When an author is writing a continuing series that seems to expand with each succeeding book, it is fundamentally important to have a focus point. And when that focus point is a couple, it is doubly important for that couple to ‘crackle’. In her ‘World of the Lupi’ series, Eileen Wilks has that central point in Lilly and Rule.
But what happens when a couple ‘crackles.’ To put it mildly, when couples ‘crackle’, it means that an author has managed to translate that indefinable tension, that absolute and utter chemistry which happens between real couples…onto paper.
‘Mortal Sins’ , the fifth story in the World of the Lupi series, and the fourth to feature Lilly and Rule, is about bonds. The kind of bond that exists between mother and daughter, father and son, husband and wife. It also, being a world of the Lupi story, deals with and the secret, but sacred Mate bond. Lilly and Rule are mates, have been since the first book, but here, their relationship is tested.
Lilly and Rule became mated before they fell in love. There were issues that they had to overcome throughout the course of the three previous books(to explain them would require spoiling them…), but once they had, they fell in love. Or did they ? Here, they are forced to re-examine their feelings and answer the big question :did those feelings exist only because of the mate bond, and would they exist without it.
This sequence, the reexamining of the bonds that tie Lilly and Rule together, remind readers of how much this couple genuinely crackle, of how much they genuinely belong together. And towards the end of that highly emotional sequence, Lilly says :
“It wasn’t just the mate bond that had us yanking each other’s clothes off all the time, was it ?”
And of course, the reader feels that angst, that genuine concern, and above all else, that genuine relief. That yes. This couple realizes that nothing, not cultural differences and certainly not societal expectations will pull them away from each other.
It is hard to juxtapose a central series couple that crackles, with situations where authors have created that beautiful bond between characters…and don’t use it. But, the argument goes, is it fair to force conformity with reader expectation amidst an author’s goals for a long running series? No. But, on the other hand, is it fair to force readers to ignore the gem of a crackling couple in favor of those who don’t, simply because the crackle doesn’t match the goals of a long running series? No. Authors like Eileen Wilks understand that, and for that reason, I look forward to seeing more of the adventures she writes, no matter which of her crackling couples she uses.