James wrote about intimacy in his last post. I think I'll talk about character. If the reader doesn't care about the characters in a novel, they're not going to care about what happens to them. Obviously.
Chloe's a character I think a lot of women can identify with. She's in her mid-thirties, a smart, ambitious lady with everything going for her...except the right man with whom to share her life. But Chloe is not like most of us in that she has serious relationship and trust issues. Her father left her and her mother when she was just seven years old. That's an emotional scar that has yet to heal. She gets involved with men who are all wrong for her, and the relationships never last. The pattern repeats itself, over and over.
Chloe is a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Like a princess in a fairy tale, Chloe needs a prince to rescue her. Enter Gabriel--also in his mid-thirties, a good-looking blond Irishman who's also familiar with loss. Unlike Chloe, he's looking to fill the void in his heart. And ladies, this man's a keeper! James has told me about a scene he plans to write in which another woman hits on Gabriel while his relationship with Chloe is still strictly online. He has the opportunity for a free ride, there's zero chance of him getting caught, and still he says no. He's intrigued by a woman he's never met, so that he turns down surefire sex.
Reality check: how many men do you know who would do that?
Personally, I think she should marry him. But Chloe being Chloe, she'll still balk.
James has suggested that Chloe should propose to James in the end. On one hand, I think this would be very difficult for her, given her history. On the other, it would definitely make a statement as to how far she's come, and how much she loves this man.