What would you call a novel featuring a broken recovering addict hero and a scarred heart transplant recipient heroine living with PTSD? Add the fact that the heroine and her friends run a sex shop she’s inherited. Now mix in the detail that all of this takes place on Cape Cod in a town that might be run by a notorious biker gang of men who appear to lead respectable top-tier lives.
I’m not sure what you’d call it, but I call it a small town contemporary romance. Meet the Guilty Pleasures series, which follows a group of friends who run sex-oriented businesses (a sex shop, an erotic bakery, a boudoir photography studio) by day and an underground nightclub by night. The series opener, Meant to Be Mine, introduces you to Eaves, Massachusetts, a town that does have its charms and quirks. But each book is so heavily character driven that the focus is drawn away from the exterior elements of the town.
And this is what makes this type of small town romance so appealing to me. When I first set out to create the skeleton of this series, someone had commented that my idea didn’t have the “small town romance formula” and was too offbeat to fit into the fabric of the contemporary romance genre. First, know that I have visceral reactions to the term “formula” in relation to romantic fiction…reactions that stem far beyond a cringe. Second, tell me my imagination is too offbeat to market and watch me set out to prove you wrong.
What I’d created was a sexy small town romance series—something light on sweetness but rich with edge and darkness. And sex. Awkward, complicated, funny, filthy, oh-God-yes sex.
Does this match your own definition of what small town romance should be? Suppose I told you that one of my favorite elements in Meant to Be Mine is its sense of community? You see, with the stories being so character driven, the town itself is a character if for no other reason than the fact that each character views it through a different perspective. This place, tucked so close to the Atlantic Ocean, is home to few but is essentially an entire world of its own.
The heartbeat of this town is Guilty Pleasures, a nightclub that’s literally underground and is the place people go when they’re in the mood to be honest. Mistakes are made here, but so are discoveries. Come downstairs for a drink, and just maybe your life will change.
It did for Sofia Mercer and Burke Wolf in Meant to Be Mine. Friends as teenagers, they’ve been apart for fourteen years. But something amazing and tragic happens when they look for answers at the bottom of a drink and end up finding each other.
Do you prefer small town contemporary romance to be sweet or steamy, bright or dark?
Giveaway: Lisa Marie Perry is giving away one signed paperback copy of Meant to Be Mine, book 1 in the Guilty Pleasures series. US only.
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Loving him was hard. Wanting him was so damn easy . . .
Sofia Mercer may have been sick as a teen, but she’s no delicate flower. And she’s proven it by making it on her own and starting a new life away from the town that turned against her, away from the boy who broke her already fragile heart. But when her aunt Luz dies unexpectedly, leaving Sofia with a mountain of regrets and the keys to a quirky boutique, Sofia has no choice but to return to Cape Cod. Only, this new life in her old town comes with complications.
Burke Wolf was Sofia’s first love—a relationship that burned bright and went up in flames. Seeing him again, Sofia can’t help but get caught up in that all-too-familiar tornado of passion and pain. He’s battled his own demons—that much is clear. But Sofia can’t afford to be careless with her heart . . . and loving Burke again might just break it completely.
Lisa Marie Perry writes sizzling, smart contemporary romance fiction and encounters difficult fictional men and women on a daily basis. She has received high praise from USA Today and has been nominated for an RT Book Reviews literary award. She lives in America’s heartland, drives a truck, enjoys indie rock, collects Medieval literature, watches too many comedies, has a not-so-secret love for lace and adores rugged men with a little bit of nerd.
She’s been told that she frowns too much, but she loves to laugh and appreciates pretty things, okay people and clever jokes.