Day 7 Lorraine Heath

A Romantic at Heart

I am a romantic at heart.

In my younger days, I searched for love stories long before romance novels had a place on the bookstore shelves. My favorite love story was often told by my mother. Since she was English, her words always carried a gentle cadence. And her story always touched the romantic in me.

I would snuggle up against her and say, “Tell me one more time.”

And her story went like this . . .

Lily grew up near London during World War II.

Rayburn spent most of his early years in Texas. He enlisted in the air force and was stationed at England’s Bovington Air Force Base shortly after the close of the war. He was an airplane mechanic.

One evening, Lily and her best friend, Jean, feigned illness to avoid reporting to work. They chose instead to attend a dance near the air force base.

Rayburn, covered in grease after just finishing his shift, stopped by the dance to see if it was worth his time to attend.

He saw Lily across the crowded room.

And she saw him.

He promptly went to clean up and change clothes. When he returned . . . they fell in love.

It was so incredibly romantic. Or so my young heart believed.

And by now, you probably realize that Lily was my mother and Rayburn was my father.

Of course, love never comes that easily. Not in real life. And seldom in romance novels. And for this very reason, romance novels appeal to me: they don’t make light of love. I have never read a romance novel where a man and woman looked across a room, gazed into each other’s eyes, instantly fell in love, and walked through the door hand in hand to live happily ever after. Lord of Wicked Intentions

When I first began reading romance novels, I couldn’t understand why these stories were labeled “romance.” The stories never revolved around the gifting of flowers or the murmuring of sweet nothings. After all, when we think of romance, don’t we think of candlelight dinners, slow dancing to George Strait’s “You Look So Good in Love”, and a gentle kiss in the moonlight?

But flowers wilt, sweet nothings drift away on the breeze, and eventually, even the music must come to an end. Romance—true romance—is much more substantial and has no end in sight.

That’s not to say that the expected romantic situations don’t appear in romance novels. They very often do. But the stories don’t revolve around the candlelight dinner. Romance novels delve a little deeper. They share with the reader the reasons behind these two people having a candlelight dinner. They show us why these two people want to be in each other’s company. And they leave us with the satisfaction of understanding why the evening will be filled with romance.

At their very core, romance novels are love stories. But true love, lasting love, is not found in a gaze, a word, a fleeting moment of happiness. Lasting love must build slowly over time.

For many characters in romance novels, love is a dying ember. It takes the touch of someone special to ignite the flame. But the touch only signals the beginning. Love has to be forged, shaped, and tempered into something that has the strength to last and the power to endure.

Romance novels show us the beginning of the love and reveal to us through the course of events that the love can endure . . . will endure. Along the way, the hero and heroine may stumble, they may lose sight of their love. But they seldom abandon it. Sometimes the loves shifts, sometimes it is reshaped.

Yet we never doubt that the hero and heroine will live happily ever after because for a short time, we have the privilege of traveling with them as they share their darkest moments and unravel their deepest secrets.

They bare their hearts, their souls, their uncertainties to each other. The hero may reveal his weakness. The heroine will see his strength. The heroine may reveal her fears. The hero will see her courage. They give their flawed hearts into the other’s keeping and find it accepted and cherished as is.

How incredibly romantic. Or so my middle aged heart believes.

Through the passing years, my perspective on what is romantic has changed. I’ll confess that flowers can still bring tears to my eyes. But someone proving to me that I am not alone in the world fills my heart with resounding joy.

And in most romance novels, the ultimate expression of love does not take place during the love scene. It takes place during that one moment of despair when the hero or heroine discovers that he or she is not alone and comes to understand that someone is there beside them to lessen their burden.

Such is the power of love.

It wraps itself around us to protect us when we are at our lowest ebb. And it raises us above the clouds when we achieve our highest aims. Which is why I enjoy reading—and writing—romance novels. We witness each character’s trials and tribulations. We come to know them intimately. We trust them wholeheartedly. Instinctively, we know that they won’t let go of something so incredibly precious: lasting love.

We read passages that show us the laying of the foundation for that love, and in the pages that follow, we watch as the love builds, slowly over time.

The realization of the love may come in a moment’s breath, but the foundation for the love was laid long before.

To know that the love is strong appeals to the romantic in me. Romance novels generally end when the hero and heroine experience the ultimate expression of their love, when they know beyond a doubt that this person will always stay beside them. I may have only read a year or two of the hero and heroine’s lives, but I am not left wanting. The author has already shared with me the most important aspect of the characters’ lives: the development of love, respect, understanding, and acceptance of each other.

I do not need to read the final pages of their lives. Although I am not privy to all their years together, the years I have read about convince me that their love will survive all the storms that sweep over it.

And I am certain there will be storms aplenty.

As a romance reader, I enjoy knowing that if I visit these characters fifty years from now, they will still be together, still holding hands, still gazing into each other’s eyes. Long ago, when my mother shared with me her romance story, she shared only the beginning. Through the years, I watched the remainder of the story unfold.

My parents saw the best and worst of each other. And yet they never abandoned each other; they never abandoned their love.

Just like the love of the hero and heroine we find in romance novels: my parents’ love endured.

How incredibly romantic.

Or so my romantic heart believes.

Recommendations:

If you are searching for a romantic read, I recommend A ROGUE BY ANY OTHER NAME by Sarah MacLean. I absolutely adore Sarah’s work but this is my favorite of her stories. It’s the first in the Rules of Scoundrels series. ONE GOOD EARL DESIRES A LOVER, the 2nd book in series, is also available and I loved it as well. I can’t wait for November when I can get my greedy little hands on NO GOOD DUKE GOES UNPUNISHED.   These books are available in both print and electronic formats. She is an auto-read for me. (*Me, too! ~Bobbi)

Another auto-read for me is Addison Fox. Her Boardrooms and Billionaires series is available only in electronic format. I just finished both TEMPTING ACQUISITIONS and MERGER TO MARRIAGE. I love a good hero, and hers are ruthless, sexy, and oh so yummy. I’m looking forward to THE BILLIONAIRE’S DEMANDS in September.


 Questions for Lorraine:

What is the craziest or ugliest object in your house, and why do you keep it?

The ugliest object in my house is a cheap plastic-framed mass-produced sketch of Buckingham palace that has some kind of stains on it but I keep it because it hung in the hallway of my mom’s house. She bought it the first time she returned to England to visit with her parents, dragging her 4 children along behind her. I was 8 at the time. I think it reminded her of home. It was special to her, so it’s special to me.

If there was a movie made about your life, what would it be called? (And just for fun, who would play you?)

A movie made about my life would be called “Madness and Mayhem.” Anne Hathaway would play me. (Henry Cavill would be my love interest.)

What is the best non-monetary gift you ever received?

“Happy Mother’s Day” texts from my sons.

If you had to pick one romantic scene or couple to recommend to a first-time reader of YOUR books, which would it be? (Any picks for romance novels in general?)

Oh, this is hard because each of my couples are special to me for one reason or another, but if I have to choose . . . I would probably go with Lord Rafe Easton and Miss Evelyn Chambers from LORD OF WICKED INTENTIONS. He is a man who refuses to love or care about anything or anyone and she is searching for love and acceptance.

Lorraine is generously donating a “Lorraine Heath Recommends” prize packet for three lucky readers! Each packet will consist of one copy of The Lord of Wicked Intentions, one copy of Sarah MacLean’s A Rogue By Any Other Name, one copy of Addison Fox’s Just In Time and a Read-A-Romance ‘Romance Rocks’ mug. (There are different versions. This is one. And Thank You, Lorraine! ~Bobbi)  Domestic only, apologies to international readers. To enter contest, either leave a comment here or enter the weekly drawing on the contest page. Or both.  (Only one entry per commenter per post, though – multiple comments on one essay does not give you more chances.)  Comment entries must be posted by midnight EST Aug 8 to be eligible, though winners will be announced the following week.


Lorraine Heath always dreamed of being a writer. After graduating from the University of Texas, she wrote training manuals, press releases for a publicist, articles, and computer code, but something was always missing. In 1990, she read a romance novel and became not only hooked on the genre, but quickly realized what her writing lacked: rebels, scoundrels, and rogues. She’s been writing about them ever since, for both adult and young adult readers (as Rachel Hawthorne and with her son as J. A. London).

 

  • Ora

    I love your books. I wasn’t aware you had another pen name. I am always on look out for new authors for my friends girls and I am definitely getting The Darkness before Dawn series.

    • Lorraine

      Ora: Thank you for loving my books! J. A. London is the name that I write under with my son. Our first series is young adult and revolves around a dystopian world in which vampires rule. Hope you enjoy this series.

  • TrishJ

    I love romance books where they fall in love slowly. You feel they are investing in each other and will weather the storms. I really like the Q&A section. So much fun to find out who would star in the movie of your life. Most of the authors pick comedy!!

    • Lorraine

      Trish: I love the slow build, too. And yes, it is interesting to see who the authors would have play them.

  • Britney Adams

    What a wonderful essay! I love that Lorraine shared her parent’s romantic story!

    • Lorraine

      Thank you for reading it.

  • Jen Ferraro Stepke

    I love your books! Thank you for the giveaway!

    • Lorraine

      I love sharing my favorite reads.

  • Ketta Peters

    Fantastic article, I’m wishlisting your books now.

    • Lorraine

      Thank you!

  • Cheryl Hastings

    What a wonderful love story, made more so because it is real. Love Sarah’s books and putting Addison on my wish list. Thanks Lorraine 🙂

    • Lorraine

      You are so welcome!

  • Alissa

    Such a lovely essay.

    Enduring love. That’s why I adore reading
    romance so very much. The lovers’ attraction is the thrilling
    beginning but, it’s the thick and thin, sickness and health that truly
    tests their endurance and eternal bond.

    I read with a smile and a cup of tea and never worry for them. Their love will always conquer all triumphantly!

    • Lorraine

      Romance novels always uplift me.

  • bonnierz

    This was a wonderful post. Love your books, Lorraine, and am now tracking down some of your earlier ones I haven’t read yet. My favorite so far is In Bed With the Devil. Henry Cavill! woo hoo!

    • Lorraine

      Thank you for enjoying the pat and my books. I loved Henry Cavill in The Tudors. Thought he made a wonderful man of steel.

  • tonda hargett

    I love your essay, so beautiful!

    • Lorraine

      Thank you!

  • Marjorie Miller

    You wrapped up romance and tied it with a bow! You are on my must read list. I love all of your books and can’t wait until the next one comes out. Thanks Lorraine!

    • Lorraine

      Thank you, Marjorie. I love my readers. You all are the best!

  • Karin Anderson

    I had no idea you wrote as J.A. London! I have been eyeing After Daybreak for awhile, but haven’t gotten it. I just might have to get it, now.

    • Lorraine

      Thank you. The first book in the series is DARKNESS BEFORE DAWN.

  • Melissa Cowling Terry

    I loved your essay. It is so true that when you read a love story in a book you don’t have to wonder if it lasted. I just know on my heart of heart that it was a life long love story.

    • Lorraine

      That’s what I love about romance. It is happily EVER after.

  • alisha woods

    love all of your books……….but there was one that you wrote an epilogue in that just pulled my heart strings and the title has slipped my mind. They were in Tx knew each other as kids. I don’t want to give too much away in case someone hasn’t read it, but the epilogue was when they were old and at end of life.

    • Lorraine

      PROMISE ME FOREVER. I have had several readers say that epilogue was their favorite. It just seemed a nice way to end that love story and the series.

    • Ooh – I have to read that one!

  • Kim Cornwell

    Love meeting new authors! Thanks for being here!

    • Lorraine

      Thank you for giving me your time and stopping by!

  • Cat C

    How beautiful! What a great analysis of romance–now I’m even more tempted than usual to just spend my day reading. And with your wonderful insights into the nature of romance, I look forward to discovering your novels!

    • Lorraine

      Thank you, Cat. Spend the day reading! So many wonderful books out there!

  • Amy McKechney Lang

    Love your post!

    • Lorraine

      Thank you!

  • Kristy Birch

    What an absolutely perfect and beautiful description of the genre! The beginning of love or “romance” is so exciting because of the struggle and because it sets-up the happily ever after.

    • Lorraine

      If things came easy I don’t think we would enjoy them as much. We appreciate what we work for.

  • Jen C

    What a nice story! Such a treasure! 🙂

    • Lorraine

      Thank you!

  • SuzyQ

    What a beautiful essay! I just picked up LORD OF WICKED INTENTIONS and can’t wait to read it.

    • Lorraine

      Thank you! Hope you enjoy!

  • Krysten Michelsen

    Love your books!! 🙂 Great post!

    • Lorraine

      Thanks, Krysten!

  • Ann Mettert

    Very thoughtful essay. And what a great story about your mom & dad. 🙂

    • Lorraine

      I like it. 😉

  • Anne

    I really enjoyed your post! Thank you for sharing.

    • Lorraine

      You are welcome. Thanks for stopping by.

  • Meredith Richardson

    Lovely story about your parents 🙂

    • Lorraine

      Thank you!

  • Mary Jo Burke

    My parents met in a bar and it was love at first sight.

    • Lorraine

      That’s wonderful. I love stories of long relationships.

  • Cheryl Castings

    Of course, you write romance. You came from a longterm HEA romance story yourself!

    • Lorraine

      It has definitely been helpful. And I’m carrying on the tradition. Hubby and I will celebrate 37 years in October. Course we got married when we were really young, like minus 20.

  • Brittany

    Wow! I really love your books! Your description reminds me why 5 years ago I feel in love with romance novels.

    • Lorraine

      Thank you!

  • Robin Ray

    I believe in Love At First Sight although it may not be instantly recognized as such.

    • Lorraine

      I agree, Robin. I think there is at least a connection when we meet someone who is destined to become part of our lives. Even with friendships.

  • Sandy Xiong

    The story of how your parents meet is so sweet. Love at first sight doesn’t usually ends well but when it does and the two remain together forever, that is true love.

    • Lorraine

      I was just always fascinated by how they met. She was quite impressed with the yank.

  • MaryC

    Love your post!

    • Lorraine

      Thank you!

  • Sandi in OH

    My parents met because his parents rented their upstairs apartment to her parents. They were married in 1944 and stayed married until 2008 when my dad died. Dad was in the Army/Air Force and they lived in Fresno CA. Dad trained pilots at Hammer Field.

    • Lorraine

      Sandy, thanks for sharing. I love hearing stories such as your parents’.

  • Sue G.

    How sweet that your mom told you love stories. It really gave you an indepth look into your parents!

    • Lorraine

      Mom was quite the over of romance.

      • Sue G.

        I can see…my mom loves to read romance but I don’t remember her ever telling us things when we were growing up. Now we have a mutual love of reading and share books all the time.

  • Nancy Huddleston

    Love family love stories. They are the best.

    • Lorraine

      I agree.

  • Shawna Stringer

    I want to read this book now after reading up about it. It sounds like a great read.

  • QuenKne M

    “They bare their hearts, their souls, their uncertainties to each other. The hero may reveal his weakness. The heroine will see his strength. The heroine may reveal her fears. The hero will see her courage. They give their flawed hearts into the other’s keeping and find it accepted and cherished as is.”

    I had to reprint this paragraph because this is the essence of romance to me. It still astonishes me that these things we think are our faults, our loved sees as our strengths. I think this is why people find themselves saying, ‘I can’t believe this person chose ME’ because we cannot see what our true love sees – even though we feel that way about them. But we must remember that love is a gift and needs to be nurtured and replenished with kind words, loving gestures, and stolen moments. We cannot let our hectic lives take over and not give love and our loved one our highest priority.

  • Thanks so much Lorraine! This is such a beautiful post! xoxo

  • Mary Tapia

    Thank you for such a lovely true romance. My parents met after the war thru my uncle to be. My m Mom tried to hook Dad up with her best friend, a nice Catholic girl. Judy, (catholic girl) and Dad (nice Catholic man) didN’t hit it off. Dad fell for Mom. On Friday he told her that he didn’t want to see her any more because he could never marry a girl who wasn’t a Catholic. The next Wenday he called for a Friday date and asked her to marry him,

    We grew up with Mom telling us that story. Yes, I love romance!

  • Katy M

    What a wonderful essay about what makes a great romance! One that will stay with you and make you go back for seconds, thirds, etc.
    Addison Fox is a new author to me, but I too love Sarah MacLean. I also don’t have Lord of Wicked Intentions yet. Thanks for a great contest!

  • glittergirl54

    Awesome post. Thanks so much for sharing your romantic heart. I’ve not read your books but they’ve been highly recommended to me…so many great authors and books with so little time…sigh. I love reading romance, it fills my life. Thanks for your generous giveaway =).

  • Eirene Oh

    Oh this was such a sweet read! And my parents still refuse to tell me how they first met. I don’t know why, but I’ll get to the bottom of it soon! (They probably don’t want to tell me because they think it’s nothing special, but I disagree haha.)

  • Kim

    That was a very nice story about your parents. I would think it was incredibly difficult for your mother to leave England.

  • Ruth

    Lorraine Heath is one of my favorite romance authors. I have all of her books in one form or another. Whether Western or British, she does not disappoint. Now I know why. Every word she wrote for Day 7 resonates with me. Every. Word. Romance matters because it is not giggly and sparkly or confined to a couple of occasions a year. True Romance matters because it is the foundation for true and abiding love. The kind of love that lasts way longer than the flowers. The kind of love that after the storm, when you are beat up and exhausted and soaked through, you are not alone or chastised. Or at least, that is what I choose to believe. If you haven’t read Lorraine yet, I recommend you start with The Scoundrels of St. James series. Once you get started you will just suck them down!

  • brhill2010

    The way your parents meet is so adorable. True love is really hard to find but once you find it you should hold on to it tightly like your parents did. I love their story!!

  • Janie

    One of my favorite romances is Lorraine’s “A Matter of Temptation.” It’s probably one of the first historical romances I read where the hero was a virgin.

  • Donna

    I love the story about your parents. I too, had very romantic parents who never hesitated to show their love and affection for each other in front of us. My friends have accused me of having very unrealistic expectations of relationships because of it! But I’m sure that’s why I love to read historical romance.

  • clanwilson

    No wonder you caught the romance writing bug! Your parents’ story is quite sigh-worthy. 🙂

  • Rebecca Berus

    The story of your parents meeting is very sweet. Thanks for sharing. I also love your romances.

  • Melanie Backus

    A wink captured my heart the first time I met the man that I married nearly thirty eight years ago. He gave me my engagement on my birthday which is today. Oh, the wonderful memories!

  • Patty Vasquez

    Wow! Such an uplifting homily on the power of romance. Thank you! I loved that you approached it from the aspect of cause and effect. And I totally understand the bottom line: I’ll always have your back. Those words are just as important as “I love you.” p.s. Sarah MacLean IS amazing.

  • Marilyn White

    Your parents story reminds of your earlier historicals and the connection between Texas and England. I love your books by the way, both historical and contemporary.

  • Marcy Shuler

    Your parents’ love story is so sweet.

  • MooMoo Cake

    My parents are rather conservative and I’ve never even seen them hug. So I’ve looked for stories in novels to appease the romantic in myself. Thank you for sharing your parents’ story and for writing more. I always look forward to reading your books about the development of an enduring love and will also check out the authors you’ve recommended.

  • You’re so right! It’s never easy in romance. Often it’s a four-hundred page struggle just see eye-to-eye, but it is usually guaranteed (at least from the reader’s point of view). I’ve started noticing a series trend, though, where some authors are bringing back earlier couples who are now having some relationship problems after their HEA in a previous book. What do you think of that trend? Have you/would you ever use it yourself?

  • Barbara E.

    I really enjoyed the post and your parents love story. I think it’s an interesting thought that romance is never smooth sailing, there always has to be hurdles to overcome before the couple can reach their HEA. I guess it would be a pretty boring story if that weren’t the case. 😀

  • Dana Shoulders

    Your prize packet sounds exciting! All authors that I would like to try :).

  • M Kuxhaus

    I wish my parents could share as romantic a story. Thirty-five years of marriage later, they still disagree about how they met.

  • BookLady

    What a lovely post! I believe that true love lasts forever in good times and bad. Thanks for sharing the wonderful story about your parents.

  • Donna Logan Brown

    Love the story about your parents. My second marriage evolved from love at first sight, so I know how wonderful that experience can be. I’ve enjoyed all your books, especially remember Houston’s book, and the Texas Rogues series. Hope you’re enjoying your experience with RARM.

  • Melissa Sullivan

    Such a lovely story of how your parents met! Mne isn’t so romantic. My mother was dating my father’s brother and decided to go with my dad because he had the cooler car. ^w^

    • Lorraine

      Too funny!

  • Evelyn S

    Great essay!! I really loved your Scoundrels of St. James series!!

    • Lorraine

      Thank you! William Graves’ story comes out in January. THE LAST WICKED SCOUNDREL.

  • Tin

    (No need to enter me in the contest), but wanted to say: Thank you, Lorraine Heath — I love your books. I love the message of your books. You made summer of 2012 amazing because I read through (almost) your entire backlist.

    Your parents’ story is amazing. ^_^

    • Lorraine

      Thank you so much! You are so sweet!

  • Lorelei’s Lit Lair

    This is the first I hear about you and your mom’s story really captivated my heart. I look forward to reading your books since you are also a romantic at heart like I am. Thanks for the chance to win your book!

    • Lorraine

      Thank you!

  • Pamby50

    Your story of your parents is wonderful. I still remember the line my husband used to pick me up. Next month will be our 32nd anniversary.

    • Lorraine

      That’s wonderful! Congratulations!

  • Courtney Cogswell

    I love your parents’ story! I remember asking my mom to tell me about how she met my father over and over again. I think that romance seed was planted early and I’ve definitely nurtured it along the way with my obsession with reading romance novels…(and of course through my relationship with my amazing husband). I look forward to reading your books and meeting all of those rebels, scoundrels and rogues! Thanks for the great post, it was quite enjoyable 🙂

  • Carrie

    What a beautiful essay. I love when I reach the end of a book and can close it with a contented sigh, remarking that they lived happily ever after. I find myself often wondering how a couple is doing long after a story has ended.

  • Kim

    I loved your post! I share your reasons for reading romance.

  • I really enjoyed your story. Thank you so much for sharing that beautiful story with us. Your books sound great!

  • Janie McGaugh

    I enjoyed your essay, and I love to see stories of people whose love and commitment has lasted through all the ups and downs of life.

  • rebecca moe

    Great post! Loved the story about your parents. I’m very glad you switched from writing training manuals, press releases, and computer code!

  • leah g

    My parent’s met in High School. Its so strange sometimes I know all the hard things they have gone through so sometimes when I read about HEA it seems a little ridiculous because its leaving out the hard work. But your right, HEA can exist and do exist even with all the hard work.

  • ki pha

    Oh I have always wonder why Romance was labeled romance. Or why it’s call mommy porn. Not all readers are mothers and most of us start at an early age (around our early teens) so it can’t be termed mommy porn.

    But love the short story of your parents!

  • Flora Segura-Buchler

    Thank you for a wonderful blog Lorraine, as well as the generous give away. What could be better than the gift of reading.

  • Sharlene Wegner

    Thank you for your beautiful words! I recently read She Tempts the Duke & am looking forward to reading the other books in the series.

  • suepeace

    Thanks for sharing your parents’ love story!!! 🙂 I love romance and believe in love at first sight. My parents met in 1957 I believe…and both of them always said they knew right away they were meant to be together even though at the time they were both dating other people. They were together 37 years before my Dad passes away in 1996. Even all these years later when I think it might be nice if she met someone again, she maintains she has no desire to be with anyone else. My husband and I moved in together after knowing each other for a few weeks and have been together ever since (18 years now) (also married now 🙂

  • Beverly DeeAnjello

    I believe in love at first sight because of my parents. My Dad was engaged to another woman and he saw my mother at work and fell for her. Obviously his engagement didn’t work out, but my parents have been married for 50 years this month.

  • Rhiannon Rowland

    Oh, I love your parents story! Sweet. My husband and I are a romance for sure, but I hated him at first sight. We often are asked about how we make it work and how we seem so in love even now, I always answer..work! Love takes work.

  • Dorothy salvagin

    I absolutely love your books. My hubby and I were a love at first sight couple 48 years ago.

  • Emily Wheeler

    I love the story about your parents. Texas Destiny is one of my favorite historical romances; I loved it so much I packaged it up & sent it to my mother because I thought she would love it & I felt like I needed to share it with someone (I adored the other 2 in the trilogy also).

  • Becca Luman

    I love how romance novels show how characters can overcome difficulties to stay together and keep their love strong. The story of your parents is so sweet!

  • MK

    Oh, thank you for the author recommendations!