The third book is an emotional one for both me and the characters of James Gallagher and Lauren McCarthy. The premise is a man who is married in name only, but chooses to remain married to his wife-but-not really-a-wife for some very good reasons. His decision to do this only becomes a problem for him when the heroine comes along and interrupts his noble intentions by daring to want to get involved with him despite his circumstances. Both characters are 42 years old and their story is not an easy one with easy answers. I did finally figure out the dilemma I was stuck on this week, and thankfully my research is supporting my resolution. I'm thinking the story is still on target to be fully drafted by the end of March and released in early April.
In the real life story that loosely inspired this one, the people involved were in their late sixties and seventies. My story is quite different from the real one, but the loss of love is the same. In the real one, the man who remained well lost his wife of many, many years first to illness, and then to another man she fell in love with as a result of the illness. As happens so often, there was no happy ending in the real story, but I prayed for the universe to bless a man with such a loving heart.
Every time I thought about the real story, it reduced me to tears for several weeks after hearing it. It raised the bar for how I defined love and commitment. After my tears passed, I just sort of knew I wanted one day to write a story about long time love lost, but in my story I was determined all the main characters would have a happy ending. It's just how I roll as a writer and one of the main reasons I wanted to write romances. I'm not into obscure endings in my fiction and will leave that to other writers. Instead, give me closure, and move aside while I work my creative magic to find the HEA (happily ever after).
I didn't necessarily know when I started the Never Too Late series that Lauren's story would end up being this one, but I wasn't really surprised when it worked out that way. The first time I knew was when Lauren kissed Jim at Casey's and Alexa's engagement party in Book 2. He felt he didn't deserve her or to be happy with her. I put my reaction aside and promised to get back to them. And I did.
To those reading my blog and interested, I just want to say that I think of this story as balancing the overall karma in the universe for those situations destined to not work out well. I hope every person who ends up reading Book 3 will look at Jim's story and think the promises he keeps to his legal wife are the epitome of love and faithfulness. I also hope you end up agreeing with me that what Jim ends up doing with Lauren is not outside the capacity we all have for great love.
Now that I've told you so much, I promise to do my best not to keep you waiting more than a few more weeks for the story. My online teaching work still demands the majority of my time, but I promise to finish Book 3 as soon as I can. My hero inspires me to keep my promises.