Sat
Apr 28 2012 12:00pm

Lothaire and Ellie? Romantic Odd Couples: So (Im)Perfect for Each Other

Lothaire by Kresley ColeEvery romance couple has challenges, but some of them have major ones—things that make it seemingly impossible for them to connect, let alone make it all the way to a HEA. These are the couples that make you wonder why nobody jumped up during the ceremony when the minister said, “If anyone has any reason why these two should not be married. . .”

Here are a few of my recent favorite unusual pairings, who somehow managed to end up being perfect for each other:

Lothaire: When I started reading this book, I thought Kresley Cole had finally let me down. Lothaire, the Enemy of Old, is paired up with the Goddess of Death. That makes perfect sense. But wait—there’s more. His bride, Saroya, resides in the very comely body of a young Appalachian woman, Ellie, and our introduction to her, er, them, is when Saroya goes on a killing spree, via this innocent young woman. Ellie ends up in prison. On death row. Lothaire has to save her from being executed, because Saroya is dormant inside Ellie, but at some point he’s going to extinguish Ellie’s soul to let his goddess bride have complete use of the body.

It’s the ultimate in threesomes, only two of them are plotting to off the third one.

As if that weren’t enough of a stumbling block to a blossoming relationship, Ellie isn’t remotely close to what Lothaire has visualized for the bride who will help him reclaim kingdoms:

A muscle ticked in his jaw. “Because fate would not slight me so unspeakably. I’d seek a noon-day sun if I were paired with one such as you.”

“Such as me,” she repeated blandly. She’d been mocked too often over her lifetime to take offense. Her skin was as thick as armor.

“Yes, you. An ignorant, mortal K-mart checkout girl.” He took the sharpest knife from his place setting, absently turning it between his left thumb and forefinger.

“K-mart? I should’ve been so lucky. Those jobs were hard to come by. I worked at my uncle’s outfitter shop.”

“Then you’re even worse. You’re an outfitter checkout girl with aspirations for K-mart.”

“Still better than a demon.”

Lothaire is attracted to her, naturally, but to his surprise he’s also intrigued by her, which will end up being his downfall, no matter how much he fights it. Here, Ellie tells him what she’s learned about him while snooping through his room:

“I was curious about you.”

“Curious to find a way to thwart my plans? And what did you discover about me that you didn’t know?”

“A few things.”

What? What? Anticipation teased him—because he had no clue what she’d say. He sat at his desk, impatiently waving a hand at her. “Thrall me.”

She took a deep breath, then said, “You’re an insomniac. You speak and write at least two languages, but you have difficulty centering your thoughts enough to write anything at length. You’re obsessive-compulsive with your possessions, which leads me to think that very little of your life outside of these walls is how you want it to be. You had no friends growing up and that hasn’t changed since. You’re narcissistic—but I knew that upon first looking at you.”

He tilted his head, grudgingly impressed, though his tone was anything but. “First of all, I’m not narcissistic.” When she opened her lips to argue, he said, “I know Narkissos of Thespiae—while we might share traits, I came first, so he’s Lothairistic, not the other way around. Furthermore, I speak and write eight languages. As for my obsession with order, that’s obvious from my closet. Insomniac is easy enough to guess. The sheets are twisted.”

“And the metronome. You use it to relax you.”

Observant human. “My supposed friendless state?” She had him dead to rights there, other than his young halfling admirer.

Then Lothaire frowned. No, he’d once had a boon companion. Until I was betrayed.

“I knew by the puzzles,” Elizabeth said. “They’re a solitary recreation. A couple look very old, so I’d guess you’ve been interested in them for some time, probably since you were a boy.”

Again, how unexpected. She was actually entertaining him.

Even though I had a crisis of faith when I started this book, I was thrilled to have it completely and irrevocably restored. I was as flummoxed as Lothaire was when he realized how this woman with her limited education and lack of worldliness was his perfect match. Now I can’t imagine how I thought anyone BUT the whipsmart Ellie could be his lifelong partner.

Sins of the Angels by Linda PoitevinSins of the Angels by Linda Poitevin—Technically this is an urban fantasy, not a romance, but there is a definite romantic connection, not to mention intriguing obstacles to this couple’s potential happiness. Alexandra is a Toronto police officer, hot on the trail of a serial killer—who happens to be the brother of her new partner, Aramael, not that she knows that. Aramael is an angel, sent to capture his fallen angel brother, and protect Alexandra, which doesn’t always mesh with her investigation. Another problem: unbeknownst to Alexandra, she is a Naphil, the source of the rift between the various levels of angelkind, and not the person Aramael wants to have feelings for. Also, Aramael has to keep his angelic identity secret from Alexandra. . .Well, as you can see, this one is going to take a little while for the characters to work through. But it’s wonderful to watch it unfold.

Silk Is for Seduction by Loretta Chase—Marcelline is a talented dressmaker, intent on being London’s most successful one. All she needs is a celebrity customer and her shop’s future success is assured. She sets her sights on the Duke of Clevedon’s future bride, Clara, and the way to get to her is through him. So, a duke, intending to marry another woman, and a shopkeeper, with a child from a previous marriage. . .yes, there are indeed some challenges here. The biggest one is not being able to admit their feelings for each other, so they spar instead:

Silk Is for Seduction by Loretta Chase“You’re big and arrogant, and I think you know just how intimidating you can be.”

“Alas, not to you.”

“Still, perhaps all is not lost,” she said. “That sort of possessive behavior is typical of your kind. Furthermore, I am your pet. You brought me to the party for your amusement. And I did make it abundantly clear to the company that I’d come to drum up business and was using you for that purpose.”

“But that isn’t what happened,” he said.

“That is exactly what happened,” she said.

“What happened was, we waltzed, and it was plain to everyone what we were doing even though we had our clothes on,” he said.

“Oh, that,” she said. “I have the same effect on every man I dance with.”

“Don’t pretend you weren’t affected as well.”

“Of course I was affected,” she said. “I never danced with a duke before. It was the most exciting thing that’s ever happened in my mediocre little bourgeois life.”

So what odd couples are your favorites?

 


Donna Cummings writes lighthearted contemporary and historical romance. She can be found at www.AllAboutTheWriting.com, or talking incessantly about coffee on Twitter @BookEmDonna.

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16 comments
pamelia
1. pamelia
One of my favorite odd couples is Tabitha and Valerius from Kenyon's "Seize the Night". I also love Rupert and Daphne from Chase's "Mr. Impossible".
Lege Artis
2. LegeArtis
Oh, my favorite I-don't know-how-will-they-make-it-work couple are Chess and Terrible from Downside Ghosts series. Talk about major obstacles...
I loved Archer and Miranda from Kristen Callihan's Firelight... Great book.
Oh, and I have one m/m couple. Damen and Laurent from Captive Prince. This story is still in progress (on-line fiction, outstanding), but I don't have a clue how will author pull their happy end...
Donna Cummings
3. Donna Cummings
@pamelia -- Thanks for the recommendations. I knew I'd be adding some new books to my TBR pile today!

@LegeArtis -- I don't know that I could read a story in progress while worrying about whether there will be an HEA. Eeek! I've been hearing great things about Firelight, so I'm looking forward to that one.
Lege Artis
4. LegeArtis
@Donna -It's torture,I'll give you that...:) I don't read usually online fiction, fanfic or similar, but it was recommended and I was blown away. It's a story about two young men who are also princes, rightful heirs to the throne of their countries. When you throw those two countries in war, political maneuvering, backstabing relatives, intrigues and betrayal in the mix (think J.R.R. Martin), their love is only nice thing happening to them, so I'm cheering up for that happy end. :)
Donna Cummings
5. Donna Cummings
@LegeArtis -- it definitely sounds like torture. LOL It also sounds like a compelling story. I can see how it would hook a reader.
Wendy Lewis
6. wsl0612
My favorite odd couple is Chuck and Sarah from tv's Chuck. They are so adorkable together!
pamelia
7. chatgirl34
Fav Odd couple has to be Zarak and Astrid (Play with the Devil by Sherrilyn Keynon) . She is sent to judge him and sentence him to death, in the beginning she is all set to judge him quickly and get on with her solitary life. As the book progresses they find they have more in common than either is willing to see, all this happens whilst a crazed manaic set loose by Artimis is chasing down Zarak with his own revenge purely on his mind. He starts out the most hated of Dark Hunters born a lowly whipping boy for his own half brothers and she is a goddess it looks hopeless for them to find common ground or love, but by the end they do and it makes me smile every time I read it.
Claire Louise Thompson
8. Nefersitra
If we're looking at the Dark Hunters can I nominate Xedrix and Kerryna? Even though their entire romance happens off -page? He's an Atlantian Charonte demon and she's one of the 7 Dimme - a race of Mesopotamian demons related to the Gallu (who were created to neutralize the Charonte).
Claire Louise Thompson
9. Nefersitra
Argh - duplicate post!
pamelia
10. MarciL
I just read Dance With the Devil (yet again...) and have to go with Zarek and Astrid. But saw the comment about Valerius and Tabitha or, well, Valerius with just about anyone.....? Must run in the family. And Xedrix and Kerryna? How did they even say hello without someone getting eaten?
Donna Cummings
12. Donna Cummings
@wsl0612 -- I love the word "adorkable". I've just seen clips of that show, but I think it describes it perfectly. :)

@chatgirl34 -- Wow, that does sound like some huge obstacles to overcome. I can see why it makes you smile. They've earned that HEA!

@Nefersitra -- I'm intrigued -- a romance that happens off-page but is that memorable -- I better add that to the collection!

@MarciL -- Your last comment made me laugh. And I want to know more so I'm adding this book to my TBR pile too. Thanks for the rec!
pamelia
13. MsTree
I've been re-reading Shelley Laurenston's Pride series and the most unlikely pairing I love: Blayne Thorpe (wolf/african wild dog plumber [think ADHD on speed]) and Bo Novikov (OCD polar bear/asian lion hockey player). "Beast Behaving Badly", which takes place in Manhattan and Maine, is the 5th book in the Pride series and is hilarious. Ms Laurenston writes the funniest books, in my opinion.
Donna Cummings
14. Donna Cummings
@MsTree -- This sounds hilarious -- exactly something I would love! Thanks for the recommendation. :)
pamelia
15. filkferengi
I adore Dag & Fawn from Lois McMaster Bujold's Sharing Knife books. They come from completely different worlds, & wind up changing their world to make a place where they [& their family & friends] can live together.
Donna Cummings
16. Donna Cummings
@filkferengi -- This sounds great too! Thanks for giving me another one to add to the list. :)
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