This was a topic Keishon blogged about last week. (Thanks Tee!). I recall there being a controversy over Jane Feather’s book featuring Jack and Arabella in Almost a Bride. This was a book published pre Dear Author, but it was a book both Jayne and I liked. The hero, Jack, is a duke and never once says “I love you” to Arabella even though I was convinced (and I believe Jayne was) that he did love her in the end. His not saying those words was in keeping with his characterization which was autocratic and full of superiority.
There is the famous line in Ghost where Patrick Swayze’s character says “ditto” whenever Demi Moore tells him she loves him.
Are the words necessary for you?