Shannon here: Lorri Dudley share insight into her real-life romance and her characters’ romance. Comment or answer the question in this post to enter the drawing for print or e-book for US, e-book only for international of her Historical Romance, The Marquis’s Pursuit. Deadline: April 23rd, 11:59 pm central time. Here’s Lorri:
Love in Slight Gestures
Romance movies and novels are remembered for their big-ending grand romantic gesture. It’s when Edward in Pretty Woman conquered his fear of heights to propose to Vivian. Or how Andrew asks Margret to marry him so he can date her in The Proposal. Or when Harry runs to the New Year’s Eve party so he can kiss Sally at midnight in When Harry Met Sally. The grand romantic gesture will never die, but I’d like to contend it’s the tiny romantic gestures that make the grander one special.
As a romance writer and someone happily married for twenty-two years, I’ve come to appreciate the little romantic moments. I’m more in love with my husband than ever before because of how he’ll tuck my hair behind my ear to keep it from dangling into my food or guides me around the street pole I obliviously almost walked into. Before you get the impression that I’m clumsy and unaware of my surroundings (not an entirely wrong impression), my husband still holds my hand while we watch TV and curves his arm around my waist when we’re around a group of men as if to say, she’s mine. I’m even enamored by the way he changes out my toothbrush every time the bristles start to become scraggly.
I place these small gestures into my writing to maintain romantic tension throughout the story. For example, in my recent release, The Marquis’s Pursuit, the hero, Max, uses protective gestures to initially display his regard for the heroine, like when the islanders crowd around the Marquis, and Max and Evelyn get separated:
Max plowed back into the fray, pushing the crowd aside to draw her to him. He wrapped a protective arm around her shoulders.
And when the disreputable hotel owner threatens Evelyn:
Warm hands cupped her shoulders and pressed her aside, a safe distance from Rousseau’s reach. Lord Daventry stepped toe-to-toe with his adversary.
It can take just a touch:
He trailed his knuckles along her arm from her capped sleeve to the top of her glove. Goosebumps formed on her arms, and she pressed her palms to her stomach to keep it from somersaulting.
He touched one of her pinned curls with whimsical reverence. “I sat behind you in the schoolroom and used to secretly finger these glorious curls, testing to see how far they would stretch. Back then, your hair was a bit more unruly, always escaping its plait or ribbons and covering my chalkboard.”
Her scalp tingled as he toyed with the curl.
Other times, love is expressed in a look.
His gaze jerked to meet hers, jarring her with its ice-blue intensity. “He’s going to live?”
She nodded but didn’t want to raise his hopes. Very few people survived consumption. “For now.”
His features softened, and a weak smile twitched the corners of his lips, flooding her heart with warmth and whirling her stomach like a spoon stirring tea.
They broke their kiss, but their gazes held. Her green eyes, like liquid emeralds, proclaiming all the love within her heart.
Don’t get me wrong. Grand gestures are still needed in writing romance and in life. After the birth of our second child, my husband sacrificed his nightly men’s baseball league to help me wrangle our little guys to bed. It may not sound romantic, but I fully understood the grand gesture. He sacrificed something he loved for something he loved more.
The most romantic moments are often taken for granted, like the knowing look my husband passes me above the kids’ heads at the dinner table. Love flows because of our shared past and the confidence of a shared future. It’s the burning of a lasting passion like the oil that fuels a lamp’s light instead of the spark and fizzle of a firecracker.
To quote from Evelyn’s internal monologue, This was what true love was. It wasn’t based on physical desire, attractiveness, or social status. It was respecting another soul as a person, loving them despite their faults, and because of their quirks, nuances, and dreams.
About Lorri: Lorri Dudley has been a finalist in numerous writing contests and has a master’s degree in Psychology. She lives in Ashland, Massachusetts with her husband and three teenage sons, where writing romance allows her an escape from her testosterone filled household. Learn more & connect:
About the book – The Marquis’s Pursuit, a Regency Historical Romance in the Leeward Islands.
She’s desperate to keep her secret hidden, but he’s a determined Marquis.
As the son of a duke, Maxwell Oliver Weld, Marquis of Daventry, is allowed entry into the finest of London’s ballrooms, access to political figures, and advice from the best physicians. Yet, his wealth and contacts won’t heal his friend, Charlie, who’s dying from consumption. Hopeful for a miracle, Max persuades Charlie to sail across the Atlantic to stay in the Artesian Hotel on the island of Nevis and bathe in its famous healing springs. Max’s optimism is washed in doubt as the truth unravels about the hotel, its hot springs, and the beautiful caretaker.
The blaze of Evelyn Mairi Sheraton’s fiery side has long since been snuffed out. Hunted by a vengeful man from her past, only fortitude and the island’s sanctuary have kept Evelyn alive. She will do whatever it takes to keep her precious secret safe, even work for the demeaning Artesian Hotel owner, Edward Rousseau. However, when a jaunty marquis and his ailing friend arrive, sparks ignite, but Evelyn fears the revealing of her secrets will burn her to ash.
The elusive Evelyn may tend to Charlie’s well-being, but she stirs Max’s protective nature. He’d like nothing more than to remove her from the wretched employment of Edward Rousseau, yet that might endanger Charlie’s health even more. Refusing to give up on a miracle, Max waters her guarded heart, certain beauty will rise out of ashes. But when her secrets come to life, will love be worth the price?
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Questions for Readers: What sort of small gestures strike you as romantic? If you had to choose, would you prefer a once-a-year grand gesture or daily slight gestures? Why?
Come back April 19th for Heather Greer!