“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.
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.
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!
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!
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?
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