by Juanita Kees
What if your first love isn’t the one for you? What if there is someone else out there who is your true soul mate?
Many of us remember the rush of our first love, The One with whom we dreamed of having the fairy-tale wedding, building our house complete with the white picket fence, having the perfect pigeon pair—a boy and a girl—and living happily ever after. Then reality checks in and life doesn’t go the way we’d planned it, and suddenly we find ourselves alone again.
Everyone deserves a second chance at love, which is why I love writing this trope. I have the power to give my characters the second chance they desire in a relationship with a guaranteed Happy Ever After. The challenge in writing it comes from finding ways to put a fresh spin on the ways second chances come about. There are so many life experiences to explore and ways for our characters to find love again.
In Under Cover of Dark, Lily Bennetti is the victim of domestic abuse. When her husband is shot and killed, it’s a relief as much as it is a tragedy. Any love she had for him has been beaten out of her, both physically and mentally. This leaves her wary of men and, with her son in trouble with a street gang, she has no plans to trust another relationship or fall in love again.
As the investigation continues and Lily’s wounds begin to heal, she finds Detective Mark Johnson easy to trust and before long, he changes her mind about men and second chances. He is strong, reliable, kind and builds her up rather than bringing her down. When things get tough he’s there for her, and when the case is finally solved he’s earned her trust and she gets her second chance at love.
But sometimes first loves deserve a second chance too, and again we get the opportunity to put a fresh spin on how they get it. What if your first love was the one who got away, the one you set free? I don’t think there is anything more magical than the person who holds that special place in your heart coming back into your life again. In the prequel to the Tag Raiders series, Detective Mark’s sister, Peta, finds herself face to face with the past when she returns to her home town to find her missing daughter. It’s not long before she realises she still loves him, has always loved him. I’m pleased to say they work it out and yes, live happily ever after.
Ever wondered why reading romance feels so familiar? That’s because we’ve lived it in some form or another, and dream of a happy ever after or, at the very least, a second chance at love. Some of us have achieved it; others are still looking for it. May you all find it and live it, both in the pages of a book and in real life.