As a romance writer, I think a lot about falling in love, how it works, how it might work, and how it should work for any particular pair of characters. I love the idea of love at first sight, but not every character is ready for that intuitive plunge into a romantic relationship. Part of that is the characterization, or what kind of person that character is, and part of it comes from the assumptions of their world.
When I wrote medieval romances, for example, I did a lot of research about medieval social history. The idea of romantic love and the notion of it as an ideal really found its footing in medieval society. Many of us take it for granted now that people should marry for love, but in the middle ages – even up to WWI – a great many people married for dynastic reasons. Their marriages were arranged by their parents to ensure the succession or to manage the family wealth or to secure alliances. Love had nothing to do with it. If a person was lucky, she or he might find love in that marriage, but it wasn’t a gimme. So, in my medieval romances, one partner believes that the match is dynastic while the other is doing what has to be done but hoping for love. Usually it was the hero who was being pragmatic while the heroine was romantic. I still think it would be fun to switch it around, and have the hero be the romantic who was reluctant to settle for a loveless match. I did write a lot of heroes who were romantics but disguised that with a lot of practical talk. Merlyn in THE ROGUE would be a good example as would Rhys in THE BEAUTY BRIDE.
My most recent Delacroix series was the Prometheus Project, featuring fallen angel heroes in a future-set (post-nuclear, pre-Apocalyptic) dystopian society. Although these are romances, the characters are a lot more cynical about love. No wonder! So, they may be physically attracted to each other at the beginning, and they may even be physically intimate, but they aren’t in a hurry to trust anyone. They each have buckets of secrets, and loved ones they want to defend. These books are more like romantic suspense than my previous work and I had a ton of fun writing them. I love the idea of love conquering all, even in a repressive society and against long odds. That’s what romance is all about, don’t you think? We’re giving away a copy of REBEL today to someone who comments on this post.
My Deborah Cooke Dragonfire series, which is my ongoing paranormal romance project now, features heroes who are dragon shape shifters. They are part of an ancient race charged with defending the four elements and the earth itself. The good dragons (the Pyr) count humans among the earth’s treasures worthy of defense – the bad dragons (the Slayers) think that humans need to be eradicated to save the earth. Each book focuses on the romantic relationship of one Pyr. When a dragon shape shifter meets his destined mate in this world, the meet is characterized by a firestorm – literally sparks fly between them. And the heat of the firestorm burns hotter and hotter until they consummate their relationship. The idea is that the firestorm indicates the woman who can conceive that particular dragon dude’s son.
So, we have both the ideas of destined partnership and love at first sight in this world. I’ve really enjoyed playing with the reactions of the different dragon dudes within these parameters. Of course, any one of them could simply satisfy the firestorm, conceive that son, and move on, leaving the woman behind. The leader of the Pyr is a big proponent of each Pyr making a permanent relationship with his destined mate (these are romance novels) and it’s fun to see each guy resist in his own way. Over the course of the series, the Pyr are locked into a final battle with the Slayers, as well, so there is always action and fighting and the need for the Pyr hero to defend his mate, whatever he thinks of the firestorm.
In WHISPER KISS, for example, Niall has a lot on his plate. He thinks it’s a bad time for him to have a firestorm. Plus he’s pretty traditional and Rox doesn’t fit his idea of the kind of woman who would be right for him. He tries to resist the firestorm and get on with everything else in his life – his battle against the firestorm is a losing one, not least because Rox thinks he’s perfect for her and isn’t afraid to do something about it. These two are strong-minded and I loved their firestorm – we’re giving away a copy of their book today.
In DARKFIRE KISS which is the next Dragonfire novel, Rafferty is the hero. He’s a complete romantic who has been yearning for his firestorm for centuries. But again, he has preconceived notions of what kind of woman will be his mate, and how his courtship will proceed. I turned his world and the Dragonfire world completely upside down in Rafferty’s story – or maybe it was Melissa and the darkfire that did that.
Phew! Lots of variations on destined love, love at first sight and the long slow build of a solid relationship. Do you believe in love at first sight? What about destined partnership? Do you think that everyone has to work for a good romantic relationship? Or do you believe – like the Dragonfire series – in a combination of the above?
Comment on this post today for the chance to win either a copy of REBEL by Claire Delacroix or WHISPER KISS by Deborah Cooke. Good luck!
Having sacrificed his wings in a bid save humanity, fallen angel Armand has a bold plan to assassinate Presidential candidate Maximilian Blackstone. When things go awry and his partner Baruch is gravely injured, Armand fears that he will fail in his task and forever lose the chance to rejoin the angels in Heaven.
Theodora is a wraith, a woman who officially doesn’t exist. She lives in the shadows, taking risks to earn the bounty placed on dangerous assassinations—bounty that buys the chance at a new life for those she loves. Captured when her latest hit goes horribly wrong, Theodora finds herself the prisoner of a strong, arrogant stranger.
Soon enough, these two solitary souls find their missions—and their hearts—entwined. But in their desperate attempt to save the world, will they be able to save each other?
The national bestselling Dragonfire series continues to heat up…
For millennia, the shape-shifting dragon warriors known as the Pyr have commanded the four elements and guarded the earth’s treasures. But now the final reckoning between the Pyr and the dreaded Slayers is about to begin…
Niall Talbot has volunteered to hunt down and destroy all the remaining shadow dragons before they can wreak more havoc. But fate has placed him in the hands of Rox, an unconventional tattoo artist who doesn’t even flinch when a shape-shifting dragon warrior suddenly appears on her doorstep. And as a woman who follows her heart in matters of passion, she makes the perfect mate for a firestorm with Niall…
Giveaway is US only.
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Giveaway ends March 7th and the winner will be chosen by random.org on March 8th. We ask the winners to post a review of the novel someplace. Whether it is on their own blog, Amazon, GoodReads, LibraryThing or wherever, it doesn’t matter. Just help get the word out. Also, we will try to contact the winners, but we ask that you check back to see if you’ve won.
Deborah Cooke has always been fascinated with dragons, although she has never understood why they have to be the bad guys. She has an honours degree in history, with a focus on medieval studies. She is an avid reader of medieval vernacular literature, fairy tales and fantasy novels, and has written over forty romance novels and novellas.