Jun 3 2015 8:30am

Second Chance Romance: Why The Mulligan Is So Magnificently Romantic

Today we're thrilled to have Jessica Peterson on Hereos and Heartbreakers. Jessica's last book in her Hope Diamond trilogy, The Undercover Scoundrel, was published yesterday, and sees two lovers reunited. Jessica is here today to talk about second chances at love and how truly romantic they can be. Thanks, Jessica!

Life rarely conspires to give us second chances.  Whether it be in our careers, our love lives, with our families or our friends and even our health, we often don’t get mulligans—essentially a “do over”.  This can be a good thing—hello, loser high school crush!—or a bit of a devastating one, as is the case with opportunities we let slip through our fingers, or friends we lost touch with over the years. I know I wish I could go back and do things differently; for one thing, I’d tell my college self that there is nothing sexy about wearing clothes two sizes too small. The pictures I have from those days still haunt me. Really, what was I thinking? (Boys. I was obviously thinking about boys.)

 The chance to go back and rectify our regrets, to right our painful wrongs, is something I’m sure all of us have fantasized about. Especially when it comes to romance. How many of us wish we talked to the cute girl at that bar, or gave the dorky yet charming guy in history class a second look? What about getting your first love back, or enjoying that first love’s company without worrying what your peers or your parents might think?

What if, knowing what we know now—about ourselves, about each other—we were given a second chance at that first love, with that guy, that girl? It’s an enduring fantasy, and a powerful one. I mean, what’s more romantic than falling in love all over again, while learning to trust one another in ways that never would have been possible the first time around?

Nothing, that’s what. Just read Rev It Up by Julie Ann Walker and you’ll see what I’m talking about. It’s second chance romance at its sassy best.  Secret baby? Navy SEALS? A hero and heroine forced to trust one another while running from a sinister villain? Yes, yes, and yes. If second chance romances with one night stands and babies are your jam, you should check out Kylie Scott’s Deep, too.

Second chances not only give us the opportunity to forgive others; they’re also opportunities to forgive ourselves, to get right what we got so, so wrong the first time around. Sherry Thomas’s Private Arrangements addresses this theme beautifully.  When the heroine, Gigi, sends her beloved husband packing with a vicious deception ten years before, she must work to prove to him – and to herself—that she’s worthy of his trust, and his love, when circumstances throw them together once more.  Courtney Milan’s super smart, super sexy Trial by Desire touches on the theme of learning to trust after unforgiveable betrayal as well.

Second chances also allow us to relive the intensity, and the romance, of our often-bungled “firsts”: first love, first job, first date, first time in bed. In A Gentleman Never Tells by Juliana Gray, the hero and heroine find young love in springtime London.  Torn apart by the hero’s secret profession (oh, wow, I forgot how much I love this book AND secret professions!), their paths collide years later in the Italian countryside.  All sorts of naughtiness ensues as they experience the thrill of that first love all over again.

Gayle Forman’s If I Stay is, perhaps, the ultimate second chance story.  When Mia slides into a coma after a horrific accident, it’s ultimately up to her whether she lives or dies; whether she gets another shot at life, another chance to put to rights her crumbling relationship with her studly rocker boyfriend, Adam.  It’s absurdly good, as is the movie.  Just remember to bring a box of tissues!

I always read romance because it was a nice reminder—an assurance, if you will—that despite the ambivalence and vitriol of the world around me, real, ooey-gooey, sweep-me-off-my-feet romance truly existed.  Even though I’m happily married to my own Mr. Darcy now, I still need that reassurance sometimes.  Which probably explains why I loved exploring second chance love in my latest release, The Undercover Scoundrel—the third and final book in my Hope Diamond Trilogy.

Second chance romance provides that and then some. It’s nice to know that, despite the odds, despite our mistakes, our stubbornness, and our fears, that mulligans do happen—usually when we least expect it!


Learn more about or order a copy of The Undercover Scoundrel by Jessica Peterson, available June 2, 2015:

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Jessica Peterson began reading romance to escape the decidedly unromantic awkwardness of her teenage years. Having found solace in the likes of Rhett Butler and Mr. Darcy, it wasn’t long before she began creating tall, dark, and handsome heroes of her own.

A graduate of Duke University, Jessica worked in an investment bank before leaving to pursue her writerly dreams. She lives with her husband, the tall, dark, and handsome Mr. Peterson, in Charlotte, North Carolina.

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1. Kareni
What a fun post. I'm reminded of Ken Grimwood's Replay.

It's not a romance (though it has some elements), but it's certainly about having the opportunity to do things differently the second (or third or fourth or ...) time around.
Jessica Peterson
2. JessicaPAuthor
Hi Kareni! Thanks so much for stopping by - and for the post love! It was a fun one to write. I haven't read REPLAY, but it's definitely at the top of my TBR now. I love the idea of exploring what we'd do differently that second (or third or fourth!) time around. It makes me think of Kate Atkinson's LIFE AFTER LIFE - another great "second chance" story, minus the romance.
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