I’m getting increasingly frustrated by an unconvincing “I love you” in the novellas I am reading. I’m not saying I’ve never read an “I love you” in a full length book I didn’t believe in, but I’m tired of a rushed or forced declarations of love in the shorter stories.
It is very jarring to me to be reading about a budding relationship and then a short time later it feels like the author just slapped on the declaration of love in the last page…why? Is it because that is what the majority of romance readers expect?
For example (and I’m using these books as examples because I recently read them so they are fresher in my mind) Acting on Impulse by Ashleigh Raine. This starts out cute with a more “normal” quiet, homebody heroine and a big time, hot movie star actor. They meet at a party and have a fling in the garden then go their separate ways. A few days later, without having talked to each other, they meet again (which is at the end of the book) have sex again (verra hot sex) and declare love. Why? Why can’t they say – hey – I like you, you like me, let’s pursue this dating thing? The hero hasn’t even met the heroine’s daughter yet! The book has more of an emphasis of erotic sex scenes, which is great. I don’t need the forced “I love you.” They have spoken maybe for a total of 24 hours and they are in love. It kind of ruined the story for me.
Last night I read Holiday Secrets by Jill Sorenson. I liked the majority of this book. A woman who witnessed her husband’s murder, is now in the Witness Protection Program and meets her neighbor when he shows up dressed as Santa on her doorstep to give her daughters some presents. I like how this romance starts, although the heroine is extremely wary of the hero and protective of her daughters since the murderer of her husband knows she is out there somewhere. And by the end of this short story, they declare love. Even though they’ve known each other for only days, and the heroine goes from hiding the pronged fork for the ham from the hero at dinner just days before because she was afraid he might use it as a weapon. And then she declares love just a short time later? The heroine needs more time to come to trust the hero as a man, and as a potential father figure to her young daughters.
If either of those stories or the many others I’ve read would have ended with a “I like you” rather than a “I love you,” they would have been so much more realistic to me. With an “I like you” at the end, to me that is an implied – these two will stay together and love is coming in the invisible pages that follow the end of the story.
As a romance reader, do you get frustrated with a rushed declaration of love? Or do you prefer that declaration at the end of your books? Is a “Happy for Now” enough?