While the mystery/suspense portion of my story is moving right along (well, inching along, but moving forward nonetheless), the romance has stalled. Seriously, Nancy Drew got more action. As my beta readers have pointed out, there’s a definite chill in the air, so I’m currently brainstorming ways to warm things up.
If I was writing a contemporary story, I think I’d have more options, but Abigail is a gently bred young lady of the Regency. Since at that time it was commonly thought that women had no real need or desire for sex (really?), she would probably have known little if anything about it before she married, especially since she had no mother around to advise her. Having been raised in the country she may have had a basic idea of the mechanics of things, but she is unlikely to have any practical experience (other than a stolen kiss perhaps). She has known Michael since she was a child (they lived on neighboring estates), but the adult Michael, who has spent the last years away fighting for King and country, is a mystery to her. They may be married, but they are very much strangers.
Michael, on the other hand, is a traditional Regency gentleman. Since the sowing of one’s wild oats was an accepted part of the transition to adulthood, he is experienced (but hopefully disease free). During his time as a spy in France, he successfully seduced secrets out of any number of willing wives, but he has no idea how to deal with his own wife, who he still thinks of as that quick-witted hoyden of his youth. To make matters worse, he is trying to keep his distance from Abigail while he’s resolving the whole traitor problem to keep her safe in case things go south.
By the end of Act I, Abigail and Michal have joined forces (somewhat unwillingly on Michael’s part) to find the real traitor, which gives more opportunity for them to interact with each other. Both a house party where they are doing some investigating and a visit to the dark walks of Vauxhall Gardens offer opportunities for the two to log some up-close-and-personal time.
The problem is how to warm up Act I when Michael and Abigail have more limited interactions. They are together for a ball, a quiet dinner at home, and breakfast. Well, and the scene when they catch each other breaking into the house of a potential suspect in order to find evidence, but I’ve got the warmth there taken care of (nothing like the excitement of a close escape).
So, what ideas do you have for taking the chill out of the air between Abigail and Michael?