Everly Ryan

Historical Romance Author

Witty Banter in Romance Fiction

"Debra Glass", "Ell", "Ellora's Cave", "HIstorical Romance", "His Girl Friday", "Slave to Fashion", "You've Got Mail", "erotic historical romance", "romantic banter", "romantic comedy", "scottish hero", "witty banter"Debra GlassComment
The magic ingredient of a romantic comedy is the witty banter between the characters. From Hepburn and Tracey to Timberlake and Kunis, audiences enjoy the clever, romantic sparring between characters.
From His Girl Friday (1940) starring Cary Grant and Rosalind Russell
Walter Burns: Look, Hildy, I only acted like any husband that didn't want to see his home broken up.
Hildy Johnson: What home?
Walter Burns: "What home"? Don't you remember the home I promised you?
Here’s an example from You’ve Got Mail (1998) starring Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan
Joe Fox: You know, sometimes I wonder...
Kathleen Kelly: What?
Joe Fox: Well... if I hadn't been Fox Books and you hadn't been The Shop Around the Corner, and you and I had just, well, met...
Kathleen Kelly: I know.
Joe Fox: Yeah. I would have asked for your number, and I wouldn't have been able to wait twenty-four hours before calling you and saying, "Hey, how about... oh, how about some coffee or, you know, drinks or dinner or a movie... for as long as we both shall live?"
Creating that same spark between characters in romance fiction, brings those characters alive on the page. Sometimes, the writer creates playful banter, at other times, it’s seductive, and sparingly, banter can be aggressive. When such banter is employed in romance, the reader automatically knows the characters are not only intensely interested in each other but also overwhelmingly irritated by an attraction over which they have no control. Witty banter can keep a plot moving forward and if done well, take readers on a fun-filled ride to the promise of a happily ever after.
Most of my friends know I’m quick with a response, a trait both my daughters have unfortunately inherited. Although my sharp retorts create much laughter around my house, I’d never incorporated my sense of humor into a romance until Slave to Fashion. My romances are inherently character driven. Georgiana and Blane are no exception. However, because their goals are at odds (Georgiana wants her sister to marry a certain wealthy mill owner, and Blane needs Georgiana’s business to keep his mill afloat) witty banter between them flows naturally. Add in a Scottish accent for the hero and … sigh …
Here’s an excerpt from Slave to Fashion illustrating the banter between Georgiana and Blane.
“I accept your proposal.”
Blane coughed and sputtered.
After having time to think about what he’d done, he realized marrying this woman would be a foolhardy venture. Even if it did mean his linens would grace the backs and tables of every member of the ton.
She lifted that pert chin of hers and leveled her gaze. All business. Even now. A wild urge rose in him to pluck the pins from her perfectly coiffed hair, strip her bare and take her right here on the parlor floor.
He blinked to drive the torrid fantasy away. “Ye what?”
Her little pink tongue darted out to moisten her lips. Everything about the innocent gesture brought back not so innocent memories. Kissing her. Crushing her in his arms. Blane cleared his throat. “Mademoiselle Talbot, I thought we decided that—”
“Not for real, of course. What do you think I am? An imbecile?” Her tone was tart.
Blane shook his head, still uncertain if he’d understood her correctly. “We canna marry. I blurted that proposal as a scheme to coerce ye to buy my linen instead of Griffin’s.”
“That’s precisely it,” she told him. “Your linen is the best. It’s of far better quality than Griffin’s.”
Pride swelled in Blane’s chest.
“But there’s the problem of my sister.”
“What does yer sister have to do with anything?”
“My sister is very much in love with Lord Griffin,” Georgiana continued.
“For the life of me, I canna see how I fit into this,” Blane said. “Are ye asking me to offer for yer sister?”
She heaved a sigh and rolled her eyes—much as his governess had often done when he was a child. “No.” She took a step toward him and he struggled against the instinct to take a step back to maintain the distance between them.
“Really, Lord Lockerbie, your failure to grasp subtle nuance is astounding.”
His brows knitted together. She’d just insulted him! “Now wait just a minute—”
She cut him off. “If I must explain it in painstaking detail, I will. We announce our engagement.”
“Whoa—”
She held up a finger to silence him. “Hear me out.”
Blane crossed his arms over his chest. He didn’t like where this was going. Not at all.
“We announce our engagement at the affair being held by Lord and Lady Compton this weekend. If I am betrothed, Lord Griffin’s tenuous relationship with Elizabeth can become more than friendship and you can supply some of my linen.”
Blane’s world tilted slightly off-kilter. This was happening all too quickly. He put his fingertips on a nearby table to steady his balance. “Mademoiselle, as much as I am honored that ye desire my linen, I’d be a fool to enter into such a…a…plot as this.”
As it was, he wanted to kick himself for ever putting the idiot notion in her head in the first place.
Georgiana’s lips parted in surprise. “Plot? Heavens, Lord Lockerbie. It’s a brilliant plan. Don’t you see? As soon as Griffin offers for my sister, I will end our engagement and you can go merrily back to wherever it is you come from.”
“Loch Dungeon.”
“Sounds dismal.”
“Hardly,” he said tersely.
She waved her hand at him in dismissal. “However you need it to be. I’m sure it’s a lovely, rugged, pastoral sort of place but it has very little to do with the matter at hand.”
“There is no matter at hand.”
With feline speed, she shot to the parcel and snatched a fistful of the handkerchiefs. “Do you want me to make you the premier supplier of linen in London or not, Lord Lockerbie?”
He opened his mouth to speak but no words sprang from his lips. Instead, he gave her a hesitant nod.
“Very well,” she said and smoothed the handkerchiefs back out on top of the shirts. “We’ll announce our engagement this weekend.”
With that, she started toward the door.
Move. Say something. This is impossible! She’s impossible.
“Wait!” Blane finally made his mouth work.
She turned and stared—as if daring him to deny her.
Diah! She was infuriating and stubborn and…and incredibly alluring right now. A bevy of emotions warred for prominence. He wanted to shake some semblance of sense into her, to throw her over his knee and spank her arse. Worse, to gather her in his arms and claim her rouged lips until she whimpered for more.
He did none of those.
“How can I be assured ye willna decide to go through with the marriage?” he asked. “I mean, as a man, I canna break the engagement. ’Twould ruin your chances for ever making a match in the future and—”
Pealing laughter rang from the diabhal’s red lips. Taunting, uncontainable laughter.
Blane’s face heated with a mixture of anger and mortification. Would marriage to him be that ludicrous? That unimaginable? He tugged at his neck cloth.
A sideways grin claimed her lips when her guffaws finally stopped. “Rest assured, Lord Lockerbie, I have no intention of going through with a marriage to you or anyone else. Why would I have to?”
“Slave to Fashion allows the reader to go on a raw and erotic journey of sensual exploration while spending time with two fun and spirited characters.” ~ TOP PICK ~ Night Owl Reviews
“Debra Glass is one of the premiere names in erotic historical romance as far as I’m concerned and it was with great delight that I picked up Slave to Fashion. I love that Georgiana is different from the typical Georgian era heroine – it adds spice to the tale. Also adding spice to Slave to Fashion is the dynamic between Georgiana and Blane. They don’t always like each other…at least not at first…but the sparks that fly between them are undeniably hot. Ms. Glass’s talent for writing melting sexual tension and decadent eroticism is showcased beautifully in Slave to Fashion.” ~ Joyfully Reviewed
“I’ll be dreaming of highlander men with swarthy good looks and the decadent brogue that accompanies it. I can’t wait to travel back through time with another story by Debra Glass.” ~ Siren Book Reviews
Blurb ~
A taste of the forbidden…
Georgiana Talbot intends to remain a spinster in order to ensure her younger sisters debut and find husbands. But when she encounters a devilish Scot who ignites a searing fire within her, Georgiana realizes just how much she has denied herself regarding the pleasures of the flesh. Determined to learn more, she concocts a daring scheme.
A touch of the taboo…
Seducing the haute ton’s premier modiste into buying linen from his mills is foremost on Blane MacLaren’s mind. Until his need to bend the brash beauty to his will drives him to enter into a scandalous agreement—Georgiana will purchase his linens if he will tutor her in an array of dark delights and forbidden pleasures. Yet nothing could have prepared him for the effect his very willing student will have on him—or how far a harmless lesson in lust can go.
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