Are first encounters important in a romance? Personally, I think they’re critical in setting the tone for the story. Is there instant attraction, or do the h/h dislike each other on sight (or at least think they do)? Is the first encounter a funny one or an embarrassing one?
I will always fondly remember my first actual encounter with my husband. It went something like this…
“I ran over my coat this morning.”
I looked up from whatever I’d been doing at the time to see a tall, blue-eyed, blond man standing in front of my desk. I knew him as he worked at the same place I did, but we’d never had much contact. I will admit, though, that I had noticed him.
“You what?” I asked, not sure I’d heard him right. For opening lines, his was certainly original.
A silly grin quirked his lips, as if he amused himself. “I ran over my coat. With my car.” There was laughter in his eyes, and I really liked that. “There’re tire tracks on the back of my coat now.”
“Okaaay,” I said, biting down on my bottom lip to keep from laughing.
He put his hands on my desk and leaned toward me. “It’s a good story, but I’ll tell you the rest over dinner.”
His nearness, the low timbre of his voice, the scent of him, stole my breath. A cliché, I know, but it really did!
I’m married to that man now—have been for years—and he still makes me laugh, and he can still steal my breath when he turns those blue eyes my way, leans close, and whispers something naughty in my ear.
Although I knew him in passing before the legendary coat caper (yes, he really did run over his coat), I consider that moment our first encounter. It was the first time he made my heart go pitter-patter. It was memorable, and it changed my life.
In books, that first encounter is one of the most important scenes of the story. It is the event that will change the hero and heroine’s life! It sets the tone, and it tells us whether the hero and heroine are going to fight the attraction (because there must be attraction, else who cares about them?). Or maybe they go at it like bunnies, then some conflict or other comes along and threatens to kill any chance of a happily ever after for them.
I’ve read books were the first encounter just didn’t do it for me, and when the chemistry is missing, the story ends up being a disappointment. Then there’s those books that grab you the moment the hero and heroine set eyes on each other, whether from across a crowded ballroom, or across the baselines of a small town baseball field.
The author just got it right! You can’t wait to get to the end because even though romance means you’ll get that satisfying HEA, you just have to be sure. Wait, never mind, you don’t want the book to ever end.
Not long ago, I read two books that began with the same type of first encounter. In both stories, the hero and heroine got right to it the night they met, before they even knew each other’s names. In one, by a well-known author, I was totally turned off. It was just creepy, and set a tone for the story that I couldn’t get past.
In the second, I was blown away. I’m not usually a fan of sex with strangers in books, but the author made it work. As the book progressed, I fell in love with hero and heroine.
First encounters can be powerful whether that first meeting is humorous, or sizzling with heated looks, or sad, bringing tears to our eyes. One of my favorites from a book I read long ago and can’t remember the name of, at his first sight of the heroine, the hero thought, Here she is. That was all. Here she is. He didn’t know why the words flashed through his mind, and he promptly dismissed them as not having any meaning to him. But we knew!
In the first book of my K2 Special Services series, Crazy For Her, my hero, Logan, feels an immediate connection with a woman sitting at the table next to him and his friend. Logan’s first encounter with Dani was a here she is moment, and he recognized it as such. Yet, it didn’t seem meant to be. The time wasn’t right for them, and sometimes that’s the way it happens. Other events must occur, sometimes years must pass, and tears shed before one has their chance for that happily ever after.
In my just book, Falling for Her, my hero is attracted to the heroine at first sight, but he isn’t happy about that. She’s the exact opposite of the kind of women he thinks he wants. Of course, we all know he’s wrong, and the fun is in seeing him figure that out.
First encounters are fun, and I love writing them.