I’m delighted to welcome Virginia Heath with her guest post all about the Subtle Art of the Meet Cute. Over to you Virginia…
Thea plunged into the trees following the sound, then skidded to a halt at the top of the bank at the unexpected sight of an exceedingly pert pair of male buttocks.
Very nice and very naked male buttocks.
A pathetic squeak of shock popped out of her mouth before she covered it with her hands and the buttocks disappeared beneath the water a second before the owner of them turned around, his own hands covering the most important part of his modesty. Which was now quite submerged, but leaving little else to her imagination. Her eyes travelled upwards from those hands to the flat abdomen bisected by an arrow of intriguing dark hair which widened over a broad chest. Muscled shoulders. A gloriously strong set of biceps. Twinkling blue-grey eyes stared cockily right back at her, clearly amused and set in one of the most outrageously ruggedly handsome faces she had ever seen.
‘Good morning, ladies.’
‘Er…’ For the first time in her life, Thea had no words at all. Her cheeks were glowing scarlet and it took all her strength to stop her eyes wandering back to where they had just feasted, making her blink and gape like a hooked fished. ‘Put some clothes on, sir! You are a disgrace. What do you think you are about, cavorting naked in my uncle’s stream!’
These are the first words Miss Theodora Cranford, my heroine in The Disgraceful Lord Gray, utters to the hero and I love them. I love the whole scene. From the moment my outspoken and feisty red-head inadvertently collides with him skinny dipping naked to the moment she finds herself unexpectedly in the stream with him, it is one of my favourite meet-cutes that I have ever written.
The meet-cute is what we writers call the quirky first meeting between the two lead characters in a romance. The best ones are always memorable and the chemistry between them instant and unexpected. Like a drunken Bridget Jones making a fool of herself at her parent’s Christmas party in front of the staid Mark Darcy in his incongruous Reindeer sweater then overhears him telling his mother in no uncertain terms the last thing he needs is a blind date with “a verbally incontinent spinster who smokes like a chimney, drinks like a fish and dresses like her mother” when we all know he does. Or when Sally first meets Harry and the two vastly different strangers set off together on an epic road trip and the first words he says to her are “Men and women can never be friends. The sex part always gets in the way.” Then they become friends and the sex part gets in the way.
The meet-cute sets up the story. In Thea and Lord Gray’s case, it is a meeting they both bitterly regret but cannot seem to get over. She, because she cannot get the sight of him naked out of her mind and he because he quickly discovers it is her uncle he has been sent on a mission to expose. I should probably mention here that Lord Gray is a Regency spy on the hunt for the ruthless and callous mastermind behind a very dangerous smuggling ring and to do that he needs to make a good first impression on the suspect in order to weasel his way into his inner circle. Shocking and scandalising the suspect’s niece because he had been a hot day and he could resist the water was not the best start.
He tries to make amends, she thinks he’s a total scoundrel, the supporting characters seem to be on a mission to indulge in a little unwelcome matchmaking and the pair of them fight the instantaneous attraction tooth and nail- although both for very different reasons. The Disgraceful Lord Gray was, as you can imagine, great fun to write…
~~ About the Book ~~
Miss Theodora Cranford’s learned to keep her impetuous nature locked away. She won’t be deceived by another man who can’t see past her fortune. She wants an honourable, sensible sort – not a self-assured scoundrel like her new neighbour, Lord Gray. Although she’s sure there’s more to him than meets the eye… But after that first captivating kiss, she’s certainly left wanting more!
~~ Giveaway ~~
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