Rebel with a Tender Heart

For the Novels Alive blog, I discussed two of my favorite romances with rebellious, damaged heroines—and how Angie, the heroine of My Reckless Valentine, shares some of their literary DNA.

As of this moment, I’ve written nine complete books. And my poor critique partner—Mia Sosa, a talented author and cherished friend—has dutifully read and commented on every single of them. So she’s seen a lot of smitten heroes, independent heroines, quirky secondary characters, sex on library property, and potty-mouthed banter. But if you ask her which of my heroines she still loves the most from those nine books, she doesn’t hesitate a moment.

Angie. After all this time, Mia still loves Angela Burrowes, Battlefield Library branch manager and heroine of My Reckless Valentine, more than any character I’ve written. Because, Mia says, Angie seems real to her. Fun. Like someone who’d always have your back. Because Angie’s confidence is genuine, but also helps mask her hidden vulnerability.

And that vulnerability—the contrast between the carefree, rebellious face she presents to the world and her inner turmoil—is precisely why I too adored Angie as my heroine. I wanted to write about a woman who made real mistakes and self-destructive decisions despite her intelligence and accomplishments. A woman who slapped on a brave face and acted outrageously to cover her pain at the disapproval of her loved ones. A woman deserving of a hero who’d see past her untroubled façade and worship her, flaws and all.

Angie tugged at my heart in so many ways, and giving her a happy ending delighted me. I hope I did her justice.

If she seems like the type of heroine you’d enjoy too, you might want to pick up My Reckless Valentine. You also might want to peruse a couple of other books I love and would highly recommend. They’re two of my favorite reads from the past year or so, and neither is particularly expensive (for now, at least!).

Silk and Scandal by Cassandra Dean

Oh, I adored everything about this historical romance. The epistolary sections of the book, in which wealthy Lady Nicola corresponds with her former neighbor and friend, prospective barrister Thomas. The way Nic stumbles into international scandals because of her loneliness and boredom. Thomas’s unwilling devotion to the woman who could ruin his burgeoning career through her improprieties. How Nic’s cheerful mask finally shatters, revealing her pain and grief. I cried reading this wonderful book, which is a particularly impressive accomplishment given its brevity.

Her Best Worst Mistake by Sarah Mayberry

Defiant Violet and her best friend’s stuffy fiancé, Martin, don’t get along. At all. Until the engagement ends and there’s suddenly nothing standing between two people who thought they despised one another. Violet’s fragility beneath her careless attitude and the way Martin grows to understand and love her…it slayed me. Sexy and funny and wrenching, Her Best Worst Mistake broke my heart and then healed it in the space of a single book. (I finally gave up and positioned a box of tissues next to me on my couch, by the way.)

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