There’s a saying that opposites attract, and that can certainly be true when it comes to the hero and heroine of a romance novel. You can have two people who appear different but actually complement each other wonderfully. That mix of strengths and weaknesses that make the individuals stronger when together. It usually takes some time for the characters to realize they are meant to be together, but by the end of the book, they have snapped together like puzzle pieces, and in more ways than just physical.
To me, opposites present a very intriguing dynamic. There’s tons of potential for inner conflict (and for someone who adores angst, that potential is just downright yummy). Yet there is also a huge potential payoff if the characters can figure out how they fit together. That payoff, of course, being a wonderful happily-ever-after.
In Her Ladyship’s Companion, my sensual Regency-set romance, I cast opposites for the hero and heroine. Bella is a married aristocratic woman who is determined to be the perfect lady. Her hero, Gideon, is a baseborn male prostitute (a gorgeous, intelligent and polite prostitute, but a working man nonetheless). Gideon’s job is to bring his client pleasure, whereas Bella has spent the last five years keeping her inner tart locked up tight. On the surface they could not be more different, but a look below the surface shows that they are absolutely perfect for each other, and not just in the bedroom. It’s a romance, so of course it ends in a happily-ever-after. Though it does take some doing, and a nice amount of angst, to get there.
Buy link on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Her-Ladyships-Companion-Berkley-Sensation/dp/0425239837/ref=tmm_pap_title_0?ie=UTF8&qid=1232909813&sr=8-1
Giveaway: A signed copy of Her Ladyship’s Companion
Question: Do you like opposites in your romance novels, or do you have a different type of favorite couple?
HIS JOB WAS TO PLEASE HER, NOT TO STEAL HER HEART.
In the Scottish countryside of Selkirk, Lady Isabella Stirling resides at Bowhill Park, serving penance for a sin that nearly ruined her family. For five years she has been condemned to a loveless marriage and confined to the estate where she does little more than tend her rose garden. With her husband absent for months at a time and few visitors, Bella lives a lonely existence, denying the passions that burn within her very soul.
Then her cousin comes for a visit and makes an outrageous suggestion: what Bella needs is a lover. A hired lover. Despite her need, Bella says no. But soon Mr. Gideon Rosedale arrives - and he is at her service for two weeks. Indulging in what she intends to be a harmless flirtation, Bella is overcome by Gideon's intoxicating presence. And when she at last permits him to satisfy her desires, she discovers she's done the unthinkable - she's fallen in love.
Not wanting him to think she was watching him over his shoulder, she wandered off to check the surrounding plants. Though she did sneak a few peeks from the corner of her eye. His large hands were infinitely gentle as he coaxed the young rose from her pot and set her into the ground.
“I believe I’m finished here, that is if my work passes your inspection.”
At his confident words, Bella turned from the other roses. Suppressing a grin, she slanted him a ‘we’ll see’ look and flicked her fingers. He stepped aside. Already the little Celsiana appeared stronger in her new home. He had done an expert job. Not one leaf lay lost on the fresh, dark soil under her branches.
“Well done, Mr. Rosedale. You make an admirable gardener.”
He tipped his head. “I try, ma’am.”
Bella chuckled at his failed attempt at humility. She turned on her heel. “Come along. We’re done here.”
“Yes, ma’am,” he replied, the grin clear in his voice.
He stepped ahead of her when they reached the hothouse. The shovel and empty pot held in one arm and his coat slung over one shoulder, he opened the door.
“Thank-you,” she murmured as she walked passed him, untying the ribbons of her bonnet.
He replaced the shovel inside the cabinet. “Where does the pot go?”
“You can set it next to the worktables by the other empty pots. There’s a bucket of water by the hearth if you wish to wash up.” She pulled off her bonnet and ran a hand over her head, smoothing any stray hairs.
The grin just wouldn’t leave her lips. If all days could be like this one…
Water splashed as Mr. Rosedale washed off the dirt from the garden. He wiped his hands on an old embroidered towel. Bella walked to the left and set her bonnet on the settee, removed her gloves, dropping them atop her discarded shawl, and reached around to untie her apron.
His deep male voice washed over her, so close it tickled her ear. Slightly damp, cool hands stilled hers. Gooseflesh rose up her arms. She took a quick breath against the sensation and dropped her arms to her sides.
Slowly, lazily, he pulled one apron tie. It was so quiet she could hear the fabric unravel. She felt the instant the bow released. His fingers brushed the small of her back as he pulled the tie loose. He reached around to take hold of the top center of the apron. Instead of removing it, he pressed his palm to her waist, holding it in place. He leaned closer. Heat scorched her back. Her derrière tingled where the top of his thighs brushed the sensitive flesh. She was still fully clothed, but felt exposed. As if she stood bare before him.
The scandalous image formed in her mind. He exactly as he was – in buff breeches, black boots, white lawn shirt and a proper pin-striped waistcoat. And she…naked, the warm air in the hothouse caressing every inch of her skin. A quiver seized her body.
Held within his light embrace, she could do nothing but close her eyes against the heavy flush of raw need. She knew all it would take was one movement, one word and he would release her. But she stayed still as a statue, fighting the impulse to rock back against him, to feel the long length of his body pressed fully to hers.
His other hand coasted up her side grazing the sensitive outer swell of her breast to settle on her shoulder. A gasp expanded her lungs as his warm lips met her neck. Shamelessly, she arched, granting him access. He caressed the point of her racing pulse with the tip of his hot wet tongue before laying open mouth kisses on her neck. The brush of teeth grazing her skin incited her passion. Her hand clutched over his at her waist. Unable to resist a moment longer, she thrust her hips back and encountered the unmistakable evidence of his arousal. A low groan shook her throat.
The soft, husky words shot to her core. His deep voice a potent source of lust. She shifted, needing to ease the ache. “Pardon?”
He nuzzled the small cove behind her ear. “Dinner. Tonight. Am I to be your guest?”
“Oh,” she gasped, trying to right her mind and focus on his question. “Yes.” Always. Forever.
He laid a light kiss on her neck then stepped back, his hand sliding out from under hers. “What time?”
She blinked her eyes open and turned, her mouth jealous of the attention her neck had received. “Ah…” Time didn’t matter. She wanted him to kiss her, to feel his lips upon hers, to taste the hot recesses of his mouth. “Six,” she heard herself say.
He stepped around her to drop the apron on the settee. “Six it is.”
Discomposed, Bella smoothed her hands down the front of her dress, her senses still in a riot. Yet he spoke so casually. Mild irritation clashed with thwarted desire. She glanced up, looking through the windows until she found the sun. “I should go.”
“It’s getting late and I need to dress for dinner.”
“You needn’t stand on formality with me.”
“But it’s dinner.” She rarely had guests and going through the feminine ritual of dressing for dinner was one she was loath to skip.
“Surely you can stay a bit longer,” he cajoled. “You’ve only shown me a few of your young roses.”
He sounded earnest, as if he truly wanted her to stay and wasn’t just being polite. “Another time,” she said with a smile.
“All right then. Six.” He sketched a short bow. “I shall count the hours, my lady.”
To enter Evangeline's contest for a signed copy of Her Ladyship's Companion, just answer her question above:Do you like opposites in your romance novels, or do you have a different type of favorite couple? The contest will end at midnight tonight and the winner will be announced tomorrow on this thread.