Recently, I’ve read a few too many romances where the heroine basically falls in love with the hero because he’s so hot. She doesn’t necessarily think in those words (in some of the books, she’s a Regency or Victorian or Medieval woman), but there’s not much going on between her and the hero except constant physical attraction, the desire to act on it, the desire not to act on it, the shock of acting on it, the guilt or elation of acting on it, and oh boy, those muscles! Et cetera et cetera ad infinitum…

Seems to me, if that’s all love were about, all the women in the country would be in love with Russell Crowe and would live out the rest of their lives in misery because they couldn’t have him. Do I want to read a 300-page book about how my next door neighbor is totally in love with Russell, and loves his abs, and loves his legs, and really really really wants him to touch her??? Um, no, sorry.

But that’s how some of these books I’ve read recently have struck me. The heroine and hero in the book have no greater emotional connection, no more true bonding, no more actual understanding of each other as human beings, than would my neighbor have with Russell.

What do I like in a romance? I like that moment when, as a reader, your heart melts. When you just love the hero to death, and want him to be happy so badly, and know the heroine can truly make him that happy, and he her as well. I love that moment when the hero does something that’s so kind, or so true, or so real, that your brain and heart shout YES!!! Yes, that’s it. That’s love.

After all, what’s to stop my neighbor from changing her taste to Antonio Banderas, or Josh Holloway, or Naveen Andrews tomorrow? What’s inspiring about that? Sure, they’re gorgeous to look at (as these pictures prove), but I can’t really believe in a relationship based on nothing but the physical. The way I see it, that’s not a relationship . . . and it just isn’t that interesting to read about.

Recently, I was watching the TV show House, in which the seriously cranky Doctor House (the inimitable Hugh Laurie) was hoping that his old flame, Stacy (Sela Ward) would come back to him (despite his unending bad temper, and an ego the size of the national debt). And suddenly, there was one of those moments. The two were waiting in an airport on business for a delayed flight, and when Stacy sat down, she found that House had gotten her a cup of coffee… And not just any coffee, but the kind she liked, done the way she liked… That little moment, showing that even years after their relationship ended, he cared enough about her to remember how she liked her coffee, and the casual, comfortable way he got it for her without any show or fuss, really melted my heart.

So… What moment in a book, TV show, or movie melted your heart? Is there a scene where a character’s action really touched you? How about something a character said? Or a moment or moments that made you want to shout, Yes! That’s it! That’s love.

Please share!!!

Cara King,
MY LADY GAMESTER — available now from Signet Regency!