Here, taken from page 218 of The Cygnet and the Firebird, by Patricia McKillip (1993), is the fictional romance that frustrates me most, because I can't stand that there isn't any more of it. The first speaker is a prince caught by an enchantment that transforms him each day into a firebird. The second speaker is the heir to her own holding, a young woman with the most insatiably curious mind for magic of any heroine I know, who is determined to break the spell.
"You used to look like a mage."
"What does a mage look like?"
"Like a closed book full of strange and marvellous things. Like the closed door to a room full of peculiar noises, lights that seep out under the door. Like a beautiful jar made of thick, colored glass that holds something glowing inside that you can't quite see, no matter how you turn the jar."
"And now?" she whispered. He came close; the light at their feet cast hollows of shadow across his eyes, drew the precise lines of his mouth clear.
"Now," he said softly, "you aren't closed. You're letting me see."
He slid his hand beneath her hair, around her neck. She watched light tremble in a drop of water near the corner of his mouth. He bent his head. The light leaped from star to star across his face, and then vanished. She closed her eyes and he was gone..."
Oh, I was so hopeful when this book, and its prequel (The Sorceress and the Cygnet), were recently republished as one volume (entitled Cygnet). It must, I told myself, mean that a third book is coming out, and they will actually get their kiss....but no joy yet.
Anyone else have a favorite frustrating fictional romance?