Surgeon Grant Sullivan’s once-perfect life lies in ruins. His daughter is gone—lost in a tragic accident he dare not allow himself to remember—and his beautiful wife now stares at him from across a legal table, insisting she wants nothing from him.
Julia Sullivan lost everything, especially her illusions about her marriage, after the accident. Her grief only seemed to drive Grant further into his emotional shell—except for the nights he turned to her in silent, furious passion. Unable to live like a ghost in her old life, she’s packed up what’s left of her broken heart and is ready to move on. Alone.
Determined to break their stalemate, Grant follows Julia onto the elevator just in time for an earthquake. Trapped for hours in a building pressure cooker of unspoken pain, he’ll do anything to remind her what she’s leaving behind, as deliciously as he can. But giving her what she needs to save their marriage is the one thing that could destroy his soul.
As a romance writer, we have to really ponder the question of what makes a romance work and what makes it fail. If we can’t make a reader believe in the relationship, the book is for naught. In the case of my newest short novella, “Shaken”, this question was paramount because my characters, Grant & Julia, were on the cusp of divorce. Something significant had to have happened to tear them apart despite the fact that they loved each other desperately. But what could possibly be stronger than love?
I realized fairly quickly what that could be. Grief.
Saying goodbye to a loved one is perhaps the hardest, most difficult thing we can do in our lives. It’s not a single moment, one day thing. A funeral is a ceremonial step, but it’s only a start. It would be so much easier if that was all a heart needed to recover. But grief is a twisting blade of love, pain, guilt and lost expectations. You cherish the memories of the one who is gone, but the second you remember those good times, the pain and the grief sneak in to steal the goodness and leave you wracked with loss. With fear. Fear that the things you cherish still could also disappear just as quickly. Sometimes you hold on too tight, desperate to keep it close. Others push the people they love away, unable to bear the thought of losing them—if they’re gone, you can almost believe you never cared.
It seems almost a sick irony that the love that hurts so bad…is also the only true salve for grief.
Of course, life is often a little sick. Our lives are a series of ups and downs, gains and losses. All the more reason for us to love our very hardest while we can, right? That’s a lesson I wanted to teach my characters (and lets be honest, myself too.). Love is a wonderful thing, and while it doesn’t always feel like it’s conquering all, it does manage to outlast everything.
Dee Tenorio has a few reality issues. After much therapy for the problem—if one can call being awakened in the night by visions of hot able-bodied men a problem—she has proved incurable. It turns out she enjoys tormenting herself by writing sizzling, steamy romances of various genres spanning paranormal mystery dramas, contemporaries and romantic comedies. Preferably starring the sexy, somewhat grumpy heroes described above and smart-mouthed heroines who have much better hair than she does.
The best part is, no more therapy bills!
Well, not for Dee, anyway. Her husband and kids, on the other hand…
A big thank you to Dee for joining us today! Don’t forget to leave a comment below for a chance to win SHAKEN. Good luck!