Please help me welcome multi- published author Jenna Jaxon. She is promoting her book Almost Perfect, which has been chosen as Decadant Publishing’s Read For A Cure.
Jenna, thank you so much for being here today.
Thanks for allowing me to guest for Ella! 🙂
Pirates and Romance: Let the Fantasy Begin!
Pirates and Romance just seem to go together like love and marriage–which between the pages of a romance novel they often do. The Pirate trope in historical romance has been around since at least the 1940s, with Daphne Du Maurier’s Frenchman’s Creek published in 1941. It has been popular, however, in earlier literature, such as Lord Byron’s The Corsair (a book-length poem that sold 10,000 copies on its release day in 1814). Pirate tales are good business.
The pirate romance continued in popularity throughout the late 20th century and into the 21st with works such as Joanna Linday’s A Pirate’s Love, Cordia Byrus’ Pirate Royale, and Kathleen Drymon’s Pirate Moon. These are representative only–there have been hundreds of pirate themed romances published in the last 40 years. And countless other romance novels have had some kind of encounter with pirates. They make great villains for the hero to protect his heroine from, and equally dashing heroes, sailing the seas in search of adventure.
So, what exactly about pirates is so attractive to romance readers? The fact or the fiction?
The heyday of piracy was the late 17th/early18th century in the waters of the Caribbean Sea. Many pirates were originally privateers–commissioned by a government to defend their colonies on the water and split the profits of any loot taken. Others were buccaneers–escapees from the colonies with boat making skills–who banded together and formed ships’ crews to survive by robbing other ships. A pirate’s life, while far from easy, was much pleasanter than for sailors on Royal Navy ships or private merchants. Pirates elected a captain and could remove him at will. And while everyone shared the hard work, everyone also shared in the booty equally. This democratic and independent lifestyle fulfills several tenets of classic romanticism–lack of specific rules, individuality, and desire for freedom.
All well and good. However, pirates’ treatment of prisoners, especially female prisoners, hardly seems the stuff of romance novels. Pirates–particularly captains in command–thought nothing of torturing and raping women prisoners. Romance novels of from the late 1970s through the 90s, did portray pirate captains raping their heroines. Joanna Lindsay’s A Pirate’s Love and Lisa Kleypas’ Only With Your Love, have the captains raping/forcing their prisoners to have sex, which is much closer to reality than today’s romance novels would have us believe. Of course, the two heroines of the above mentioned books did fall in love with their rapists.
The rape fantasy trope is still prevalent in romance today, though publishers’ rules on how it is portrayed are very strict. Many women still enjoy rape fantasy as a means of relinquishing control. Many others do not enjoy it. And some are very outspoken in their dislike. (Which seems like a post for another day.) As this post has pointed out, the pirate fantasy trope has many facets to it, only one of which is the rape fantasy.
My erotic contemporary novella, Almost Perfect, gives a nod to the pirate rape fantasy. The heroine, Pam Kimball, has set up a 1Night Stand adventure in which she wants to be ravished by an “Orlando Bloom look-a-like” pirate (though since Pam is a very willing participant, it’s not really rape). She does not, however, get her little fantasy played out, as the following blurb indicates:
Pamela Kimball’s birthday present, a 1Night Stand adventure, promises to jump-start her life, put a new man in her bed, and help her forget her past. Unfortunately, movie-buff Pam’s Pirates of the Caribbean fantasy takes an alarming wrong turn when she’s abandoned on a not quite deserted island—with ex-husband Roger Ware.
Forced by hunger to accept Roger’s offer of dinner, Pam realizes the geek she married has transformed into one of the most charming, sexiest men she’s ever met. His newfound confidence—and hot body—re-kindle old fires. A simple kiss leads Roger to challenge her to discover how much his lovemaking skills have improved, leaving Pam torn between self-preservation and burning desire.
With time running out before they’re rescued, Pam must decide if her heart can survive the consequences of becoming Roger’s “almost” perfect 1Night Stand.
Almost Perfect Excerpt
She inched into the lapping surf, searching for movement. Reflection off the water made this task harder than expected. Wasn’t the Caribbean supposed to be teeming with fish? Now that’s something she’d had a lot of instruction in. Almost every marooned-on-an-island movie had a scene where the heroine learned to catch fish. Six Days, Father Goose, Blue Lagoon. All you needed was your hands and patience. She could do this.
Pam waded out further then stopped just before the water hit her now dry shorts. “Not gonna to have a damp crotch all night.” The words reminded her of exactly what she had hoped for tonight. “But not from wet shorts!” She headed back to shore to remove and drape them next to her shirt. The bandeau was a different story. Still damp, even after several hours, and uncomfortable. Might dry better if not next to her skin anyway. “Screw it! Live dangerously.”
Standing as good as naked on the deserted beach, Pam smiled as the warm breeze caressed her bare body. The sense of being slightly naughty added to her delight in the sensual feel of the air as it dried her breasts. Her nipples peaked as the wind cooled them. She strutted down to the water’s edge to sink her toes in the sand, the salty tang in the air adding to the perfect moment.
“If you’re skinny dipping, you forgot to remove one very important piece of clothing.”
Pam whirled around. Roger stood on the beach behind her, a green bottle of Perrier in one hand. His gaze played up and down her naked torso and his salacious grin widened. “Mind if I join you?”
Jenna Jaxon is a multi-published author of historical and contemporary romance who has been reading and writing historical romance since she was a teenager. A romantic herself, Jenna has always loved a dark side to the genre, a twist, suspense, a surprise. She tries to incorporate all of these elements into her own writing.
Jenna lives in Virginia with her family and a small menagerie of pets. When not reading or writing, she indulges her passion for the theatre, working with local theatres as a director. She often feels she is directing her characters on their own private stage.
She has equated her writing to an addiction to chocolate because once she starts she just can’t stop.
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