My latest release, INVITATION TO PASSION (My Lord’s), book #3 in my Invitation To series, is a marriage of convenience between best friends. I for one, have a male best-friend and I’d hate to have to marry him, I’m not sexually attracted to him at all.
I thought about Madeline and Richard (my heroine and hero) and what I’d need them to go through, or need them to feel, in order to reach their Happy Ever After. I had to ensure they overcame the cons of being best-friends.
The cons I thought of were:
1. You’re not usually sexually attracted to your best friend, there is no chemistry.
As far as Madeline is concerned, Richard is scorching hot! He looks like Philip Winchester from Strike Back, so she wants to share his bed. As for Richard, Madeline is beautiful and men separate love and sex so much better than women.
2. A best friend often knows all your secrets
Well, almost all of your secrets. I ensured the couple had a lifetime pact of being totally honest with each other. That meant they did share almost everything…
3. If they don’t grow to love one another, someone else might come along and then you’ll hurt your best-friend
Richard already thinks he’s in love with someone else, but quickly works out he doesn’t know what real love is. Will he ever? Can Maddy teach him, or will he end up hurting her?
4. Who do you turn to for advice if you’ve married your best-friend?
I tried to make Richard and Maddy’s relationship as honest as possible because best-friends would talk to each other.
Here’s a snippet that I hope demonstrates their relationship as friends and now lovers:
Madeline cupped his face in her palm and whispered, “I know you men are up to something. Please, for me, be careful. I don’t trust Sarah. She seems very determined to get what she wants, and she wants you.”
“Very astute, Princess. Rufus and I have discovered that her father’s man had paid young David to cut Wrentham’s horse’s girth.”
Maddy gripped Richard’s arms hard for support. Every instinct in her body wanted to scream out the truth. “Oh, my God, it was Sarah!”
“We can’t know that for sure. It’s still more likely that Timothy killed his brother for the estate. He’d need to do it as soon as Charles married in order to ensure there was no child from the union.”
“Well, he’s left it too late.” She pushed out of his arms and looked up at the revealing look on his face. He thought it too, and she saw guilt there. “This is about you. Sarah had no way of knowing what would happen at Hascombe that night. All along, she had planned to kill Charles and marry you.”
Richard ran an agitated hand through his hair. “That is a possibility, but my money is still on Timothy.”
“Why? Because a woman couldn’t do such a thing or because you still have feelings for her?”
With an angry cry Richard said, “Neither.” He stood breathing heavily, anguish etched upon his face. Finally, he admitted, “If it’s true, I’m responsible for another man’s death.”
“No. No, you’re not.”
He gripped her hands in his. “Can’t you see? I should never have slept with her and then let her marry Charles.”
“Why did you?”
He dropped her hands as if they were diseased and turned away but not before Madeline saw guilt flash deep in his green eyes. “I don’t know. I thought…”
“You thought you loved her, but when it came down to it, you realized you didn’t?” She watched his shoulders sag and knew he didn’t want to have this conversation, but she was determined to proceed with it. He had to face the truth about himself in order to set himself free.
“What kind of man does that make me? I thought I’d have more time before you found out the truth about my character. I seem to commit myself fully to a relationship and then it just…peters out. I don’t know why. I don’t know why things don’t last.” She looked at him and he flinched. “You must despise me.”
She wrapped her arms around his waist and leaned her head on his back, hugging him tight. “From the moment we’re born, we’re drawn to form a union with others. We have an abiding drive to connect, to love and to belong. You were denied this as a child, so you continue to seek out the perfect union, a union that provides the added strength we cannot find in ourselves. But how will you know this union is right?” She paused before saying, “I believe the strength we need cannot be found until the relationship is tested.” She pressed a kiss to his back. “You’ve simply been testing relationships to find the one that completes you.”
I hope you read INVITATION TO PASSION. It was one of my more interesting books to write because of the complexities of my hero and heroine’s relationship. If you do read their story, feel free to drop me a line and tell me what you think.