Welcome to Sweet Grove!

This time of year, romance takes center stage. Sweet Grove, Texas is a place full of romance. In fact, there’s an entire Kindle World of romance centered around this fictional place from the mind of Melissa Storm.

But what does Valentine’s Day really have to do with romance?

As much as women love to get flowers and savor the decadent chocolates (directly from a fancy box, of course), we don’t think that’s what romance is all about. Do we?

Is romance a fancy dinner date? Getting dressed up and going out only to come home and get undressed for the “romance” men are interested in?

If the man brings home flowers, do we say, “That’s so romantic!” Because that sort of thing will set in motion a parade of flowers whenever the man hopes to be “romantic.”

My husband tried for a romantic marriage proposal. One day in the middle of a LONG work week, he asked me to drive to the beach (about 90 minutes away) and watch the sun set.

Normally, I’m all about sun sets at the beach. But I was tired. It had been a rough day at work and the week wasn’t over yet. So I said, “How about Saturday?”

Well, he didn’t want to wait those few extra days to propose to me. So he improvised. And to this day when I say something about how he could be more romantic, he says, “I tried that once. You didn’t like it.”

Because to him romance is all about the sun slipping into the ocean.
And romance is nice.

But what’s really important in a relationship is love. Real love that holds your hand when you feel lonely and holds your head when you’re being sick.

Real love helps with household chores and changes dirty diapers. True love is all about being whatever the person you love needs in their moment of need.

And, let’s face it, most of that isn’t very romantic at all.

That’s why I aim for love (rather than romance) in my romance novels. Sure, I like the fluttering hearts and stomachs and the deep sense of physical attraction. Those are the things that start us down the path to real love—usually.

But romance isn’t a permanent state of being. No one is feeling romantic when their alarm buzzes at five in the morning after they’ve been cleaning up their child’s vomit all night. And real life relationships are made up of thousands of moments just like this...NOT romantic sunsets or dinners.

Romance has a place in real life, but it doesn’t often look like it does in fiction. Which is the reason we read fiction, right? Or maybe that’s just me.

If I want real life, I only have to put the book down and look around me.

In my books, I try to impart enough real life to make it meaningful once we leave the story. Maybe reading is all about escape, but if a reader wants to be encouraged in a hardship they're facing, my story gives them that. Or if they need to feel hopeful, Love's Late Arrival is a reminder of why they should. Maybe they need to reconnect with difficult times of the past in order to find closure, I want to offer that opportunity.

But I’ll always offer up a happy ending. We get enough unhappiness in life, and when I read, I want things ending on a positive note. No, everything might not have worked out perfectly, but the main characters found what they needed.

In Love’s Late Arrival, Kyanna has sacrificed much for her career, but now that she’s reached the pinnacle, the payoff is bittersweet.
In contrast, Roth is doing everything he can to parent his daughter, but it never seems to be enough.

These two lonely middle-aged adults aren’t looking for love, but God has a bigger plan. He knows how to resolve Kyanna’s loneliness and Roth’s feelings of failure. It might be along a path they wouldn’t have chosen, but in the end, the payoff is love.

The story has some dark valleys, and everything isn’t in a tidy package on the last page. Because that’s not realistic, but romance shines through and love plays a very real part in the resolution.

How would you define romance? What do you think is the biggest difference between romance and love?

If you'd like to learn about all my stories and upcoming releases, you can do that here. You'll also get another story from me FREE.

Just $1.99 or FREE in Kindle Unlimited!

Is it ever too late for love?
Sweet Grove High’s new principal Kyanna Patchett sacrificed everything for her career. Now that she’s reached the top, life should be sweet apple pie. Tell that to her lonely heart.
Widower Roth Stryker fumbles to parent his teenage daughter alone. When he ends up in the principal’s office, he’s not ready for the physical and emotional ghosts that begin to haunt him.
Small town Sweet Grove, Texas isn’t the haven they expect. Bullies are about to alter Kyanna’s life again, and the trouble Roth hoped to protect his daughter from remains a wolf at their door.
With a rebel daughter and an unexpected medical diagnosis fighting against them, will Roth and Kyanna miss Love’s Late Arrival?
Partridge & Pear Press, PO Box 72, Brighton, MI 48116, United States

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