Hi Delilah! I want to ask you and your readers–Are you a fan of the Fated Mates trope?
Mostly, I am.
I adored, adored, adored the book The Time Traveler’s Wife, and while not strictly a “fated mates” story, the way Henry and Claire’s lives crisscrossed in time gave it that feel. It’s not a romance novel, but it is one of the most romantic books I’ve ever read.
One of my all-time favorite paranormal romances, with one of most memorable openings, is A Hunger Like No Other, the first book in Kresley Cole’s Immortals After Dark series. In the first scene, the werewolf hero, who has been chained up and burning in a magical fire for something like two hundred years, smells his mate above ground on the streets of Paris and finally finds the strength to break free. There are a lot of great, fun, sexy moments in that book—an ideal fated mates story, in my mind.
Obviously, the rules of paranormal worlds vary a lot, and they change the dynamic of the fated mates trope quite a bit. Do you they only ever get one mate? How do characters physically react to meeting their mate? Can a person find happiness apart from the mate? Only reproduce with their mate?
These can be some of my favorite romances, or some of my least favorite. Sometimes the rules of the world constrain the romantic relationship in my mind—this happens sometimes in sequels, when the world was built around the first book and the subsequent conflicts fall short.
In a way, a fated mates story grants the characters the same knowledge every romance reader already assumes: these characters MUST end up together. Sometimes this works brilliantly, as the characters rail against their fate or one determines to sway or seduce the other.
The fated mates trope does go well with another of my favorites, enemies to lovers. Cole as lots of these in the Immortals After Dark series. And my new release, Blood Reunited (Book Three in the Blood Vine series) is also one of these stories.
I honestly didn’t understand romance tropes well enough to know what I was doing when I first conceived of the premise of this book years ago, though now I see I stumbled upon a great set-up. I had invented a brash ancient female vampire as a secondary character, and also made one of my vampire patriarch’s sons a vampire halfling without entirely figuring how one becomes a halfling. All I knew was he was old and he drank bourbon, not blood.
Holy cow. This parenthetical note turned out to be a whole paragraph: (I expect half of the writers reading this blog will have a heart attack to hear me say I write this haphazardly, and the other half will nod knowingly and feel solidarity. It works for me. I write myself into a puzzle, or a corner, and storytelling my way out of it is the source of a lot of my creativity. I don’t think I could publish a serial like Suzanne has, because my writing style requires a lot of mid-story revisions.)
In the epilogue of Blood Vine, when my brash vampire-ess sent a message to the Kastel Estate Winery, Bel was less than pleased to hear from her. I didn’t know why, so I had to investigate, and what I learned made me cackle with the kind of sadistic glee only authors feel toward their characters (you know, that peculiarly loving kind of sadism, because WE know what’s best for them).
Vampire biologist Bel had been investigating the mystery of his existence for his whole life. Vampires can’t have babies, so how the hell was he conceived? The answer lies in an ancient and secret method which Uta helped his mother undertake. What Uta did not know was that her help would cause a blood bond between she and the baby, making them mates, fated to love one another without any choice in the matter.
Uta feels guilty, Bel feels trapped. Deeper than that, they love each other in every cell. He is stubborn, brooding, and determined to use his scientific expertise to free them from the bond, once he’s saved all the vampires from wasting disease. She is stubborn too, and her brashness covers an Atlas-like sense of responsibility for all that’s wrong with the world. And truly, I’ve never had more fun writing than with this story of these enemies and fated mates wading through the secrets of their past and working together to save the vampire world.
Blood Reunited: Book Three in the Blood Vine Series.
Brooding vampire halfling and biologist Bel Maras is determined to create a cure for the wasting disease that plagues his vampire family. His work becomes essential as the Hunters intensify their global and bloody campaign. When Bel’s cure fails, only his ancient and estranged godmother Uta Ilirije can help. But seeing the ice-cold Uta reveals something shocking–she is his bonded mate.
She may be a dangerous warrior, but Uta feels her failures acutely. She has been unable to protect her kind from Hunters, and vampires are dying out. Worse, she tied Bel to her long ago in an accident of blood, then abandoned him for his own good–a choice he has never forgiven. Many days, she is convinced Bel and the vampires would be better off if she just walked into the sun.
Biology has fated them to be mates. Now these old enemies must overcome their past to save the vampires and come to peace with the bond they never chose.
Amber Belldene grew up on the Florida panhandle, swimming with alligators, climbing oak trees and diving for scallops…when she could pull herself away from a book. As a child, she hid her Nancy Drew novels inside the church bulletin and read mysteries during sermons—an irony that is not lost on her when she preaches these days.
Amber is an Episcopal Priest and student of religion. She believes stories are the best way to explore human truths. Some people think it is strange for a minister to write romance, but it is perfectly natural to her, because the human desire for love is at the heart of every romance novel and God made people with that desire. She lives with her husband and two children in San Francisco
EXCERPT: ( I like this one because is shows humor as well as the angst in this story)
She flipped the arm separating their seats up and laced her hands into his hair, pulling his ear to her mouth. Her deft, slender tongue traced a wet line around the shell before she nibbled on the lobe with blunt teeth. Tingles crawled from his scalp down his shoulders and arms, and he pulled her onto his lap.
She whispered. “I have done many things in my life. But I am not yet a member of this club for people who have had sex on airplanes.”
She was already fumbling between them for his belt, her tongue pressed between her lips in determination.
He pressed his forehead into hers and chuckled. “Yes.”
He ached to be with her again like this, but he wouldn’t make the same mistake as last time. This would change nothing.