Desperately Wanting…. by Elise Rome

Thanks so much to Grace for inviting me to blog today! I’m so thrilled to be here. =)

 The title of this blog post is also the title of a Better Than Ezra song (one of my favorite ‘90s bands), but most importantly it’s the phrase that defines the passion of the relationships I like to read and write about. Of course, I also like to see this carried through to real-life relationships. =)

 Desperately wanting. To me, it doesn’t matter if the couple at the beginning of the romance novel is already in love, hates one another, or has just met. By the end of the book (and actually, hopefully before then!), to really satisfy my romantic heart, I need the hero to feel this way about the heroine. Lust? Not enough. That’s only the physical part. Feeling gushy? Great, but I doubt gushy love is going to weather the trials of a long-term relationship.

 No, what I mean by “desperately wanting” is that the hero should want the heroine in such a way that it becomes a need. He can’t *not* have her. He is desperate for her—her body, her heart, everything she is. He can’t imagine his life without her and he’ll do everything he can to show her he loves her and win her for his very own. Sometimes, to his eternal torment, that may even mean giving her up so she can be happy (although they have to end up together anyway…we are speaking of romance novels, after all 😉 ).

 Of course, I’m not talking about stalkers. They’re not heroes in my opinion. 😉 And although many people might think that what I’ve described above is a perfect fit for alpha heroes, I’m not specifically talking about them, either, because I think that beta heroes and gamma heroes (a mix of the alpha and beta) need to desperately want their heroines, too. As a romance reader and writer, I demand that my heroes feel this passionate about my heroines, and the phrase “desperately wanting” is exactly how my hero in my upcoming novella, THE SINNING HOUR, feels about his heroine.

 For a bit of background, here’s the blurb for the novella:

A man accustomed to having whatever he wishes…

A year ago, the last thing portraitist Simon Astley expected was to become fascinated with his new housemaid. Although Miranda Post was no great beauty, he found his attraction for her continuing to grow until—rather than giving in to his wicked inclinations—he sent her away. No man could have regretted this momentary indulgence of conscience more.

A woman whose wishes have never come true…  

Now a maid at London’s most exclusive gaming hell, Miranda has no time for either bitterness or the soothing of her bruised heart. She works hard and struggles to care for her dependent father, forbidding herself to dwell on either her dreams of the future or her memories of Simon.

At night all they need is one another…

Yet both her dreams and memories collide when Simon is commissioned to paint the portraits of the hell’s owners. Determined to right his mistakes, he offers to pay Miranda for the pleasure of painting her, too—but only in the privacy of his studio. She agrees to take his coin, even while knowing that every moment in his presence once again decimates her defenses…and threatens her heart.


What can a man like Simon do? If he acts on his passion for Miranda, would he be taking advantage of her position in his employ? If he acts, what if she responds in disgust and then her relationship as his employee is ruined? If he acts and she responds passionately in turn, how can he be sure that she’s doing it because she truly wants him, too, not because she’s afraid that he might dismiss her otherwise? If he acts, how can he live with himself?

 So he does the only thing he knows to do, the only thing that exercises his rarely used conscience before he makes a mistake and actually does act—he dismisses her with the intent of winning her back once she’s out of his employ. He never expected her to disappear. THE SINNING HOUR is the story of how he finds her again and shows her just how much he wants her…desperately. =)

 How important is the concept of “desperately wanting” in your romance novels? Do you have a favorite romance novel you can give an example of where the hero feels like this toward the heroine? (My example would be Lisa Kleypas’ DREAMING OF YOU.) I’ll be giving away one digital copy of my upcoming novella THE SINNING HOUR to a random commenter (sent after 3/1 release, open internationally).

 And I’d love to have you come visit with me!


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48 comments on “Desperately Wanting…. by Elise Rome

  1. Hi Elise, Hi Grace

    for me that is very important of “desperately wanting” in romance novel, i like the feeling when reading this moment even it’s so slice my heart ;(

    my example book is lisa kleypas too – seduce me at sunrise 😉

    • Hi Eli! I think SEDUCE ME AT SUNRISE is my favorite Hathaway book by LK. The scene where she goes to his room and he doesn’t know who she is– *sigh* I had to buy that book as soon as I read the excerpt! =)

  2. Hello, Eli! “Flowers from the Storm” gets pretty desperate on Christian’s part. He’d crawl through broken glass buck naked in Piccadilly for Maddie, and him a serious duke sorta guy. One of my all time faves is “Not Quite a Lady,” by Loretta Chase, which winds up to a smashing finish with the Man of Science forsaking any pretense of detachment when his lady’s happiness hangs in the balance.

    • Grace, I’m struggling to remember if I’ve read NOT QUITE A LADY. Now I have to might read it again. =) And now I can also see why so many people recommend FLOWERS FROM THE STORM. Sounds like another book I’ll have to pick up!

    • Oh, oh…oh! Flowers from the Storm is one of my absolute favorite books of all time (a favorite among favorites since Laura Kinsale is one of my favorite authors of all time)

      May need to find time to re-read that book soon…

  3. My example of “desperately wanting”comes from the “Outlander” series when Jamie sends Claire back through “the stnes”(time portal)because he is going to war and he wants her to be safe because she is pregnant with his child. I was so excited to read “Flowers From the Storm” but then my e-reader quit but I am searching for the book:(

    • Gail, I have a spare copy of Flowers if you want me to send it along. I don’t think the book get anywhere near the reception now it got when published because too many people since have built on Kinsale’s example and creativity. That’s too bad, because for its time, it raised all kinds of bars in terms of craft, story, and the limits of the genre generally. Will always, always be on of my favorites.

      • Thank you very much Ms.Burrowes I just ordered a copy of the book on Barnes & Noble’s website But it made me feel “Special”when you offered to send me one of yours. Is there anything I could do for you? If there is all you have to do is ask:)It is frustrating when you spend time and money to buy an e-reader and down load books you really want to read and have the e-reader quit on you in the middle of a book:(

  4. The “Highland guard ” series by: Monica McCarty so far has fit that description to the letter from my point of view. It is always sweet to see the man in the romance novel save the love of his life from danger and the journey they take together. I have to say that it is this “desperate wanting ” that makes reading romance novels fun.

    • Sammy, I’m a little torn on whether the fellow should be the one doing all the saving. I suppose it’s a story by story decision, and in many of my faves, he does the logistical saving, while she saves his soul (so to speak). There are many roads to the HEA…

      • Grace, I agree that it depends on the story, but I definitely love when the hero would do anything for the heroine. Even if that means that he has to put aside his usual take-charge attitude and let her do what she needs to do on her own. =)

      • The first book is called the chef (b&n has them #). The man was emotional steel till he meets his wife (that is a trend in her books) . My very first romance novel was from the ” blackwater brides “to series by jane feather called “rush to the alter ” its this emotional high wired dance between the leading male and female that need to be together but are forced to play this thing to the very last second. Very good book (I thought), just waiting for the last book.
        The road really doesn’t always get directly to heaven (or any place of perfect peace that one might believe in) but I think the thing that makes reading about such brave/ protective men is that we don’t see much of the old school gentlemen in todays society the way they had in the past.

  5. Hi Everyone! Thank you so much for your comments and for visiting with me today! I’m dropping in to say hi before I get back to the kiddos, but I promise to come back later tonight to respond to everyone. =)

  6. Dear Elise!

    I absolutely agree with you! “Desperately wanting” is so important for the story! There isn´t anything better than a perfect couple who can´t live without the other.
    Thank you.

  7. To Gail Nichols…. do a search for “ereader troubleshooting” and see if there’s anything out to fix your problem… having your ereader shut down mid-book would be like a real book with all blank pagers about half-way through…
    Lots of desperate heros… I loved Jamie in Outlander..

    • Thanks Cate….I tried nothing helps:(Hubby suggested blowing taps over it and burying it in the back yard like a faithful pet:) I ordered the book I was reading at Barnes & Noble on line. I will just have to wait until I get it to find out what happens-In the mean time I have a copy of Laura Kinsale’s “Lessons in French” to read ehile I am waiting. She is a new author for me-I love reading new authors and I must say she didn’t disappoint me I am only a few pages in and I am already hooked:) I am reading her books while I wait for Ms.Burrowes next book:)

      • I’m sorry you can’t get your e-reader to work, Gail! =( I read LESSONS IN FRENCH two years ago and enjoyed it. Hope you do, too! =) (And I agree–can’t wait for Grace’s next!)

  8. I agree!

    I love the desperate wanting… the tension… the yearning…etc. Can’t think of any of the top of my head though…

    I do love Lisa Kleypas’ historicals…Dreaming of you and the Devil in Winter are some of favorites…

  9. Update on e-reader:hubby bought me a kindle and installed “Flowers In the Storm” on it for me.He is truly a wonderful man:)

  10. I think “desperately wanting” is necessary. Without it, can you have a book/story that anyone really wants to read? The desperately wanting creates the tension. If we wanted stories without tension we could just ask the people around us to tell us their personal story. Not that people’s personal stories aren’t interesting, but “we met, we dated, and we married” doesn’t generally make for a page turner like most people want to see in a romance novel. The romance novel is supposed to be too big, too fantastic to actually happen to anyone we know.

    • Sabrina, you remind me of a factoid from the recently released Harquin “State of Romance” poll. Eighty percent of women polled said their current love interest was “boring.” To which I say: Time to get creative, ladies.

      • I think we have a tendency to think that the story we are living on a daily basis is boring. We become so ingrained in our routines and our relationships we don’t see anything interesting or exciting in them. Really, we can we ever know how much desperate wanting there is in our own lives? It’s not exactly something we, men especially, go around broadcasting.

      • True, and something we also have to remind ourselves. I know for myself right now with 2 little kids, it’s easy to just go through the motions of day-to-day life.

  11. I think it is essential that the hero and heroine want each other deeply and desperately — but what is more essential is the reason for wanting each other. It has to be more than just physical attraction. (Or sex.)

    The following novels come to mind:
    Again the Magic by Lisa Kleypas
    I Kissed An Earl by Julie Anne Long
    Unraveled by Courtney Milan
    Addicted by Charlotte Featherstone

    And the following songs:
    Here With Me by Dido
    Without You from Rent, the Musical
    I Try by Macy Gray

    • Tin, you hit it on the head: Simple lust is a ho-hum read for me. I won’t pay money for it. To get to the desperation Elise requires, each half of the couple has to be the perfect complement to the other, in bed, in life, in love, in everything. Watching them realize that is half the fun of the romance.

  12. Your post completely explains why I don’t care for the “Blaze” type books, yet have never been able to define why. Thank you!

    Desperate Wanting created all the wonderful tension. Caroline Linden is the newest-to-me author for the DW. Especially her “One Night in London” and “I <3 the Earl" books. Biggest surprise book with DW is "Fitzwilliam Darcy Rockstar."

    Where can we pre-order your e-book?

    • Hi Larisa! I’m glad I could help. It’s been a recent revelation for me as a reader, too. =) Interesting title on FITZWILLIAM DARCY ROCKSTAR, lol. I’ll have to check it out! =)

      And thank you for asking about a pre-order! It’s not available for pre-order, unfortunately, but I’ll definitely be announcing so people don’t forget when it’s released. 😉

      • Will merrily cyber stalk you until then! Must support local CO authors with Talent! Thank you for having a giveaway

        FWDRS is the best modern P&P adaptation I’ve read, reread and read again (in a matter of months) and I’m not much of a contemporary romance reader anymore. Also enough of a Janeite to be very picky about someone fiddling with her elegant genius.

    • I am perfectly open to being cyber-stalked. 😉 I think I’m going to need to start following you on Goodreads, because FWDRS sounds great. Do you have a Goodreads account?

      • Absolutely. Just sent you a friend request. Also can’t believe I forgot JQ’s When He was Wicked! It too is in the Keeper book case.

  13. When I think of desperately wanting heros I think of Darcy and Heathcliff. I think of Jeanette Winterson’s “The Passion”. More recently I have been reading Lisa Kleypas’ Wallflower series. found that element in the first three. And Julia Quinn nailed the desperately wanting hero in “When he was Wicked.” I think we all long for that powerful a love. And it is nice that the ending is happy . Thank you for a wonderful topic. I’ll have to youtube the song.

    • Hi Allison! I knew there was a reason why WHEN HE WAS WICKED is my favorite JQ book of all time… =) Now I realize why! lol. I think the concept of “desperately wanting” might be why I’ve always favored WUTHERING HEIGHTS over JANE EYRE, too, even though it didn’t end with an HEA.

      As for the song, I hope you like it. =) It’s a bit dark and not necessarily a love story.

      • Thanks Elise.
        As a WUTHERING HEIGHTS fan I don’t mind dark. I love JANE EYRE too. But WH has that dark powerful passion that I love. And now I can call it that desperate wanting thanks to you. 🙂

      • I *loved* the new Jane Eyre movie. If I’m correct, I think they’re making a new WH movie, too. I couldn’t be happier. =) If you love dark powerful passion, I highly recommend Lorraine Heath’s latest, SHE TEMPTS THE DUKE. Definitely falls under the “desperately wanting” category. =)

  14. Desperately wanting…I think of KMM’s Highlander novels – the MacKeltar Druids and the binding vows they take when they find the ONE woman for them – the lengths those men go to for their one true mate definitely qualify!
    Yes, I also think of Outlander and the lengths that both Claire and Jamie go to for each other.
    As also mentioned – Kinsale’s stories: her characters are so real and wonderful and flawed – it’s never ever just about lust for these men! They want their woman with EVERYTHING in them. Makes for great reading.

    • Hi Melonie! I actually have KMM’s first Fever book in my TBR pile. Now I’ll have to move it up! I think Maya Banks’ books (at least the Highlander ones that I’ve read) also fall under this category. Thanks for visiting with me today! =)

      • Congrats on your upcoming release, it sounds intriguing!
        Karen’s Fever books are COMPLETELY different from her Highlander novels. The Fever series is really more urban fantasy than romance.
        If you haven’t read her before I suggest my 4 favorites (read in the following order: Kiss of The Highlander, The Dark Highlander, The Immortal Highlander and Spell of the Highlander)They all have heroes that certainly meet your criteria ;)(And the audio version of these books are “verra” nice too!)