Secret Love...Is It Really Possible?
Unrequited love. Yearning for a secret love is an old and beloved theme in romance novels. Sometimes it’s tied up with The Big Misunderstanding plot device, where the two main characters are at odds with each other because of miscommunications. Sometimes it’s simply someone who loves without expectation...occassionally for years.
Victorian novels used to feature unrequited and impossible loves regularly. One such love I recall from a classic novel is Vanity Fair. William Dobbin went for eighteen years trailing after Amelia, hopelessly in love with her, before she finally woke up to the fact and married him.
Modern romance novels don’t torture their character nearly that long.
It takes a lot of work to make a secret love sound convincing in a modern novel. I wrote not one but two of them into Blood Knot, and now I know why authors don’t do them a lot. They’re bloody difficult to pull off and make ‘em sound real.
In this day and age, when speaking up for yourself, being assertive and pro-active is the fabric of life, secretly loving someone and doing nothing about it is almost flat-out impossible. But just for a moment, let’s suppose that the unlikely was possible. Let's agree that there exists some rare circumstances where you could find yourself in love with someone and chose not to do anything about it (that don't make you a spineless wimp...but I digress). And for the sake of this discussion I am not including any situation where the object of love is married or in a relationship. Love triangles are a different matter altogether. Here’s where secret love starts to fall apart in modern terms: How do you keep it secret?
If you’re truly, really in love with that person in the romantic sense, how do you stop yourself from going to pieces around them every time they step into the room? How do you stop yourself from showing how much you love them with every expression, every look, everything you do? A person in love almost glows with it. If the person you love doesn’t notice, then everyone around you is certainly going to see the change in your behaviour and there you go, the secret is out. These days, the secret is going to last a nano-second before someone tells the person you love. There are no barriers to people getting together these days. No Victorian sense of impropriety. No one is going to say “well done you,” (or better yet "how honourable!") for holding yourself apart. They’re going to think you’re flippin’ crazy and shove you into your love’s arms.
So there goes the secret and your unrequited ambitions.
But...suppose for a moment longer that somehow or another you’re the world’s best actor and manage to fool everyone that you’re cool, nothing has changed, and the person you love desparately doesn’t discharge your pulse every time they walk by. Now you’re managing to hang onto your secret love. Go, you.
But for how long?
How long could someone possibly hold onto such an explosive package of emotions like love, and not have a coronary or embolism or total nervous breakdown? How long can you walk around bottling up true romantic love for another person, day after day, before it fundamentally changes your personality in some way, simply because you're holding all that high emotional content like a pressure cooker inside you?
And if by some miracle you a) hide all that and b) keep it held tight and secure over the long term without ill-effect, the next hurdle you face is: How do you keep your love alive?
I know, I know...Dobbin loved Amelia for eighteen friggin' years before she got a clue. But that was fiction.
When you first fall in love with another person, the intensity of the emotions, both physical and mental, can be off the charts. How long can a real person hold onto all that intense, deep feeling, if it isn't returned in any way at all? If you see the person you secretly love every day, for example, and they're blind to your true feelings, how can you continue to love them so intensely and not have your feelings of love change when they blythely carry on with their lives day in and day out without so much as a gentle word in your direction?
Something's gotta give. Your love must change in nature. It has to. If you don't receive anything back, you would not be able to love at that level of intensity in a continuous vacuum. You might love them with less intensity, or less need, or your love may mutate to a more familial kind of love that doesn't need acknowledgement or mutual romantic love in return.
Which makes the sort of long term secret love story lines in romance novels that we all adore even more unrealistic that ever before. Dammit.
That's why I had such a hard time with Blood Knot. I really shot myself in the foot. I had to sit down and think long and hard about the why's and wherefore's and how relationships and personalities would change if two of the main characters secretly loved someone. Plus, I wanted to set it up so that there would be damn good reasons for those people to be keeping their mouths shut in the first place, and still have a backbone at the end of the book.
By the time I figured all that out, I had a hell of a complex love story on my hands, and the rest of the book had to fit itself in around the mess. And that's actually where I first started to get the idea for the name of the book: Blood Knot hints at the very tangled mess these people—Winter, Sebastian and Nial—made for themselves.
I've won a number of awards, including Australia's Emma Darcy Award (the equivalent of the Golden Heart) and was most recently nominated for the CAPA's Best Erotic Paranormal and Favourite Author categories. You can find out more about me and my books here.
Winter, a professional thief who can manipulate others’ biologies by touch, accidentally “healed” her former partner—and former vampire—Sebastian, whom she secretly loves. Her healing created a symbiotic pairing between them that neither of them wants.
Nathanial, a sexy thousand-year-old vampire and Sebastian’s ex-lover, talks Sebastian and Winter into stealing evidence that will expose all vampires to the world. But Nathanial is a puppet-master who doesn’t believe in falling in love with humans, leaving Winter unsure of his real feelings for her once he seduces her, or how he feels about Sebastian, the former vampire-now-human whose life he has turned upside down once more.
But the evidence they steal is hot property. The future of all vampires is on the line and others will stop at nothing to get it, leaving Sebastian, Winter and Nathanial with no allies but each other. They must trust each other to survive. Only...can they?
An Excerpt From: BLOOD KNOT
Copyright © TRACY COOPER-POSEY, 2011
All Rights Reserved.
Copyright © TRACY COOPER-POSEY, 2011
All Rights Reserved.
[For readers who are following my blog tour, these excerpts are consecutive -- each excerpt follows the last one. Check on my blog for details of previous excerpts, and subscribe to my blog to learn about future blog tour posts and the excerpts that go with them. http://tracycooperposey.com]
Eleven months later, dozens of recalls later, Winter still could not put together in her mind a visual sequence of what Sebastian did next. Only logic supplied her with what he must have actually done.
He must have seen the guard she had failed to put to sleep stir behind her and reach for the broken off broomstick. The guard picked up the jagged, pointed end and reared up behind Winter, who was stupidly facing Sebastian. The guard aimed the sharp end of the broomstick at her back.
Sebastian grabbed Winter’s shoulders and spun her out of the way, using a strength and speed she had never seen before. He moved so fast, in fact, that she couldn’t follow the movement with her naked eye.
He pulled her around, out of the way of the up-thrusting spike of the broomstick, which put him in front of it.
The sharp, broken-off end punched through his ribs and into the right ventricle of his heart. Sebastian gasped, his eyes widening.
The point of the stake pushed up against the front of his ribcage and Winter could feel the grinding of the point against his bones.
Through his grip on her shoulders Winter measured instant shock circle through him. Shock…and something else. For the first time in the nearly two years since Sebastian had strolled into her life she went inside his body.
She ripped her way in without thought, without care. She just wanted to stop the pain.
But there was none. His body was disintegrating like that of someone long dead.
“No!” Terrified, Winter threw herself into holding him together. To fixing it. She poured herself into reversing the damage.
And it hurt. She screamed.
“What are you doing?” Sebastian cried, his grip tightening.
Winter grasped at him, not sure who was holding who up. Like the guard, they both sank slowly to the floor. She couldn’t speak. Her focus, both mental and visual, was on the black, nameless processes inside him and bringing his body back to normal.
Her vision was clouded over, so she felt her way around Sebastian’s body to where the stake protruded, gripped it and drew it out slowly, repairing tissues and organs as it withdrew.
“Winter…” he breathed. “What are you?”
“Shhh…” There was such deadness in his body. Such damage. It wasn’t just the stake. She fixed the damage the stake had caused, then encompassed the rest. It was like trying to hug a black cloud. It eluded her at first. There was nothing to grip. Then she simply stepped inside it and…inhaled.
The agony tore through her like burning. She thought she screamed.
“Winter, what are you doing?” Sebastian was shaking her.
“Healing you…” she whispered. Or perhaps she just mouthed the words.
She inhaled and struggled and fought. She would not give up. Not Sebastian.
And then it was done. The cloud was gone. Sebastian’s heart beat normally. His systems were correct, proper, normal. Sweet and clean.
But Winter knew something was very wrong with her. There was no euphoria this time. She blinked, trying to bring her vision together and look at Sebastian.
He was staring at her. So was the guard.
She lay half-way across Sebastian’s chest, her hand on his neck.
“Your eyes,” Sebastian breathed.
“They’re fine now,” she said.
“They changed,” Sebastian told her flatly.
“Bring the guard here. I need to touch him,” she said urgently.
The guard started to scramble to his feet, but Sebastian snatched out his hand, grabbing the guard’s ankle and dragging him back within Winter’s reach. The guard kicked and struggled until Winter circled his ankle with her fingers. She sent him to sleep. It took effort to do it and made her feel sick. But he went limp and began to snore.
“Fuck…” Sebastian breathed.
Winter took a few breaths, then reached into the guard’s brain and wiped his recent memories. It took the last of her dwindling reserved.
Black sickness swamped her, making her giddy. She tried to quell the nausea, but it wouldn’t go away. “Something’s wrong,” she muttered.
“No kidding,” Sebastian replied, staring at the peacefully snoring guard.
“I can’t fix myself,” she gasped, clutching at her head. The darkness was looming larger within her, demanding and sucking at her. Pulsing. Blooming.
Sebastian cupped her face. His gaze was steady. “What do you need, Winter? It’s yours. Just name it.” So strong. So dependable.
She bit back the first truthful, harmful words that bubbled to her lips. Instead she settled for the practical. “Get me home, Sebastian.”
NATHANIAL STARED UP through the big basement windows at the noon-day sun, which at Montana latitudes, was low overhead. He had been standing that way for a full ten minutes since she had finished relating how Sebastian and she had completed the Sumitomo job.
Now he turned back to face Winter again. “You didn’t take anything out of the vault,” he said.
Winter blinked. Of all the startling facts she had handed over, Nathanial chose to focus on the booty they had hauled or not hauled out of the bank?
“Why do you care what we took with us?” she asked.
“Verification,” he replied. “I was told the Sumitomo job was a raging success. You just told me another version that doesn’t seem to…match.”
“You don’t trust me. I’m wounded,” she said dryly. “What do you think happened? I did Sebastian in, drained him and now live off what’s left of his blood?”
Nathanial smiled. “Your blood fever was real enough. You wouldn’t limit your blood supply by killing the source. But there is a discrepancy here. You didn’t take anything from the vault.”
“No,” Winter said flatly. “And the contract I took had a confidentiality clause, so let’s drop the subject.”
Nathanial’s eyes narrowed. “You didn’t take anything. You put something in there.” He smiled. “The data centre. That’s why Sebastian went in. He’s the computer expert. Something…a trojan or a phishing module, or even a piece of hardware sitting unobtrusively on a server, sending data to the right people. That’s why the contract specified no one must suspect that a break-in happened. That’s why Slavomir passed up the two million dollar pay off—because he couldn’t figure out a way to do it. But you could, because you simply wiped the guards’ memories.”
“And Sebastian re-looped the security recordings so that nothing showed there, either,” Winter added. She stood up. “I’m hungry. Do you mind if I eat?”
“Not at all. Do you mind if I follow you into your kitchen and keep talking?”
She sighed. “I suppose.”
When she finds herself at the seige of Jerusalem during the first crusade, Veris doesn’t know her at all and doesn’t want to. Worst of all, he and Brody are total strangers, and Taylor drives a wedge in deep between them by trying to seduce Veris at their first meeting—not something a lady of the day does if she wants to keep her head.
Taylor and Brody must woo Veris using the customs of medieval England, win his heart and his full commitment before Jerusalem falls in four days time—or when they return to their own time, their lives as they know them will be gone…
Tracy is giving away 1 e-copy of her book Kiss Across Swords. Above is the cover and the blurb...To me it sounds really interesting!
1. Remember this contest is for an e-copy.
2. You MUST fill out the form.
3. Please leave a comment both here on this post as well as the review of Blood Knot.
4. Contest will close April 8th @ 11:59 pm CST.