There’s a discussion going on over on Facebook about whether the hero and heroine should meet in the first few pages in a romance novel, and I’m having my usual reaction to the ‘should’ word. But at least I have my topic for work-in-progress Wednesday!
How did your hero and heroine meet? Give me a few lines from your work-in-progress, and I’ll give you mine from Hand-Turned Tales, which comes out next week. (First meet in your work-in-progress. It’s okay if they’ve met before.)
Hand-Turned Tales has four stories in it: three short and a novella, so here are my meetings.
First, The Raven’s Lady.
The lady Felix was supposedly here to consider as a wife was pretty enough, he supposed, if one liked milk-and-water misses who never looked up from their plates, and who answered every conversational sally with a monosyllable or a giggle.
She had, sadly, changed from the lively child he remembered. But that was long ago, almost another life. She had been nine, and he fourteen, the last time they parted.
The only interesting thing about her now, as far as he could see, was the raven she kept as a pet.
Then All That Glisters.
She stumbled and would have landed in the mud, if firm hands had not suddenly caught her. As it was, in putting her hands out to break the expected fall, she had dropped her burdens. The shopping basket fell sideways, tumbling fruit, vegetables, and the wrapped parcel of meat into a waiting puddle. The bundle from the haberdashers that she carried on her other arm, thankfully, stayed intact and landed on a relatively dry spot.
She took all this in at a glance, most of her attention on her rescuer. A craggy face bronzed by the sun, amused brown eyes under thick, level brows, a mouth that looked made for laughter. He was bundled against the cold wind in a greatcoat, muffler, and cloth cap.
Kidnapped to Freedom.
There! Someone was coming. He straightened in anticipation. Yes, it was her—twelve years older and a mature women, rather than the girl he remembered, but even in the moonlight, he couldn’t mistake her.
She wasn’t alone. He couldn’t take a herd of children with him! What was she thinking?
He stepped out from the sheltering trees. The mask would hide his face, and his voice had never been the same since the last time he had been close enough to Phoebe to speak, when Chan tried to strangle him for the presumption.
And finally, The Prisoners of Wyvern Castle
The earl held out his hand, and Madeline reached for it. Even through her gloves and his, she could feel the strength in his hand, and he made no allowance for the difference in their sizes, so that she had to lean back against the weight of him as he pulled himself up. He was tall, this new husband of hers who couldn’t wait to abandon her at the altar. Tall, lean, and handsome. But very young.
“Thank you, Miss, ah, Countess. What is your name again? I am sorry. I was not listening.”
Madeline had been listening. He was Rupert Frederick George Arthur John Fleming, 7th Earl of Penworth, and Viscount of Clearwater.
“Madeline,” said Graviton, helpfully. “The family calls her Mad.”
Graviton called her Mad. Her mother, who had been all the family to love her, called her Linnie, and she had been Miss Graviton to the rest of the world. No more. Mother was dead, and Miss Graviton was gone, too, wiped out by a few words and her signature on the marriage register.