Sit back with a glass of sweetened iced tea and some good-ol Southern hospitality with Love Inspired author and Seeker gal, Missy Tippens. I know I rave about them, but the ladies of Seekerville are always so full of encouragement for those of us who are daring to enter the world of writing, and Missy is no exception.
Another reason I feel a special connection with Missy? We’re both preacher’s wives 🙂 AND she likes to include kids in her novels. Go Missy!!!
1. What is one element of great romantic tension?
One element I love to use is a sense of longing. The hero and heroine are physically attracted, and they’re starting to see something they really like about the other. He or she is longing for some type of emotional attachment. But there’s still too much in the way, so the character has to pull away.
2. Would you please provide an excerpt of one of your most dazzling first encounters between hero & heroine?
Pepper, I really wish I could share the first kiss scene from the book I’m working on right now (A Family for Faith, April 2011). It’s my favorite so far! But it’s not edited yet. So I’m sharing a scene from my last book, A Forever Christmas. This is a reunion story, so this isn’t a first encounter. But this is where my hero starts to admit he still feels something.
Gregory and Sarah were in love in the past, but her dad (Winston) didn’t approve. Gregory and Sarah each ended up feeling betrayed and haven’t seen each other for years. Now, Sarah is home for the holidays and has been roped into directing the church Christmas pageant—which will be difficult enough since she’s just experienced the death of one of her kindergartners. Now on top of that, she has Gregory’s two little boys, Hunter and Chase, in the pageant. He’s been working lots of hours to try to create a perfect Christmas for his kids, but she’s been trying her best to make sure he spends the time with them that they crave.
Excerpt from A Forever Christmas, by Missy Tippens
A few painfully quiet minutes later, Gregory parked in the Radcliffe’s driveway. Such a contrast with the rowdy drive earlier. But they didn’t really have much to say to each other.
She turned sideways in her seat to totally face him.
He wasn’t sure he wanted to be the center of her attention, but he forced himself to turn and look her in the eye. He blew out a nervous breath.
“I know I’m only a visitor here in Magnolia. I’m just home for the holidays. But I hope you’ll let me help with your kids.”
“Because I’m such a failure as a father?” He hadn’t been able to keep the bitterness out of his voice.
As if without thought, she put her hand on his hand. “Oh, no. I didn’t mean that at all. I—” She pulled her hand away and clenched it in her lap. “I just… well, I want you to understand why I’m doing all this. It’s because I recently saw someone close to me, one of my students, wish for more time with his parents. And they were working all the time, trying to provide all they thought he needed.”
Did she think he pawned his kids off on everyone else? “I have time with them. And they have time with my dad. It’s not like they’re at daycare all the time.”
“My student had a wonderful nanny. But he told me he wanted time with his mom and dad.”
Why was she like a dog with a bone? How could he make her understand? “I know Lindsay’s leaving took a toll on them. And now she’s in Europe for the holidays. That’s why I’m trying to make this the perfect Christmas.”
“My student, Peter…he died.”
He jerked back in his seat as if she’d socked him in the gut. He hadn’t seen that coming in a million years. A kindergartener died? “How awful.”
Her lip quivered. “Cancer. And it took him quickly. We closed school early because of the funeral. And the other children needed counseling.”
Poor thing, she probably needed it, too.
Before he could stop himself, he took hold of her hand. At least he hadn’t hugged her like he wanted to do. “I’m sorry.”
She held tight. “I just can’t bear to see any child missing his mom or dad. And Peter’s parents… The regret. Just too painful for anyone to have to bear.”
Well, no wonder she’d been hounding him. At least he understood better now.
He wanted to hold her in his arms. To comfort her like he had so many times before. But he couldn’t. It wasn’t his place now.
Gregory turned off the truck. “Come on. I’ll walk you to the door.”
She seemed disappointed. “Okay.”
When they reached the front door, he couldn’t help glancing in the direction of her upstairs bedroom window. Where years ago, he tossed rocks to get her to sneak out to meet him. Which, of course, reminded him that her parents never approved of him.
Never would, either.
Then why do I want to get closer to her? To breathe in her fragrance? To remember holding her close? To remember kissing her?
To remember all the big dreams I had when I was with her?
Before he knew it, he had moved closer. He took hold of her hand again. “You know, I should thank you for spending time with Hunter and Chase. They seemed to have a good time. Seemed happy.”
“I had fun, too.”
Frustration. Gratitude. Attraction. They all warred, yanking his thoughts all over the place.
But one thought dominated.
He wanted more. More than the touch of her hand. He wanted to look into her eyes and see that she cared. He wanted to know if she felt anything for him now.
His gaze slid from her eyes to her lips…
He took a step back to fight the temptation. He couldn’t look at her right now—too many emotions swirling around. So instead, he let go of her hand and looked up the length of the big white columns, took in the expensive furniture on the porch, to remind himself whose house he stood in front of. Then he nodded. “Good night.”
She started to unlock the door, then turned quickly, nearly running into him. “Oh, wait. The craft stuff.”
He had to get out of there before he did something stupid. “I’ll get it later.”
He hurried to the truck. As he started the engine, he noticed a shadowy figure standing at the side of the house. Just outside Winston’s home office.
Even with the sun setting, and the shadows on that side of the house, he could tell it was him.
How long had he been there? How much had he seen or heard?
His stance—legs spread wide, arms crossed in front of him, his head following Gregory’s truck as he backed out—said everything. Stay away from my daughter.
Apparently, Winston expected that the agreement was still in effect.
No threat was needed. If Gregory wanted to keep his shameful past a secret, he needed to stay away.
Copyright © 2009 by Melissa L. Tippens
Permission to reproduce text granted by Harlequin Books S.A.
Whew, Missy – I can ‘see’ that dad standing there – a threat and warning. And I always love the hero’s POV. There’s something about a tortured man in love, isn’t there? A man with his best armor against a foe of the heart. Sigh. He’s a goner. 🙂
Thanks so much for being here today. It’s always a pleasure 🙂
UP NEXT: Another Seeker and debut author, Audra Harders