Top 10 Reasons Why Old Relationships Are Worth Revisiting

All the Boys I Ever KissedGuest blog by Marilyn Kelly, author of All the Boys I Ever Kissed: A Choose Your Own Ending Novel being released on Amazon on April 22.

Do you ever wonder about your old boyfriends? I married my college sweetheart, so it’s been a long time since I kissed another man, but I have some sweet memories. My latest novel is a contemporary women’s fiction called All the Boys I Ever Kissed (A Choose Your Ending Novel), about a widowed travel writer who looks to past boyfriends to find her future. There are three amazing men – a DC firefighter/paramedic, an athletic Argentine millionaire, and a British baron. Which one will win the heroine’s heart? You choose your favorite!

I made this a Choose Your Own Ending Novel because there are three men the heroine falls in love with, and I fell in love with them all while writing the book. It pained me to choose one, so I wrote three different endings thinking I would find a hero I preferred. I didn’t. All three of these men have their flaws and their strengths, and I decided the reader should get to choose their favorite. What do you think of that concept? I also wrote The Man Tell All Q&A because I missed having the men’s point of view in this first-person novel. I broke a lot of rules of the romance genre, but sometimes the writing process won’t follow directions.

We all know dating is hard, and some relationships that didn’t work out in the past might be worth a second look. Of course, abusive relationships are best left behind, but there might be someone who still puts a smile on your face. If you are looking for a new relationship, consider making a list of all the boys you ever kissed. If one of them still floats your boat, find out if they’re available, and reach out to them. Who knows, it might be the start to your happy ending.

I was inspired by a recent guest blog on Why It Didn’t Work Out by Torie James to write the Top 10 Reasons Why Old Relationships Are Worth Revisiting.

  1. You were attracted to each other at one point. As we get older, it seems harder to find people who are physically compatible. Never underestimate the value of physical attraction. It’s a wonderful basis for a loving relationship.
  2. You may have grown because of the breakup. Sometimes people say the most terrible things to each other during an argument, but afterward realize there was more than a grain of truth to the accusations. Maybe leaving your makeup spread out over the bathroom counter drove him crazy. You didn’t do it with the next boyfriend and it wasn’t so hard. Hopefully, you can laugh about it in retrospect.
  3. You will remember each other younger and possibly thinner. Most of us have a flashback when we see people we’ve known for a long time. In our mind’s eye, we recall them with fewer wrinkles. There are times when I look at my husband and tears come to my eyes because he looks just like he did when we met in college. And our children have now graduated. He says the same thing about me, and I wouldn’t trade that for anything.
  4. You know each other’s faults. There are no unexpected surprises three months into the relationship when so many people reveal their true colors. Even if he hasn’t changed his slovenly ways, you’ve realized there are worse faults. Like cheating on you or yelling at you. At least he brings you flowers.
  5. You miss each other. Sometimes you think about him, and vice versa. Unless you had a truly ugly breakup, there are good memories there if you bring them to light.
  6. You have friends in common who would cheer you on. Most breakups divide friendships along with the other belongings. There’s probably someone you miss among his friends. Besides, if it doesn’t work out your ex, maybe one of his friends will be a fit.
  7. If you have children or pets in common, that’s an even better reason to give love a second chance. I have a hard time with couples who claim to still be best friends but split up anyway. Monogamy is hard, but the shared memories and comfort are worth the trouble. Especially if there are children involved, special effort should be made to work through the problems. Nobody’s perfect, but if there isn’t abuse, find a counselor you both like and learn to forgive.
  8. You have equal power going back into the relationship. This is especially important if you broke up because of a power struggle, but everyone can benefit. An honest discussion can be had right from the start about how chores are going to be divided or other sticky subjects that drove you apart. Just be sure to maintain your sense of humor, and you could have your cake and eat it too.
  9. You understand each other’s lives and are more accepting of the sacrifices. Maybe it used to drive you crazy that he worked such late hours, but now you would appreciate the extra money. Maybe he never understood why you called your mother so much, but now his mother is gone and he wishes he’d called her more. Maybe you’d both be more willing to compromise the second time around.
  10. You loved each other. There was a time when you couldn’t think of anything but making him happy, and vice versa. Unless you now hate him, that spark might still be alive. I don’t believe there’s only one person for each of us, but passionate love doesn’t come easily. Second time around, be sure to nurture each other and maybe the love will last forever this time.

Have any of you reunited with old boyfriends? How did that work out for you?

All the Boys I Ever Kissed – A Choose Your Own Ending Novel blurb.

Lana Patterson wants a husband, but she’s striking out online and with blind dates. Her sister suggests she look to her past to find her future, and Lana starts contacting old boyfriends. She’s been practically housebound since her husband died, so she starts local, in Washington DC.

Captain CPR is Chippendale firefighter hot, but other than his incredible body and compatible sense of humor, Lana doesn’t find him the ideal bedmate or potential husband. Pierce Abrams runs into burning buildings for a living, and she wants a husband who will be there to walk her daughter down the aisle.

Lana grew up as a Foreign Service child and is now a travel writer. Her sister and daughter insist she hit the road, so Argentina and England are her next stops. The first boy she ever kissed is athletic, adventurous, intelligent, wealthy, and the most amazing Latin lover. Unfortunately, Sergio Salazar has a closet full of girlfriends that he claims he’s willing to give up. Lana has her doubts.

Her high school boyfriend has more potential, since his current girlfriend is on the wane. Duncan Claymore is a baron with a castle, and oh so tempting, even introducing Lana and family to the Duchess of Cambridge. It would be a fantasy life, but his conniving sister threatens to derail their renewed love affair.

Three amazing men are all having adventures of their own. Which one will capture Lana’s heart? The reader gets to choose!

Buy: All the Boys I Ever Kissed

All the Boys I Ever Kissed, A Choose Your Own Ending NovelExcerpt:

“What was the best kiss you ever had?” My older sister Marie propped her elbows on my batik tablecloth and adopted her “tell me everything” look, usually as effective as a Jedi mind trick. “Before Jude, of course.”

Best kiss before my soul mate? It had been ages. “I honestly don’t remember.” I glanced through the porch door to the kitchen, where my adorable daughter, Ashley, stood in her soccer uniform arranging cupcakes on a plate. I wasn’t about to discuss my past boyfriends in front of a twelve-year-old tomboy. “I don’t see how that’s relevant to me finding a new husband.”

Marie sat back with a huff, her short black curls a shadowy halo in the fading light. “You haven’t had much luck finding a man, Lana. I’m racking my brain for ideas.”

“I appreciate that, but you can’t hurry love.” What I didn’t appreciate was my dating failures on review, again, no matter how good the intention.

Ashley set dessert on the table and took her seat beside me, her toothy smile a constant reminder of her father. “Mom, don’t you want to remarry?” She and Marie shared a conspiratorial glance. They were clearly on a mission together. “You told me once that snuggling with Dad was your favorite thing in the world. Don’t you miss that?”

Did I ever. Jude had dubbed me the perfect bedmate, always warm and willing. Waking up alone was still tough after two years. “Of course, I do.” I refilled my glass of homemade lemonade, wishing I’d spiked it with some tequila to fortify me for this intervention.

Buy: All the Boys I Ever Kissed

Marilyn Kelly’s Bio:

My Wanton Widows series, published by Ellora’s Cave, is about three accomplished women in Victorian England who are all searching for love, respect, and passion. The first in the series is Sounds of Love about a matchmaking novelist, a scholarly widow and an arrogant earl.

All the Boys I Ever Kissed (A Choose Your Ending Novel) is my first contemporary romantic women’s fiction. If you like The Bachelorette or Mamma Mia, I hope you’ll love this book!

My goal is to make thousands of readers happy and fulfilled. Please let me know if I’ve succeeded. If you would like to receive my newsletter and participate in contests, visit my website, www.MarilynKelly.net or email me at marilyn@marilynkelly.net. For everyone who makes a comment here and then goes to my website to sign up for my newsletter, I will send you a gift package in the mail with an acrylic shot glass and a heart-shaped pill case as a thank you. Just mention Love Romance Passion.

Want me to send you these? Comment here then visit www.marilynkelly.net, sign up for my newsletter and mention Love Romance Passion.

Buy: All the Boys I Ever Kissed

Review: When the Rogue Returns (The Duke’s Men, Book 2) by Sabrina Jeffries

When the Rogue ReturnsHero: Victor Cale just recently learned of his wife’s whereabouts after she abandoned him and said their marriage was a mistake. She left him to face the consequences of the crime she and her family colluded to and executed so effortlessly under his nose. He plans to confront her and seek justice for all the injuries they and she inflicted on him through their perjury. His broken heart is at the top of that list.

Heroine: Isa Cale, hiding under an assumed name, Sofe Franke, is angry and frightened when her husband shows up in Edinburgh ten years after he deserted her. Why is he there? Why now? What does he want? Does he know of their child? Does he want to trick her or force her into illegal activities again? Well, he’s about to find out that Isa is not the timid little mouse he married. She’s got teeth and she’s willing to do what it takes to protect her daughter.

Review: It’s clear from the beginning that the hero and heroine are laboring under a big misunderstanding. A decade spent apart and a series of lies has torn their fledging marriage into two and two hearts are grieving for the loss of a love they both thought was true. Their double-speak when they first meet again is quite entertaining. Victor’s reaction to Isa’s feelings, about the pet name he gave her, is particularly heart-wrenching. He did not realize he’d been so misunderstood! He’s quick to come up with an alternative. Both are unique to the heroine and I love that. What great about this novel is that Sabrina Jeffries knits both hearts, both characters, slowly back together. Trust is a big issue for them both and it’s a delight to see them work through the fabrications and make amends for back judgments in the past. It’s also nice to know that even while they trust, they did both still have doubts and had to fight to overcome them time and again. It made for a realistic read. I also enjoyed that the story took place outside of the usual London setting. Not a book to be missed!

Rating: ★★★★½

Buy: When the Rogue Returns (The Duke’s Men)

[phpbay]rogue returns sabrina jeffries, 10, 377, “”[/phpbay]

The Search for Fresh and Original

proof of their sinGuest blog by Dani Collins, author of Proof of Their Sin

I’m still a relatively new author and this is my first organized blog tour. This post is my tenth on Proof Of Their Sin and I’ve written three books and two partials since it was accepted. I’ve been moving the writing of this blog down my To Do List for a few days, mind drooling as I attempted to find something fresh to say about this story.

It’s the same struggle we face when writing the book in the first place. To counter that old argument that all romances are the same, we writers struggle to make this story different and fresh and fun.

But how? Especially when writing for a well-loved line like a Harlequin Presents? At its heart, Proof of Their Sin is a secret baby with a reunion romance. The hero, Paolo, is Italian and rich. I know you’ve seen these elements before and when it comes to certain things—a tone of voice, a heated caress—it’s really easy to fall back on a nice bit of phrasing as common as tycoons and virgins. (She husked, while stroking light fingertips across her keyboard.)

Characters, however are unique products of their personal history and life experience, bringing that stab of freshness we’re looking for, so I thought I’d give you Proof of Their Sin’s backstory.

Before I sold in May of 2012, I was working with Suzy, one of the editors at Mills & Boon. She had recently rejected one of my manuscripts (ouch) and asked me to submit three fresh ideas for consideration. Proof of Their Sin was one of them, sent under the title Kidnapped For Keeps. She wound up suggesting I pair the heroine from one synopsis with the Russian hero from the other.

There’s a whole long epic Russian tragedy about how that story marched toward eventual cold and wintry death. (It may yet see resurrection.) After its demise, I wrote No Longer Forbidden? It was accepted in a two-book contract and I still had this lovely synopsis entitled Kidnapped For Keeps which hadn’t exactly been rejected so I sent it along as my second book.

I already had a jump start on the story with a stunning dress for Lauren and a white tie ball and a revelation of an unplanned pregnancy. Wait, have you seen that in a romance before? Yeah, me too. Fortunately, I had plenty of questions to answer: How does she get in? How did she get pregnant? How does she know Paolo?

Pretty soon I was getting to know Lauren and Paolo. He’s a banker who only succeeds in that field by tempering his natural, high-octane, surf-typhoon-waves-in-Indonesia nature. For all his projection of aloofness, he was incredibly devoted to his best friend, Lauren’s first husband. Lauren is an absolute mouse when the story opens, but she steps into her grandmother’s vintage designer gown and dares Paolo to judge her. In her quiet way, she keeps Paolo on his toes and offers him the excitement he craves.

Due to another epic saga, my first Mills & Boon will release with my third this December, making Proof of Their Sin my North American debut. It will hit shelves in my hometown, on July first. I’m ridiculously excited. (I actually went into a store today to check for it and they groaned in empathy when they saw me. “It’s not here yet.”)

I hope Proof of Their Sin strikes a chord with you. Here’s the blurb:

A beautiful mistake…

Pregnant. Lauren Bradley’s heart stops-there’s only one man who can be the father and it’s not her late husband, the man everyone thinks is a celebrated war hero….

Ravaged with guilt at sleeping with his best friend’s wife, Paolo Donatelli closes his heart to Lauren forever. But in nine months’ time, the proof of their incredible night together will be there for the world to see.

Marriage is Paolo’s answer to avoiding more scandal, but it’s Lauren’s worst fear-she still bears the scars from the first time she said I do. Can she trust Paolo enough to reveal the truth?

Buy: Proof of Their Sin (One Night With Consequences)

What makes a romance stand out from the pack for you? Do you have an example of something really different that worked really well for you—or didn’t at all?

GIVEAWAY: I have a copy of Proof Of Their Sin for one lucky commenter.

dani collinsBio: Dani Collins spent two decades submitting to every publisher with a transom while holding down a day job and raising a family with her high school sweet heart.

When The Call finally came, Dani ran with it, going to contract on eight books in that first year. Along with her Harlequin Mills & Boon titles, she has an epic fantasy romance, The Healer, with Champagne Books and an indie-published rom-com, Hustled To The Altar.

While her stories span very different genres, she always delivers alpha-male heroes squaring off with spirited heroines in a deeply emotional, unforgettable romance.

Buy: Proof of Their Sin (One Night With Consequences)

I’d love to hear from you. Find me at:

www.danicollins.com | FB:DaniCollinsAuthor | @DaniCollinsBook |Goodreads

Buy: Proof of Their Sin (One Night With Consequences)

Review: Lord of Darkness (Maiden Lane, Book 5) by Elizabeth Hoyt

lord of darknessHero: Godric St. John lost his wife to a terrible illness. In order to regain control on his life he heads out into the slums of London as the masked Ghost of St. Giles evading the police while stopping crime. Wrongly accused of the murder for a gent, Godric hasn’t let it bother him, until one night he comes face to face with his new wife and her pistol.

Heroine: Lady Margaret Reading wants a baby, so she’s decided to seduce her older husband, a man she hasn’t seen since her wedding day, into giving her one. The plan is a solid one that will also give her the chance to search for and kill her lover’s murderer, the Ghost of St. Giles.

What happened: Godric married a pregnant Margaret two years prior to the start of the novel when her brother cornered him with the knowledge that Godric was the Ghost. Godric didn’t mind so much installing a bastard babe in his nest because he knew he would never love again after the death of his first wife, but Margaret later miscarried. During the course of their marriage, Godric kept every missive Margaret wrote. She was life itself and Godric was drawn to her… but surely her idea of a babe while frankly stimulating, was an affront to his late wife’s memories? And then Margaret finds out Godric is the Ghost!

Review: This is a romance that brings together two people who have already loved and lost and never thought to love again. Godric is a hero with a lot of depth and I found it amusing that he was horrified at the prospect of bedding his wife…at first anyway, and then he grew to like the idea. ;) A fast-paced, perky, pull-no-punches romp that is highly engaging! Lord of Darkness is a keeper!

Rating: ★★★★½

Buy: Lord of Darkness

[phpbay]lord darkness elizabeth hoyt, 10, 377, “”[/phpbay]

Review: Cowboy Take Me Away (Rainbow Valley, Book 1) by Jane Graves

Cowboy Take Me AwayReviewed by Patsy F.

Summary: The story begins and continues throughout to be very atypical. It begins when one of the main characters (Luke) returns to his hometown to attend the funeral of his father. Luke had not spoken to his father in years and had a tumultuous relationship with the man.

Luke runs into ex-girlfriend (Shannon) and falls in love again. Shannon is drawn toward Luke now that he has grown and tries to fight her feelings. As he tries to pursue his dream of being in the rodeo circuit, he soon feels compelled to help Shannon at her animal rescue shelter. Soon he realizes that when he left town years ago, he left a piece of himself that he had long ago forgotten about. He soon misses the small town atmosphere and the heartfelt relationship of the townspeople.

He does get his shot at the bull riding championship, but is this what he really wants or does he want the life he could have with Shannon in their small hometown?

Review: This is a very sweet contemporary romance. It truly is a love story, but has no real surprises and no real mystery. As the story progresses, you can almost assume what is going to happen. If you like soft romances with a focus on family you will like this book.

Rating: ★★½☆☆

Buy: Cowboy Take Me Away (Rainbow Valley)

[phpbay]cowboy take me away jane graves, 10, 377, “”[/phpbay]

Review: Barefoot in the Sun by Roxanne St. Claire

barefoot in the sunReviewed by Patsy F.

This book begins in an unusual way. The “life secret” of the main character is revealed in the prologue and you get a good sense of the history of the characters. Then Chapter 1 starts with 9 years later. So immediately I was intrigued and excited to be reading a romance mystery.

The story begins when Zoe Tamarin confesses to her true love (Oliver, a hot, strong, prestigious doctor) that she had a nightmare childhood. She tells him that the woman that she calls, Aunt Pasha, is really the woman that saved her from a tragic life and abducted her. They were always on the run because Pasha was afraid they would be caught and she would be sent to prison. Little did Zoe know Aunt Pasha had another secret.

As Zoe grew into a beautiful young woman, her love for Aunt Pasha grew too. Pasha had given Zoe a wonderful loving life but a life on the run nonetheless. Zoe had developed three strong sisterhoods during the years. These friends were just as much family to Zoe as aunt Pasha and although the friends had no idea that Pasha had changed Zoe’s real name and been on the lamb, they loved her as much as Zoe did.

Though they were only together for four months, Dr. Oliver Bradbury was the only true love Zoe ever knew (her soulmate). She had left Oliver nine years ago in the beginning of the story. Oliver was about to tell a secret of his own to Zoe that his ex was pregnant with his child. He had met Zoe months after he separated from his ex. But then when she left he knew Zoe would never return, so he married his ex and raised their son just to do the right thing.

Finally now that Zoe is grown and after years of running, Zoe and Pasha decide to go to meet Zoe’s friend on an island in Florida. The friend has opened a beautiful resort and is about to give birth to her second child. When she goes into labor, there is a handsome, respected, well qualified doctor at the resort with his son.

The real mystery of the book is Pasha’s secret. The end of the story is what you would expect after a story such as this, but leaves you with a feeling of…love conquers all…no matter what.

This is a very good read, the only negative would be some of the chapters were a little too wordy in the scene description.

I would like to read more of this author’s Barefoot Bay series. I rate this book at 4 stars!

Rating: ★★★★☆

Buy: Barefoot in the Sun (Barefoot Bay)

[phpbay]barefoot in the sun roxanne, 10, 377, “”[/phpbay]

Audio Review: The Edge of Desire (Bastion Club, Book 7) by Stephanie Laurens

edge of desireHeroine: Lady Letitia Randall was in love once, but then the left her high and dry when she needed him most. Now to save her brother, Letitia must ask for aid from the same crusty curmudgeon. She’ll seduce him if she must in order to find her brother before the authorities do and to clear his name of her husband’s murder. This gal is determined.

Hero: Christian Allardyce, sixth Marquess of Dearne, didn’t tell Letitia he joined the ranks of Britain’s secret agents to fight Napoleon. He thought she would wait for him, but it turns out she married somebody else and that it was apparently a love match. It’s a betrayal he’ll never forgive, but when she asks for help he can’t refuse.

Review: Do you like reunion romances? Second chance love stories? A little murder mystery? You’ll like this book then! Just avoid the repeated references to Vaux temperament. The mystery is complex (drags a little at times, but interesting as it progresses) and each layer reveals something else about Letitia’s dearly eagerly departed husband. There’s also a big misunderstanding for our hero and heroine to put a nice bow on it.

Narrator: Steven Crossley has a very deep voice and a wonderful British accent. His voice sounds similar on one level to Sean Connery. He says things very precisely.

Rating: ★★★½☆

Buy: The Edge of Desire (Bastion Club)

[phpbay]edge desire stephanie laurens, 10, 377, “”[/phpbay]

Review: Too Dangerous to Desire (Lords of Midnight, Book 3) by Cara Elliott

Too Dangerous to DesireHeroine: Sophie Lawrance knows passionate love doesn’t always conquer all. It certainly didn’t help her in the past, when she felt it her duty to refuse her heart. Instead of fighting for her, her lover ran away. And it definitely can’t help her now that she is in the middle of a blackmail scheme meant to ruin her father’s reputation and her sister’s happiness. Or can it? Can she trust the pirate with the face of her first love to help?

Hero: Cameron Daggett, the man whose hand in marriage Sophie once rejected, is good at living in the shadows. When his present unexpectedly collides with his past, he has to know what brings her back into his sphere. Her meeting with a shady bloke piques his curiosity and she his passions. His skills as a thief will finally get some good use if he can manage to steal her heart again.

Review: For the record, the nickname Sleuth Hound is not as sexy as Wolfhound. Cam might have been better named Ghost Hound, because he can slip in and out of people’s homes stealing what he most desires. Virtuous ladies’ virtue especially! There are shades of Jane Austen’s Persuasion in the setup of this third book in the Lords of Midnight trilogy. Perfect, if you are in the mood for second chance romance.

Rating: ★★★☆☆

Buy: Too Dangerous to Desire (Lords of Midnight)

[phpbay]too dangerous desire Cara Elliott, 10, 377, “”[/phpbay]