My Nan, like many women of good taste, was an avid Mills and Boon fan.
This short Welsh lady, who possessed an endless supply of patience and a wicked sense of humour, taught me many things, from knitting to pastry making and perfecting the iconic teatime treat, the Welsh cake. But one of the most enduring passions she shared with me was a love of reading and, in particular, a love of romance.
Although her skills were abundant, creative and fascinating to me, she never learned to drive. One of my fondest childhood memories is of our walks to the mobile library van in the village where she lived. I would get lost in the children's section, while she scoured the Mills and Boon's for titles she'd not yet read. This process took some time, as she always had a stack, ten or fifteen high, of what she called her 'romances' next to her armchair and beside her bed, often voraciously reading two or three per day.
Like many of us cutting our romance teeth, I progressed from the classics by Bronte, Austen and Alcott and eventually swiped one or two of those devoured Mills and Boon romances from my Nan's stash. And so began my current obsession with romance. An obsession now blossomed into a full-blown addiction.
Sadly widowed in her fifties, my Nan never re-married, so the flights of fantasy enclosed within her beloved Mills and Boon's became her only source of romance. And she prided herself on being open minded, once telling a fourteen-year-old me threatening to run away from home after some spat with my parents, that I could not only live with her, but I could also bring my boyfriend, not that I had one at the time! But I'm pretty sure her favourite lines back then lacked the heat level of Harlequin Mills and Boon's new series, DARE.
But I know one thing—my Nan, now deceased, would be so proud that I'm writing for her favourite publisher, and I'm so thrilled to be one of the many Mills and Boon authors, who write empowering romance for today's woman.
Of course, DARE, Mills and Boon's sexiest line ever, didn't exist in my Nana's day, but I'm certain she'd have loved it anyway, because at the heart of each story, is a powerful romance, a love story to get lost in and an uplifting happy ending. Isn't that what keeps those of us addicted to romance coming back, time after time?
Wherever you are Nan, my debut DARE, A Week To Be Wild, is dedicated to you
A Week to be Wild by JC Harroway is published by Mills & Boon on the 25th January in paperback, ebook and audiobook