Aug 22 2017 8:30am

Dating Is Hard... Even in Romance Novels!

The Beauty of Us by Kristen Proby

Today we're thrilled to welcome Kristen Proby (The Beauty of Us) to Heroes and Heartbreakers). In romance, there are plenty of good dates to help us escape the bad dates we face in reality... but that doesn't mean dating is a walk in the park. Kristen is here today to talk about some of those awkward moments in dating in romance and why you really do have to kiss a few frogs to find your prince. Thanks, Kristen!

Is there anyone out there that enjoys going on a first date? Especially if it’s with someone you’ve never met face to face before. It’s different, I think if a sexy guy with a killer smile asks for your number in the produce section of the grocery store. I mean, who wouldn’t be excited about that first date?

No, I’m talking about the kind where your best friend has set you up with her boyfriend’s lab partner in Chemistry 101. Or your parents arrange for you to go out with the junior partner at your father’s law firm.

Or, the one that most of us have experienced lately, you’ve met him online, and you’re just holding on to hope that he actually looks like his profile photo and has a steady job.

I don’t know about you, but I love reading about the first date in a novel. I cling to every word, totally sympathizing with the heroine’s crazy butterflies, the agony of what outfit to wear, and texting her best friend about whether or not to wear lipstick.

The anticipation is fun. It’s a mystery. What will he be like? Will they fall in love? Will she bear his nine kids and live happily ever after?

But then the date actually happens, and, well… yikes. It’s awful. I cringe and bite my lip and might even say out loud, “Leave. Right now. Get out of there, girl.”

Yet, I hope she stays because this is good. I want the drama of it. I want the hilarity. The disgust. I want all of it because let’s be honest we’ve all been there. I cringe and laugh and sympathize because I have been the girl on that date, and as the reader, I can sit in my cozy chair with my wine and nod, thinking, Yep. Been there, done that.

There’s also the safety in reading a romance novel knowing that our heroine, despite the horror of this first horrible date, is going to eventually meet the sexy hero and win in the end.

But that’s another post for another day.

One of my favorite series in romance is the Searching For Series by Jennifer Probst. This brilliant author wrote an entire series based on nothing but bad dates. It’s centered around a group of friends who own a matchmaking company. These women are dedicated to finding love for their clients, and in the process find love themselves. But following along on their series of first dates is funny and sometimes down right throw your head back and yell whyyyyyy-worthy. There are too many to choose just one to talk about here, but I highly recommend you start at the beginning with Searching for Someday.

Here is an example of a horrible date, that may not be a first date, and maybe we haven’t all been here, but it’s the one that might be my worst nightmare. In S.C. Stephens’s Thoughtless, Kira, the heroine, finds herself out with not just the hero Kellen, but also her ex-boyfriend as well. Talk about awkward. I admit that this scene had me hiding under a blanket as if I was watching a horror movie because it made me so uncomfortable!

And speaking of uncomfortable, what do you think it would be like to show up to a date and the dude has brought his mother along? I know, I just did the squinty-eye thing too. Just thinking about it gives me the heebie jeebies, but that’s exactly what happens in Jay Crownover’s Salvaged. Not only does Mom come along, but she does all the talking and she’s rude for good measure. Apparently, the guy is shy, but I don’t think that’s a good reason to bring Mommy along on a date. I’m not against moms, per se, and a guy who loves his mom and is good to her is a great trait, but I seriously don’t need to meet her on a first date. Or probably not even the second date.

Now, this next horrible fictional date I’m about to tell you about isn’t one that I’ve experienced before. Thank goodness. But man does it make for some hilarity! In Catching Carly by Emma Hart, Carly is on a horrific date. So bad, in fact, that she doesn’t even make it to the main course before she’s in the bathroom calling for backup. She escapes by climbing out of the bathroom window! There isn’t anything sexy about climbing out of a bathroom window, so if that’s what she’s resorted to, you know it’s bad.

You might be wondering, why is Kristen talking about horrible dates? Especially in romance novels, where the whole point of the story is to find true love. That’s really a good question.

In my newest novel, The Beauty of Us, the heroine, Riley, also goes on her fair share of horrible hook ups. Actually, I think it’s more than her fair share. Because she works so much, she turns to online dating to find the right guy. But every date she goes on is just one BIG nope after the other. Either the guy is still married (deal breaker), sweats profusely, or is her high school sweetheart who has returned for a hook up. Said high school sweetheart is also now the father of three children that he’s doing everything in his power to not have to support.

They’re horrible men.

But then she meets Trevor, and he’s determined to take her out on proper dates. To show her how a woman should be treated.

I know, I swooned too.

I think that reading all about the terrible dates these heroines go on, only makes it that much sweeter when they meet the man they’re going to spend the rest of their lives with. As a reader, I’m pulling for the heroine. I may even be thinking, hang in there, girl. He’s right there. HE’S RIGHT THERE!

Going through hell and coming out the other side, meeting a man who loves, respects and cares for the girl is one of my favorite aspects of reading contemporary romance. It makes my heart happy when the struggle is over, and love wins.

Love always wins.


Learn more about or order a copy of The Beauty of Us by Kristen Proby, available now:

Buy at Amazon

Buy at B&N

Buy at iTunes

Buy at IndieBound

Buy at Kobo




New York Times and USA Today Bestselling author Kristen Proby is the author of the bestselling With Me In Seattle and Love Under the Big Sky series. She has a passion for a good love story and strong, humorous characters with a strong sense of loyalty and family. Her men are the alpha type; fiercely protective and a bit bossy, and her ladies are fun, strong, and not afraid to stand up for themselves.

Kristen lives in Montana, where she enjoys coffee, chocolate and sunshine. And naps.

H&H Editor Picks:

August’s Book Club Pick Is Lisa Kleypas’s Mine Till Midnight—Download Your Copy!

Bad Boys & Freedom: An Intellectual Choice For The Modern Woman

August 2017 Romance Novels New Releases Shopping List

Subscribe to this conversation (must be logged in):
1 comment
Carmen Pinzon
1. bungluna
I've enjoyed the Fussion series and am looking forward to this one, horrible first dates and all.
Post a comment