A Second Chance at Love, part 3: the one that got away

This is the third ‘A Second Chance at Love’ post in our series about tropes in romance literature


by Alyssa J Montgomery

Katy Perry sings In another life, I would make you stay so I don’t have to say, You were the one that got away, and as we’re singing along to this upbeat song, there’s something that pulls at our emotions at the thought of losing such an intense love.

Life doesn’t always go according to plan and, being human, we screw up. Part of the appeal of the very popular ‘second chance of love’ trope is the recognition of human imperfection, which to me can make the trope more believable.

As a true romantic at heart, it also appeals because I like to think that true love can win through and that people can be forgiven for their mistakes and find their way back to each other. Rachael Johns uses this trope in her wonderful novel, Jilted. It’s also the trope that dominates Jake and Amanda’s story in Echoes of the Heart.

When a couple have already been lovers, sparks fly instantly because they’ve already shared a deep connection – and, in Jake and Amanda’s case, an explosive chemistry. Because it ended the first time with a bang that left them both emotionally wounded, the risks seem higher the second time around. Conflict abounds as the plot zigzags and the reader is asking will they or won’t they, and how can they possibly?

There are many challenges for the author in writing this trope. Firstly, why will this couple end up together now when they didn’t earlier? This becomes even harder if the backstory isn’t merely a drifting away or missed opportunity but some emotionally explosive circumstance that has opened up an incredibly wide chasm between them. Another challenge is to make the characters worthy of having that second chance.


I think the story can be more satisfying if the author is able to bring the reader to a point of disbelief initially – to make it seem impossible that the couple can ever resolve their differences and move forward from the heart-rending circumstances that tore them apart – but then to show the character growth and the changes made so the resolution and happily-ever-after ending is believable.

I find the HEA ending deeply satisfying after having suffered alongside the hero and heroine on their harrowing emotional journey – their remembered love but painful memories of separation; their inner conflict and agonising recriminations, bitter accusations, and all the tension and drama of their former relationship as it flows into their present circumstances and must be overcome.

Jake has never forgotten Amanda, nor forgiven her for leaving him and marrying a much older man, and believes she has always been a gold digger. As soon as she’s free, he finds it impossible not to pursue her and tells himself he wants the chance to have her again as his lover so he can achieve the closure on their relationship that was denied him. There’s so much angst and bitterness in him that he’s harsh and unforgiving initially when they’re alone, even though he can’t help but be heroic and stand by her publicly when she needs his defence. He tells himself he wants revenge, yet very quickly, he rediscovers all there was that had him falling in love with her in the first place. He has a lot to deal with because he’s built such barriers around his heart because of their initial break-up, so he not only has to learn to open up to loving her again, but has to learn how to get back to being the same loving guy he once was.

Even though the passionate sexual chemistry is still at hazardous high-octane levels, there’s much inner conflict and tension as each struggles to recognise and come to terms with feelings that have never been extinguished. They must find the courage to communicate, to trust and to expose their hearts again. After the rough ride, the resolution in Echoes of the Heart becomes sigh-worthy and, happily, Amanda and Jake don’t join the ranks of ‘the one that got away!’


echoesShe betrayed him and left him to be with another. Now that she’s alone again, nothing is going to stop him from coming for her.

Feed Your Reader – January Releases


A sexy new adult duology about falling in love with completely the wrong person. Best friends do everything together—including falling in love …


Now available, two new bundles at fantastic prices…


From the passionate, pacy pen of Alyssa J Montgomery comes a three-book bundle about the most powerful men in the world – and the women who bring them to their knees…


From Lena Dowling comes two emotional, heart-wrenching, heart-warming stories about second chances at life – and love. 

July New Releases: Feed Your Readers!


When faced with the choice between the life she’s built and the duty she’s left behind—what’s a reluctant princess to do?


From SE Gilchrist comes the next big thing: The Starburst Rock Band – coming to a galaxy near you…


Jaz is back in another explosive mission – but her hardest task is keeping her secret from her friends…

Roses are Red…The Language of Flowers

By Alyssa J Montgomery

In Roses for Sophie, the hero – Logan – uses the language of flowers to communicate the development of his feelings for the heroine – Sophie. Like most modern women, Sophie knows red roses symbolise love, but is unaware of the symbolism behind the other colours of roses which Logan gives her. She is happy to receive each bouquet and enjoys his explanation of the sentiments the roses represent, but longs for him to bring her red roses.V871_330x370The language of flowers, or floriography, has been part of human culture world-wide for centuries and I’ve been rather fascinated to explore this. I discovered that the Romans used to hang roses over a meeting table to indicate that all discussions were to remain secret; that stories from the Ancient Greeks, Egyptians, and Chinese refer to the use of flowers; and that evidence suggests people communicated through flowers widely during the Ottoman Empire. It was in the mid 1700s that the French and English discovered that the Turks had an entire language of flowers depending upon different flower types. The Victorian culture adapted this to create an elaborate system of expression based on the type, number, and colour of bloom. Meanings were even attached to the way a single bloom or bouquet was presented or received – that is whether it was given and received with the left hand, right hand or both hands!

Like Sophie, most people today still associate the red rose as a symbol of passion and love – an association which was popular in ancient Greek times as the red rose was the flower of Aphrodite, goddess of love. Apart from this, the symbolism behind each bloom is largely unknown. Did you know, for example, that the colours of flowers hold meanings –

Perfect-white-roses-bunchwhite for purity and innocence

Nice-bunch-of-pink-rosespink for love, happiness, beauty and friendship

BQPPS003-2purple for faith and devotion

And while Roses for Sophie only refers to the meanings of various shades of roses, other flowers also have meanings:

define-camellia-1the camellia is a bloom symbolising admiration

TaraxacumOfficinaleSeedthe dandelion represents faithfulness

carnationthe carnation expresses fascination

Even the number of flowers presented holds significance in the language of flowers.

Regardless of the historic symbolism, the giving of flowers is still popular in our time on special occasions and to send messages of thanks, ‘get well soon’ or as a means of apology and friendship. It’s also acceptable for a woman to give a man flowers, and bunches of virtual flowers are increasingly popular!

The Human Emotion Laboratory at Rutgers University studied the giving of flowers and found that people who give flowers are generally perceived as successful, caring, strong and capable with higher emotional intelligence. A Harvard University study found that flowers in the work environment increased productivity.

Receiving flowers has the potential of increasing an individual’s happiness, and swaying opinions regarding the person who has sent them. Powerful stuff!

We continue to be drawn to the beauty and fragrance of flowers whether it is purely for adornment and appreciation or the expression of intimate feelings. Flowers continue to speak in ways that touch human emotions. Logan found them a perfect way to reach Sophie’s heart. I hope you’ll enjoy their story.

Princess Diana was known to love white waterlilies, Elizabeth Taylor and Nicole Kidman both listed white gardenias as their favourites and although I’m not sure of Madonna’s favourite flowers, it’s widely reported that she has an intense aversion to hydrangeas! Tell us about your type of flower and what it is that makes it your favourite, for a chance to win a copy of “Roses for Sophie”.

23091From the polished, pacy, passionate pen of Alyssa J Montgomery come a delicious billionaire, a mining heiress, a marriage of convenience and a very inconvenient attraction.

To convince the court that his playboy days are over and to keep a desperate promise, Australian billionaire Logan Jackson needs a wife…fast.

To make her grandfather happy and sway him into making her managing director of the family company, mining heiress Sophie Hamilton needs a husband…fast.

With common goals, similar values, and a very definite end date, there is no reason why Logan and Sophie shouldn’t be able to strike a deal to satisfy them both. No reason except that the sizzling attraction arcing between them is too hot to trust.

Hot New Reads for a Hot New Year!

22841From the best-selling author of The House on Burra Burra Lane, comes a brand-new story about opposites, attraction, an outback pub, and a pink house…

23094Viveka Portman’s latest instalment in the sexiest set of diaries you have ever read…

23092From Nicole Murphy comes a sexy new SF romance: everything has always come easily to her…except him.

23093A fresh, exciting, funny, fabulous take on New Adult Paranormal about an enterprising matchmaker…and her paranormal clientele.

23091From the polished, pacy, passionate pen of Alyssa J Montgomery come a delicious billionaire, a mining heiress, a marriage of convenience and a very inconvenient attraction.

Are you caught up on the sexploits of Sydney’s sexiest housewives?

22815Rugged, athletic, and absolutely enormous, Mud is aggressive on the rugby field and off. It takes a special kind of woman to tame the beast and take on all that man, but Jorja has never been anything less than exceptional. 

22814Meagan knows that she’s playing with fire with a special dessert that blows the restaurant’s budget, but maybe, with the help of some unorthodox persuasion techniques, she might just get what she wants – everything that she wants.

released 29 January
22816In business, as in pleasure, Christa has two rules: ask for what you want, and be prepared to get a bit creative.

A very special re-release

21183Originally released as Deadly Secrets, and now a print best-seller!
Jordan must save her farm from debt and sabotage – can she place her trust in a man from out of town?

April Showers New Books on the World!

…and we’re not foolin’.

You can also now buy Escape titles directly from the Harlequin Mills & Boon web page, so if you prefer to shop direct from the source, then get cracking!

 20614 From Ros Baxter: A paranormal novel that explores what exactly goes on under the sea.

The sequel to Fish Out of Water is a sexy, funny mystery about strength, love, and French fries.

20618From Ainslie Paton:  a contemporary romance with suspense elements and one heck of a road trip.

They’re a car crash waiting to happen…so why do they keep crashing into each other?

20616From Cathleen Ross, a sexy, funny, delicious treat that sets a country mouse deep into city territory: Sydney’s Kings Cross. 

A naughty-but-nice story about the fun one can have playing dress-up.

20615From Alyssa J Montgomery: an emotional, indulgent, shivers-inducing story about an alpha hero who wants the one woman he can’t have.

She betrayed him and left him to be with another. Now that she’s alone again, nothing is going to stop him from coming for her.

20613From Eliza Redgold comes a lovely, contemporary, David vs. Goliath coastal romance that’s sure to boost Broome tourism.
He thought he knew all there was to know about the birds and the bees, but he’s about to get schooled.

20617From Wendy Godding: a fantastic new voice in YA, with a time twist – a main character who has to solve her own murder.

She has died countless times before, and she is not going to let it happen again.

ARRA Nominee – Alyssa J Montgomery



  • blisteringly hot heart-throb hero of Mistaken Identity and love of Leah’s life…(Make sure you have your airconditioner is on full blast!)
  • Nominated in the ARRA Awards as the ‘Sexiest Hero of 2013’
  • The ultimate tall, dark, handsome Greek: Apollo come to life and every female over eighteen’s dream.
  • Not only does he ooze confidence and possess that take-charge aura that made Leah swoon, but he has anatomical assets that would make ancient Olympians envious! (Sigh)

Leah’s thinks it’s great her husband’s a finalist in this award, but her twin sister Susie is anxious about the nomination.

‘Alyssa J. Montgomery is guilty of building Alex up and placing his bedroom skills on par with Casanova, Don Juan and Rasputin all rolled into one,’ Susie told the Escapades Blog earlier this month. ‘I’m not sure how Alex will cope if he doesn’t win the ARRA. Quite frankly, Leah has him on a pedestal, so I’m urging readers to vote for him — if not for his sake, then unite in sisterhood and do it for Leah. After all, think of the catastrophic ramifications that could occur for Leah if Alex doesn’t win the title…

What if Alex loses and suffers performance anxiety? Can you imagine Leah’s grief if he sinks into depression and spends his days more down than up? And…What if he resorts to comfort eating? Then instead of his abdomen rippling…it will be tripling!’


But Leah had another take on it…


‘Susie has it all wrong. While Alex may be secretly chuffed at the nomination, his ego isn’t invested in this title. Susie doesn’t get that what’s ‘sexy’ about Alex isn’t just his lethally good looks and his heart-flipping smile (although they certainly rate!).

‘Alex will always be sexy to me because he’s so self-assured, so confident, and I know I can completely depend on him (except to go shoe shopping with me!). He’s fiercely loyal to me and his family and he can admit when he’s wrong and has made mistakes (not a common male trait). He definitely has a sense of humour and no matter what,’ <a blush suffuses her cheeks with colour> ‘he’s a man who can always rise to the occasion!’

I must say that although Alex isn’t quite sure what all the fuss is about, he is certainly my pick for “Sexiest Hero for 2013″…and 2014 and…well, let’s face it, win or lose the final, he’ll always be my sexiest hero!’

List of finalists: https://australianromancereaders.wordpress.com/2014/01/06/2013-arr-awards-finalists-announced/

Join ARRA to vote: http://www.australianromancereaders.com.au/join.html