I think it’s only fair to follow the “what do you hate” post from earlier in the week with a post of the three things that are just about guaranteed to grab me when I’m reading
1) Injure the heroine: Yes, I’m a bit sick in the head, but I love it when the heroine is in mortal danger, and it makes the hero realize he can’t live without her and loves her. I love it when the heroine is shot, stabbed, traumatically injured in some way (not rape, ha!) and it creates a moment of loss for the hero so horrible, he can’t believe how bleak and colorless life will be without her (but you can do it without the melodrama of my description, lol).
2) Grovel: I love love love a good grovel. If the hero or heroine have wrongly accused their love interest of something, if they’ve thought they did something heinous, and treated them accordingly, and then find out…oh noes! they were wrong, then I love a good grovel. And I mean make it good. Make the person delivering the grovel mean it, and work for it. I don’t want easy forgiveness, I want them to crawl on their knees with the grovel. But this is a fine line, because I also don’t want the other person to drag on granting forgiveness for too long. And I don’t want the hero/heroine to lose their strength while groveling. I want them to grovel because of the strength of their personality, to make them seem even stronger. I also don’t want a grovel just because the other person feels wronged (and they really weren’t).
3) Insurmountable odds: I adore a book that creates a conflict so strong, so wrenching, that I have no idea how the hero/heroine are going to overcome it. The caveat here is that I need to also know and believe that they ARE going to overcome it (ie, have some sort of happy ending). I don’t want to be taken through the wringer and not get some sort of positive payoff in the end. This is why I love romance. I know the positive payoff is there. It’s also the reason I sometimes peek at the end of non-romance books, so I know if I should invest my emotional energy in the book and characters, or walk away.
Your turn. What things in a book will instantly grab you?