Love at First Sight
by Holly Bargo
Immortalized in movie scenes when our hero and heroine exchange that first glimpse from across a room, love at first sight occupies a permanent place within the romantic lexicon. Nowadays, though, it’s called “instalust” or “instalove.”
Apparently, that’s more accurate or realistic.
I think it’s derogatory.
What man or woman doesn’t want to feel that moment of instant attraction, that wondrous lightning strike of knowing that he or she is “the One”? That sizzling realization that you’ve just met your one true love can and should knock you off your feet.
Does it happen?
In fiction, it happens all the time. Consider that ubiquitous fairy tale, Cinderella. The prince gazes across a sea of hopeful ladies to see the glittering beauty of an unknown woman. He rises from his chair, wades through the crowd, and takes the unknown beauty by the hand. They dance all night until the clock strikes midnight and she flees. The next day he goes in search of the woman who captured his interest with just a glance and then took his heart prisoner over a single evening. And he doesn’t even know her name.
Paranormal romance, especially in shifter and vampire romances, capitalizes on love at first sight, using the practically instantaneous attraction and mating instinct possessed by many animals. Our hero (usually a shifter) recognizes his mate (usually a human) and then spends the rest of the story persuading her that he’s going to love her and take care of her forever.
I think that most people crave that sort of obsessive devotion, which is why the “love at first sight” trope endures in popularity. However, it has its dark side, too. In Deerskin by Robin McKinley, our heroine’s parents have that sort of single-minded focus upon each other until the heroine’s mother fears the ravages of age and her father transfers his insane focus on his own daughter. The daughter grows up mostly ignored until that creepy and awful transference of obsessive love: her parents cannot focus on anyone but each other. They have no love to spare for their own child.
The ideal of it … ah, doesn’t that make you shiver with the longing to have someone whom you love forsake all others to dedicate himself or herself to your happiness? The trope generally builds upon a man’s instinct to possess and protect, taking those instincts to psychotic levels. The trope generally demands obedience from the submissive in the relationship—usually the female. He takes care, she is cared for—until the tables are turned and she ministers to him.
Love at first sight hearkens to the ideal of mutual care, mutual benefit, mutual pleasure, mutual support. It takes the concept of a utopian community and applies it to the two-person community of a romance or the slightly larger group of a polyamorous relationship. It takes that idealized, interdependent caring and support and adds sexual attraction.
I love love at first sight. It’s a wonderful catalyst to jump-start a character-driven romance. It complies with my no-cheating requirement in romance and ensures commitment even when intimacy occurs before the ceremony.
Intriguing post ! Thank you, Holly, for giving us a peek into the advantages and disadvantages of the ‘love at first sight’ trope.
Well, readers, shall we take a peek at her paranormal romance? Sounds like a plan! 😀
This is the blurb for The Eagle at Dawn:
Rachel’s brother uses her as collateral to settle a debt with an outlaw motorcycle gang. She flees to a local bar and pleads with a darkly handsome stranger to help her. His help results in homicide. When eagle shifter Diego’s vacation is interrupted by the innocent young woman he recognizes as his mate, he flees with her across national borders because she’s his and he’s not letting her go.
Having essentially swapped one captor for another, Rachel knows the dashing, sexy Spaniard is keeping secrets from her. He showers her with kindness and generosity in exchange for her obedience. Diego’s control over her and his secrets elicit her distrust and resentment.
When freedom beckons, Rachel answers its call; however, freedom brings hardship and indignity. Will she return to the controlling alpha male who stirs her blood or cling stubbornly to her freedom?
Here is an excerpt.
Rachel awoke to dark liquid eyes staring at her and the gentle stroke of fingers over her cheek and along her jaw. She gasped and drew back, initially confused. Memory slammed into place and she took another deep breath.
“What is it?” she asked, realizing the absence of engine noise and the stillness of the aircraft.
“We’ve arrived, mi encantadora.”
She blinked and sat up, rolling her shoulders and stretching. Diego’s gaze sharpened and the small muscle at the base of his jaw clenched. His demeanor subtly changed from tender to ferocious and Rachel wondered what she’d done to anger him. As though realizing that he intimidated her, Diego pressed his full lips together in a thin line, closed his eyes in a long slow blink, and visibly relaxed his muscles.
He held out his hand and she took it, thinking he merely intended to help her up from the cot like the gentleman he claimed to be. However, he did not release her, but reeled her in so that her soft breasts pressed into his body and his heat easily penetrated her thin summer clothes. His other arm wrapped around her and clamped her against him. She inhaled again with sharp surprise at both the unexpected embrace and the surge of arousal that sparked low in her belly.
She swallowed, the sound audible, and blinked rapidly. “What’s going on?”
“Us,” he replied, his voice a husky murmur. Diego’s hand skimmed upward and cupped the back of her head, holding her in place and pressing her ear against his heart. The strong, steady beat thudded and calmed her nerves even as the enticing scent of him stirred her blood. She felt the soft waft of his breath over her hair and then the brush of his lips.
“Why did you kiss me?” she whispered.
“Because you’re not ready for more.”
Rachel gulped again. “What if I’m never ready for more?”
“You will be.”
Universal Reader link: https://books2read.com/u/baWNGv
Add it to Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/46421105-the-eagle-at-dawn
♥♥♥ Ooh…love the tension! This looks like quite a romantic read!
Holly Bargo lives with her husband on a southwest Ohio hobby farm with a menagerie of four-legged pets. Their two children are grown. Holly works full-time as a freelance writer and editor, and has published over 20 titles since 2014. She primarily writes fantasy and romance, often blending the two genres. Her latest release is The Eagle at Dawn, the fourth book in her Immortal Shifters series in which, yes, readers get to experience the effects of love at first sight. Holly enjoys hearing from and meeting readers. She will be at the 2019 Summer Book Fair in Springfield, Ohio. Contact her via the Hen House Publishing website.
Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Holly-Bargo/e/B00JRK6VGQ/
Thanks again, Holly! We hope to see you back on ILRB sometime.
Happy reading, everyone!🙂