero has just promised not to make love to her until she's wearing his plaid. Well, she's English, she has no intention of wearing his plaid.

Upon setting up camp for the night, she insists on a bath and plunges straight into a loch, which apparently would freeze the balls of a brass monkey--she flies out of the loch screaming--and he dries her off, wraps her up next to him, and she thinks, "You know being married might not be bad. What a considerate guy. I must have been wrong initially."

He then points out she's wearing his plaid.

Nice. And they make love--about 10 feet from his friends he brought along as back up for the ride back to Scotland. (Again, NICE.) But she gets into all works out. :)

Sara Lindsey said...

I love Colin and Penelope in the carriage in JQ's Romancing Mr. Bridgerton.
I want an internship at Leighton House!!! I think I actually visited Leighton House during the summer of '04... What's your daughter up to now? (I'm looking into some art history/conservation programs in England - National Trust and a lord to marry: here I come!)

Maggie Robinson/Margaret Rowe said...

Ooh! Pixi, welcome. My daughter is teaching for Citizens School in Boston doing art projects and working at the children's museum. She did find an English guy, but she met him here and he's gone back home. :( Let me know what you figure out and I'll be jealous of you!

Margaret Porter said...

I love the Leighton House--what a lucky thing your daughter is. I'm sure she had a fascinating time.