Delaney Diamond

What is Love?

I could offer the dictionary definition of love, but I like this one by author Robert A. Heinlin more:
Love is that condition in which the happiness of another person is essential to your own.

Our backgrounds and experiences influence the way in which we view our relationships and express our love. In my debut release, The Arrangement, Alexa and Leonardo’s experiences and views on marriage create problems in their own marriage. When the story opens, they’ve already been separated for four months because Alexa left him.
Throughout the story, you’ll see just how much they care about each other, and the strong sexual chemistry that exists between them. Love and passion were not enough to sustain their marriage, though. It deteriorated into one filled with distrust, anger, and resentment because it’s missing an essential ingredient: effective communication.

To effectively communicate, we must realize that we are all different in the way we perceive the world and use this understanding as a guide to our communication with others.  Anthony Robbins, self-help author and coach

As a romance author, I want to write stories that entertain, but within each story, there may be a message I want to get across. In The Arrangement, the importance of effective communication was the message.
Alexa finds that she spends night after night alone, neglected by her husband in favor of his business. She stopped complaining about her feelings because she watched her own parents’ defective marriage as a child—the fights, the long hours her father spent away from his wife and family—and she’s determined not to recreate the same unhappiness in hers.
Leonardo finds that his wife is unhappy, but he can’t understand why. It angers him when she has everything a woman could want—money, jewelry, and beautiful clothes. He provides for her, as he feels a man should.

Among men and women, those in love do not always announce themselves with declarations and vows. But they are the ones who weep when you’re gone. Who miss you every single night.  Alice Hoffman, author

What would keep two people from declaring their love for each other? Secretly suffering, wishing, hoping, wanting a better relationship to magically appear so they could live happily ever after? It could be fear of hurt and rejection. It could be, as in Alexa’s case, fear of repeating the past. In Leonardo’s case, it’s because he thinks he’s doing his part—fulfilling his role of provider in the marriage.

If you’re lucky enough to be in a relationship with someone whose happiness is essential to your own and vice versa, material things are not the only way to show your love. Spend time with them. Communicate. And hopefully you won’t have to take the drastic measures my hero and heroine did.

At the end of this post, let me know what other ingredients you think are essential to a happy relationship.
The ArrangementBlurb:  Brazilian millionaire, Leonardo da Silva, is still seething from when his African-American wife, Alexa, walked out on him four months ago. Now she’s in his office asking for a business loan to help her brother. Instead of a loan, he’s willing to give her the money, but only if she resumes her role as his wife for the next two months. She reluctantly agrees, and she soon finds herself wishing their arrangement was permanent. But when she finds out about Leonardo’s betrayal, there may be no way for them to mend their broken marriage.

In the following excerpt, Alexa and Leonardo are at the anniversary party of their friends Russell and Joan.
Intuitively, she sensed Leonardo’s gaze on her, and she caught sight of him near the entrance to the balcony. He was watching her, though he should have been engrossed in the conversation with the two other people with whom he was standing, one of which was the redhead. Even from that distance across the room, she could sense his desire for her, and there was an answering pounding of the blood in her veins as their gazes locked.
Maybe it was the kiss between Russell and Joan and the romantic notion of long-lasting love, but Alexa found her thoughts straying to memories of sharing passionate kisses with Leonardo. She carefully placed her glass of wine on the table before it slipped from her damp fingers and crashed onto the expensive white carpet. She felt nervous and jittery because she knew the reason for Leonardo’s smoldering scrutiny. She was fully aware what was expected of her, and she found herself breathlessly anticipating the end of the evening.
Leonardo came toward her, his lithe, graceful walk a surprise for a man of his size. The tuxedo jacket hugged his broad shoulders and fit his muscular frame like a glove. As he neared her, Alexa realized she was holding her breath. The undercurrent of sexual tension flared between them.
“Are you nervous?” Leonardo asked.
“Why would I be nervous?” Her voice came out breathy, husky. She cleared her throat.
Leonardo smiled knowingly. He must feel the same charge, know that she longed to be kissed and touched, despite being coerced into resuming her role as his wife.
He didn’t answer her question. “You haven’t eaten a thing all night.”
It was true, but how could he possibly know that? She didn’t have an appetite for much except the tall, dark man standing before her.
“I’ve had my eye on you all evening,” he said in response to the unspoken question.
The thought that he’d been watching her even during the periods when they were separated generated tiny little shivers across Alexa’s skin. Her fingers tightened around the clutch in her left hand. “I’m not hungry.”
The knowing smile widened. “You should eat something,” he said. His dark gaze lingered in appreciation on the split in her dress. “You’re going to need your energy.”

Delaney Diamond writes sweet and sensual romance novels. Read Chapter one of The Arrangement at her website. Look for her Valentine’s Day short story, Subordinate Position, from XOXO Publishing in February. Join her and the other romance lovers on Facebook.

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