Top Five Reasons Why I Love Paranormal Romance
by Laurel Richards
1. Superpowers — Let’s face it. Whether we’re talking wizards, shape-shifters, or Elementals, the supernatural characters in PNR have some awesome abilities. They can control weather or turn into animals, run really fast or heal at super speed. Who wouldn’t want that skill set?
2. Perspective—When the hero or heroine shifts into another creature, the reader gets to go along for the ride. For instance, in my werewolf romance, Wild Side, I describe the heroine’s transformation in detail. Smells get stronger, hearing grows keener, and suddenly she can see the world from a different perspective. Or in my new release, In Her Element, the hero is a Water Elemental whose magic comes from his element. Ethan can shift into a sea serpent or, even in human form, can extend his senses beyond his body. When he’s tracking down a rogue in a storm, he reaches out with his magic to feel every raindrop—what those droplets touch on the way down and how they soak into the earth. Readers get to experience this change of the senses along with the characters.
3. Mash-ups—Not only is pairing Paranormal with Romance a mash-up, but PNR lends itself to mixing with other genres, as well. In Her Element is a contemporary romance and an urban fantasy, in addition to being a paranormal romance. Others have written historical romances for werewolves or futuristic novels about vampires. When magic is the cause behind the paranormal character’s abilities, then PNR can mingle with fantasy. Or a science experiment gone awry might create the character’s superpowers, in which case PNR meets science fiction.
4. Flexibility—As part of speculative fiction, paranormal romance has almost limitless possibilities. Writers can draw from folklore, mythology, or religion, or they can make up new supernatural characters out of whole cloth. Imaginations are free to run wild.
5. True Love—A common theme in most paranormal romance is that of mates. The werewolf recognizes his mate immediately, or the Elemental, once having chosen a mate, is bonded to her/him forever. Even if the couple has issues to overcome, the reader can rest assured that the characters have found true love. It would be nice if more people in real life could have that assurance.
Blurb for In Her Element:
Darya Drake is a Water Elemental who has lived a difficult life. She’s raising her younger brother, Matthew, who is mentally ill, and she has had to fight off Phages—Elementals who kill and cannibalize other Elementals to steal their powers. It isn’t until she meets Ethan Zale, a Water Elemental with stormy blue eyes and a body to die for, that she dares to hope for a better future. Ethan is everything she has ever wanted, but trouble looms when a Phage begins stalking her. Can Ethan find out who is after her and keep her safe? Will her brother accept another man in her life? Darya discovers true love in the midst of strife, but for a girl who has lost almost everyone she has ever cared about, it’s hard to believe in happy endings.
Excerpt from In Her Element:
A frisson of fear and magic skittered down Darya’s spine as the killer stepped from the shadows. She was close to her apartment but not close enough—stuck on the dark side of the building where the security lights were broken again. What she could see of his face was human: dark eyebrows, high cheekbones, and full lips that might have been sensuous had they not been curled in a sneer.
Appearances could be deceiving. Like her, this man was no ordinary human. Although she didn’t know what type of Elemental he was, his power crawled over her skin like angry wasps.
“I’ve been waiting for you.” His gaze slid over her in appreciation and then burned with excitement when she stumbled back.
Her heart pounded, and she choked back a whimper. There would be no reasoning with him, no chance for reprieve. He was like the others of his kind she had run into. He was here to kill her.
“You look tasty,” he added with a lick of his lips. It was the last thing he said before he pulled the knife.
Time slowed down, but panic only froze Darya for a moment. She didn’t bother to scream. Screaming was useless with a being who could manipulate the mind of anyone who might come to help. Instead she whirled and ran, pumping her legs until her feet barely skimmed the ground. The cold night air slashed at her hair and eyes, leaving tears whipping off her eyelashes.
Adrenaline and the will to survive spurred her across the parking lot. She could hear the Elemental’s breathing and heavy footfalls behind her as he chased her. Ahead, the traffic in the distance offered a glimmer of hope. The night was still early enough that plenty of cars passed by, filled with people. Join the herd and find safety in numbers was a motto she had lived by her whole life.
The back of her neck prickled in warning a split second before her pursuer snagged her shirt. Her feet lost their rhythm as he yanked her back and sent her flailing to the ground. Pain singed her left elbow as it scraped the pavement, and the force of the fall jolted her.
By some miracle, her purse stayed with her. She jumped up and swung it when he lunged at her. Her bag connected with his shoulder, but he merely snatched the strap and yanked it out of her grasp. She stumbled and couldn’t get her balance before he grabbed her. A scream ripped out of her chest this time, high and panicked. The sound cut off as he used his magic to snuff the oxygen around her.
It wasn’t even a matter of strangling. There was simply no breathable air—proof that he had to be an Air Elemental. Her legs failed her, and her lips and face burned and then numbed as she continued to struggle for oxygen. She had no fuel to fight as he fisted her hair and dragged her farther away from the glow of the streetlight. Then he was yanking at her clothes, but her fading vision outweighed any other fear.
The world narrowed, reduced to a hazy speck at the end of a dark tunnel. With her last ounce of will, she lifted her hands and summoned her own magic—a surge as powerful as the mightiest flood. Raw energy ripped out of her and plowed into her attacker. He grunted as he was thrown a full ten feet.
She was instantly free. Her lungs burned as she heaved in air and sputtered and coughed. Unable to stand, she was forced to crawl on her hands and knees. A sound behind her told her the killer was already getting to his feet. Her palms grated against the rough surface of the parking lot until they were scuffed raw, but she couldn’t move any faster. Still breathless, it was all she could do not to collapse, and her pulse pounded in her temples. There was no moon to cast a shadow, but she knew the moment the Air Elemental loomed behind her.
Darya thought of her younger brother, Matthew, and felt a stab of regret. Who would care for him? Who would look out for him once she was gone? She had made the mistake of being caught alone, and at twenty-one years old, it was the last mistake she would ever make.
When black shoes appeared in front of her face, she braced herself to feel the cold blade kissing her throat. Instead, she lifted her gaze and was nearly engulfed in a fiery hell.
Author Links for Laurel Richards:
Manic Readers: http://www.manicreaders.com/laurelrichards/