You never forget your first time. I certainly haven’t. Picture England in the mid-nineties. One Ms. Parker skips a couple of classes to visit a friend studying in London. These two adventurous lasses counted pound and penny and thought it would be fun to visit a third friend hitting the books in Dublin. They take a bus to the coast of Wales, a long journey they decide to lighten up by picking up some reading at a service station. The only thing that looks interesting is a pair of racy Black Lace historical romances.

We hop back on the bus, open our books, say, “Tell me when they get it on.” My friend, thirty seconds later, “Uh, now.” (I had to wait until page two for some action.) I don’t remember the title or the author. What I do remember is that it wasn’t a plot or character driven book, it was a sex driven book. Did I finish it? Absolutely. By the time the hero and heroine got their kinda-sorta happy ending, they’d done half the village each, the heroine had been forced by hero, dastardly scoundrels and sadistic lady alike, the hero had been raped by a wicked witch of the woods and he didn’t even seem to mind that much, and the part with the ritual in the forest with the awe-inspiring anal play…that’s a bit fuzzy and let’s keep it that way.

By the time I reached The End and the ferry, one thing was clear: I like a little romance with my rutting. OK, a lot of romance. When the heat is on, I don’t want to close the door but I don’t want to close my heart either, I want to be there with the characters mind, body and soul. Erotica can be, has been, beautifully and tastefully done. The book I read that night wasn’t that kind of erotica. It wasn’t proper erotic romance, either. So why didn’t I choose mainstream romance instead? To tell you the truth, I had a problematic relationship with romance back then.

Many may remember a time when the hero expressed his undying love by slapping the heroine, and I’m not talking about a sexy, consensual spanking. A time when a forced seduction scene was all force and no seduction. If you don’t remember those times and crimes, count yourself lucky. I gave up reading romance for the longest time after coming across too many of those instances. I distinctly remember two books, or rather the moments the heroes turned villains in my view.

They were contemporary romances, one starring the wealthy, arrogant and, as it turned out, abusive type, and the other a sheik who turned out to be a rapist. The heroes were profoundly sorry afterwards. They only did what they did out of love and desperation. I only wanted to perform a citizen’s arrest. The next time I gave contemporary romance a try I hadn’t forgiven or forgotten them, but to my huge relief their kind had become extinct. Good riddance, I thought.

And welcome, all the romance and erotic romance right up my alley. Today, it’s a different story. It’s a million and one different stories, and, most importantly, no more mistaking villains for heroes. It’s a good time to read romance, hot or not. So many wonderful sub-genres out there, so much variety, so many versatile authors to choose from. The heroes may be alpha but the heroines are by no means beta, and I much prefer today’s couples to the pairings of the days of yore.

I don’t look back on my first time very fondly, it was a bit of a letdown. But what I get to read today, what I hope to read in the future, more than makes up for that disappointing bus rut in the past. (I did have a good time in Dublin, though.) So thank you author-friends for your stunning work. Thank you readers for your continued support. And thank you Desiree for having me here today.

Now tell me…do you remember your first? Was it better for you than it was for me?

Dita Parker is the author of Alex Rising, a death-defying love and lust triangle set in the Big Easy, and Perpetual Pleasure, a hot and heavy novel starring a commitment phobic immortal and a stunt performer bent on showing her everything she’s missing out on (Ellora’s Cave Publishing). Dita lives in Scandinavia with her striking Viking and their children. She believes that sex is a positive life force, that love can last a lifetime, and that in 2014 Brazil will once again win the World Cup. To see how it all plays out, visit Dita’s Den.

Dita Parker
Alex Rising:
Perpetual Pleasure:
Dita’s Den: