|That's what I'm talking about. Quality time together.|
In Caribbean Jewel, my hero and heroine meet about 5 minutes into the action, on page 2 of the manuscript, just after Jolie jumps out of a second-story window to escape her guardian's manor...
...At last she burst into the clearing, panting. Bending over to brace her hands on her knees, she gasped for air for a few seconds, then forced herself to run again, half stumbling across the uneven terrain. She had crossed a good portion of the field when her flight was abruptly cut short.
“Madre de Dios!” came a muffled exclamation from somewhere in the darkness, just before she collided head-on with a firm wall of solid muscle. Jolie tumbled ungracefully into the stranger’s arms. She caught her footing and immediately tried to jerk away from the darkly clad figure who held her in his firm embrace, blocking her flight.
The sound of wildly yelping dogs in the distance pierced the balmy night air.
“The hounds!” Jolie tried to twist away and run past the stranger.
He jerked her back. “¡Cálmate! Why are you fleeing, muchacha?”
She pushed both fists against his chest, again trying to free herself, to no avail. “Either haul me in and collect your reward or let me go! The hounds are coming!”
When I wrote Caribbean Jewel, I was obeying all my Romance Rules to a "T." I had a very clear idea of what I thought made a good romance novel, and I made sure I obeyed my inner rule-maker. Jolie and Marcano are together in 95% of the scenes in the novel, and I worked to build that romantic tension so bowstring-tight that by the time things finally start happening in the kiss/touch department, you are READY for it. You're crying for it. You're yelling, "whoop, whoop." Well, that was my intention, anyway.
Now, a confession. In my upcoming release Omaja Stone, this is the one Romance Rule I sort of broke. The hero and heroine don't meet until almost a third of the way through. But the plot trajectory for this novel was simply such that that is the way it is. I tried to think of any other way to do it, and it just doesn't serve the plot as well to start the book when they meet. In the end, I have to trust my storytelling instincts. (And, after they meet, they are together 95-97% of the time for the rest of the book.)
What do you guys think? Do you care if the hero and heroine are together a lot, or does absence make the heart fonder?