Tension Versus Romance

How does one combine romance with tension in a romantic suspense novel? Aren’t romances supposed to be all sweetness and light, with maybe a moment or two of problems the lovers overcome? Shouldn’t you, the author, be more concerned with getting your couple together for a happily ever after ending?

The secret is to figure out a way to bring the two genres together in a compelling story where the romance is intertwined with the suspense. To allow your characters to be involved with a tense situation while also realizing how attracted to each other they are.

In Starlight’s Curse, Jayme and Brad separated as a couple on the night her daughter allegedly committed suicide. Both still had strong feelings for each other, but neither could move past the horrific act that tore them apart. Jake is driven by what he witnessed forty years earlier and has vowed to figure out the truth of that Christmas Eve night. The three of them work together to uncover the festering evil surrounding a decrepit mansion, while Jayme and Brad finally understand they are too attracted to each other to part again.


 The discovery of three teenage girls found hanging from an ancient elm tree, alleged suicides, on the grounds of abandoned Starlight Mansion by a teenage boy sets him on a mission to find the truth. Nearly forty years later, now the sheriff, Big Jake finds himself drawn into the investigation of a mysterious “suicide” and the disappearance of another teenager.

Jayme Barclay sees her fifteen-year-old daughter swinging on a rope from a tree at the mansion the county commissioner is turning into a resort. Brad Patterson loses a piece of himself when he answers the 911 call to get to Starlight on a snowy December night.

A year later, the mystery surrounding Tawni's alleged suicide still haunts both Jayme and Brad. Big Jake has been shackled in this investigation, much like another sheriff so many years ago.

Reluctant teens hold back information, until Jayme returns to the hometown she abandoned, to find the truth. Brad hates that he had to intrude on her grief, but also believes this is his chance to redeem himself for not protecting the daughter of the woman he loves. Big Jake suspects who the killer is and that the person isn’t done yet, but must stand back and allow a younger man stand up against a powerful and corrupt group of politicians.


Sleet and snow whipped around Starlight Mansion. A young teen, a mere thirteen-years-old, scampered in and around the tree stumps, scooted around boulders filling a former field where corn had once grown tall, and laughed as the winter storm pelted his face and bare hands. Jake Haskins had no problem with the bitter cold. Not one bit. Even the legends surrounding the long abandoned, decrepit mansion didn’t bother him.


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