Today we welcome author Jeannie Moon to Heroes and Heartbreakers to talk first loves. Jeannie's new release, Unexpectedly Yours, pairs a geotechnical engineer with a millionaire, and each has something to teach the other—but both are going to learn what it means to fall in love. Thanks, Jeannie!
I’m so happy to be here today to explore a romantic plot device that’s very near and dear to my heart: first loves.
The blush of first love has always been a thrill for me. As a high school librarian, I get to read and recommend wonderful YA books which are all about that boy or girl who turns your head for the first time. But face it, the cynic that resides in most of us doesn’t believe first loves last. Whether it be a young couple or an unrequited crush, we see these feelings as fleeting.
I’m not so sure about that. I do believe there’s something in us that’s hardwired regarding certain people. There’s that one thing we find attractive, or sexy. Something that turns our head and makes us take notice. Now that’s not saying everyone should stay together forever, but I do think there’s something special about when we give our hearts to someone for the very first time. It’s a feeling we hold onto forever.
I happened to be biased. I’m married to my high school sweetheart, so I know the blush of first love can grow into something lasting, but I also know it’s not easy. And I didn’t have the baggage most romance novel heroines have and he wasn’t a tortured hero.
In my new release, Unexpectedly Yours, Caroline Rossi finds herself in a relationship with her adolescent crush. Josh Campbell was her heart and soul. He never reciprocated the feelings because of the six year age difference between them, but when the timing was right, sparks flew.
It made me think about some of my favorite first-love romances and the more I examined the different relationships, whether or not our hero and heroine ended with a happily ever after boiled down to one thing: timing.
Jill Shalvis’s Instant Temptation is the third book in her Wilder Brothers series. It focuses on the oldest, and most absent Wilder sibling, TJ. When TJ comes home from a long trek through some wilderness or another, he’s faced with a family that’s very different from the one he left. His two brothers have fallen in love and TJ feels very much like the odd man out, especially since he knows the woman he’s wanted for a long time is still right in town. But here’s the timing piece. His old friend Harley, who has secretly loved TJ since high school, isn’t about to risk her heart to a guy who hasn’t been able to stay in one place for more than a few weeks.
Harley wants a relationship, and she’s dated other guys, but no one pushes her buttons like TJ. No one. And of course they keep tripping over each other and their chemistry is palpable and when they are finally alone…kablammy!
The story isn’t just about the physical attraction (What good would that be?) but about two people who have to put aside their fears to finally let love in. TJ and Harley had to be ready for it.
Unlike TJ and Harley, who’d been circling each other for years, Molly Sommerville and Kevin Tucker in Susan Elizabeth Phillips's This Heart of Mine, weren’t involved with each other—ever. In fact, Kevin doesn’t remember Molly’s name early on in the story, even though her sister is his boss. Yes, the superstar quarterback is ego personified, and Molly was sure her crush on the gorgeous jock was done and over, until circumstances throw them together. Damn those circumstances.
A one night stand, a pregnancy, a shotgun wedding, a miscarriage and a breakdown, give this couple more than a little to deal with. Through each ordeal, Kevin is exactly the kind of good guy Molly always wanted him to be, focusing on getting her back from her depression while he deals with his own family troubles. It’s here that we see Molly’s strength, and what Kevin eventually finds irresistible. Molly gives. She gives everything she has in her heart and this is when Kevin, who was supposed to be saving Molly, is saved by her.
Molly is comforted that her own heart didn’t betray her; that Kevin, for all his faults, deserves the emotions she’d spent on him. Her first love became her forever love when the time and place were right.
Our first love is special. He or she might be the one who got away, the one who made you feel that rush for the first time, but for whatever reason the timing may have been wrong. In romance novels, the first love represents something very pure, whether it’s the result of a mutual attraction or something unrequited. It draws on a part of us that is less jaded, less cynical and more open to possibilities. It’s what all love should be, and is, when it happens, for real, to us.
Learn more or order a copy of Unexpectedly Yours by Jeannie Moon, out now:
Jeannie Moon has always been a romantic. When she’s not spinning tales of her own, Jeannie works as a school librarian, thankful she has a job that allows her to immerse herself in books and call it work. Married to her high school sweetheart, Jeannie has three kids, three lovable dogs and a mischievous cat and resides on Long Island, NY. If she’s more than ten miles away from salt water for any longer than a week, she gets twitchy. Unexpectedly Yours is the second book in her Forever Love Series. Visit Jeannie’s website at www.jeanniemoon.com.