First Encounters ~ Sandra Owens

First Enccounters - Tire Tracks

“I ran over my coat this morning.”

I looked up from whatever I’d been doing at the time to see a tall, blue-eyed, blond man standing in front of my desk. I knew him as he worked at the same place I did, but we’d never had much contact. I will admit though that I had noticed him.

“You what?” I asked, not sure I’d heard him right. For opening lines, his was certainly original.

A silly grin quirked his lips, as if he amused himself. “I ran over my coat. With my car.” There was laughter in his eyes, and I really liked that. “There’s tire tracks on the back of my coat now.”

“Okaaay,” I said, then bit down on my bottom lip to keep from laughing.

He put his hands on my desk and leaned toward me. “It’s a good story, but I’ll tell you the rest over dinner.”

His nearness, the low timbre of his voice, the scent of him, stole my breath. A cliché, I know, but it really did! I’m married to that man now—have been for years—and he still makes me laugh, and he can still steal my breath when he turns those blue eyes my way, leans close, and whispers something naughty in my ear.

Although I knew him in passing before the legendary coat caper (yes, he really did run over his coat), I consider that moment our first encounter. It was the first time he made my heart go pitter-patter. It was memorable, and it changed my life.

In books, that first encounter is one of the most important scenes of the story. It is the event that will change the hero and heroine’s life! It sets the tone, and it tells us whether the hero and heroine are going to fight the attraction (because there must be attraction, else who cares about them?). Or maybe they go at it like bunnies, then some conflict or other comes along and threatens to kill any chance of a happily ever after for them.

Embracing Romance Blog

I’ve read books were the first encounter just didn’t do it for me, and when the chemistry is missing, the story ends up being a disappointment. Then there’s those books that grab you the moment the hero and heroine set eyes on each other, whether from across a crowded ballroom, or across the baselines of a small town baseball field.Embracing Romance Blog 1

 

 

 

 

 

 

The author just got it right! You can’t wait to get to the end because even though romance means you’ll get that satisfying HEA, you just have to be sure. Wait, never mind, you don’t want the book to ever end.

Not long ago, I read two books that began with the same type of first encounter. The hero and heroine got right to it the night they met, before they even knew each other’s names. In one, by a well-known author, I was totally turned off. It was just creepy, and set a tone for the story I couldn’t get past.

In the second, Liberating Lacey, by Anne Calhoun, I was blown away. I’m not usually a fan of sex with strangers in books, but Ms. Calhoun made it work. As the book progressed, I fell in love with Hunter and Lacey, and have since read the book twice more. Just wow!

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First encounters can be powerful whether that first meeting is humorous, or sizzling with heated looks, or sad, bringing tears to our eyes. One of my favorites from a book I read long ago and can’t remember the name of, at his first sight of the heroine, the hero thought, Here she is. That was all. Here she is. He didn’t know why the words flashed through his mind, and he promptly dismissed them as not having any meaning to him. But we knew!

 

Crazy For Her Cover

 

 

In Crazy For Her, due out September 1st, my hero, Logan, feels an immediate connection with a woman sitting at the table next to him and his friend. Logan’s first encounter with Dani was a here she is moment, and he recognized it as such. Yet, it didn’t seem meant to be as you can see from their first encounter excerpt.

 

They’d been enjoying a few beers at Sinner’s when the heated conversation at the table next to them intruded on the enjoyment of their last few hours in the States. Logan tried to shut out the argument between the couple, but their voices grew louder. The asshole was pressuring the girl to go home with him.

“For the last time, no,” she insisted.

The man ran his fingers over her arm. Logan shared a look with Evan. If the dude didn’t back off soon, he was going to learn it had been bad luck on his part two SEALs had chosen tonight to have a beer at Sinner’s.

“I didn’t take you for a tease, babe.”

Logan glanced at the girl to see her reaction to the man’s words. The air left his lungs. She was gorgeous. The auburn-haired beauty met his gaze, embarrassment in her eyes. She reached into her purse and fished out a cell phone.

“Who’re you calling, babe?” the man asked.

“A cab, and I’m not your babe.”

Logan smothered a grin. If she’d looked at him like that, he would’ve called the cab for her. The jerk snatched the phone out of her hand.

“You came with me, babe. You leave with me.” He wrapped his hand around her upper arm, his fingers digging deep.

Logan rose from his seat, but before he could do more than that, Evan pushed away from the table, swiveled his chair around and grabbed the man’s hand. Snatching the phone from the man’s grip, he handed it back to her.

“Take a hike, dude,” Evan ordered. “My friend and I will see the lady safely home.”

Logan eased back into his seat.

The man narrowed his eyes. “Get lost, douchebag.”

Evan flashed Logan a shit-eating grin. “Did you hear that, Kincaid? This piece of dog doo just called a SEAL a douchebag.”

“I heard.” The girl’s eyes were wide and uncertain. She likely wished she could close those beautiful eyes and blink herself home.

The man’s Adam’s apple bobbed as he swallowed hard. Logan gave him an I’m-Going-to-Kill-You stare.

“SEALs?” the dude squeaked.

Logan sent him an evil smile and one slow nod. Being this close to Little Creek, and from the cut of his hair, he was Navy, but the lack of muscle said he spent most of his time behind a desk. Even a desk jockey knew it was wise to fear a SEAL. Or two.

Dickweed scurried off like a cockroach, and Evan took less than a second to slide into his seat, claiming the girl for his own.

She peeked at Logan from under her lashes, her lips curving in a shy smile. That was the moment he lost his heart to a green-eyed stranger. That he had fallen for Dani MacKenna, now Dani Prescott, was a deep secret he held close.

My hero fell in love with the heroine at their first encounter, but she fell in love with—and married—his friend. There’s no hope for them, I guess. Oh, wait, this is a romance, isn’t it?

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Do you have a favorite book first encounter? One that’s stayed with you no matter how many books you’ve read since?

Trivia Question: Where did Logan first encounter Dani? Hint can be found in this post. Enter your answer here

Follow Victoria Vane:

Romance Novelist

VICTORIA VANE is an award-winning author of smart and sexy romance with works ranging from wild comedic romps to emotionally compelling erotic romance. Her books have received more than twenty awards and nominations to include the 2014 RONE Award for Treacherous Temptations and Library Journal Best E-Book romance of 2012 for The Devil DeVere series. She lives the beautiful upstate of South Carolina with her husband, two sons, a little black dog, and an Arabian horse.

24 Responses

  1. Maggi Andersen

    What a fascinating start to a romance, Sandra! Hard to better it, even in romance novels.I like the excerpt too!

  2. Caz

    I’ve just listened to the new audiobook version of Heyer’s Venetia and was reminded of the awesomeness of the first meeting between Venetia and Damerel. First meetings don’t come much better than that one!

  3. Barbara Monajem

    Great anecdote and a heart-wrenching excerpt! One of my favorite kinds of first encounters is when it’s actually a second encounter — where the hero and heroine meet again after years apart. It’s usually pretty intense for one reason or another. 😉

    • Sandra Owens

      Yes, I love those second encounters after years apart, Barbara. They’re sometimes more intense than the first time they met.

  4. Romance Reader Girl

    Well, no wonder why you write awesome first encounters! It’s because yours is awesome and I think it needs to be in a book. I’m sure you husband wouldn’t mind. 🙂

  5. Sandra Owens

    LOL, Lindsey, he’d love seeing himself in a book. He already tells everyone he’s the inspiration for my heroes. 😀

  6. allybroadfield

    Love the meet cute between you and your husband, and I’m intrigued by the love triangle set up you’ve got going in the excerpt.

  7. ki pha

    Awww That’s so cute! I think I have a few of them scattered around in my head but I’ll come back to tell you when I’m not at work. LOL

    Great post!

      • ki pha

        Okay, been a long day LOL
        But First is Sylvester “Devil” Cynster, the Duke of St. Ives, and Honoria Wetherby from Devil’s Bride by Stephanie Laurens. They met at the very beginning of the opening with an almost dead body. And they got really close pretty fast, well from Devil’s stand point because he automatically claimed her as his bride! Love it~

        And then there’s the mischievous trouble maker Juliana Fiori and proper Simon Pearson, the Duke of Leighton, from Eleven Scandals to Start to Win a Duke’s Heart by Sarah MacLean. These two’s first meeting was super adorable! They met in a different book, book #1, but it’s one meeting I can’t forget; it’s my ultimate favorite! So, Juliana was recently placed under the guardianship of her twin elder half brothers, she’s half French so not a simple English girl (book #1). And when she first met Simon, she was 16 and at a book store looking to purchase music sheets for her brother for his birthday. Luckily Simon was there to help her out and chose a book for her to gift. He was super nice to her and such an adorable gentleman even though he’s known as the Duke of Disdain! But you see, he didn’t know the scandalous history she carries or that she was the infamous little scandal herself! So he found her cute and adorable for purchasing a gift for her brother. Ooohhh it was so sweet. But then of course once we get their story he’s all ignoring her for the scandal she’ll bring upon his name! So Love it!!! 😀

        I can write to you for every about this but I’ll leave you with these two Sandra..

      • Sandra Owens

        Ki, I loved Devil and Honoria. That was the book that got me hooked on the Cynster series. I’ve read a few of Sarah MacLean’s books and really liked them. Don’t know why I haven’t read Eleven Scandals. I need to remedy that!

  8. carolcork

    I love that first meeting with your husband. Perhaps you could incorporate it into one of your books. The first meeting between Dani and Logan brings to mind the first meeting between the hero and heroine in Julia Quinn’s When He Was Wicked. The hero, Michael Stirling sees and instantly falls in love with heroine, Francesca Bridgerton but the occasion of their meeting is a supper celebrating her imminent wedding to his cousin.

    I definitely remember the first encounter in Elizabeth Hoyt’s Notorious Pleasures because, in the opening scene, the heroine walks into a room to find the hero in flagrante delicto with a married woman. Risqué but also very funny because of what subsequently happens in the scene.

  9. Sandra Owens

    Carol, I really should us my first encounter in one of my stories. I read both the books you mentioned and agree that they are among my favorites. Now that you’ve reminded me of them, I’m wanting to read the two books again. 🙂

  10. Collette Cameron

    Sandra, I adored this! My hubby asked me to marry him after two weeks. I guess when it’s the right one, you know it.

  11. Sandra Owens

    Thanks, Collette. Your husband sounds like a man who knows what he wants when he sees it…er, her.

  12. pattymvanhulle

    I feel in lust with my hubby’s behind and then I fell in love with his hilariousness!! I love shocking intro, clashing war of wills, ridiculous entrances that just work or when a reckless rogue gets knocked down the rungs of the biggest ladder by a gutsy Wallflower!