In my latest book, Out of the Ordinary, I have two scenes with a bathtub and one in a hot tub. My editor questioned one of them, asking why it was necessary for my heroine to bathe just then. Hmmm. It wasn't crucial to the plot at that point, yet there she was, climbing into a tub. Why was I so obsessed with baths? Maybe it's this cool and somewhat stressful time of year, making my bones ache and my muscles tighten. Nothing brings on instant relaxation like a hot soak.
My ideal bathing spot would be a garden tub, so I could immerse my whole body while sitting. Unfortunately, I only have a standard bathtub, which doesn't allow for full body immersion, unless you're very short. Who came up with that design? Not a woman! Since I don't have the budget to remodel the bathroom, I work with what I've got. Here are the steps I follow to take the perfect bath.
Get the tub ready. I don't know about you, but my tub usually needs to be cleaned. It's not in the main bathroom, so it ends up serving as a utility sink to fill my mop bucket, and a home for a few spiders. Since I don't want to soak in chemicals, I'm going to use hand soap to scrub it. Yep, regular old liquid hand soap. It will clean the porcelain just fine, and any remaining residue won't bother my super-sensitive skin.
Oil, salts, etc. Epsom and Dead Sea salts have many healthful properties. I add a handful with most baths. I'm also going to squirt in scented jojoba oil to keep the moisture in my skin. I only use pure essential oils in my favorite fragrance, which varies depending on my mood. Am I feeling frisky, and want to get a little romance cooking, or do I just need to relax and unwind?
Light some candles. Soy or beeswax burn the cleanest. I place them around the room to achieve the perfect lighting. Hint: if you plan to shave your legs in the tub, make sure you have a fairly bright one nearby. Dim lighting and razors don't mix.
Relaxing music. Sometimes I just want quite, but if I'm in the mood for music, I choose a soothing sound, usually harp or some other instrumental selection.
A glass of wine and a glass of water. I love a sip or two of wine, but water is necessary to stay hydrated, especially since I like to take super hot and steamy baths.
I've got everything in place. Now, I fill up the tub, swirl the water to dissolve the salts, add the oil, place my beverages nearby, and climb in. Ahhh, bliss! If your tub is large enough, invite your partner to join you, or at least to wash your back and your other fun parts. When you're done, take a tepid shower, slather on lotion or more oil, wrap up in a fluffy robe, and fall into blissful slumber, or, if you've been dallying with your loved one, their arms.
I hope you've enjoyed reading about my perfect bath. How about you? Do you have any special ways to make bathing enjoyable? Leave me a comment, and enter to win your choice of one of my back list Ebooks (anything except Out of the Ordinary), or a bookmark/note card goodie pack, if you're in the US. My contest ends December 31st.
Thank you for reading, and Happy Holidaze to you and yours.
Thank you for reading, and Happy Holidaze to you and yours.
Out of the Ordinary blurb and excerpt:
After a devastating fiasco on her wedding day, still-single Star Lite longs for peace and quiet to nurse her broken heart. Instead of the uneventful summer vacation she has planned, she's transported to a strange planet with even stranger inhabitants, and an irritating but sexy man named Adam who claims he's a magician. Star senses danger in this place, and her suspicions are confirmed, as the two humans witness a bizarre display of power from a mad king. They form an uneasy bond and work past their differences as they look for a way to escape, and attempt to reason with two sensuous pixies, who are trying to protect their ruler. When the king makes a foolish decision, danger threatens the entire planet. Not one to give up without a fight, Star reluctantly agrees to a sexual experiment, where she discovers her untapped power of magic, and opens her heart to the possibility of love.
Suddenly, a clap of thunder filled the air and a man appeared in the same spot where Star had just arrived. He too landed on all fours.
“What is this? We’re not supposed to have two deliveries at once. And why are these humans landing so hard? They’re going to be damaged. Heavens and goddess protect us,” Roven exclaimed.
The new arrival leapt to his feet and turned to her.
“What’s going on?” He looked much as Star imagined she did, shocked, confused and angry. He also, however, appeared entirely human and rather attractive, which gave Star a bit of comfort.
The elf man went to him and grabbed his arm.
“If you’ll come with me…”
“I’m not going anywhere with you, and get your hands off me before I punch you.”
“Guards!” Roven yelled.
Vesta took Star’s arm but Star shook off the woman’s hand. “Lady, I might just punch you, too. Leave me alone.”
Several elves appeared carrying spears. They surrounded the human man and pulled his arms behind his back, then marched him away.
“Please don’t make me call more soldiers. We’re running short today and His Majesty will be most upset if we take his palace guards. Come along quietly with me,” the elf lady implored.
Star quickly evaluated the situation and decided resistance might not be the best choice. They had weapons, she didn’t.
“Where are you taking me? Would you please tell me what’s going on?”
“Later. I must get you to your room and prepare you for the banquet tonight. His Majesty insists all new arrivals be on time and properly attired.”
The elf woman led Star down another stone path, through a huge, arched doorway and into an enormous open room. Star gazed around in wonder, feeling like she was in the middle of a Discovery Channel show touring an ancient palace. Large, ornate furniture filled the space and the stone walls were decorated with bright paintings. The woman walked too briskly for Star to have a chance to view the artwork up close, but she didn’t recognise any of the pictures.
They climbed a winding staircase and arrived in a room that contained a bed, a dressing table, a couch and a few other pieces of mismatched furniture. There were no windows, Star noted to her dismay. She felt claustrophobia creeping in.
“Here is a gown for you to wear. There’s a pitcher on your nightstand with water that is safe for you to drink. There’s a tub over there—the water should still be warm. I’ll help you undress and bathe.”
“I don’t need help undressing and I certainly don’t need help bathing,” Star told her, wrapping her arms around her body. She would strike this woman if she tried to take her clothes off. Naked was not something Star did with just anybody.
“We must hurry—His Majesty will be upset if we’re late.”
“Yes, I get the picture, he doesn’t like tardies. If you won’t tell me where I am, at least tell me about this banquet, why I have to take a bath and who this Majesty person is. You drag me from my home, and expect me to follow your orders without giving me any information. What happens if I don’t want to obey you? Are you going to hurt me?”
“Please, just do what I ask for now. We’ll have a lovely meal and then we can talk, I promise. We don’t want to hurt you. Now, let me assist you.”
“I think I can handle bathing and dressing by myself. Really.”
“Fine, I’ll leave you alone. Don’t try to leave, there will be a guard outside your door.”
“And just where the hell would I go?”
The woman winced. “You humans curse far too much. It’s not ladylike. I’ll come back for you shortly. Be ready.”
Ladylike my ass. Wait till I get good and mad, I’ll show you guys ladylike. Star knew her language tended to get rough when she was scared and angry, and right now she was plenty of both.
She took a quick look around the room but didn’t dawdle. She had no doubt the strange woman would return soon and would hustle her off to ‘His Majesty’, whatever her state of readiness. The elf woman was obviously rushed and stressed, and Star had noticed a glimmer of fear in her eyes.
Taking a few breaths, she calmed herself. This whole thing was either a hallucination or a dream, and in either scenario there was no reason to panic because she would stop seeing things or wake up soon.
The horrible notion that she had been abducted lurked in the back of her mind, but she pushed the thought aside lest she succumb to full-blown panic. Why would anyone kidnap her? And really, elf costumes? No, this was all the product of her overactive imagination, or maybe one of those delayed drug flashbacks she’d been warned about as a teenager.
Prowling around the room, she discovered a small closet and what appeared to be a chamber pot hidden behind a curtain. Relieved, Star made use of the strange contraption then took a sniff of the water in the pitcher on the table. It smelt okay, and a small sip tasted fine, so she gulped down a cup. She then removed her clothes, dipped a toe to test the bath water and climbed into the tub. Using the sponge she found, she quickly scrubbed herself and had just towelled off and put on the gown when the elf woman walked in.
“Oh good, a perfect fit. You look presentable. Sit here, I’ll do your hair,” Vesta said, pointing to the dressing table.
Star moved hesitantly in the dress. She seldom wore long skirts and worried she would trip over her feet in this floor-length dress. This garment, however, was made of a light, airy material. The fabric moved with her, and after a few trial spins and turns, she had no concerns about stumbling. I can probably run in this if I have to.
Out of the Ordinary
Adventurous erotic romance to tickle your fancy and unleash your libido