Suspense. It's a staple now in romance. The woman-in-jeopardy/man-in-jeopardy scenario often provides the background for the romance. After all, the pressure from a dangerous situation forces the couple, trio, whatever to work together much more closely far more quickly than they might have otherwise.
Danger rouses all the protective instincts setting the romance in motion. Protection requires physical closeness. You can't protect the threatened one from across the city. Maybe you can't even protect them from across the room.
I have used minimal suspense elements in my stories because quite frankly that is not my talent in writing. I can envision something bad happening. I seem to have difficult describing it. I don't have much trouble describing the aftermath, but the actual event... well I keep wanting to rush through it. I haven't had the patience so far to fashion a truly suspenseful story. I envy writers who can do that.
When I read books by authors who have it down pat, who can maintain the suspense without giving away too many clues I will frequently study the construction, trying to understand how they put it together. It a weird combination of high action and tight mystery. And the action alternates with the mystery compounding the heart-stopping suspense so that you wait moment to moment for the bad guys to burst out of hiding and grab everybody.
I've tried to analyze why I shy away from that tight bow of suspense and I think it's because I've lived my own suspenseful moments in my life. Those are places that I don't want to return to, even in make-believe. I love reading suspenseful books. I don't want to write one. That cuts too close to the bone.
If I ever do get around to writing one, it will no doubt be a farce because that just seems to be the way I handle things. Irreverent and cockeyed. I have a feeling it will turn out like one of those Disney comedies that they used to do so well. Everything that can go wrong will go wrong but in the end the good guys will win because their efforts were so off the wall that the bad guys couldn't plan for the good guys mistakes. Sometimes in real life that's exactly what happens.
I'll never forget an old James Garner movie where he was a sheriff or gunfighter or something. The bad guy comes to town and challenges him. Instead of drawing his gun, he picks up a handful of rocks and starts throwing them at the gunfighter. Because it was unexpected the gunfighter ends up running away. And that would be exactly the kind of story I would end up writing.
In the meantime--I'll enjoy those writers who have mastered the romantic suspense tale. And I'll keep on trying to guess which one is the bad guy.