But what really struck me while I was doing all the research about these small self-sufficient structures, was that they were the ultimate place for a forced proximity trope. I started following blogs about couples, and even families living full-time and traveling across the country in tiny houses. I was fascinated that people would be forced to spend that much time together. And I was damn impressed they stayed together with that much closeness.
This video from Phillip Defranco's YouTube channel today, brought me back to the time I was neck-deep in the research. And it's a great watch if you're not familiar with the Tiny House movement.
What keeps drawing me back to tiny houses are the relationships people have to form or nurture while involved in this lifestyle. Between the builders, the communities that have been forming where the residents share resources or common areas, and even just being extremely close with the people you are sharing your personal space with...there's a lot of compromise and negotiations that have to occur.
Basically, tiny houses are the perfect place for a close proximity trope in romance. That's what spurred the idea for my book, Love Shack. As interested as I was in unique staircase designs and multi-purpose furniture, I was even more enthralled with how a tiny living space would impact a relationship.
Keep reading for a short excerpt of how I utilized my tiny house environment to force a reluctant couple together.
Living tiny doesn't leave many places to hide...
The banker was staring at her. It must have still been really hot because she certainly wasn’t able to cool down.
She made a mental note to open the vent windows and run the air conditioner to let the hot air seep out of her house.
“Were you in on this?” The poor man was sweating through his button down.
Felicity pulled him into the shade and turned him around. His face was red, and he was overheating in the summer sun. Giving up the remaining cold from the bottle, she placed the cool plastic against the back of his neck before he could turn around again.
Felicity licked her lips at the thought of drinking the cool water from him as his blood pumped hard beneath the skin on his neck.
“Oh.” She pulled the bottle back, suddenly very aware that her hands where resting on strong shoulders. She sucked in a breath as her gaze traveled down a trim waist just above angular hips that looked great in dark navy fabric.
While she was still breathless at her discovery of his physical beauty he turned and the water bottle bounced against his shoulder. Felicity’s hands bopped the bottle up in the air a few times and she struggled to try and catch it. Brandon Halston tried for the grab too.
Their hands smacked against each other, and the bottle fell to the ground. Luckily, it didn’t pop, because Felicity was pretty darn sure she needed water in order to block herself from speaking and sounding like a goober.
They both bent down at the same time and Felicity realized she wasn’t the only one with a hard head.
“Ow.” Brandon grabbed her arms and backed her up to a bench under the tree they were stealing shade from.
Felicity plopped down as he rubbed his head and retrieved the bottle.
“Do they have more of these?” he asked as he brushed the mulch off.
“They probably do, but the assistant went back inside.” Felicity reached for the bottle, but frowned as the banker who was becoming a pain in her ass as well as her skull opened the lid and swallowed half the bottle before handing it over.
He shrugged at her expression. “If we are going to be living close together, sharing is going to be important, right?”
Felicity grabbed the bottle and pulled it against her chest. “You can’t be serious.”
Brandon pointed to the flurry of activity around a laptop on the back of the news van. “Their website has been exploding ever since your human interest piece aired. Guess what? They all think us battling it out in shacks is a great freaking idea.”
“So, I suggest you start building, because it looks like this is going to happen.”
Deborah rushed over to the shade tree and began pulling on her blazer. “We need another spot. This is huge. And I’ve got the whole story. Do you have any idea how much coverage you are both going to get with this?”
“I doubt any of this would be beneficial to the bank. Watching their manager live with a hippie can’t be good for their confidence in my managing their money.”
Deborah raised her hand as if she was thinking of smacking Brandon. She cracked her knuckles instead.
“They want the people they place their money with to seem human, not above them in social status. For fuck’s sake, how do you know so little about the human race?”
Felicity smiled as Brandon frowned.
Deborah poured water on her hands. With a flick of her wrist, she smoothed her hair. “Besides, just having your bank’s name on this, possibly as a sponsor,” she hinted, none too subtly, “would increase brand recognition. And living with this cutie in a tight space would be a hell of a reality show, if either of you wanted to go that route.”
Felicity lost her smile. “He doesn’t have to live with me. I think it would be better for him to get the sense of freedom if he went into his own building. Then I could showcase some of the new designs I’m working on. I’ve got this great idea for a bump-out dormer that hangs over the hitch—“
Deborah waved her off. “Do you have anything other than your own home built now?”
“Then it’s a moot point. This is a hot idea now. Not months from now when you build a new structure. Do you want this to get attention?”
Deborah turned to Brandon. “Do you want your bank to benefit from the exposure, brand recognition, and new way of marketing to your customers?”
Brandon frowned as he nodded.
Deborah put away her compact and buttoned her blazer before she slapped him on the shoulder. “Then pack a bag, sport. You’re moving in.”
What about you? Do you love a forced proximity trope? Or are you enthralled by tiny houses like me? Even if you'd never be able to live in one full time?
Tell me all about it. I'd love to get some ideas for the next book in this series.