Yet again, my ever faithful Seekerville gals have come to visit, and this lady is still smiling from her fantastic news. The CALL! Congrats again, Audra. I’m so thrilled for you.
Her first novel, Rocky Mountain Hero comes out early next year, but it is the first book in a series. To learn more about her books and news, visit her website at www.audraharders.com. You can also learn more about her from her posts on Seekerville.
I can’t wait to get my hands on them, Audra – and I’m sure you feel the same way x 5 🙂
So what is one element of great romantic tension?
Romantic tension is a complete element. It’s the heartbeat of the entire story. Either your characters have sparks flying between them, or they don’t. If they can walk away from each other after the first meeting without a second thought, than maybe you should reach into your bag of characters and find a more volatile pair to work with. BUT, if they begin to shake out sparring muscles and loosen restrictive clothing – all figuratively speaking of course! – then you have a match ready to go the distance of eighteen to twenty-five chapters!
Your heroine may normally sport soft and tender feelings easily bruised, but there’s something about the way the hero flings a comment, hurls an insult or offers blatant disregard for her that raises her hackles as she never thought possible. How dare he? And more importantly…why does she care?
Your hero doesn’t need any emotional ties or messy commitments to interfere with his life. Yet when the heroine challenges him, when she laughs at him, when she ignores every speck of sage advice he offers, why does he grind his teeth, mutter uncomplimentary words under his breath and make a point of keeping her in his line of sight? He obviously has better things to do. Heaven help him, he does not need this irritation, right?
Are they intrigued enough with each other to continue exploring the psyche of the other person despite the hogwash being flung at them? Now you have romantic tension!
LOVE your description/answer here. You even have tension built into the answer 🙂 So, show us what you mean.
This is an excerpt from my manuscript entitled, Rough Ride, book three of the Circle D series.
A deep weariness replaced his derision as he shoved thoughts of Stephanie, and his conscience, aside. Life all melted together when you were on the road as long as he’d been. He constantly checked billboards and storefronts to remind himself of the town and sometimes even the state. He grunted as he remembered his last ESPN interview. They called him a sex symbol, his occupation glamorous. He glanced around the all too familiar hospital lobby. His eight seconds of glory in the arena fooled them all. Someday, he’d grab the microphone and tell every misguided fan the truth about the grind of being on the road three hundred and fifty days a year. And as for being a sex symbol, women were the least of his worries anymore.
At the sound of his name drifting on a soft, feminine voice, every male fiber in his body hummed as tightly as new strings on an old guitar.
“Excuse me, Nick Davidson?”
The enticing blend of cowgirl and cover model he’d watched cross the lobby a moment earlier now struck a casual pose at his side. Unexpected warmth reached out to him, beckoning him to relax. Her walk earlier across the lobby might have exuded sophisticated confidence, but he could read women, and this one oozed cowgirl through and through. The muscles in his bruised face protested his painful attempt at a grin.
“Sorry, sweetheart, no autographs today,” he drawled in the voice he saved for fans and interviews. Twitching his right shoulder, Nick winced at the pain that shot down his arm. “That ride Saturday night got the better of me.”
Her delicate features contorted into a frown. “I know, I was there.” She cocked her head, her gaze darting over his face as if assessing the damage herself and offered a low whistle. “That shiner’s a beaut. Better to get beat up than killed, I guess.”
Nick swallowed the standard acknowledgment he offered the female faction. On rare occasion did fans comment over the extreme nature of bullriding. They either cooed over his great ride and asked for an autograph, or called him a jerk and told him to grow up. He’d grown accustomed to both, but having mortality thrown in his face was something new. Through shards of pain, he parted the swollen lids of his left eye and met her bland gaze head on.
“Shiner?” he parried, choosing to ignore the abstract and concentrate on the concrete. “See these bruises? I’ve got others to match. Wanna check ‘em out?” Riding the circuit had made him coarse; sassy women brought it out in spades.
She stared at him as if he’d spoken a foreign language, then pure pleasure lit her face. “In your dreams, cowboy. Save your lines for your fans. I’m only the help.”
A faint dimple remained in her smooth cheek after her laughter died. That unexplained warmth from moments earlier re-ignited in his belly at her easy humor, even if it was at his expense. “What exactly are you here to help me with?”
Her smile faded and a crease formed between her brows. Gone was the dimple; gone was the sparkle. “Finding your way to Wyoming.”
Though her tone remained soft, Nick recognized resentment a mile away. He’d seen it, lived with it, and had enough flung at him years back to last a lifetime. He didn’t need any more, thank you. What did she want from a roughed up cowboy just trying to get on down the road anyway?
“Wyoming?” he repeated. “I know exactly where Wyoming is.”
“I’m sure you do.” She shifted her weight. “But you need a driver, and I’m it.”
Her words sunk in, but for the life of him, he couldn’t make sense of them. Mitch would be here soon; he’d straighten everything out. In the meantime, Nick decided he’d play it cool. He’d read about deranged fans abducting celebrities. Though he hardly qualified as one, he didn’t relish the idea of becoming a statistic.
“You must have the wrong cowboy, ma’am. My ride will be here anytime.” Fighting to keep his tone civil, Nick noted the headset draped casually about her neck. Maybe she needed a diversion while he signaled for help. “Why don’t you have a seat and just … plug in?”
At the mention of the headset, she reached up and fingered the earpiece. A wooden smile curved her lips. She abandoned the device and extended her hand. “Forgive me for not introducing myself. Rachel Hill. Mitch Cauldwell is my uncle.”
Uncle? Mitch had never mentioned a niece, especially one that looked like this. He eyed the pert brunette in front of him. Niece, of course. Now he remembered her hanging out with Mitch over the last few weeks, helping around the stock. She’d even handed out Bibles before the Cowboy Church services Mitch worked with on Sundays … the ones Nick avoided at all costs.
Forget church; think brunette.
Quiet sort, this Rachel, compared to her uncle. Nick remembered thinking she’d looked a little lost wandering around behind the chutes when he first noticed her. Then just when he thought about asking her if she needed help, Mitch had ambled up and she hadn’t looked lost any longer.
Her soft voice broke through his fog and made him want to lean closer and find comfort. It reminded him of better times. Reminded him of ….
Thoughts of his late wife shredded all tender thoughts from his mind. The last thing he needed was adoration from any female. Relation or not, Nick had expected Mitch. His niece didn’t qualify as a substitute. “Where’s, Mitch?”
Her concerned expression disappeared as she lowered her hand back to her side and gave him a look any old-fashioned schoolmarm would be proud of. “His foreman, Joe, went back to the ranch so Uncle Mitch had to go ahead with the stock. He couldn’t wait the extra day they kept you here for observation so he asked me to make sure you got to Casper for the Season Finale.” Her smile tightened even more as she bent toward him. The sweet fragrance of strawberries filled his senses. “Relax, cowboy. I’m not a buckle bunny, if that’s what you’re afraid of.” She patted his healthy shoulder. “You’re safe with me.”
Nick exhaled with a cough, clearing his head of her scent. Women … safe? Not in his lifetime.
Oh man, Audra. What great writing and fantastic conflict. Love it! No wonder you got the CALL!! (Still smiling!!) Remind us when those books are coming out, will ya?
And for visitors: If you’re a writer, how do your hero and heroine show romantic tension in the first meeting? If you’re a reader, what book have you read lately that shows some great romantic tension in the first meeting.
Thanks for being here, Audra.
UP NEXT: B & H historical author, Jamie Carie