Wednesday, August 8, 2018

In Praise of Flirting

By Tim Smith

I love this topic, because I love writing flirting scenes in my romances. There’s something sensual and erotic about two people engaging in teasing and verbal jousting when the attraction is mutual. Sometimes you can radiate more heat with a few well-placed double entendres than with a paragraph of in-your-face eroticism. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

I write these encounters in all of my mystery/thrillers, even between characters where I’ve already established a relationship. Take this one, from “Warning Shot,” book three in the Nick Seven series:

Nick took his coffee cup inside and approached the bar, where Felicia was talking to one of the staff. He gazed lustily at her trim physique and full bosom that pushed against her red polo shirt. Her bronzed skin was offset by shoulder-length brown hair. Her soft doe-like eyes and West Indies accent completed the package. This is what gets me out of bed every morning, he thought.

Felicia became aware of his staring and approached, offering a sly grin. “What’re you lookin’ at?”

“Just the prettiest girl in the joint.”

She smiled shyly, cast her gaze down and absently brushed a wisp of hair back from her face. “Are you always this awkward around women?”

“Only the hot ones.”

She placed her hand on top of his and squeezed. “You’re sweet.”

Then there’s this film noir-type exchange from “Lido Key,” book two in the Vic Fallon series:

When Vic locked eyes with Ariel Weston across the bar, there was no escape. He moved to the stool next to hers, drawn in like a marlin hooked by a determined fisherman. “Excuse me, Miss, but I’m new in town. Could you please direct me to your house?”

She began with a chuckle that escalated into full-blown laughter, then she playfully smacked Vic’s forearm. “That’s so lame, it’s cute!”

“Thank you.”

Her eyes scanned him up and down. “I don’t think I’ve seen you around here before, have I?” she asked in a low, smoky voice.

“No. Do I need a reservation to sit here?”

She laughed again. “A smart-ass. I like that quality in a man. Where are you from, smart-ass?”

“A whole other world. Would you like me to provide references before we go any further?”

She placed her hand on his on top of the bar and locked eyes with him. “I don’t think that’ll be necessary, but since we’re going to be friends I think I should call you something more formal than smart-ass.”

“Are we going to be friends?”

“Unless you think you already have enough of them.”

“You can never have too many friends. Why don’t you call me Blake?”

“Is that your real name?

“No, my real name is Vic. I just use Blake to fool people. What should I call you besides totally hot?”

“I like that, but let’s go with Ariel.”

“Pretty name.”

“Thank you. I’m rather attached to it.” She massaged his hand. “I should tell you something, Vic. I’m married to a rich older man, we don’t have any kids and we’ve always had separate bedrooms. He doesn’t really notice if I’m not home, since he’s only there long enough to change clothes before he meets his latest girlfriend. He doesn’t ask me any questions and I don’t grill him about where he drops his pants. Does that bother you?”

“One man’s ignorance is another man’s bliss.”

“Ooh, a clever smart-ass. That’s another quality I like.”

“And we’re just getting started.”

And finally, this is from the romantic comedy, “The Sweet Distraction”:

“I should probably go,” George said. “I’m cutting into your tanning time.”

“Why do you have to run off?” Cookie teased.

“I’m working. Remember?”

“You know what they say about all work and no play.”

“I always make time to play.”

“Like what?”

“Poker, blackjack, the ponies once in a while…”

“Are you good at picking winners?”

“I find it depends on who’s holding the riding crop.”

“Ooh, is that a kinky side coming out of hiding?”

He winked. “I’ll never tell.”

“I like to play, too.”

“What games do you like to play, little girl?”

“Pass-out, strip dominoes, escaped convict and the Warden’s wife…”

“Those are a little out of my league.”

“Maybe you should move up from Little League to the majors. That’s where they play night games.”

“Is this where you ask me if I know how to whistle, then tell me to just put my lips together and blow?”

She raised her sunglasses and looked at him. “I can think of a much better use for your lips.”


  1. These are all great -- especially the one from Lido Key. You're definitely channeling Bogart and Bacall!

    "You know how to whistle, don't you?"

  2. I love the repartee! The back and forth. You write some great characters!

    I've always thought of flirting as the simultaneous acknowledgment that it COULD happen. In most cases, it probably won't ever. But it would be possible. That's the thought that heats your privates and makes flirting so fun!

    Of course, my kids groan when I remind them that being polite provides the lubrication that allows for successful social intercourse. And yes, I've always thought/spoken like this!


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