The other night, I was watching the end of a Hallmark channel movie when my husband walked into the room.
â€śDonâ€™t ruin it,â€ť I said. (He canâ€™t help himself. His urge to say something,
usually sarcastic, is too great.)
â€śAre they about to live happily ever after?â€ť he asked, sitting down beside me.
â€śShh,â€ť I said. â€śDonâ€™t talk. Just watch.â€ť
The heroine was climbing up a ladder, her job to place the star atop the
community center Christmas tree. (The community center that was saved from the
wrecking ball, of course.)
â€śSheâ€™s going to fall, and the hero is going to catch her,â€ť he predicted. (Thatâ€™s
the other thing he does. Tries to guess everything thatâ€™s going to happen.
Anyone need a spare husband?)
â€śThe hero is across the room,â€ť I said. â€śSheâ€™s not going to fall. Please go away.â€ť
At the top of the ladder, the cute German Shepherd that was in the movie nudged
the ladder, causing the heroine to wobble precariously. The hero bolted across
the room and was there in a flash!
Sure enough, she fell right into his arms, creating a beautiful moment where
they shared a Christmas kiss. (No tongue. Because itâ€™s Hallmark!) The movie ended.
â€śI shouldâ€™ve been a romance writer,â€ť my husband said, complimenting himself on
his ability to predict things.
Honestly, I did not see that coming. Know why? Because I was under the magic
spell of Hallmark Christmas movies. Sometimes (okay, often) sappy, always
emotional, they bring out everything we love and hate about Christmas. But in
general, they are about love. About mending fences. Facing up to your past.
Correcting past wrongs. Finding someone who loves you for who you are and brings
out the best in you (never the rich guy with lots of money and terrible parents).
â€śLetâ€™s watch another one,â€ť my husband said, putting his arm around me and
settling in. Because secretly, he canâ€™t resist the pull either. Now if only I
could get him to watch in silence!
Lovers of romance understand that these stories, both on the screen and between
the pages, touch longings deep within us to reconcile our own pasts, forgive
ourselves for mistakes, and experience our deepest hopes and dreams for a loving
relationship and family. Things are often far from perfect in a lot of these
story worlds. But we latch onto the hope of things getting better for the
hard-working but flawed heroine and the sincere, heart-of-gold hero. We want
them to find happiness just like we want ourselves and our loved ones to find
peace and a good, loving life.
The couple in my new release, CAN'T STOP LOVING YOU,
truly have a lot of fence mending to do. Separated by a tragedy in their teenage
years, they havenâ€™t really spoken in twelve years. The story is about love,
loss, friendship, family, and the idea that you have to confront your past in
order to move on to the future.
Arabella Dâ€™Angelo worked hard to escape her past and move onâ€”not an easy feat in
her small townâ€”until one day it returns in the form of her 6â€™2â€ť darkly handsome,
enigmatic first love, Roman Spikonos, who is settling back into town to take
over his grandfatherâ€™s orchards, right next to her traditional Italian familyâ€™s
Arabella fell in love hook line and sinker with Roman Spikonos in high school.
Their love was explosive, wonderful, and all-consumingâ€¦until she found herself
pregnant, causing her to leave her private high school and give up her
scholarship to the out-of-state sheâ€™d dreamed of attending. Yes, she was that
girl in high school. And just like that, all her dreams fell apart. The life
sheâ€™d imagined was nothing near the life she was suddenly forced to live.
And because of the anger of her traditional Italian father, she had to make an
awful, heartbreaking choice that cost her everything. And then she had to
somehow find the strength to move forward with her life.
My heroine undergoes a tremendous amount of growth as she is forced to confront
feelings sheâ€™s swept under the rug for years, not only with Roman but also with
her very supportive friend Ethan, and last but not least, her own father. CAN'T STOP LOVING YOU is a
romance, and is told from both the hero and heroineâ€™s points of view, but I
consider it first and foremost Bellaâ€™s story.
I hope the end result is an emotional but hopeful read and a beautiful love
story that took a very bumpy path to come full circle.
Just then, Bella saw a man walking toward her from across the square. She looked
the other way, pretending to be fascinated by a couple of little kids kicking up
leaves. Because sheâ€™d know that sweeping, confident gait, that
straight-as-a-cornstalk carriage, those big, strong shoulders anywhere. And the
way her limbs were going weak, the way her heart had catapulted into her stomach
like a basketball and her breaths were coming raggedly, her body knew it, too.
All that told her that the man striding quickly toward her was no surfer guy. It
She glanced up to find him standing there, wearing jeans and a black sweater.
Looking like sin, as usual.
â€śOh, itâ€™s you,â€ť she said, trying to sound disappointed, but she couldnâ€™t help
smiling a little. â€śIâ€™m expecting my big, burly, blond Swedish date.â€ť When she
showed him the photo on her phone, his response was an emphatic grunt.
He sat next to her on the bench, his leg grazing hers unapologetically. He
smelled like woodsy cologne and shaving cream, and it was making her giddy. Like
heâ€™d just had a shower and was going out for the night. Maybe he was. An image
of him on a date with some gorgeous woman floated through her mind. Him laughing
and sipping wine with someone and caressing her hand across the table.
She pushed back that image. It made her uncomfortable. Sad. It was only a matter
of time before he met someone. He was too good looking, too funny, too
chivalrous. Too everything.
His leg touched hers again, but he didnâ€™t say anything, like excuse me or oops.
It seemed . . . intentional. Yet he sat there, focused on watching the sun sink
over those gorgeous trees, that New England autumn post-card view . . .
She couldnâ€™t take it anymore. She moved away into her own personal space. â€śOh,
for the love of God, what are you doing here?â€ť
He sat up a little straighter. Eyeballed her in a way that confused her . . . he
seemed hesitant, very unlike him, who usually said what he meant and didnâ€™t play
games. Finally he spoke. â€śYour dateâ€™s not showing tonight.â€ť
â€śOh.â€ť Great. Apparently she was being stood up based on appearance only, since
Jess had told her sheâ€™d e-mailed her date a photo. That was confidence
inspiring. And worse was that Roman knew she was being stood up. Not only knew
but came bearing the news. Wait a minute . . . She stopped in the middle of
gathering up her purse. â€śHow do you know that?â€ť
He leaned forward on the bench, resting his elbows on his legs, tapping his
fingers together. â€śTrust me, heâ€™s not your type.â€ť
â€śYou interfered with my date? How could you? I thought we talked about this.â€ť
Roman sighed heavily. He turned toward her and spoke. â€śYour dateâ€™s not showing
because he doesnâ€™t exist.â€ť
Her heart skipped a beat. Or two. â€śDid you annihilate him?â€ť
â€śNo, I made him up. I gave Jess a stock photo to show you.â€ť
â€śTo play a joke on me?â€ť Why would he do that? Her throat felt lumpy. Through
everything, she thought at least they were friends. â€śThat is the lowestâ€”â€ť
He grabbed her by the shoulders. â€śBella,â€ť he said and shook her a little. â€śLook
She did, through narrowed eyes. When she saw his face, all the fight whooshed
right out of her, like a balloon let loose before itâ€™s tied. There was something
different about him tonight. A graveness. The way he looked at her was just
different, like he was not joking or being sarcastic. In fact, he looked dead
serious, those big brown eyes staring right at her, those long, lovely lashes
looking sinfully angelic on such a gorgeous hunk of man.
â€śI did it because I want to be your date for tonight.â€ť She must have still
looked confused, because he said, â€śI knew youâ€™d never agree to it the regular
All Bellaâ€™s critical body parts were humming. She was filled with elation, with
hope. Maybe it was wine or desperation or the upcoming birthday, she didnâ€™t
know. But she had the distinct feeling she was about to do something reckless,
and like it.
She mustâ€™ve looked dumbstruck because he repeated, â€śI want to take you on a
â€śTake me on a date?â€ť she echoed. A bright bulb, she was indeed.
â€śYeah, you knowâ€ťâ€”he pointed back and forth between the two of themâ€”â€śgo out
together, you and me. Tonight.â€ť
â€śIâ€™m not so sure thatâ€™s a good idea. Our history, you know.â€ť Their history was a
mess, and they both knew it.
â€śRight, right,â€ť he said, pretending to contemplate that. â€śBut still.â€ť
But still what? â€śWhy me?â€ť she asked. It came out sounding very quiet and
clogged, because she was having difficulty getting the words out.
â€śI think you know why.â€ť His eyes dropped to her lips. Her stomach dropped to her
feet. Oh God.
Date him? That would be foolish. Do him? Even worse. To her horror she realized
she wanted to. A lot.
When it comes to her heart, Arabella Dâ€™Angelo has moved onâ€”even though she
still lives in Mirror Lake, Connecticut, a little tourist town with a long
memory for mistakes. Ever the dutiful daughter of a cantankerous widower who
holds grudges, Bella has spent the past twelve years raising her younger brother
and making a name for herself as a successful psychologist. Now, when she isnâ€™t
counseling a lonely-hearts club for senior women, sheâ€™s humoring her matchmaking
girlfriends. Bella resists the romancing of their blind dates, yet her friends
hope sheâ€™ll fall for a local and scrap plans for a fresh start in Chicago.
Then, just before Bellaâ€™s thirtieth birthday, her first love, Roman Spikonos,
returns to Mirror Lake. When he moves next door to her familyâ€™s garden-center
business to run his grandparentsâ€™ orchard, it stirs up gossipâ€”and a tempest of
passionsâ€”just in time for pumpkin harvest. As Roman and Bella once again get
caught up in a swirl of desire and heartache, not to mention her overprotective
fatherâ€™s fury, Mirror Lake will soon find out whether the Italian hometown
beauty and her unforgettable Greek god can stand a second chance.
[Montlake Romance, On Sale: December 6, 2016,
Paperback / Kindle e-Book, ISBN: 9781503941533 / ]
Miranda Liasson loves to write stories about courageous but flawed characters
who find love despite themselves, because thereâ€™s nothing like a great love
story. And if there are a few laughs along the way, even better! Sheâ€™s a former
Golden Heart winner who writes contemporary romance for Montlake Romance,
Entangled, and soon for Grand Central. She lives in the Midwest with her
husband, three kids, and Posey, a rescue cat with attitude.
E-copies of my first three Mirror Lake books if you
comment on anything about Christmas moviesâ€”what you love about them, whatâ€™s your
7 comments posted.
I enjoy watching Christmas movies at this time of the year. Some of my favorites are Home Alone, Gremlins, Polar Express, and Nightmare Before Christmas.
(Bonnie H 9:18pm December 13, 2016)