Hello, romance readers! Welcome to COMING HOME TO YOU, the last instalment in my Greene Family trilogy, featuring Mel Greene and Daphne Merlotte in their fake romance turned real! You can meet Mel first in A Roof Over Their Heads where Mel appeared as the wise and endearing older brother to the hero, Seth Greene. I always intended that Mel remain as a minor character but my editor at the time suggested that he warranted his own story. You must be kidding, I thought. Mel is far from your typical alpha hero: good-looking but not gorgeous, witty but not particularly learned, hugely likeable but not swoon-worthy. Mel commands one trait above all others though that makes him the perfect romantic hero: deserving. Mel deserves his happily ever after, and once readers met him, they were on side with my editor. Give us his story!…
“There are moments of nostalgia, mixed with bitter, deep-rooted pain that emotionally twisted my heart, but there are also plenty of sweet and slightly humorous moments that balanced everything nicely. The romance is gentle and progresses at a nice pace, even though it is on the fast side.
For me, it was a character driven story and this cast is unusual and unpredictable, which made this a fun escape.”
[Mel] hitched himself higher up in his seat. “I guess I’m wondering how to go about making a woman feel that she matters when…” He needed to proceed carefully. He’d already said plenty to Daphne that had come out wrong. “When showing how much she matters might scare her off, too.”
“Why would a woman be scared off by hearing how much she was loved?”
Well, now. He gunned the truck to merge onto the highway, ahead of a fast-approaching red sports car, which immediately switched lanes and started coming up on his left. “I guess she might feel she has to give back the same amount, and I wouldn’t expect her to.”
“M.K. Stelmack’s Coming Home to You is such a sweet romance. With characters a little older than the typical romantic protagonists, a humorous first meeting, a subsequent fake relationship, a cast of quirky secondary characters, and a whole lot of healing to be done, it’s an easily enjoyable and completely heartwarming story.”
“Coming Home to You hums with a mix of nostalgia and humor, with a healthy dose of sweet romance and layered characters. You will smile and laugh, as well as shed a few tears, along the way as Mel and Daphne’s pretend relationship starts to blur into reality more and more. Daphne’s godmother Fran is a hoot – and also the source of a few tears on my part – and I could easily see her scenes playing out in a movie. A lovely read with a range of emotions – all done well.”
7 Tips to Making a Fake Romance Real According to Mel
(A fictitious reprint of an article to appear in the Valentine edition of the local community magazine.)
Just to be clear, I’m not an advocate of faking anything, especially love, so I’d better give a bit of a background here. I’d met Daphne only twice before—once when her godmother rammed their RV into the local Tim Hortons and the second time later that day when I drove her back from the hospital. The third time was nearly a week later when I was sitting in their RV, waiting on lemonade Daphne was making. Things were a tetch touchy between the two of them and I admit to voicing a cross word at Fran, the godmother, for her uncalled-for rudeness to Daphne. But I felt stunned—like I’d fallen clear off a roof I was shingling (I’m a roofer by trade) when Daphne squeezed in tight against me on the couch and planted a real long, soft kiss on me, right in front of her godmother….
Later, Daphne attributed her next move to a fear for Fran, who would soon be dead, and for herself, who would soon be alone. And to the warmth in Mel’s gaze and his propensity to settle for anyone.
Still holding the lemon, she walked stiff and slow, like a bride, over to Mel and sat beside him at an angle so her knees grazed his. “Yes,” she said. “There’s something you should know, Fran. All those walks I took. I wasn’t alone. Mel and I have had some very, very good…talks.”
She slid her hand over his knee and applied gentle pressure. He froze. Fran was absolutely riveted. “Well, Mel. What do you think?”
“…After reading this book, you will feel uplifted and filled with the sweetness that comes from reading a heartwarming romance like this.
I definitely appreciated the ages of the characters. I am only slightly younger than our two lovebirds in the book, and in my opinion, there are not enough romances out there with mature couples. So thanks to the author for reminding us that just because you turn fifty does not mean you can no longer find love.”
10 Tips on RV Living from a Newbie
(A short fictitious article Daphne Merlotte sold to a travel magazine about RV living.)
1. Start short. My first trip was with my godmother from Halifax, Nova Scotia to Spirit Lake, Alberta—a distance of nearly 5000 km (3000 miles). My second trip was not three months later, when I did the trip again and then carried on to Vancouver, another 1000 km (600 miles), and then back again to Spirit Lake, for a grand total of 7000 km (4200 miles). By the end of it all, I was a veteran of RV life, but quite honestly, the most pleasant was the shortest trip—from Vancouver to Spirit Lake. Perhaps that had less to do with distance than with Tip #2…
“Is that why you kissed me in full view of Tom? So I’d look good in front of him?”
From her expression, he’d guessed right.
“It’s not that I consider myself a replacement, you understand,” she said. “I couldn’t compete with Linda. But, at times, it’s nice to have…anybody.”
He nudged her chin up until her clear blue eyes met his. “You’re not anybody,” he said. “You’re somebody. My somebody.”
“First and foremost, I have to say, I loved reading a romance where the main characters are finding love (for the first time) at an age I am approaching (fifty). As someone who is still single in her mid-forties, books like Coming Home to You resonate well with me…
M. K. Stelmack delivers a story of healing and hope. . . . And I, for one, found it refreshing and uplifting.”
Romance with All the Feels
COMING HOME TO YOU, is another story that delivers a huge emotional punch. So says my editor, and I trust her explicitly. It’s why romance readers choose this genre, right? Everyone thinks they are just love stories, but we know they are stories that plow through the entire field of emotions, unearthing the metaphorical dirt on our hero and heroine…
He drove to an apartment building a block from the downtown. His place. About to turn down into the underground parking, Mel braked. “I never thought to ask,” he said. “Would you prefer a hotel? I’d pay until this is all sorted.”
“I’m fine. If you are. Either way. Whichever you prefer.” Because unless she wanted to clamber into a Dumpster, she really was at his mercy.
He eased off the brake. “I prefer you with me.”
“Lovers of clean romance, add Coming Home to You to your lists now! Coming Home to You has humor, romance, heartbreak, reconciliation, and great characters. I love that the characters in the series are older than in a typical romance…
I highly recommend this book!”
Love Over Forty
Love over forty? Fifty? And beyond? Sure, it’s possible. It happens all the time, but not so much in a romance novel. COMING HOME TO YOU is an exception in the genre. My hero, MEL GREENE, celebrates his 51st birthday in the story and his love interest, Daphne Merlotte, is 49. Both are childless, although the families of his siblings are core to Mel’s daily life. Surveys among Harlequin readers indicate that most readers favor younger H/Hs, so I expect that a few of you might give my story a bit of the side-eye—I understand! But stay with me here as I go over the unique and compelling challenges a mature couple face…
“Do you want breakfast?”
Daphne looked up. “If that’s not too much trouble.”
“No trouble at all.” He poured so much truth into that statement, it came out soft and mushy. Daphne colored.
“This is a fun romance. . . . I highly recommend this book to other readers. I like Spirit Lake where this contemporary romance takes place. It sounds like a great place to live.”
M. K. Stelmack writes contemporary romances set in Spirit Lake which is closely based on the small town in Alberta, Canada, where she lives with pets who outnumber the humans three to one, and where dust bunnies run unchecked. She aims to tell stories that don’t shy away from the tough questions but still leave readers feeling uplifted. She is the author of two previous Harlequin Heartwarming titles, A Roof Over Their Heads and Building a Family. She loves hearing from readers. Find her at her website or on Facebook
1 winner will receive ebooks of A Roof Over Their Heads and Building a Family plus a $25 Amazon e-Gift Card
Ends October 10th