4 Hot Tips for a Bodice-Ripping Valentine’s Day

This Harlequin romance writer reveals all...

When you’ve had sex with more than 140 men, you learn a few things. I’m not quite as promiscuous as that makes me sound. I’m a writer, and most of those men were fictional. All but one or two… or maybe three.

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I write deeply emotional, witty relationship stories. Stories of friends and frenemies, family conflicts, and yes, romantic love. Because I feel that passion is an important aspect of every romantic relationship, I take readers on that part of the journey, too. We’re right there in the bedroom—or the foyer or the kitchen or the pasture—as the characters are swept away by emotion and desire. As I write, I’m both witness and participant, and I try to give my readers the same feeling of being there.

Susan Mallery

You can have that kind of passion this Valentine’s Day in real life, too. Here’s how:

1. Trust that he thinks you’re sexy.

It’s impossible to be carried away by passion when a litany of self-doubt is playing in your head. Do I look fat? Does he wish my legs were longer/boobs were bigger/butt was tighter?

But here’s the truth, and I say it with great affection: Men aren’t that complicated. I can tell you word for word what’s going through his head when you take off your clothes: Naked lady. Me want. Believe that he wants you, and let yourself enjoy the feeling of being a seductress. If self-doubts threaten, look into his eyes, and you’ll see that he hungers for you.

It’s a heady feeling, to be wanted. Enjoy it. And make sure he knows how much you want him, too. Reciprocated desire feeds the fire.

Susan Mallery

2. Do it somewhere unusual, especially if you’re in a long term relationship.

Change is exciting. This Valentine’s Day, make love somewhere different. If you can’t afford a hotel room, find a new place in your own house. Make it romantic. Or take a drive in the country and recapture your youth together in the backseat. Or hey, go to your in-laws’ and have a quickie in the bathroom! I promise, that rush of adrenaline will add a special zing to the moment. When the love was new, passion was easy. The longer the two of you are together, the more life gets in the way. Every now and then it’s fun to remember what it was like when all it took was a look to get you breathing hard.

Susan Mallery

3. Dress to turn yourself on, and it’ll work for him, too.

 Venture outside of your comfort zone with your wardrobe on this special night, if only underneath your clothes. Maybe don’t go quite as far as Nicole when she first meets Jairus in my book The Friends We Keep

His words were all spoken in English, yet they made absolutely no sense to her. Nada. What on earth was he—

“Oh my God, you think I’m a hooker?”

He stared at her, his eyes widening. Several twenties dangled from his fingers. “You’re not?”

(You’ll have to read the book to find out why Nicole was dressed like that.)

You don’t have to go out of your comfort zone. Just wear something that makes you feel a little naughty. A demi-cup bra when you normally wear a full cup might be different enough to make you aware of your body in a whole new way. And hey, before you head out to dinner, give him a peek. He won’t be able to think about anything else.

Susan Mallery

4. Act out the love scene from a book.

 Remember how romance novels used to be called “bodice rippers”? Busty women and bustier men clutched each other in epic windstorms. Although the phrase is passé, the passion remains, and it keeps readers coming back for more, more, more. (Yes, yes, YES!) Grab a romance novel from one of your favorite authors, and flip to the hottest love scene. Read it aloud together, and act out what the characters are doing.

Susan Mallery
Click on the cover to learn more about “The Friends We Keep.”


The Friends We Keep is what I consider romance-plus (“plus” is a look at some of the other relationships that are so important to women). The romantic storyline is strong. Here’s a snippet to inspire you on Valentine’s Day. Since the book won’t be out until February 23, maybe you and your lover can write your own ending to this scene?

She leaned into him. His arms lowered and his hands moved down her sides to settle at her waist. His mouth was warm against hers. He moved back and forth before brushing his tongue against her bottom lip.

She parted for him and felt need flower inside of her. Hunger grew, consuming her until the wanting was a tangible beast that had to be satisfied.

There were so many hours before dawn, she thought as she kissed him in return, meeting him stroke for stroke, letting the heat burn through her. So many possibilities.

She drew back and took his hand, then led him to her bedroom.

There you have it, 4 Hot Tips for a Bodice-Ripping Valentine’s Day. Think of me as you go forth and… Um, on second thought, please don’t think of me.

But do go forth…!


Image credits: wavebreakmedia/Shutterstock, Photographee.eu/Shutterstock, ginger_polina_bublik/Shutterstock, EdwardLai/Twenty20, thenathanrohrer/Twenty20, LaurenRita/Twenty20.

About Susan Mallery

Susan Mallery

SUSAN MALLERY, author of The Friends We Keep, has entertained millions of readers with her witty and emotional stories about women. Publishers Weekly calls Susan’s prose “luscious and provocative,” and Booklist says “Novels don’t get much better than Mallery’s expert blend of emotional nuance, humor and superb storytelling.” Susan lives in Seattle with her husband and her tiny but intrepid toy poodle. Visit her at her website.

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