Diversity as a point of finding respect
The Spanish-American War in 1898 is set ablaze with sizzle, spice, and intrigue in MESSAGE TO LOVE by Liz Arnold.
I wanted to think about how diversity has and will play a role in romance writing. My debut title, MESSAGE TO LOVE from The Wild Rose Press, relates a story about two people at odds over just about everything eventually coming together in every way once they discover how much they have in common. Even though their backgrounds and politics are wildly apart, those differences and prejudices cannot keep them from falling in love.
Audra Wakely’s father has been seized by Spanish authorities and imprisoned for sympathizing with Cuban rebels. Raising the money to bribe officials if necessary, she sets off for Cuba to rescue her father. She doesn’t bargain on the interference of any U.S. officials—that is until she meets Rollins McBride.
Lt. Rollins McBride of the newly designated U.S. Naval Intelligence service is assigned to track Audra on her journey to Cuba. He’s to find and arrest her father Greg Wakely, a U.S. citizen, for treason and gun smuggling. His mission and his heart are taken by surprise by the feisty beauty who sets a stubborn path toward finding her father and proving he isn’t a traitor—no matter what or who gets in her way.
The freedom fight in Cuba of 1898 was about gaining independence from Spain who drained the tiny island of resources and governed with a hard hand. Audra’s mother was the daughter of a wealthy Cuban tobacco farmer and she married Greg Wakely after a trip to the States with her family. Audra loves the wild, sweet island and its people and believes that independence is the true destiny of Cuba.
American Rollins is the son of a merchant sailor who was captured and killed without trial by Spanish authorities. He holds a vendetta against the island where his father died without mercy. His older brother died later in the mysterious explosion of the U.S.S. Maine navy cruise ship stationed in Havana harbor. He wants to murder two Spanish soldiers with his bare hands in retribution for his family’s torture, and he thinks Cuban nationals don’t have the experience to govern themselves. American imperialism guides his beliefs and puts him at odds with Audra.
On the island, Audra and Rollins are consumed by the war-torn island but also by finding out the truth about her father’s involvement in gun smuggling operations. They are also consumed by their desires for each other and the moments together when their opposite views don’t matter. All that truly matters is love.
Audra and Rollins learn a lesson that is difficult for some people to understand when their love for each other must overpower their differences for the good of something other than themselves. Diverse may mean that something is different in thought or action, but diversity is appreciating the differences to the greater good. That’s also how sexual tension is developed in a romance novel and what ultimately determines the success of a relationship. The more people read romance novels, the more they may understand that choices affect everyone and everything matters.
“It was a dream, just a very bad dream.” She stepped back out of his hold. Clammy spots of moist heat lingered on her arms where his hands had been.
“I’m all right now.” Audra reached for the door and noticed the sickly sweet odor of liquor on his breath. “You can leave now. I want to go back to bed.” She pulled open the door and gestured into the hall.
“Sorry, but this time you’re going, too.” Rollins strode over to the dresser and pulled out a drawer. “Better pack. We have just under two hours.”
“I’m not in the mood for comedy, Rollins,” she sighed. “I’m really very, very tired. I’ve got to get some rest. Now—“
“Let me make myself clear.” He sounded gruff. “I said we’re leaving, and unless you want to get on a ship bound for Santiago with your shirttails hanging out, better change and get ready.” He made to leave the room. “I hope you have a shawl or something. It’s gotten cooler out, and we have half an hour in a wagon to get to port.” Then he vanished into his own room next door, leaving Audra gape-mouthed in the hallway.
“Who does he think he it?” She growled as she stamped her foot against the cold hard floor. “Infuriating! He is absolutely infuriating!” Audra heaved the door shut with gusto. “These are not my shirttails, either!”
Want a free bookmark? Send a SASE to P.O. Box 1322, Parkersburg, WV 26102
MESSAGE TO LOVE
“Stories you will love!”