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Guest blogger: Annie West

14 April 2013

Annie WestGetting the hero and heroine together and keeping them there

One of the things I love to find in a romance is an emotionally rich situation where hero and heroine are forced to face the things they’d rather avoid (and that often means the person they’re in danger of falling for). That gives the romance such intensity.

Some of the earliest romances I read had hero and heroine meeting at various social events and interacting but then going their separate ways. Obviously I enjoyed them because I kept reading. But I remember the impact the first time I read a story where the heroine and hero, strangers to each other, were forced to stay together under the same roof. How thrilling! There’s nothing like being with someone in close proximity to discover what they’re really like, and of course, to reveal your own true colours.

Maybe that’s why I’m such a fan of marriage of convenience stories, because the characters are in such close proximity it’s like stripping away protective layers so we, and the other character, gets closer to them than anyone ever has.

My most recent book: Captive in the Spotlight, isn’t a marriage of convenience story but it’s built around a situation where h&h are forced into a level of closeness they can’t escape. Lucy has just got out of prison after serving a sentence for the manslaughter of her boss. The paparazzi surround her, desperate for a story about the lovely young foreigner who went to gaol for killing one of Italy’s richest men. Lucy’s determined not to give them anything, but she can’t get away.

Help comes unexpectedly when Domenico, brother of the man she’s supposed to have killed, offers her sanctuary. He’s the last man she wants to see. Once she’d thought him special, but his rejection of her, and his belief in her guilt, have turned the beginnings of attraction into hatred. Domenico, wanting to protect his dead brother’s family, is determined to get Lucy to sign a contract that will stop her spreading stories about the case, even if it means paying her off. So he takes her to his private island off the Amalfi Coast while he persuades her to sign. Lucy’s not a captive but she’s got every reason to stay there out of sight while she sorts out how to begin her new life. And once they’re alone together Lucy and Domenico discover things aren’t quite as simple as they’d thought.

How about some other examples where hero and heroine are brought together under the same roof?

  • In Loretta Chase’s historical Mr Impossible, Daphne needs an escort to help her find her kidnapped brother in Egypt and rescue him from the villains. Enter Rupert, strong, determined and only too willing to help. But in the intimacy of their journey down the Nile Daphne discovers she’s got far more than she bargained for in Rupert.
  • In Lynne Graham’s Prisoner of Passion Bella accidentally gets caught up in the kidnapping of Rica, a wealthy business man. They find themselves stuck together in a shipping container specially fitted out to keep him safe until the ransom is paid. Now that’s definitely close proximity! 
  • In Girl in the Bedouin Tent (sorry, couldn’t resist adding another of mine), Cassie is kidnapped and offered to a visiting sheikh as his slave. She finds herself chained to the bed in his royal tent! Because Amir is a visitor, not the local sheikh, he can’t simply demand her release or leave his diplomatic negotiations to see her to safety. As a result these two strangers share his tent for the week.

Do you like stories where the hero and heroine are brought into close proximity and then can’t get away? Are there any stories like this that stand out in your mind?

Annie is giving away a copy of Captive in the Spotlight. Leave a comment below and you will go in the draw. (If you already have Captive, Annie will substitute one of her other published titles.)

UPDATE: The giveaway is now closed. Congratulations to Shannon H.

CaptiveSpotlightCaptive in the Spotlight

Domenico Volpe has been a paparazzi target for years with his rugged Roman looks, glamorous lifestyle and, most recently, a family tragedy. Now that the woman at the center of it all is released from prison, he’ll do whatever it takes to keep her quiet.

Domenico ensures that Lucy Knight “accepts” his offer of refuge on his well-guarded offshore estate. While the media furor abates on the mainland, things are heating up on the island! Domenico is beginning to doubt Lucy’s guilt as he uncovers the innocent, sensual woman behind the tough facade….

  1. aimskye permalink
    17 April 2013 10:34 am

    Great post Annie!


  2. 15 April 2013 8:49 pm

    Thanks, everyone, for popping by for a chat! I’ve enjoyed myself.

    It’s time to announce a winner for my giveaway book. CONGRATULATIONS, SHANNON! If you’d like to drop me a line at annie (at)annie-west(dot)com with your postal address, I’ll get the book in the mail to you.


    • shannon hape permalink
      16 April 2013 6:54 pm

      whoop!!! *does a lil’ happy dance* Thanks so much Annie! I’ll be in touch *grins* Doubly thanks go to ARRA for hosting. Much love to all those that made this possible!!!

  3. 15 April 2013 5:01 pm

    Hi, Annie! I’ve been a captive of the day job lately, but I’m so hoping to dive into Captive of the Spotlight soon! It’s sitting on my nightstand. I just adore stories in which the hero and heroine are stranded together with very little wiggle room. Well, maybe just enough wiggle room. 🙂

    • 15 April 2013 6:03 pm

      Vanessa – a captive of the day job sounds so sad. Glad there’s the prospect of escaping with a book soon. Laughing about the wiggle room. Yes, there is that in this book!

  4. lynette williams permalink
    15 April 2013 12:52 pm

    sounds like a very interesting book —lyn

  5. 14 April 2013 11:49 pm

    Hi Annie
    I love your books so will have to read this one…. Sounds most interesting

    • 14 April 2013 11:56 pm

      Thanks, Barbara, that’s lovely to hear. I hope you enjoy Lucy and Domenico’s story!

  6. 14 April 2013 10:50 pm

    Hi Annie, you have whetted my reading appetite–CAPTIVE IN THE SPOTLIGHT sounds amazing–I love the idea of a heroine just out of jail. I’m sure that retreat off the Amalfi Coast is the ultimate in luxury. I must read it asap!
    The idea of the hero heroine forced into each others’ company is a classic, isn’t it? One of my favourites, because of the intensity of it. No escape and forced to face up to their attraction and the obstacles keeping them apart. It’s an challenge for the author, too, as there are no (or few) secondary characters hovering to distract focus from the developing romance.
    I might humbly add my THE CASTAWAY BRIDE to the list. The billionaire-in-hiding hero and runaway-bride heroine are shipwrecked on an uninhabited tropical island with no means of escape (and not many clothes, either!)

    • 14 April 2013 11:55 pm

      Hi Kandy, yes, definitely! THE CASTAWAY BRIDE is definitely in that ‘stuck together till emotion bubbles over’ category. Smiling here at your ‘not many clothes’ comment. It does make for an interesting situation, doesn’t it?
      Yes, I think it’s the intensity that appeals to me – both as a reader and as a writer. I know when I’m writing a book like that there seems to be an extra energy about it, and the characters, I suppose because there’s no escape.
      Actually, a get away to the Amalfi Coast would be just lovely.

  7. 14 April 2013 9:20 pm

    Anna, I’m smiling at your petrie dish. For some reason that makes me think of bacteria but I know what you mean. Miranda Lee talks of putting the H&H in a crucible and applying heat and that’s what I so enjoy in a really intense story. Yes, you definitely do that. Thanks for the kind words about Captive.

  8. 14 April 2013 8:22 pm

    Annie, I adore the intensity of those stories where they’re stuck together and can’t get away from the person driving them crazy (usually with forbidden desire!). I described it in a blog once (although I may have borrowed the description!) as put your two characters in a petrie dish and apply heat. It’s actually something I do a lot in my own stories so you’re speaking to the converted! Captive is such a great story – whoever wins it is in for a treat!

  9. helensibbritt permalink
    14 April 2013 6:52 pm


    I so love your stories and agree that the premise of throwing the hero and heroine together is a great way for them to fall in love. I have Lorretta Chase’s Mr Impossible but have not read it yet need to :). I know I have read other books with this premise but after just getting home from the romance reader lunch the mind is blank LOL

    Have Fun

    • 14 April 2013 8:22 pm

      Helen, read Mr. Impossible! It’s one of my all-time favourites!

    • 14 April 2013 9:18 pm

      Ooh, Helen, you lucky woman having your Sydney lunch today. Do, do read Mr I soon. It’s worth it. I’m smiling just thinking about it.

    • 14 April 2013 9:19 pm

      Helen – I forgot to say how thrilled I am that you enjoy my stories. That’s just lovely!

  10. 14 April 2013 6:25 pm

    Hi Shannon. So glad you enjoyed the post. I love all sorts of romances but get a special buzz out of the ‘stuck together – can’t get away’ dynamic. It always throws up such interesting things.

  11. shannon hape permalink
    14 April 2013 2:13 pm

    Hi Annie. Love your post! I thoroughly enjoy a read where the h&h are brought together in close proximity and have no choice but to confront those feelings they’d rather avoid. It makes it all the more delicious especially when they finally give in. Captive sounds right up my alley and I would love to read it.

  12. 14 April 2013 1:34 pm

    Hi Cathryn. I’m glad you like Captive’s premise. It was definitely fun to write. Oh, do read Mr Impossible. It’s such fun and Rupert is a terrific hero. I know you love a great romantic hero – large and muscled and with a terrific sense of humour! I think you’d enjoy.

    • 14 April 2013 2:36 pm

      I’m sold! Mr Impossible, here I come.

      • 14 April 2013 6:24 pm

        Cathryn, I wish I was reading it for the first time. But rereading it is a treat too!

  13. 14 April 2013 1:02 pm

    What a great post! Thanks, Annie. I just love the premise for Captive in the Spotlight. A heroine just out of jail! Love it. Thanks also for the other titles. I’ve seen Mr Impossible recommended so many times I’m really going to have to bite the bullet and indulge. I get the feeling I won’t be disappointed…

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