By Danielle Ravencraft (Guest Blogger)
"If I had to choose between loving you and breathing, I would use my last breath to say 'I love you'". - Unknown
Movies, TV shows, and fiction are entertaining because they stretch reality. We're willing to suspend belief for a while to go on an adventure in a place where magic can happen, where the hero always gets the girl, where true, unconditional love exists.
Wikipedia calls Love at First Sight "one of the most powerful tropes in Western fiction". Its popularity spans the ages, back to Classical Greek and Roman poetry.
How many of you believe in love at first sight in real life? Or in soul mates? You might like to think it's possible. You might even know someone who seemed to find true love with the first person they ever dated. I know a couple people like that. My uncle proposed to his wife on their second date. One of my close friends from high school married a boy she met in kindergarten. They remained close through the years despite him moving to a different country with his family when he was young. They got married soon after she graduated and have four beautiful daughters now. And my uncle? He and my aunt are still together.
So I know it's possible. And I know we all love to believe it can be possible for us too, even if only in a book.
But how realistic is it, really, for two strangers to meet and fall instantly, deeply, and unconditionally in love to the point that they would sacrifice themselves without question for the others' happiness? We don't really think about it because fans of romance want to read about that kind of devotion. But in truth, most of you probably put aside some amount of believability to allow yourself to be satisfied by the hero and heroine's passion. Because really, you could think "Oh my god, that is so FAKE. Real men don't act like THAT. If this was a reality show, he'd probably only be dating her for her money." But we don't think like that when we read a romance. Instead we think "Awww! I wish men really did THAT, that is so sweet!"
Like the movie Titanic. Woman watched that movie over and over when it first came out and it was all because of Leo's character. Meanwhile, our boyfriends and husbands wished ill things on the movie's producer.
In real life, most of us experience "lust" at first sight, which sometimes then grows into passion. But it's almost never perfect. It's almost always difficult. Sometimes it ends badly. Few times it ends really well. Authors are often told to write what we know, to write believable stories with believable characters and believable motivation. Which is what prompted this post. As a romance writer, I have a difficult time making two strangers fall in love. I don't think it's believable. It's definitely not very realistic. And I refuse to write a story that I don't believe in. So, I make my characters work on their relationship.
And you know what? It works for me. It's like the novel The Notebook. Allie rejects Noah over and over until he is forced to trick her into going out with him. Allie didn't instantly love Noah. He had to work for his chance with her, and their relationship grew from there. Noah's character scores points with the audience for being so deliciously clever in his attempts. We even like it when Noah and Allie fight because it's real.
In my debut erotic romance story, A Trace of Love, I poke fun at my own beliefs in romance. Trace Curtis, the hero, is convinced his feelings for Ophelia are true, but she doesn’t think it’s possible after only one night.
Can Trace convince her it’s love or will Ophelia miss out on a second chance because of doubt?
Can Ophelia find true love in a chance encounter with an old crush?Ophelia Martinez has a chance encounter with internationally famous rock-star, Trace Curtis. To Ophelia, Trace will always be the charming boy she met in high school. They share one night together in which Trace falls in love with Ophelia. But Ophelia knows she can’t continue to live in the past, at least not with the secret that haunts her present.
Ophelia sat in her favorite spot in the entire world; the little bar in the very back of The House of Blues. Usually The House of Blues featured local bands; everything from Soul to Bluegrass. She couldn’t say why she loved it there. It wasn’t the music or the booze or the way reality seemed to evaporate in the dim lighting. But it was, nonetheless, her heaven.
Today was one of those rare occasions when the venue starred an international band, which meant The House of Blues was packed to the brim. The concert ended and the throngs of fans made their way to the exit. The bartender winked and handed her another beer. He knew Ophelia by name and always let her linger until they locked up.
Ophelia blinked as the lights brightened. Plastic cups, spilled beverages, straws, napkins, glow sticks, promotional fliers and the occasional bra littered the floor. A smile inched across her lips. Molten Silk put on a good show.
Other than the bartender, bouncer, stage crew and broom boy, The House of Blues was empty and eerily silent. The guys worked quickly, ignoring Ophelia as she nursed the last sip of her drink. The worst part of the day approached; the part where she would have to go home to an empty apartment.
Laughter broke the silence as five men walked out on stage, holding bottles of something alcoholic.
“Oi! Is the bar still open?” one of them shouted. The bartender nodded. “Bring us a round over here, mate!”
Ophelia ducked her head, watching the men from the corner of her eye. They were Molten Silk, the band. They looked different in normal lighting, like regular people in ridiculous Goth costumes, but she was positive it was really them. Heat rushed to her face and she looked away.
“I’m goin’ for a smoke,” said an unmistakable voice. Ophelia didn’t want to turn around and stare, but she couldn’t help peeking over her shoulder. Trace Curtis, the lead singer, headed for the door with a cigarette bobbing between his lips, lighter ready in his hand. She held her breath as he passed by, just inches behind her. She knew him back when he was Mathew Curtis, the heart-throb teen that played guitar for the lunch ladies. She didn’t know why Mathew changed his name after his debut album went platinum.
Trace paused at the door. He turned around and glanced at Ophelia. She looked away, hoping he didn’t notice her staring. It’s not like it matters, she thought. He’s just going to keep right on walking out the door.
“Do I know you?”
Ophelia jumped. She turned and came face to face with Trace Curtis. A small bout of panic took her mind. Should she tell him they went to high school together? She doubted it would help. They were just as much strangers in high school as they were in adulthood and it would be best to keep it that way. She shook her head.
He leaned against the bar counter. “Are you sure?”
Ophelia smiled. “I think I would remember if we met before.”
Trace wet his lips. “Have a drink with me?”
She looked at her empty beer bottle. What harm could another beer do? “Sure.”
Grinning, Trace snapped his fingers and ordered two more beers. He took a seat and looked Ophelia over, letting his eyes linger just long enough to make her blush. “I could swear I’ve seen you before.”
She shrugged. “Maybe you have. I come here every weekend.” But Trace didn’t look convinced.
“Oi, Trace! We’re going bar hopping, mate! Come on.”
Well, that’s the end of that, thought Ophelia.
But Trace didn’t move, except to wave his band mates away. “You guys go ahead; I’ll meet you back at the hotel later.”
The guys made cat-calls aimed at Ophelia, her cheeks burned scarlet.
“Sorry about them,” Trace mumbled, scowling at his friends as they left. He reached for his beer at the same time Ophelia reached for hers. A tiny shock of static passed between their fingers. Ophelia jumped and glanced at Trace. He scoffed and then moved his fingers so they glided over hers. His skin was warm and callused from years of playing guitar. His pale blue eyes studied her face.
Ophelia bit her lip, suppressing a laugh. Oh, Mathew, you’re still just as smooth as ever; touching my hand, but keeping your gaze above my neckline. As if she didn’t know what he was after.
Trace removed his hand and cleared his throat. “So, are you from around here?”
She shrugged, trying not to burst into giggles. “Close enough.”
He glanced away, looking first at the stage and then at the door. Ophelia winced. He was probably getting bored and wished he’d joined his friends. She shouldn’t have felt hurt. She shouldn’t have cared if he left. He was just one guy. But at the same time, he wasn’t. He was Mathew, her old high school crush. And she expected him to be the same cocky dick. But he wasn’t. He was standing next to her shuffling his feet and blushing at the awkward silence like an average Joe.
At the same time, Trace and Ophelia mumbled what they both thought. “You want to get out of here?”
They blinked at each other and Trace chuckled, his voice as lovely and carefree as a child’s. Ophelia laughed and felt herself relax, instantly at ease in Trace’s company.
A Trace of Love is available now from Muse It Hot Publishing!
Bio: Danielle Ravencraft graduated from the International Academy of Design and Technology with a Bachelor Degree in Fine Arts. She currently lives in Wisconsin with her two Pomeranians. Growing up in the suburbs of Chicago, her writing is influenced by the multicultural urban society of her youth which she continues to visit each summer. Danielle enjoys writing sensual erotic romance exclusively for a female audience.
Danielle’s books are available in e-book formats from Muse It Hot Publishing Inc. and select e-book retailers. She loves to hear from readers. You can reach her via email to Danielle_Ravencraft [at] yahoo.com or visit her website at http://RavencraftRomance.com.
Note from Lisabet: Danielle is going to give away a copy of A Trace of Love to one lucky commenter. So what are you waiting for?