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Guest blogger: Erika Kelly

19 July 2015

Erika KellyCelebrating romantic love

I didn’t discover romance until my mid-thirties—pretty unfortunate for a girl with the heart of a romance writer. And, as much as I loved literary fiction, it all too often left me frustrated and sad.

At this point in my life I read romance almost exclusively.

Honestly, it nourishes my wounded spirit. It’s not a fairytale, where a prince finds a slipper and the princess finds true love. It’s about people working hard for their goals. It’s about failing and never giving up. Even when they’ve lost everything, heroes and heroines stand back up. With renewed purpose and a better plan, they go tearing after their goals once again. And they win. What a life lesson that is: hard work and determination pay off. That feeling of hope empowers me.

Romance inspires. It puts us in the hearts and minds of winners. Of people with integrity and honour. Of people who are broken, yet strive to be and ultimately become better. I need to be in a world with good people.

And romance heals. It shows us healthy relationships. With every book, we immerse ourselves in courageous people who dare to trust each other and reap the reward of intense intimacy and unconditional love.

Romance makes sex feel normal, healthy, and beautiful. When lovers delight in each other’s bodies, when they let themselves go to enjoy the natural expression of their physical love, sex feels wholesome. Like a celebration. And isn’t that what sex should feel like?

I write passionate love stories about people finding their one true love. My stories celebrate healthy romantic relationships. I want to live in the worlds I create.

In my latest release in the Rock Star Romance series, I Want You to Want Me, the record label assigns the band a minder named Violet. For media purposes, she poses as the girlfriend of Derek, the bass player, who winds up falling madly in love with her. His friend has explained to him that when a guy meets the right woman, all his excuses for staying single drop away. In this scene, Derek realises Violet is The One:

I Want You to Want Me book cover“The place is crawling with press,” Derek said. “You need to be my girlfriend. Dance with me, make out with me. Show the world you’re my girl.”

A sharp sting of awareness burned in her chest. She’d never been anyone’s girl. She could have—she knew that. She could’ve been Randall’s. But she always took too long, waiting for something. Sparks? Trust? Something that never came. Well, either it never came or she talked herself out of it.

He lowered his face into her neck, breathed her in. “You want to know why I sleep in your bed?”

She held her breath, waiting.

“All day long, you’re vigilant. You’re the consummate professional, calm, in command. But at night? You soften in my arms.” He swayed with her, still holding her from behind. “You relax into me, and I love it. I love being with you. I could stay awake all night just to be with the Violet I get under the covers. Now, I want Violet on the dance floor.” His hands pressed into her stomach, and he kissed the corner of her mouth. “Dance with me.”

See? See what he does? The man was so dangerous. No wonder she couldn’t turn him away. Had anyone in her life ever made her feel this good about herself?

Screw it. For this one night, what could it hurt? He was right, the media was everywhere, and she was supposed to be his girlfriend. So she drew in a deep breath and turned in his arms. He led her to the dance floor, belted his arms around her waist, and held her close.

She tucked her head against his chest and sank into him. And he gave her just what she wanted—a tight, intimate hold.

She hadn’t known what safety was until she’d stepped in his arms. Never in her life had she felt she could really, fully relax. Until him.

“All right?”

She answered by snuggling in even closer.

His hands pressed at the small of her back. “My sweet V. You feel so good.”

She gazed up at him, sifting her fingers through the hair at the back of his neck. “You overwhelm me.”

“That’s probably a good thing.”

She laughed. “That’s never a good thing.”

“With you it is. I’ll bet you push away all the guys. And they want you so much, they’ll do anything to have you, so they back off, give you time. What they don’t realize is during that time? You’re coming up with excuses why you don’t want them or can’t have them. So I think you need a guy like me.”

“A pushy dude?”

“A guy who sees right through you. Right into here.” He placed his palm on her heart, the heel of his hand touching her breasts. “You need me, Violet.” His teasing smile fell away as his features seized. Fear flickered in his eyes before he closed them and muttered, “Hell.” And then he brought her close, so close she could feel his heart thundering, his body heating up.

“Derek?” What just happened? What changed his mood?

But he fisted a hand in her hair, tilted her head back, and gave her a look filled with hot, churning need. And, oh God, was he going to kiss her? Blood roared in her ears because she . . . she couldn’t kiss him. He couldn’t kiss her.

But he didn’t. He just tipped his forehead against hers.

“Damn Slater,” he breathed. “It is you.”

I read romance because it makes me swoon. Why do you read it?

Award-winning author of You Really Got Me, Erika Kelly has been spinning romantic tales all her life—she just didn’t know it. Raised on the classics, she didn’t discover romantic fiction until later in life. From that moment on, she’s been devouring the genre and finding her true voice as an author. Over three decades she’s written poems, screenplays, plays, short stories, and all kinds of women’s fiction novels. Married to the love of her life and raising four children, she’s lived in two countries and seven states, but give her pen and paper, a stack of good books, and a steaming mug of vanilla chai latte, and she can make her home anywhere.

You can find Erika here: Amazon | B&N | Facebook | Website | Twitter

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