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Why I Make my Heroes and Heroines Work for their HEA
I get bored very easily, especially when it comes to reading romance novels. Boredom for me in this context comes when the hero and heroine are getting along fairly well throughout the majority of the book. They have acknowledged their attraction and love for one another but some outside force prevents them from being together although they both desperately want just that.
At this point (acknowledged desire to be together), I’ll invariably put the book down because for me I want my hero and heroine to have to work for their happy ending. Their conflict has to be emotional and with each other.
Achieving their HEA requires either one or both acknowledge and accept their feelings for one another. My favorite emotional hero and heroine conflict is when they share a past. It doesn’t have to be a romantic past, but it has to be the kind of past that puts them immediately at odds in the present. This scenario pretty much sums up both books in my The Elusive Lords series, SINFUL SURRENDER and A TASTE OF DESIRE.
A Taste of Desire
She Challenged His Pride
Lady Amelia Bertram may have a reputation as the most brazen beauty of the ton, but she shocks even herself when she accidently—and loudly—derides one of society’s most eligible bachelors in the middle of a crowded ballroom. The timing of her faux pas couldn’t be worse, for her father is seeking someone to take her off his hands that very night…
He Challenged Her Willpower
But when Thomas Armstrong overhears the so-called “Lady” Amelia slandering his sexual prowess in public, he cannot help but accept the dare implicit in her words. To her father’s great delight, he offers to take her to his secluded country estate—properly chaperoned, of course—to teach the girl a lesson in ladylike behavior…
In SINFUL SURRENDER my hero desperately fights his feelings for his best friend’s sister—and with good reason. Seriously, who wants their little sister hooking up with their best friend? What would happen if things didn’t work out? My hero grapples as he questions whether the risk of succumbing to the heroine would be worth losing her brother’s friendship. That’s the kind of fighting I love in my romances, the internal and deeply emotional kind that occurs when they’re fighting mostly with themselves.
In A TASTE OF DESIRE, my heroine likes my hero not one little bit. Oh, it’s not the logically rational kind of dislike, but don’t tell that to her as it’s something she’s going to have to realize over time. However, as much as she believes she dislikes him, she’s really really attracted to him, which is not convenient or welcome. And they do have a past…a resentment she has towards him of which he is unaware. As you may imagine, my hero and heroine in this book must really work for their HEA.
I can’t tell you precisely why these kinds of stories with these kinds of conflicts appeal to me, but I do remember when I first read Lisa Kleypas’s DEVIL IN WINTER, being instantly sucked into the story because St. Vincent appeared such an anti-hero. He was downright mean to Evie—but I reveled in the knowledge that he was going to be brought down low…by love. And I just knew I was eager and excited to go along for that particular ride.
So what about you? Do you like it when your hero/heroine or both take that ‘harder fall’ or does all that bickering get you down?
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