Nothing is more exciting that the first time a hero and heroine meets face to face in their book. It might be a “cute meet” or an “omnious meet.” But the first time is magical for both the couple and for their author. My favorite “meet” is anything but cute. In Only Scandal Will Do, the heroine has just been auctioned off to the hero for a night’s pleasure in a brothel. When he comes to take possession of his “goods” he finds he’s gotten more than he bargained for.
Someone fumbled with the door. She recognized the scratchy voice of the shorter kidnapper even through the wood, and darted toward the washstand.
The door opened as Kat skidded to a halt in front of a tall, cloaked and masked form.
One glimpse of the monstrous figure sent her scream echoing in the small room. She fled backward until she splayed against the wall, trapped. The dark shape advanced with frightening speed, cape billowing, the golden mask of a lion’s head glinting in the candlelight.
Flattened against the cold plaster as the towering apparition rushed toward her, she willed herself to vanish through the wall like a ghost. It reached a finger out and stroked her hair. A normal hand, thank God. The arm that disappeared into the black folds was clothed in dark red fabric of excellent quality. He was just a man. She lifted her chin and forced her eyes to meet his.
“Who are you, sir?”
“Your master, slave.”
Harsh words cloaked in a voice of deep velvet. A shiver of dread raced down Katarina’s body, as much from the words as from his tone. She gathered her courage and replied, “I am nobody’s slave. There has been a dreadful mistake.”
“I think not, my lovely. I paid a small fortune for your ownership this evening. Make no mistake about that.” He continued to stroke her hair and she twisted her head to the side. His mouth below the half mask twitched into an insolent smile. “I am pleased, however, that you possess courage as well as beauty.” His fingers touched her cheek. “The mask hid the slave’s wealth well.”
She jerked away. “You may have paid for a slave, sir, but what you find in this room is a lady in distress. Will you prove a gentleman or a rogue?”
“A lady in distress?” He laughed and straightened. “How did a lady come to find herself on display at an auction, scandalously clad in a transparent Greek costume, in Madame Vestry’s House of Pleasure?”
“House of Pleasure?” she squeaked.
“Where else would such a thing occur?” The man’s amusement seemed to deepen at her indignation. “And there will certainly be pleasure here tonight, slave.”
He ran a hand slowly down her arm, fingers trailing silkily against her bare flesh. Mouth agape at such a liberty, she slapped the hand away and ran for the door. With a long arm, he snared the diaphanous folds of her gown. The material strained against her body. Kat froze lest it rip, exposing her completely. Cursing her own folly for choosing such a costume, she swung around to face her captor.
Now it’s your turn! Which book (yours or another author’s) has your favorite H/H meeting? Come on and share!