I have read few Romance novels, and I have seen few Romance movies that I have any affection for (but Romance Adventure movies like High Road to China, Jewel of the Nile, and Romancing the Stone are outstanding, IMHO). But one thing I know about the Romance genre–all Romance-themed novels or movies have this in common: sexual tension. It is not tension during the act of sex, but tension between the sexes involved with the romance relationship.
For instance: in High Road to China–one of my fave movies ever–the Bess Armstrong character and the Tom Selleck character (named O’Malley), in between hugging and kissing and bedding with each other, are constantly arguing, yelling at each other, her screaming, “O’Malley!” every few seconds or so, and O’Malley all pissed off because she demanded to fly her own plane and later crashed his plane named Dorothy in Nepal, as they headed to China to find her father, who was being screwed out of millions by his crooked business partner. In the end, of course, they decide to build a good relationship upon leaving western China where her dad is leading a rebellion against some overlord in the 1920s. All novels, Romance genre or not, that build some sexual tension, always have that tension relieved at the end, when love abounds.
And there is plenty of sexual tension in The Prodigal Band Trilogy. I have already discussed this marriage tension between the bassist Keith and his wife Jarris, in the Drama snippet.. In fact there is sexual tension between each band member and his woman throughout the three-books-in-one trilogy that get resolved at some point.
But the key “romance-sexual tension” partnership within the band and their women is between keyboard-synthist Bryan and his wife, Mo, who marry early and then things begin to go awry as they bring forth children. Prior to having kids, the relationship is as good as it could be; having children become the linchpin for what develops into a rocky relationship, as I will describe below in three snippets.
The first “sexual tension” episode comes from Chapter Four of Battle of the Band. Bry and his band Sound Unld have been temporarily banned from their UK home and are stuck living in the New York metro area. Bry and Mo and their children live in a fancy apartment in lower Manhattan. For various reasons Mo feels she must return to London every few weeks to see her psychiatrist (spoiler alert–lover) named Rimsgate because she feels Bry is not properly supporting her “needs,” spending much more time with his biker buddies (who also make up the band’s road crew) or with his synth-project business partner, Reg. Upon returning to the apartment after spending a day in a recording studio, Bry enters the place as Mo is getting ready to leave for London and her “lover.” The time frame is late 1990.
Contrasted with the austere nanny wearing dark woolen coat, matching hat hiding pinned-up gray hair, and low-heeled support shoes standing with a young child and holding an infant wrapped in somber colors, the young woman of the house herself soaked in bright red—hair, lips, earrings, bracelet and necklace of ruby, and metallic jump suit under a silver gray sable coat—moved excitedly about her Village Square townhouse making sure she had everything for her latest biweekly trip back to London.
“Five suitcases should be enough,” Mo McClellan said with the air of a street tough elevated in station. She inspected her hair in the front hallway mirror, fussing with it. “Take the kids out to the limo, Nanny. I’ll be there in a jiff.”
Just as Nanny opened the door, the limo driver appeared to take the suitcases out to the car. Nanny took Craig by the hand and held baby Sean while going out the doorway down the five steps out to the car.
Then a taxi pulled up in front of the limo. Out stepped the wild, red-haired man of the house. Bry greeted Nanny and his sons. “Going out for a bit of air, eh?”
“Hi, dad,” Craig said. “You come, too?”
“No. Too bloody tired, eh?”
Nanny said nothing.
Mo, dismayed by her husband’s entrance, swiftly turned around as she finished reapplying her winter lip gloss. Damned, Bry, you would show up just as I was about to leave.
As Bryan walked over to the bar in the adjoining living room, he greeted his wife. “Eh, luv, you a bit dressed up for a walk, eh?” He poured himself a drink.
Mo followed him, wanting a showdown. “No, Bry. I’m going back to London for a few days.”
“Is it Rimsgate time again?” He took a belt, then plopped the glass on the bar. “How two weeks fly, eh?”
“Really! Especially when I never get to see you anymore. I mean, somebody has to be there to help me with my problems.” She stood legs spread in confrontation.
Your hormones acting up again? Shit, luv, I’ve been arguing all day with Jack and Mick, and now I have to put up with your crap? “You have a problem, Mo?”
“Yes, I have a problem! Does that surprised you?” She stormed up to him at the bar. “I ran away from home so I could be with you. So what happens? I never get to be with you! Even when you’re around.”
Bry had heard all that before. “Well, I told you not to run away from home. I told you I’d be too busy to spend much time with you. You said you wanted us to be married. Well, you got pregnant, so then we had to get married.”
Mo had heard all that before, too. “Are you saying I got pregnant to hook you into marriage?”
“No! I’m glad we got married. I love you, Mo.”
“You have a funny way of showing it. I never see you.”
He shook his head. “Oh, come on, Mo. You know what the life of a professional entertainer is like.”
“I’m not complaining about that. Why do you have to spend all your free time with Reg or those damned bikers? Sure you’re here now, but you’ve spent the last two weeks with The Bikers out in California. Thank God we didn’t move to L.A. the way you wanted to. I really would never see you then!”
Time for some reefer. Bry took a joint out of his shirt pocket, lit it, and toked. “You know bloody well why I need to spend time with Reg. He can’t build the synthesizer alone. The bikers? They’re just mates I can unwind with. They help me to relax.”
“And I don’t?”
Not when you’re like this, you don’t! He drew her to himself and kissed her. “You relax me—differently. But there’s times I need to, you know, ride. It’s fun, eh? Why don’t you, you know, come riding with us sometime?”
She withdrew from him. “I’m not a biker—a moll! I don’t know how to ride, and your mates go for those one-night-stand types.”
“They like you enough, or do you consider yourself superior to them?”
“No, Bry, it’s just that I resent them taking up so much of your free time. Plus you spend all your time with them on tour as your roadies, too. You probably don’t even spend much time with the rest of the band. They probably consider you a snob.”
“I just don’t go for all that ‘image’ bullshit, or that ‘star’ trip like the others do. It’s the glamor scene I avoid, not them.” Again, he kissed and caressed her. “Look, you say you want to spend time with me, yet you’re gonna take three days to travel and see this five-hundred-pounds-an-hour celebrity shrink you don’t need to see. Doesn’t make sense.”
Pushing him away, Mo snickered. “Don’t lay a guilt trip on me, Bry. I need someone to talk to, to provide answers that you can’t, or won’t. Maybe Rimsgate can.” She turned from him coldly and went out the door into the limo.
Bry said bitterly to himself, “Well, I guess he’ll have to.”
The second snippet, in Chapter Eight, occurs in the summer of 1994 after another North American tour ended. At their southeast estate near a small lake, while entertaining Bry’s biker buddies before he and the bikers head north for a retreat, the married couple get into another argument. Mo had recently had their third son, and that was her excuse for not partaking in the biker ride. But Bry saw the excuse as Mo not wanting anything to do with his “course and unrefined” biker mates.
“How long are you biking, Bry?”
He opened the can. “Oh, three weeks or so.” He laughed and said, “By then, the others’ll be recovered enough to work on the next record.”
His cavalier attitude annoyed her. “Sure, Bry, sure. When are you going to recover?”
“Me?” He laughed again. “I never have to recover.”
“And what if your back goes out?”
“Mo, I can handle meself, eh?” He swilled his brew. “And if you’re so concerned, come with us. I need you on these rides.”
“I can’t leave Logan!”
Another silly excuse! Another one of her persecution guilt trips! “Oh, shit, Mo. We have a nanny and a nurse maid. For god’s sake! For my sake! For your sake!”
“For my sake? And how would it look for a mother of an infant to be in jail?”
“Jail? I’m not getting thrown in jail this time.”
She would bring that up! “Shit, only because Chet and Stu got carried away. We’re headed north this time, and we’re gonna spend a day or so at our lakeside retreat, eh? All the more reason for you to come. You can leave that baby for a week or two.”
That baby? His own son is ‘that baby?’ “No. I can’t leave ‘that baby’.”
Bry stood up and consumed his beer. He frowned and retorted, “Or, you won’t, eh?
The argument continues back and forth over why she refuses to go on the ride. While Mo again complains that Bry spends too much time with the bikers and refuses to see to her “needs,” he complains that the time she spends with the other band member’s women, such as shopping, could have been spent with him. The spat eventually ends with her leaving him working at his motorcycle. And then leaving him for good, so she believed.
“I may not be here when you get back.”
Bry sighed in disgust. Must be her hormones. Must be Rimsgate time.
Two days later she was home again, having hatched a plot with her analyst-lover.
When Bryan returned, the two of them met with Rimsgate at his office.
Dr. Neville Rimsgate, on behalf of his client-lover, Mo McClellan, asked Bry squarely, “But why can’t you attend to at least some of her needs? At least when you are with her?”
Two against one. No matter what I say, I’ll lose. He blew off some steam. “Her needs? Is that all you’re concerned about, though you told me on the phone before I came here that both our needs must be— Harmonized, that’s how you put it, eh? So, you want me to satisfy her needs when I’m not on the road? What the hell about my needs? Our needs?” He turned to Mo across from him, holding out his hands. “You know, our needs?”
“Our? What our? We don’t see each other often enough for there to be an our! That’s why I’m saying ‘my needs’ or ‘your needs.’ There aren’t any mutual needs when you’re gone most of the year.”
He threw out his arms. “I can’t help that. It’s what I do! It’s what that band o’ mine does! Are you saying I should just bug out of a year’s worth of commitments?”
“That’s not it, Bry. It’s our relationship that’s hurting, and you being with the band is no excuse. None of the other married members of your band have this problem. They’ve resolved their problems because they wanted to. You don’t want to, Bry.”
“I’m here, ain’t I?” What the hell more does she want?
“We’re getting nowhere, though. You’re just too damned busy with Reg or those damned bikers.”
It’s no use! What I do is me, and she knew it when she got pregnant and used that to get me to marry her. Never mind that I told her that wouldn’t be necessary and that I’d support the baby. “Okay, Mo, what do you want us to do?”
“Until we can work this out, Bry, I want a separation. I mean, you’re never really with me, anyway.”
“Because the children and I are just another frustration you have no time for.”
“That way, you won’t have to feel guilty about being with Reg and the bikers all the time.”
Guilty? I mean, who’s really guilty here? “Guilty, Mo? You think I’m the guilty one here? You think I’m the one who doesn’t want to resolve this? But that ain’t what’s coming down, eh? I think the two of you— Shit, Mo. That’s all it could be. I’ve exhausted the possibilities why you won’t see reason. It’s because you two’ve been lovers. For a wee bit, eh? Ain’t that right, Mo?”
Upon hearing that Bry had figured out her motivation, she looked ugly at him and stood up angrily, leaving the office with a door slam.
He followed her.
She got into her car and left him standing outside Rimsgate’s office building seeing the look on her face—a conniving sneer mixed with merciless loathing.
Mo finally got what she wanted—Rimsgate, a man of slavish love for her whom she could control completely.
Several years pass before they manage to see each other again, during which time he desperately wants her back while she considers the reunion as a possibility if not a done deal. In the meantime, she dumped Rimsgate for fake healer and cult leader Cole Blessing and became a chief ‘disciple’ of his. But, when she and her estranged husband meet again the afternoon before a concert at a music and trade festival back home at Victoria Park, they begin to resolve their differences. This snippet is from Chapter Ten of The Prophesied Band. Mo had just met with her band-member’s-women friends who had told her about a “mission of God” their men vowed to partake in.
“Look, Mo,” Bry said to her as he moved to touch her hand, “everything the girls told you is true—though even I find it hard to believe. But we are on a mission.” He leaned against the tour bus, facing her.
Smirk. “From God.”
“Yeh, or at least from The Tooters. Crazy, eh?”
Her left shoulder nudged against the bus and she faced him as a friend. “It is.” But I’ve seen much crazier things with Cole. Should I tell you a few?
At the same time he thought. You’re not making this easy, are you? “Yeh, it is.” What else can I say? “Speaking of crazy, where’s Cole? Didn’t you say he was gonna accompany you?”
“He got sick in front of The Tooters. The others think the statue made him sick because he acts like a god. And he does act like a god sometimes. The way he cured Ger.”
“Humph.” Cocked his head. “Hmmm. A security guard came into the bus before and told us a guy who looked like Cole Blessing was standing outside the south gate. The guard told him he could come backstage, seeing as how he was Cole Blessing and he was supposed to be with you. But Cole wouldn’t come inside. Really nasty about it, too. Like he was pissed he couldn’t come in.” Stared into space as two others came out of the bus. “Sounds like he’s more than just a bit sick. Maybe The Tooters—” No, that’s too ridiculous. “But why would a statue—angels or not—be able to force Cole Blessing to stay outside unless—” Too ridiculous! Blessing’s not bloody Corion, eh?
“Forget it. But if Cole is playing god like you and the others think, maybe you shouldn’t be hanging out with him, eh? Megalomaniacs have a way of being dangerous.” He moved to be with her. “Besides, babe,” he said with a playful whine, “I’ve been wanting you back for a long time now.”
“I know.” A tear fell from her eye. Then a humble smile. “I know, Bry. Maybe—”
Her heart wanted to say it, but her emotions garbled the message.
“Maybe, you will?” Beam of excitement. “Please say yes.” His heart pounded out, “I really don’t want anything else but you. Honest. I’ve never stopped—”
Her love-heart was suddenly a pitter-patter. “Loving me? You’ve never stopped loving me?”
“Never, babe. Not even when I felt you’d never come back. Not even when I found out about Rimsgate. About Blessing. Not even when that receptionist of yours said you changed your name. Now that hurt, eh? But it didn’t mean I didn’t love you.”
Now in his hairy arms, she shivered with cold chills of guilt.
From that point on, aided by the fact that Blessing is taken out of the way by his own evil spirit guide the following morning, Bry and Mo become a truly married couple again.
Want to read more sexual tension between Bry and Mo and the rest of the band members and their women? Buy the book using these links!
The Prodigal Band Trilogy © 2019 by Deborah Lagarde, Battle of the Band © 1996 by Deborah Lagarde, The Prophesied Band © 1998 by Deborah Lagarde and The Prodigal Band © 2018 by Deborah Lagarde. Permission needed to copy any materials off this page.