Aug 9 2017 3:00pm

4 Beloved On-Screen Romantic Suspense Couples

Barrel Proof by Layla Reyne

Today we're thrilled to welcome Layla Reyne (Barrel Proof) to Heroes and Heartbreakers. We all had relationships (of the fictional variety) that influenced the couples we love to read and watch now. For Layla, many of those defining relationships have a suspenseful element. She's here to talk about four of those influential ships. Thanks, Layla!

As the Agents Irish and Whiskey series draws to a close with Barrel Proof, I’ve been reflecting on inspirations—the real life experiences and favorite books, TV shows and movies that inspired me to write romantic suspense and Aidan and Jamie’s story. At the heart of my motivation is a two-headed monster: adrenaline-junkie and romance ’shipper. Let’s talk about the latter today. As a die-hard ’shipper—a fan who cheers on a romantic pairing between favorite fictional characters, on page or on screen—these are the romantic relationships (aka “Ships”) that influenced me most:

Mulder and Scully from The X-Files


The X-Files was my first foray into fandom, and the first episode I watched was “Home,” one of The X-Files’s most gruesome episodes but also one with classic shipper moments. I was sold on Mulder and Scully’s simmering chemistry from first watch and I immediately marathon-watched the backlist… and started writing fanfiction. I was too impatient for the kissing! Little did I realize then that I was writing romance, and that it would lead, fifteen years later, to writing romantic crime-solvers. Also, I still hate bees!

“Delena” aka Damon and Elena from The Vampire Diaries


While The Vampire Diaries isn't exactly a romantic suspense show, the drama and danger Damon and Elena faced weekly was enough to get my heart pounding. After a ten-year slog through law school and Big Firm practice, my shipper heart and creative spirit were revived by this angst-plagued pair. I love a bad-boy hero who appreciates whiskey as much as I do and who is reformed by the love of a good, complicated woman. Damon and Elena win in this department. The love triangle, the twists and turns, and the star-crossed, fated lovers were all factors that sucked me into this pair, and once again led me to writing fanfiction. This time, I didn’t stop. Fast-forward five years, and here we are!

“Caskett” aka Kate Beckett and Richard Castle from Castle

Source: kate—

One of my major romantic crime-fighting duo influences. Sparks flew from case one, and the wit, banter and flirting between these two leads was pitch perfect. The cases were also pretty good—ranging from serious to light-hearted—and always requiring both Kate and Rick to bring something to the table. They were such a well matched, if odd couple, who needed each other in work and in life.

Napoleon Solo and Illya Kuryakin from The Man from U.N.C.L.E. (2015)


I’ll go to my grave arguing that there was more than just professional rivalry between Solo and Illya. As with Caskett, the wit, banter and flirty-flirt vibes were strong between this spy duo who were surprisingly well matched. The reckless CIA “Cowboy” and the ticking-time-bomb KGB operative. Any time I felt a creative lull when working on Agents Irish and Whiskey, I popped in this movie, and it never failed to put me in the right frame of mind for writing Aidan and Jamie.

Shipper fandom exists in book-world too, and I’d be lying if I said I hadn’t spent a good amount of time on tumblr indulging in it. I loved Hawke and Sienna from Nalini Singh’s Psy-Changeling series, and they are the couple who sent me down the May-December rabbit hole from which I pulled Aidan and Jamie. Other book-shipper faves include Andrew/Neil (“Andriel”) from Nora Sakavic’s All for the Game series, Adam/Ronan (“Pynch”) from Maggie Stiefvater’s Raven Cycle series, Laurent/Damen from C.S. Pacat’s Captive Prince Trilogy, and Cyprian/Richard from K.J. Charles’s Society of Gentlemen series. My most recent favorite, though, would have to be Adam and Faisal from Tal Bauer’s thrilling The Executive Office series. I was so worried for them halfway through the last book I had to phone a friend who’d read it already and make sure they get their happily ever after. They did, and there might have been tears running down my face at its perfection. I hope the same can be said of Aidan and Jamie’s HEA when readers reach the end of Barrel Proof and the Agents Irish and Whiskey journey.


Learn more about or order a copy of Barrel Proof by Layla Reyne, available now:

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2016 RWA Golden Heart Finalist Layla Reyne was raised in North Carolina and now calls San Francisco home. She enjoys weaving her bi-coastal experiences into her stories, along with adrenaline-fueled suspense and heart pounding romance. When she's not writing stories to excite her readers, she downloads too many books, watches too much television, and cooks too much food with her scientist husband, much to the delight of their smushed-face, leftover-loving dogs.

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1 comment
Heather Waters
1. HeatherWaters
Mulder and Scully have influenced us in ways we'll probably never totally understand. I love them so much.
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