Hello everyone. Thank you Butterscotch Martini Girls for the invite. I’m honored to be here today. I write contemporary romantic suspense and Regency romance books, and as a romance author, I understand how important first encounters are to a 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 released 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.
Question: First encounters are not only critical to set the tone of the story, but they’re so much fun. Do you have a favorite first encounter story, either from a book or real life?
Blurb for Falling for Her: Known to the K2 Special Services team as “Saint,” Jamie Turner lives by his own strict rules to compensate for his past sins and the two-ton boulder taking residence in his heart. He doesn’t drink or smoke. He never swears. And he only dates nice, safe women until he meets Sugar Darling, the fill-in receptionist at K2. She’s as sweet as her name, but this wild woman is definitely trouble, with something to hide. He knows he should avoid her…but can he?
Sugar isn’t hiding something—she’s hiding everything. And K2 seems like the perfect place to lie low, thanks to the big, protective guys who work there. The drop-dead-handsome Saint makes her heart race, yet he keeps his distance. When Sugar’s traumatic past rises up to haunt her again, she desperately turns to Saint for help, and he has to decide what’s more important: playing it safe or risking everything for love.
Author Bio: A best selling, award winning author, Sandra Owens lives in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. Her family and friends often question her sanity, but have ceased being surprised by what she might get up to next. She’s jumped out of a plane, flown in an aerobatic plane while the pilot performed death-defying stunts, has flown Air Combat (two fighter planes dogfighting, pretending to shoot at each other with laser guns), and rode a Harley motorcycle for years. She regrets nothing.
Sandra is a 2013 Golden Heart® Finalist for her contemporary romance, Crazy for Her. In addition to her contemporary romantic suspense novels, she writes Regency stories.
You can sign up for her newsletter or find all the social media places to connect with her on her website: www.sandra-owens.com
Sandra will give a signed copy of FALLING FOR HER to one lucky commenter.