I think people sometimes get so caught up in certain scenes—and you know the ones I mean—when it comes to romance that they forget that the love story itself is so much more. An amazing romance goes way beyond acrobatics in the bedroom (or kitchen or car or forest or…). It’s the small tender moments that, to me, really demonstrate a deep and abiding love that make the characters so memorable.
One of my favorite examples comes from IN FOR A PENNY by Rose Lerner (and I hope Rose won’t be upset with me for a small spoiler):
The most touching scene to me in this book had nothing to do with actual romance. To briefly set up: Nev & Penelope have been trying to make work a marriage of convenience—he’s an aristocrat in need of money and worries that he’s not smart/admirable enough, and she’s from the wealthy merchant class but never feels as though she truly fits in High Society. They truly care for each other, but they’ve quarreled and are at a ball. He gets her a plate of food and when he brings it back, she sees all the morsels are cut into tiny pieces--because he knows she’s incredibly self-conscious about eating in public. And that small act said way more to me than an apology could. It said he knows her so well and cares enough to do something that might not mean much to anyone else but spoke volumes to her. It made my heart melt.
That’s what I look for when I’m reading a romance and when I edit one. Where are the little in-between moments that make the reader truly believe this couple is meant for each other, that their love will last an age?
It’s so meaningful because that’s what we have in real life, right? We hear “I love you,” but we actually see it in the full tank of gas that wasn’t there last time we had the car, the cup of coffee made just the way we like it, a surprise gift (even if it’s merely a new keychain because he knows yours broke) because he was “thinking of you.”
So what are your favorite little moments—either in real life or in fiction? I have two copies each of WICKEDLY CHARMING by Kristine Grayson and SEALED FOREVER by Mary Margret Daughtridge to give away to two random commenters.