Today’s special guest Jenna Jaxon is here with a fantastic guest blog and a very generous gesture: proceeds for the month of May from her book “Almost Perfect” will benefit the Relay for Life. I hope you enjoy her visit today!
ROMANCE NOVEL RELATIONSHIPS: Memorable Meetings by Jenna Jaxon
We’ve all experienced that rush of tension when we are introduced to someone new–especially a potential romantic relationship. We don’t know how they will react: will they like me? Will we hit it off? Will this be a big bust? These are some anxieties of the Initiating Stage in relationship development, according to Mark Knapp’s Relational Development Model. This stage is where a lot of people use their “scripts” for meeting people for the first time–“Hello, how are you?” “Pleased to meet you.” It’s the stage where you make judgments about each other–he’s friendly, she’s cute.
Very often physical factors play a role in the impression we make about people we meet. We notice things like height, clothing, hairstyle, perfume, general appearance. Most often want to make a good first impression and want to be perceived as easy to talk to, interested and interesting. During this stage, people reveal general information–no deep dark secrets. Things like their name, music preference, where they are from, what kind of job they have. We have conversations that break the ice and lead us to decide if we want to pursue this relationship beyond a wave of the hand if we see this person again.
I find that often romance novels turn this stage in relationship development on its head. Many romance novels, including my own, throw people together at a critical time in their lives–they’ve met because they’re hiding out from zombies, or they’ve just witnessed a murder and are being questioned by a cop, or, as in my case, they’ve been kidnapped and sold to someone in an auction. Not exactly the time to say, “Hello, my name’s Amanda. What do you do for a living?”
Romance writers can’t always follow the typical model. They are busy hooking their readers into the book, setting up the conflict that is to come. They must, by the very nature of the beast, compress the events of real life to compel the reader to keep reading. Real life usually moves at its own pace; in fiction that pace is accelerated because the author is streamlining life, choosing the order and frequency of events to keep their audience engaged.
Some memorable first meetings in literature: Scarlett O’Hara meets Rhett Butler in a library where he’s been eavesdropping on her declaration of love to Ashley Wilkes in Gone With The Wind. Claire Randall setting Jamie Fraser’s dislocated shoulder in Outlander. Elizabeth Bennett being snubbed by Mr. Darcy at a ball in Pride and Prejudice.
In my erotic contemporary novella, Almost Perfect, I too am setting up the conflict for the rest of the book. My hero and heroine meet again after more than two years apart. Take a look at this “first meeting.”
“Hello!” A faint shout sounded down the beach.
“Shit!” She pulled the top back down, thankful she hadn’t gotten it over her head. The wet fabric clung to her; if she’d taken it off, she’d never have gotten it back on. Crouching down, she grabbed her shorts and struggled into them.
“Hello?” The voice moved closer, definitely masculine.
She finished zipping the shorts and ducked lower behind the bushes. Was it the pirates? Sounded too friendly. Maybe the Nautilus had come back. Doubtful. They hadn’t had time. Then it hit her. This was her one-night stand. Her pirate had arrived. Maybe they would spend their night here on a deserted island and be rescued in the morning by a ship like the Black Pearl.
“Hello? Is someone there?” His deep voice sounded pleasant and…somehow familiar. Too familiar.
“Shit!” The expletive slipped out again as she shot up from behind the shrubs and stalked onto the beach.
The man headed toward her, still at least ten yards away.
Pamela put her hands, now balled into fists, on her hips and glared at his approach. “I am so getting a refund from Madame Eve!” she yelled when he came within earshot. “Roger! What the hell are you doing here?”
“Pamela? What are you doing here?” Roger Ware’s baritone voice, her ex-husband’s best feature as far as she was concerned, sounded as shocked as she felt.
“I asked you first. But there’s apparently been some horrible mistake. You’re on a one-night stand, too, aren’t you?”
His pale gray eyes narrowed. “How did you know that? Nobody knows that.”
She shook her head. “Madame Eve must have seen our applications, realized we used to be married, and decided to play matchmaker. Why can’t people just mind their own damned business and do their job?”
“How did you know about the one-night stand, Pam?” His lips thinned into a straight line.
God, was he as dense as ever? “I’m here for a one-night stand. You show up on a deserted island three thousand miles from sunny California and you expect me to believe it’s just a coincidence? Coincidences only happen in the movies. Like Harrison Ford and Ann Heche in Six Days Seven Nights. He just happens to be on his way to Tahiti, there just happens to be a storm, her cell phone just happens not to work.”
“I might have known we couldn’t be together two minutes before you cited some stupid movie.”
“I’m telling you why I knew you were on a one-night stand.” She cocked her head. “Aren’t you supposed to be dressed like a pirate?”
Almost Perfect is Decadent Publishing’s Read For A Cure book for the month of May. All publisher proceeds from sales of the book from any vendor during the month will go to benefit Relay for Life. And a portion of the author’s proceeds will be donated as well. That means whoever purchases the book during the month will make a wonderful contribution to cancer research. Please Read For A Cure and help us close the book on cancer.
Blurb for Almost Perfect:
Pamela Kimball’s birthday present, a 1Night Stand adventure, promises to jump-start her life, put a new man in her bed, and help her forget her past. Unfortunately, movie-buff Pam’s Pirates of the Caribbean fantasy takes an alarming wrong turn when she’s abandoned on a not quite deserted island—with ex-husband Roger Ware.
Forced by hunger to accept Roger’s offer of dinner, Pam realizes the geek she married has transformed into one of the most charming, sexiest men she’s ever met. His newfound confidence—and hot body—re-kindle old fires. A simple kiss leads Roger to challenges her to discover how much his lovemaking skills have improved, leaving Pam torn between self-preservation and burning desire.
With time running out before they’re rescued, Pam must decide if her heart can survive the consequences of becoming Roger’s “almost” perfect 1Night Stand.
Jenna Jaxon is a multi-published author of historical and contemporary romance who has been reading and writing historical romance since she was a teenager. A romantic herself, Jenna has always loved a dark side to the genre, a twist, suspense, a surprise. She tries to incorporate all of these elements into her own writing.
Jenna lives in Virginia with her family and a small menagerie of pets. When not reading or writing, she indulges her passion for the theatre, working with local theatres as a director. She often feels she is directing her characters on their own private stage.
She has equated her writing to an addiction to chocolate because once she starts she just can’t stop.
READERS! What are some memorable first meetings that you’ve experienced, either in real life or in the pages of a novel?