Ever walk into a room full of strangers and see someone you just have to know? It’s not the smile, the clothes, the demeanor, it’s everything under the surface, creating a connection drawing you two together. It’s not necessarily lust or anything romantic.
This is the special thing we try to capture in our characters, in our books. (We say “our” because Ashleigh Raine is two authors writing under one pen name.) We’re not talking about love at first sight. We’re talking about something deeper, stronger, undeniable, something that’s difficult to describe, and you don’t always know it when it’s happening. It doesn’t matter what the person looks like, it’s what he or she just is like.
In Starstruck, Micah is a very hot hunk of manflesh, and Jenna’s a gorgeous sweetheart, but that’s not what makes their meeting special. In fact, they don’t even have much time to be attracted to each other by the time their worlds collide. They’re on the set of a television show where Jenna is a background actor and Micah is one of the stars.
“Rolling!” was shouted, and the makeup lady stepped away from Micah.
Jenna repeated the same actions, glad she’d already done it twice before since her mind was still whirling from her close call. Crystal’s unprofessional phone interruption had done one good thing in this case—increased the tension. Both actors were more in the moment, the argument resonating with a stronger passion than earlier.
“I think you’re wrong.” Crystal spun toward Micah, glaring, hands fisted at her hips.
There was less room to get around Micah and Crystal, but Jenna figured she could still ease by without looking too unnatural. If her fake ducking drop before hadn’t been a problem, sliding behind the arguing duo shouldn’t be either.
Micah whipped around to face Crystal. “Didn’t you see—” Punctuating his words, he swung his arm out in a wide gesture.
Jenna tried to duck, but there wasn’t enough time or space. Micah’s arm struck her across the face, and she fell backward, landing flat on her ass, staring up at Mr. Sexy M.D. himself.
Crap. Somehow she didn’t think she would escape unnoticed this time.
In thirty years of acting Micah had done just about everything…except punch an extra in the face. How great for him that he’d reached a new fucking low.
“I’m sorry. I didn’t see you there. Are you okay?” He sank to the floor next to the poor girl while Steve, the First Assistant Director, shouted for a medic. Micah didn’t see any blood, and the girl’s eyes were open, wide open, shining a bright blue right up at him. Before he could offer her a hand, she started scrambling to her feet.
“I’m fine. Really.”
Taking her elbow, he helped her the rest of the way to standing. She was trembling, which made him feel like an even bigger shit. Even the small smile and whispered “Thank you” she gave him before stepping away didn’t ease his conscience.
How could he not have seen her? Had she done the same cross in every take? Dammit, he was as bad as Crystal, ignoring everything outside his little bubble and fucking things up in the process.
After she walks away something deep within him makes him seek her out before it’s too late. Something more that pushes him to make plans to see her that night. Neither one of them is aware of the deep connection growing between them. Not yet anyway.
In Acting on Impulse, Samantha is a curvy single mom saying good night to her daughter over the phone while at a Hollywood party and Connor is an A-list actor who just wanted to find a quiet moment away from the crowd. What they find in each other is instant attraction.
Sam jumped and spun around, clasping her evening bag to her chest like a shield, body automatically shifting into fight-or-flight mode. Dark night. Deep voice. Tall man. Loud party. Would anyone hear her scream?
“I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to startle you.” He raised his hands palms outward and stepped back and away from her, showing her he meant no harm, she assumed, but it also put his face in shadow.
The words he’d spoken earlier sank through her initial adrenaline rush. Bunnies? So he’d been listening in on her conversation. Had he been making fun of her? She couldn’t decide whether to be angry or embarrassed.
“Do you always eavesdrop on women telling bedtime stories to their precocious two-year-old daughters?”
“I have a weakness for stories with happy endings.” He moved forward, into the light, and smiled wide, warm and beautiful. There was nothing condescending and everything welcoming in the tilt of those full, kissable lips.
“They’re the best kind.” She smiled back, unable to maintain any kind of anger against that smile. Or that voice. Or those ocean-blue eyes with the crinkles at the corners, proof that he smiled a lot.
Sam really, really, really liked being the reason he was smiling right now.
The attraction between them was instant and undeniable. Sure, some of it was on the surface, but it was more about what that surface said about who was underneath. They were drawn to each other.
In Driven to Distraction, Blaina and Jay are in instant lust with each other for sure, but it’s not all on the surface. Not at all. They shared a very deep love of cars as well as a love of sparring with each other that grows from the very moment they meet.
A dark purple 1970 Barracuda convertible parked on the side of the road, hood up, complete with hard-body owner leaning against the fender just in front of the driver side door. Muscular bronze arms crossed over a white T-shirted chest. Faded blue jeans that looked so well-worn they’d be soft to the touch, showcased his long legs, ending with black, work-booted feet, one crossed over the other. It was like the man had stepped out of her favorite car fantasy, instantly popping the clutch and throwing her libido into high gear.
She tried to tamp her excitement, telling herself that a smart woman would not jump a strange man on the side of the road. But there was no reason she couldn’t offer help. And whatever happened afterward…
At a break in the center median, she hooked a U-turn. The Camaro’s tires squeaked as she whipped the car around.
Come to mama, baby. Her nipples tightened in anticipation under her white cotton, ribbed tank top, and she squirmed to give her cunt some breathing room in her painted-on, low-rise, dark green camouflage jeans. As she passed on the opposite side of the street, she stole glances at the fine hunk of manflesh, wanting to verify he was real and not a sexual mirage.
Wait a minute. Was he checking her out, too? His dark sun-glassed gaze followed her path as she U-turned again at the next intersection and pulled up behind the Barracuda.
When she stepped out of the car, his gaze locked on her. Even through the sunglasses, she felt his stare searing her body from head to toe—pausing at a few choice places in between—with each of her approaching steps. Or maybe it was the Southern California heat causing her body’s temperature to rise.
Slowly, he peeled himself away from his car and turned his damn fine body toward her, looking relaxed and sexy as he looped one thumb in a pocket. Sweat trickled between her breasts, her temperature jumping another ten degrees. This close, the man was an even tastier roadside attraction. His blond hair was cut short, accentuating his strong cheekbones, a slightly crooked nose and chiseled jaw. One half of his mouth ticked upward in an interested grin as he gave her another slow once over, pausing at her braless chest.
Blaina cocked her head to the side and returned the favor, undressing him with her eyes. Holy moly, if reality was anything like the carnal picture her mind was presenting…
Somehow she managed to choke out through all the accumulating drool, “I’ve got tools. You need a hand?
Think about all the people you meet on any given day. Not every one of them will stand out in your memory. Maybe you’ll share a quick conversation with the woman ringing you up at the grocery store, or you’ll wave at the mailman as he drives by. An hour or two later many of those meets will fade into the background of your mind to eventually disappear. So what is it that makes others stand out? Why is it that a quick glance across a crowded restaurant where all you do is meet another person’s eyes can stick with you for years? Is it chemical? Is it something almost cellular that connects you to that person, even if you haven’t shared a word?
Attraction is fascinating, mysterious, intimate, amazing, and is a feeling everyone understands and has experienced, yet when you break it down it can be almost possible to define. It’s like the old saying about pornography: you know it when you see it. Same with attraction: you know it when you feel it. Playing with this is why we write romance–we love feeling that pull along with our characters, breaking it down so we understand it and fall in love along with them.
Now you tell us. What’s your favorite instant attraction experience, either fictional or your own life story? We’ll give away a digital copy of Acting on Impulse to one lucky commenter, winner chosen Saturday morning, June 23, 2012.