Romance tropes are something we all love to hate, right? On the one hand, if someone tells you the story they just read is a fake relationship romance, you know what to expect. If you love that angst, you’ll probably be intrigued and want to know more. But, if you find fake relationships too weird and awkward, you’ll probably give it a pass.
Tropes are often shorthand for your very favorite type of story… or not.
Some are really common. Second chances, anyone? We could all name a dozen without taking a breath! They’re popular for a reason. There are so many ways to tell a second-chance story. So many variables. So many situations.
Here’s one we don’t hear as often: forbidden love. In this scenario, the potential couple is forced apart by culture, status, geography, or by their families for other reasons. Ooh, lots of potential in this one!When I was noodling ideas for the Cavanagh Cowboys Romance series, I realized I’d never purposefully written a forbidden-love romance. What could work in the context of this western series? Hmm…
I decided on two angles. One is their age difference: Carey, at age 28, is four years older than Ryder. I figured that was a big enough spread! Carey is a good friend of one of Ryder’s sisters-in-law, so there’s a hint of “sibling’s best friend” in there, too.
But the bigger problem is that Carey is the cousin of Ryder’s stepbrothers. The two of them aren’t actually related, but it feels like there’s a too-close family relationship. For instance, when Ryder confides in his stepmom, who’s been in his life since he was six, he’s reminded that she is also Carey’s aunt.
Has anyone actually looked at this pair and said, “we forbid your love?” Of course not. Some of it is in their own heads. Some of it is amplified by chance comments made by some of Ryder’s brothers. But it all makes Ryder’s struggle very real! Why would an older woman like Carey give her cousins’ stepbrother the time of day? He’s sure she never would. And she’s just as certain she’ll die of old age before Ryder makes the first move.
But there’s an additional reason Ryder is hesitant to reveal his interest…
Ryder Cavanagh yearns to be seen as more than a tagalong kid brother, so he invites his law-student buddy to assess rumors involving his stepbrothers’ uncle. Ryder doesn’t stand a chance with the suspect’s beautiful daughter, anyway. Ryder is several years younger, and then there’s the family connection.
But Carey Anderson is not immune to the unassuming cowboy. She’s back in Jewel Lake to be near cousins and friends, to escape the continuing fallout of her parents’ spectacular divorce, and to daydream about Ryder. Who cares about three years age difference when they’re both in their twenties? Making the first move feels risky, but it might be worth it.
Fragile trust comes to a crashing halt when Carey discovers the investigation Ryder can’t derail. Is justice more important than love and trust?
If you enjoy stories with hints of family drama and forbidden love, you might enjoy Trust Me With Your Heart, Cowboy! It releases November 16 on Amazon and in Kindle Unlimited.
Have YOU read a “forbidden love” CCR? What’s been a favorite?