Okay, what is it with those hot, sexy vampires that keeps us coming back for more?
On the face of it, they are hardly the stuff of romantic heroes. They’re dead for a start – have been for centuries in some cases! Some of them live in coffins, lined with their native earth. Traditionally, they’re not fond of running water, so I can’t see many of them washing. And what about laundry? Although I confess I did once have a vampire hero of mine washing his shirt - which, biased as I am, I found quite endearing – I can’t imagine Saloman in the Awakened by Blood novels, doing anything so mundane. My heroine found herself noting in Blood on Silk that Saloman couldn’t have brushed his teeth in three hundred and twelve years. Ew. So, unclean and evil as they are, why in the world are vampires so attractive?
Well, being undead, they don’t do anything so ill-mannered as rotting, like zombies for example. And as far as personal hygiene goes, they need not be “dirty” as in “minging” (to use a good Scots word for filthy or smelly!). But in the world of vampire romance, they are very often “dirty” as in “sexy” – and, yes, we love that!
Vampires have always had a very definite sexual allure. This was understated but definitely present in Bram Stoker’s Dracula, and even in Dracula’s predecessor, John Polidori’s The Vampyre (published back in 1819). And they like to act on it. In today’s steamier romantic fiction, they tend to have voracious sexual appetites intensified by heightened sensitivity. They entice partners and readers alike into their heady, sensual world. They have supernatural power, immortality, eternal youth and superior strength to defeat their enemies and protect those they love, and, of course, the undoubted attraction of the ultimate bad boy. It’s partly this, the forbidden element, that makes the vampire such a wonderful hero of steamy and erotic romance.
Besides, being immortal, they tend to learn a few things about the pleasures of the flesh over the years. And their strength – physical and supernatural - is as irresistible as their attraction.
And so any human heroine of vampire romance, however strong a character she might be, has an excuse for giving in to her lust for evil congress – he really is, literally, impossible to resist, so why try any longer? As a reader as well as a writer, I love that – the build-up of sexual tension, and its final release. And a bit of sexy detail enhances an intensely physical story of this kind. Most modern romance readers need to feel with the heroine – all her conflicts, emotions and desires.
So let’s hear it for all those hot vampires out there! They’re my favourite fantasy, and I hope they’re yours too!