I was grappling for a blog theme for Nice Ladies, Naughty Books one fine afternoon, when I realized I’d already stumbled across one that morning. Something I felt passionately about, something that became a secondary theme in the books I’d written… Something I addressed immediately in a rapid-fire four-tweet post. 🙂
See, I’d done a Twitter search for my book title Hard to Handle (as one does) and found several tweets by women that, while worded differently, conveyed the same message: “I’m hard to handle, but I’m worth it.”
It made me sad that we, as women, feel the need to point out what a pain the arse we are. And it made me sad because I can relate—both when I was younger and even now, if I’m being honest. Why do we feel like we’re not worth the efforts of others? Why do we label ourselves too difficult or hard to handle? Are we being tolerated at best, discarded at worst?
Sadie Howard, the heroine in the novella Can’t Let Go (prequel) and the full-length novel Hard to Handle feels very much like she’s “not worth it.” After all, she’s had a fiancé walk away from her and marry her sister instead (yowch!). And when Sadie does let her guard down with deserving hero Aiden Downey, he leaves her, too! (Fear not, I gave him a valiant reason). But it doesn’t change the fact that Aiden left Sadie heartbroken. What’s a girl to do?
In many, many ways, I realized that Sadie Howard is my love letter to all of you strong-willed women who at times consider yourself “hard to handle.” Maybe you have a big mouth (like I do), or maybe you’re the Queen of Cool while crumbling on the inside like Sadie is. No matter what you’re “flaw”, I’m here to tell you that if someone has labeled you (or caused you to label yourself) more trouble than you’re worth, you’re not. There’s someone for everyone—someone who is willing to deal with your (as author Kimberly Lang brilliantly tweeted in response) “special blend of crazy”. 🙂
In Sadie’s case, she’s fighting with herself for most of Hard to Handle. Because she has stumbled upon her Mr. Right and she knows it. But is she willing to take a chance on a man who (as she put it): “broke her heart, broke her will, and demolished her sense of true north”? Aiden Downey is not only good to her, but brings out the good in her. He’s patient and finds her stubbornness compelling. In one of my favorite parts of Can’t Let Go, Aiden observes:
“Sadie wasn’t easily persuaded, but not in a spoiled way; not like she did it to get what she wanted. No, Sadie wasn’t swayed because she knew what she wanted. She was a pill. And, where she was concerned, Aiden was beginning to think he was a junkie.”
What I love most about Aiden is that he sees Sadie for who she really is—with all her “flaws” and shortcomings—and he pursues her anyway. The very qualities that had irritated the men in her life previously, are the very reasons Aiden wants to stand up for her and be a better man because of her.
How awesome is that?
In spite of the trials I put these two through (sorry, you guys!), they do find their way to each other in the end. Aiden tries stubbornly to get what he wants: the forever kind of love, while Sadie claims only to be interested in the burning-up-the-sheets kind of love. Makes you wonder how they’ll meet in the middle, doesn’t it?
But that’s the journey for all of us, I think. Even when we do find our Mr. or Ms. Right, none of us are perfect (Sadie!) and we all make mistakes (Aiden!). But through it all what we need—more than someone telling us how we can improve—is for someone to stick around while we’re on the journey of learning how to improve.
That’s a real happily ever after. No matter how the story starts.
Hard To Handle Blurb:
Sadie Howard never dates a guy more than once-but Fate has other plans for her when it comes to Aiden Downey, the one that got away. Aiden loved her, left her, and broke her heart. Yet suddenly she’s bumping into him at every turn, driven to distraction by his wicked grin and rock-hard body. Now she can’t resist finishing what they started-as long as she doesn’t let herself fall in love . . .
TWICE AS TEMPTING
Aiden Downey threw away the best thing he ever had when he let Sadie go, and now he’s determined to win back the woman he’s always wanted. Sadie agrees to let him into her life-and her bed-as long as there are no strings attached. But Aiden’s not about to make the same mistake again. Can he convince her to take a second chance on a once-in-a-lifetime love?
About Jessica Lemmon:
Jessica Lemmon has always been a dreamer. At some point, she decided head-in-the-clouds thinking was childish, went out, and got herself a job . . . and then she got another one because that one was lousy. And when that one stopped being fulfilling, she went out and got another . . . and another. Soon it became apparent she’d only be truly happy doing what she loved. And since “eating potato chips” isn’t a viable career, she opted to become a writer. With fire in her heart, she dusted off a book she’d started years prior, finished it, and submitted it. It may have been the worst book ever, but it didn’t stop her from writing another one. Now she has several books finished, several more started, and even more marinating in her brain (which currently resides in the clouds, thankyouverymuch), and she couldn’t be happier. She firmly believes God gifts us with talents for a purpose, and with His help, you can create the life you want. (While eating potato chips.)
Where To Find Jessica: