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Saturday, April 6, 2019

My First Love Event with Liana LeFey

Liana LeFey delights in crafting incendiary tales that capture the heart and the imagination, taking the reader out of the now and into another world. Between the pages of her sensual historical romances you’ll find deep emotional journeys and passionate romance! Liana lives in Central Texas with her dashing husband/hero, their beautiful daughter, and one spoiled-rotten feline overlord.

First Love: A Lasting Impression

We’ll call him MJ. I first saw MJ late in the summer before beginning the seventh grade. He was strolling with his friends down our sidewalk, a very tall and broad-shouldered boy for his age, with a big, joyful laugh. He was the cutest thing I had ever laid eyes on, and it was practically love at first sight. I had just recently moved to the neighborhood and had made friends with another girl my age down the street who later told me he was about to be a freshman in high school and lived only a few blocks away. I knew there was no chance of him ever noticing me, but that didn’t stop me from crushing hard on him and running to peek out from behind the curtains every time I heard him coming down our street.

It was pure luck (and our small neighborhood) that brought us together the following summer before I entered the eighth grade. Another friend had been raving to me about Dungeons & Dragons, and I expressed an interest in playing because mages-and-clerics-and-dark-elves, oh my!! (Yeah, I was one of “those” kids.) Unbeknownst to me, one of the people she played with on a regular basis was…you guessed it: MJ. When I walked in the room and saw him sitting there, I swear the earth wobbled on its axis. To my delight, I was invited to join the group and learn the ropes from the experts. Not only was it great fun, but it meant spending time with MJ and getting to know him. And we did. We played off and on throughout the weeks during the summer while school was out and on Saturdays once the semester started.

To my disappointment, however, I was treated like a kid sister by MJ and his best buddy. Both boys delighted in teasing me. The list of embarrassing nicknames I was given by the pair was exhaustive, names like “String Bean” and “Freckle Face” and “Brat.” This may have had something to do with the fact that I had yet to blossom and weighed about eighty pounds soaking wet, but it irritated me nonetheless. Then there were the constant attacks with ice-water-loaded squirt guns, rubber bands to the back of the neck, and yanked pony tails. I endured their relentless teasing, however, and enthusiastically gave back as good as I got, earning their respect and my place within the group.

The silver lining was that since MJ lived closest to my house, he walked me home in the evenings. I can still recall with perfect accuracy the smell of promised rain on heavy air perfumed with the sweetness of the honeysuckle vines that grew everywhere in our neighborhood, as well as the endless rise and fall of the cicadas’ song. I can still recall how he, already at nearly six feet tall, carried his bike on his shoulder as we walked, casting long shadows across the still-searing-hot concrete. To his great amusement, I was too diminutive to ride it. Even perched behind him, my feet simply couldn’t reach a support. And I can still recall how he shortened his long stride to accommodate mine while informing me that he would be playing football at my soon-to-be high school that fall.

It’s important to know that while MJ might have teased me when we were among our friends, he was also unfailingly kind and gentle when it came to me. He’d bristle when I mentioned the mean girls at my school or a boy who’d pestered me, and told me all I ever had to do was point them out and he’d take care of it. (I never did, of course.) He’d get after our friends and tell them to ease up if they got too rough, too, and although I was pretty tough and tried never to show it when people hurt my feelings, he always seemed to know when to step in to defend me. He was my champion.

By the time summer came around again, I was so in love with that boy it hurt physically when I looked at him. It was like a 50 lb. lead block sitting on my chest every time I tried to draw breath in his presence. But I said nothing, showed nothing of my true feelings, fearing he’d only laugh because I was “the kid” and then forever relegate me to “annoying little sister” status. Not to mention, he was way out of my league. MJ was a popular boy, a football player, and therefore destined for some lucky cheerleader, while I was just a geeky, flat-chested misfit who didn’t even like sports and wasn’t even in high school yet. I’d already heard about those cheerleaders from his friends, too. According to them, those girls were all over him 24/7. I envied them, but couldn’t blame them. The object of our affection was tall and muscular, with light brown hair, leaf-green eyes, and a smile that could break hearts at fifty paces. He was the dream.

So I endured my heartache in silence, accepting that my secret longing for MJ was doomed to remain forever unrequited. That is, until late one afternoon the summer just before entering my freshman year. I and the nerd herd had been playing D&D at his house all day, inflicting chaos upon his parents’ living room with our notebooks, maps, polyhedral dice, and more pizza boxes, soda cans, and candy wrappers than his mother could (apparently) stand. She finally lost her cool, made us pack it all up, and then kicked us out into the open air so she could vacuum the house in peace.

There was a brief water fight with inadequate squirt guns and unfairly-pressured garden hoses that, after his mother screeched at us from an open window to knock it off, segued into a mock battle with “swords” (AKA “big sticks”) before most of our friends finally called it quits and left for home. Since it was still a little early and MJ and his best bud weren’t ready for the day to end yet, we hung around chatting for a bit while our damp clothes slowly dried on us in the warm breeze. When our friend decided to brave The Wrath of Mom for another soda, MJ and I continued talking in the cool, deep shade of the big old chinaberry tree in his backyard.

I don’t know when the conversation between us died or even remember what we’d been talking about, but I remember the silence, broken only by the wind in the leaves overhead and the occasional buzz of an early cicada. I remember thinking his eyes were the exact same color as those leaves. I remember the hum in my veins growing more intense as he leaned closer and closer until we were mere inches apart. He asked me if I’d ever been kissed. I said no. With the gentlest of touches, he tilted my freckled face up between his huge palms and whispered that we needed to fix that.

It was life-altering, that first awkward press of lips. I’d seen kissing in movies, but had no clue what to do other than stay still, hold my Three Musketeers breath, and hope I wasn’t awful! He was patient and knew what he was doing, though, and what started out stiff soon blossomed into something warm, tingling, and infinitely tender. When he pulled back, I thought that was it, that it was done. I was soaring, content to claim my place on cloud nine for the next forever, but then he smiled softly and bent again. This time, he cupped the back of my neck and threaded his fingers up into my carroty hair as his other hand grasped my waist and pulled me in close. I remember feeling so tiny against his big, solid frame, my heart hammering like a hummingbird’s. He nudged my lips and whispered for me to open. I did, and that, my friends, became my first real, grown-up kiss.

The experience was completely overwhelming to my teenaged self. My feelings for MJ were so powerful, so all-consuming that I thought I would burst at the seams, unable to contain them. In that moment, I loved him with my entire being and handed him my whole heart. When our kiss ended after what seemed both an eternity and not nearly long enough, I found myself all wobbly in the knees and more than a little dizzy (probably due to a lack of oxygen, because I think I temporarily forgot how to breathe!). I’m convinced the only thing that kept me upright was the tree at my back. He asked me if I was okay. I remember whispering a very unsteady “yes” and then us both laughing a little. He was a bit flustered and pink-faced, too, I’m proud to say!

Our friend never did return with that soda, for which I’m eternally grateful. Everything changed for me after that evening’s extra-slow walk home with MJ. I felt different, carried myself differently, and viewed myself differently. I was still a skinny little red-headed, freckle-faced waif with mosquito bites where I wished boobs were, but that didn’t mean I was unattractive or that the love I wanted was unattainable. My first kiss from my first love taught me that lesson, and going forward it made me unafraid to love and hope with at least some confidence for that love to be returned in kind. It was a valuable lesson, and it has served me well in life.

MJ and I had an on-and-off-again relationship until he graduated high school and we broke up, after which he joined the military and went overseas. We tried to pick up again when he came home after his tour, but no matter how much I tried, it just didn’t work out. Too much life had happened, we’d grown apart and were different people with different wants and needs. We parted as friends, but eventually lost touch. And that’s ok, because I’m where I’m meant to be, with the person I was meant to be with. I’ve been happily married with that person for over twenty three years now, and we’ve made a wonderful life together. But a tiny part of me will always love that sun-kissed, tall boy. A part of me will always exist in that precious summer moment under the chinaberry tree, when my first love was realized in a sweet first kiss. It was a defining moment, one that made a lasting impression on this romance writer and helped determine how I give and receive love and affection.

So, to MJ — thank you for being a wonderful first love!

Betrayed by her fiancé and her best friend, Lady Diana Haversham’s reputation is left in ruins, and she is unjustly cast out by her family. Left with little choice, she agrees to pretend to be a courtesan to protect her benefactor’s secret. What she didn’t count on was meeting temptation in the form of one Lord Lucas Blackthorn.

Lucas is fascinated by the shameless Diana, whom his friends claim is his perfect counterpart. He can’t stop thinking about her sultry smile and captivating eyes, but what draws him most is the sharp mind she reveals—and the certainty she’s hiding something.

When Lucas learns the scandalous truth, Diana will have to make a life-and-death choice.

Purchase: | Amazon | B&N | Apple |

Check out the Once Wicked series:

Up For Grabs:
  • 1 Gift box filled with the following:
    • Signed print copy of To Wed in Scandal & To Love a Libertine
    • Retro brass-and-wood wax letter seal "With Love" & bottle of colorful wax
    • Melts, tea lights, & a melting spoon + instructions
    • A sampling of tea
    • A mini journal/notebook
    • Sweet-scented hand cream 

To Enter:
  • Please leave a comment or question for the author.
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**Don't forget to enter the grand prize giveaway!

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Special thanks to Liana LeFey for sponsoring this giveaway.
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  1. What a sweet, perfect first love story! Swoon! <3

  2. Hi Liana
    I was wondering if you get to visit the places that you write about?

    1. Not yet, but hopefully someday! I do extensive research on all my story settings, and would absolutely love to visit them.

  3. A Wicked Reputation sounds great! Love the cover, thank you.

  4. What a sweet first love story :) Thanks for sharing it.

  5. was nice
    bn100candg at hotmail dot com

  6. How long do you spend on research for your books?

    1. It's a really good thing I love research, because I've spent MANY months studying the periods in which I write, finding/buying reference books, outlining timelines so that if there are, say, political events happening around my story, they're accurately portrayed. The etiquette and speech of the period is also very important to get right, which means lots and LOTS of reading the literature of the time to get a good "feel" for it, even though I'm using modern English to tell my stories. I try to avoid anachronisms like the plague they are, because I know for me, reading something like: "Okay," she replied.... in a period piece set centuries before that term came into usage just drives me absolutely bonkers. It takes me out of the story, so I want to make sure I don't do that to my readers. Then there are the details about the clothes, the music and dances, the games they played, travel times by coach vs. by horseback, the places people shopped and the things they bought and how much they cost, etc.. All of that detail is necessary to paint an accurate picture and put the reader IN that setting, make them feel as if they're THERE, living in that time period, without the research being obvious. It should just feel like part of the setting as seen through the characters' eyes, helping to completely immerse the reader in that world. Being a research junkie has turned out to be a blessing for me!

  7. I am sorry to say that I have never read you 😬 but from hearing your first love story I'm putting you on my wish list.😁

  8. Sounds like a great book can't wait to read it.

  9. Congrats on the new release! It sounds fascinating. Thanks for sharing your wonderful first love story.

  10. What a great cover. Congrats on your release!

  11. Can't wait to read this book. Put this on my TBR. Congrats on the new release.

  12. Already got and finished this new book. Took me two days to finish, and that's because I needed to work. Lol
    I loved it! The story was amazing. The plot twist were so good, and I'm amazed at the topics it dwelled in. O.M.G.!!

  13. How wonderful!! Thank you for the chance!

  14. These sound like stylish historicals! Poor Lady Diana Haversham with her ruined reputation!

  15. Love the cover. Looking forward to reading it

  16. I love your first love story!! It's so beautiful it actually gave me goosebumps. It's a lovely way to remember your first <3

  17. Wow, look at all of those giveaway goodies. Good luck to me!