Never Expected You by Jody Holford.
When Zach Mason, former army sergeant turned veterinarian for war-wounded animals, returns home, the decision to stay is easy. But convincing the only other vet in town to hire him is a good deal harder. It doesn’t help that the beautiful, intelligent, and stubborn Stella Lane is determined to make his life hell.
Stella doesn’t take outside help easily—she’s been let down in the past, most recently by her ex, just as she’d begun to plan their wedding. Trusting Zach with her animals is one thing, but trusting him with more is a hard pass. Too bad the handsome vet is nothing but temptation. And her new roommate…
NEVER EXPECTED YOU
This book, the second in the Love Unexpected Series, is the sixteenth romance novel/story I’ve published. I’m pretty excited about this accomplishment but what surprises me most is that the joy of putting more romance out into the world hasn’t dulled at all. I love romance. I love falling in love with the characters and the stories and that whoosh feeling you get in your stomach when you read the first kiss, second kiss, and all the kisses on the way to the end of the book.
Writing and publishing can be a long, windy, bumpy, tricky road to navigate and sometimes, when I hit a speed bump (or a sink hole) I wonder if I should keep going. I think every author wonders the same thing—I doubt this is specific to romance. When I feel this way, I ask myself what it is about writing that I love. What keeps me going? For me, it’s knowing that there’s good out there. There’s happiness and sigh worthy moments in even the most ordinary of lives. And that’s the kind of romance I try to create. Yes, I have to have my “get on the horse” moments (you’ll have to read Let it Be Me to understand that one 😉), but I think the real romance is in the little things.
In The Kiss Quotient, by Helen Hoang, it’s Michael being aware that certain materials bother Stella’s skin. In Going Down on One Knee, by Christina Hovland, it’s Brek slowly but surely taming his language around Velma. In The Start of Something Good, by Jennifer Probst, it’s Mia seeking out Ethan in the barn. Just like in life, it’s the little things that push us over.
I went to a comedian once and he talked about how it was never the big things that ended a relationship. It was quite hilarious, but also poignantly true. He said that a woman would forgive so much but eat the last bag of Doritos and that was it, game over. That’s simplified, of course, but it’s very true. Real romance is him getting up with the kids at night, filling your car with gas so you don’t have to make the extra stop. That is what I want in my romance stories because I feel like that’s how we relate to them.
In Never Expected You, Zach gets to know Stella. He digs deeper and doesn’t run. In fact, he tells her that he won’t run. He won’t walk away because he knows others have. That’s romance. That’s what we all want. And so, on those days I think of throwing in the towel and going back to just being an avid reader, I remember what I love about the genre and how amazing it feels to be part of this world where, as authors—romance authors specifically—we push a never give up on hope kind of happiness. This one is lucky number sixteen, but I hope there are many, many more to come.
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