An Older Bride’s HEA
Five years ago, I married my high school sweetheart. That is to say—at age 51, I married the guy I fell in love with while we were both high school teachers. This was not the first marriage for either of us, but neither had given up hope of finding the perfect partner. We’re still besotted—living proof that you’re never too old for a Happily Ever After.
Unless you’re a fictional romance hero or heroine, that is. It seems the Big Five publishers shun books about older lovers. In fact, at last year’s Emerald City Writers’ Conference, sponsored by the Greater Seattle RWA, an editor from—let’s say a very recognizable romance publisher—told us that readers don’t want stories with heroines past their early thirties.
I say, codswallop! Fortunately, I’m too old and wise (?) to listen to such twaddle. My first published romance novel features a widow, age 39, and a widower, age 41. Hardly elderly, but too old for an HEA according to the romance gatekeepers. Thank goodness not everyone sees it that way.
A tale of new beginnings and renewed hope, Through the Red Door follows Clara, a struggling bookseller who’s not sure she can ever love again—until just the right guy arrives at just the wrong time. It was such a pleasure to watch Clara’s tightly clenched heart unfurl and blossom. Should Clara give up on love, simply because she’s past the first blush of youth? Thank goodness my publisher doesn’t think so.
I love stories in which a couple’s powerful physical attraction leads them to consider a partner outside their usual M.O.—one who just might turn out to be their perfect match. That theme echoes in Runaway Love Story, Book Two in the Book Nirvana series, whose hero is divorced and thirty-nine. The heroine’s a mere babe at age thirty-one. Writing the wedding scene was such fun. I spent hours researching decorations for a back-yard ceremony, along with Greek wedding traditions. Planning a fictional wedding was a delight compared to the stress of planning my own—after all, the budget’s unlimited!
By the way, if you’re a fan of later-in-life romance, check out the Seasoned Romance group on Facebook, where readers and writers swoon over their favorite silver foxes and celebrate romance with characters over thirty-five. Seasoned Romance FB Group.
Title: Through the Red Door
Series: Book Nirvana series, Book One
Author: Sadira Stone
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Release Date: November 2018
Cover Designer: Rae Monet
Genre: Steamy Contemporary Romance
Letting him inside could be her salvation…or her undoing.
Clara Martelli clings to Book Nirvana, the Oregon bookshop she and her late husband Jared built together. When rising rents and corporate competition threaten its survival, her best hope is their extensive erotica collection, locked behind a red door. In dreams and signs, her dead husband tells her it’s time to open that door and move on. When a dark and handsome stranger’s powerful magnetism jolts her back to life and he wants a look at the treasures of that secret room, she can’t help but want to show him more.
Professor Nick Papadopoulos is looking for historical erotica. Book Nirvana’s collection surpasses his wildest dreams, and so does its lovely owner. A widower, he understands Clara’s battle with guilt, but their searing chemistry is too strong to resist. Besides, he will only be in town for two weeks, not long enough for her to see beyond the scandal that haunts his past.
Nick pressed his back against the red door and blew out a long, shaky breath. He’d heard about Book Nirvana for years, but nothing prepared him for what he found inside. The shop was aptly named, that was for damned sure.
From the first jingle of the brass bell over the doorway, he knew this place was something special. The sweet, almost edible scent of books, both new and used, wafted out to greet him. The early-summer sunlight bathed the shop in a welcoming glow and highlighted the colorful posters on the walls—Peter Max’s psychedelic sunset pointing toward the art books, the Beatles’ Yellow Submarine above the music section, and a lush still life of fruit, bread, and wine for the cooking section. Further down the long, narrow space, comic superheroes, a futuristic spacescape, an armored knight charging into battle, and, above a lacquered red door at the rear, Ingres’s La Grande Odalisque threw a languid glance over her bare shoulder—at once an invitation and a dare.
But the jewel of the collection was Clara herself. His friend at the University of Oregon told him about the pretty shop owner, but “pretty” hardly did her justice. Her unruly dark hair glimmered with just a hint of red fire. Those eyes—dark, like the Pacific on a stormy day, somewhere between green and gray—eyes a man could get lost in. Something about this woman set his pulse to revving like a race car at the starting line. Caught off guard by her startling beauty, he’d behaved like a horny teenager, ogling as her delicate fingers fiddled with the locket between her breasts. She noticed, too. Damn.
Meet Sadira Stone
Ever since her first kiss, Sadira’s been spinning steamy tales in her head. After leaving her teaching career in Germany, she finally tried her hand at writing one. Now she’s a happy citizen of Romancelandia, penning contemporary romance and cozy mysteries from her home in Washington State. When not writing, which is seldom, she explores the Pacific Northwest with her charming husband, enjoys the local music scene, belly dances, plays guitar badly, and gobbles all the books.
Coming Soon: Runaway Love Story, Book Two in the Book Nirvana Series, coming June 24 from The Wild Rose Press. Preorder on Amazon
What do you think? Do you think people older than thirty don’t get HEA? Do you like older characters in your stories?