June is Modern month at Mills & Boon and author Michelle Smart is here to talk about one of our favourite Modern story plots, a forced marriage! Find out what she thinks below and check out her latest book, Wedded, Bedded, Betrayed, which is available now.
I have to admit a great love for the Marriage of Convenience theme in Romance Land, but my absolute favourite is the Forced Marriage. It makes for a great pot of simmering tension as hate merges with desire then finds its way to redemption and, ultimately, love. It’s throwing two people together who would rather be anywhere else than with the other, often with preconceived prejudices about who and what the other is.
For me, it all started with my very first Mills & Boon, which I read when I was twelve (yep, believe me, my eyes were very happily opened!). It was Penny Jordan’s Blackmailed and the hero blackmailed the heroine into marrying him, even though he hated her. The angst and pain I felt reading that book blew my mind but, of course, it was all sweetened at the end when he declared his true love for her.
In my latest book, Wedded, Bedded, Betrayed, the hero, Gabriele, demands marriage from the heroine, Elena, in exchange for not giving evidence to the FBI that would have her father thrown into prison. Gabriele despises Elena’s entire family (for very good reasons) and knows marrying her will hit her father where it hurts the most – in his heart. For Elena’s part, she believes Gabriele responsible for trying to destroy those she loves and so hates him with a passion.
So here you have two people who despise each other but are forced to live together. And that’s where the fun begins! Because if you hate someone, how can you possibly desire them? And if you do desire them, how can you possibly act on it…?
All of this is exactly why I love to write these books so much. Two people being stripped back in a literal and figurative manner, with everything that matters to them at stake, and yet somehow, in the midst of all the angst and anguish, finding everlasting love together.
Blackmailed remains to this day my favourite Forced/Convenient Marriage book but I would love to know what yours is. Or do you have a favourite film that uses this theme?