A reader as well as a writer, I like the mix of danger and romance. Statistics show I’m not alone. Romantic suspense books are popular sellers.
I’ve often wonder why we love a dash, or should I say a slash of suspense with our romance. I guess a psychologist could answer that. However, for me, a well plotted romance and an equally well plotted suspense, woven seamlessly together works. Each story line moves the plot forward and holds my attention. Perhaps the need to solve a mystery helps keep the pages turning.
A romantic suspense must have a compelling love story too, often with the hero and heroine striving toward different goals. They share a strong attraction for each other that might get in the way of solving the mystery, perhaps even puts them in danger. Still, they must be sympathetic characters as each struggle with internal problems and personal baggage while maintaining a determination to catch the bad guy(s). Right is on their side, though the villain might take issue that statement.
A believable villain is important too. Not just a crazy man or woman wanting to hurt people, but a villain with a credible goal. The average person would think the objective is completely wrong. Still, the villain knows he’s righteous. The idea keeps him motivated and the reader turning the pages to find out what happens next. The anti-hero should be intelligent, a person to be reckoned with, fear imparting and perhaps clever if a bit mad.
Mysteries are often written in the first person. Yet, the romantic suspense has multiple points of view allowing the reader to understand the motivation of many of the characters.
In a suspense, it just gets worse and worse until the reader can’t see how the hero and heroine will solve the mystery and survive. There is often a possibility the villain may win and all will be lost.
You can check out my romantic suspense books on Amazon.
Dangerous Money by Reggi Allder on Amazon
5 stars …This book has it all… A darn good read.
An A+ mystery and romance, it reads like a fast-paced action film.
In the midnight gloom of a residential street in Carmel, California, business owner Kathryn Carlyle watched the city’s dim lights from the back seat of a speeding police car. She gasped for air as dread tightened her throat. This can’t be happening to me.
The catering van she had driven to the billionaire software developer Conner Harrison’s birthday party had been impounded by the police as evidence. She rubbed her throbbing temples to release the pain accumulated there.
Two blocks from her beachfront condo, she snatched a breath of air. “Please stop. I have to get out.”
The middle-aged officer guided the patrol car to the curb. “We’re not finished with you. Go, but don’t leave town.”
He’d probably been waiting all night to use that cliché. Don’t leave town. She almost laughed, except nothing funny had happened tonight.
She exited the car and inhaled the sea breeze as it rustled her hair. It was such a welcome change from the stifling atmosphere that contaminated the police station where she’d spent the last few hours. How long before the officer came back to arrest her?
Relieved to be in her safe neighborhood, she took a deeper breath, kicked off her black leather pumps and sat on a driftwood log overlooking the serene bay.
She swallowed as nausea swirled in her stomach. The fact that she hadn’t eaten since breakfast didn’t help. Always nervous before an event, she’d planned to eat after Mr. Harrison’s party. Now he hovered near death. The thought of eating brought bile to the back of her throat. Why did the authorities think she’d poisoned a man she’d only met once?
A nightmare had snared her and was holding her in its grip. When Mr. Harrison died the charge against her would be murder in the first degree.
As the realization crept through her, she tensed. Two deep breaths calmed her, but didn’t stop the headache forming over her right eye.
True she’d had the opportunity to poison him, but no motive. She only met him because he’d asked her to cater his birthday party. With his death there was nothing to gain and a lot to lose— her reputation, her business, her life.
In the morning, the police would sort out the truth of her innocence. Still, adrenaline caused her heart to race. She rubbed her temples and tried not to think anymore.
A gust of wind circled her. She shivered and folded her arms in front of her. Damn. Her suit jacket was still in the patrol car.
She stood, brushed the sand from the back of her skirt, and picked up her high heels and shoulder bag. Time to go home, sleep was doubtful, but at least she’d put up her sore feet.
Leaves crunched somewhere in the shadows of the nearby trees, she squinted into the darkness but didn’t see anyone. Even so, fear gripped her.
She forced her swollen feet back into her pumps and walked quickly up the dimly lit street. The click of her heels echoed in the quiet night air. The desire to flee from an unknown danger increased the speed of her footsteps.
With the exception of a black truck parked at the curb, the street was empty. The pickup’s engine revved. The cab light came on and cast an eerie glow on the driver’s face. He smiled at her.
As she thought about waving to let him know the headlights were off, the vehicle drove straight at her. It jumped the curb, sideswiped her, and sent her flying.
With a thud, she landed on the muddy front lawn of a neighboring condominium. The sound of the engine faded as the vehicle disappeared.
She lay motionless on the ground. Cold mud oozed into the fabric of her skirt. A twinge jabbed her and terror banged against her rib cage.
Overriding the sense of shock was her need to get home where she’d be safe. She grabbed the strap of her purse and attempted to stand. Pain shot through her hip and down her leg. She fell back into the mud.
A man dressed in black came out of the darkness and stood over her. Before she could cry out, he bent down and covered her mouth with his huge hand.
“Don’t scream. You’ll wake the whole neighborhood. I’m not going to hurt you.” He helped her stand.
The streetlight lit his face and a lock of coffee brown hair fell over his furrowed brow. Five o’clock shadow covered his strong jaw and his full lips formed a grim line. Compassion shone in his obsidian eyes. It was incongruous to his hardened expression. He reminded her of someone, but she couldn’t think of a name.
“Your uncle sent me,” he said in a deep voice.
“You were at the police station.” She pushed a strand of hair behind her ear.
“Yeah, thought I could talk to you. They wouldn’t allow it. Can you stand by yourself?”
“I think so.” A spasm shot into her leg and her knees buckled. She grabbed him and reluctantly leaned on his lanky but muscular body for support.
“I’ll call 911.” He held her to him.
“Don’t phone them.”
“The police need to know about this. Use my cell.”
“No. I can’t handle it—not tonight. I’m cold. I’m muddy. I just want to go home.”
“Can you walk?”
“Yeah,” she said, hoping she could. The first step sent pain racing through her. She gasped.
With one hand he steadied her. With the other, he yanked a smart phone from his pocket. “What’s your address?”
“330 Sea View Avenue, number three.”
He punched in 911. “There’s been an accident. A woman’s hurt. I need an ambulance sent to 330 Sea View Avenue number three ASAP.”
After he pocketed his smart phone, he carefully scooped her up in his arms. “Let’s get you home.”
Never one to ask for help, this time she had to admit she needed it and balanced herself by putting her arm around his neck. His body heat warmed her as her cheek rested against his solid chest. Odd how protected she felt, almost as if this stranger were an old friend.
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