By Christy McKellen, author of Her New Worst Enemy
You know that feeling, right before the hero and heroine kiss for the first time, when all the tension that’s been building shoves them over the edge of want, right into the abyss of need? That’s the moment I read romance books for.
I get a physical reaction at that moment: my heart rate picks up, my stomach does a weird flippy thing and my chest tightens. Granted, it’s not the most comfortable of reactions, but it’s certainly powerful. It can turn an ordinary, ho-hum day into one full of hope, joy and excitement. In fact, I think doctors should prescribe romance novels to anyone who needs a pick-me-up.
Writing about that moment is just as exciting. After getting to know my characters, I can’t wait to get them together. It’s slow torture hanging on until the perfect moment to step away and let them get down and dirty – but it’s so worth it.
In Ellie and Gideon’s case in Her New Worst Enemy, they’ve been under each other’s noses for years but for various reasons they haven’t let themselves get close. They are both strong-willed, opinionated and emotionally damaged – the perfect recipe for an explosive weekend after they find themselves alone together in Gideon’s inherited Georgian manor house. Being in each other’s company forces them to confront and challenge the emotional isolation each has imposed on themselves, and after years of dancing around each other, they’re shocked by the intensity of their connection. It was fabulous fun for me to break their barriers to pieces before getting them together as a strong and supportive couple.
It was also a particular joy to allow Ellie to emerge from her tough, protective shell after years of being emotionally beaten down by a previous relationship. One of my favourite moments is when she finally begins to realise she isn’t as worthless and unattractive as her ex-boyfriend made her feel.
She stood firm, enjoying the sight of the two of them in the mirror; the warm olive-colored skin of Gideon’s hands and forearms a strong contrast to the paleness of her own.
She felt sexy and attractive for the first time in a very long time. She remembered how she used to feel like this, to enjoy her own body, before Paul and his subtle snide comments and put-downs; before she lost sight of herself.
Gideon’s insistence and obvious attraction to her had given her something back.
She twisted under his hands to face him and wrapped her arms around his strong waist, dragging him against her.
“Thank you,” she whispered against his chest.
Neither of them expected they’d be such a perfect fit – not when they both wanted such different things – but it just goes to show, you shouldn’t write someone off just because they don’t tick all you boxes.
So tell me, did you know your partner was ‘the one’ when you first met? Or did it take a particular event to see them in a different light?