The Spark...The Flame

Katharine Ashe

Katharine Ashe

Update: Our randomly chosen winner is Lisa Hutson. Congrats!

If you didn’t win, don’t worry. There’ll be another chance next Monday when my blog guest will be historical romance author and dedicated “Jane-ite” Regina Jeffers!

You’re in for such a treat! My blog guest, Avon author Katharine Ashe explores that highly combustible moment when love strikes without warning. Don’t think there is such a thing as love at first sight? Katharine may make a believer of you.


“You’re not thinking I’m someone else?”

“I know you are not.”

“Or that we’ve met before?”

“I know we have not.” …

“You’re not making a joke?”

“I have not yet learned how to joke that way. I think now I never will.”


With a handful of perfect words and a long, steady stare, Maria and Tony in the film West Side Story fall in love. Nineteen-sixties Hollywood never put its clunky special effects capabilities to such sublime use as in that moment. The setting—unremarkable, a dingy urban dance hall—sizzles with potential, boys and girls from rival street gangs ruffed up like cocks ready for competition. Latin jazz tumbles, trumpets scream, skirts swirl, and the moment the lovers see one another all of that fades away. Literally. The music grows softer, the screen grows softer, and there are only two people, a girl and a boy, gazing at one another. Falling in love at first sight.

Like Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, West Side Story paints young love beautifully: instant, complete, overwhelming. First love flares as a spark of utter brilliance. Innocence and eagerness and desire intertwine, kindling a passion that is new, untested, entirely unspoiled and lightening fast. No wonder we watch this story over and over again! No wonder filmmakers keep remaking it. The sweet, heady, wild ride of new love is captivating.

Now, I have heard people claim that love at first sight is not real love. To that I say: Of course it is.

Love is grand, wide, all encompassing, and generous. It cannot be confined to an individual act of passion, one type of emotion, or even a single ecstatic spiritual experience. Love is lots of things. It is that first glance, the spark of awareness that something is happening beyond control. It is that first smile, the first laugh, when sensibilities meet and mingle seemingly without effort. It is that first touch, the discovery that the shimmering vision of perfection only goes so far before instinct and need kick in. It is the first kiss, wondering, tender, seeking. It is breathtaking and devastatingly passionate.

I am a pushover for a dreamy first love story. But I will admit, yes—young love occasionally does not end well.

That’s what second chances are for.

I adore a romance in which the hero and heroine have lived a bit of life and have learned how to love, truly and lasting. Like the love of a mother for her young children, fierce and protecting. Or the love of a soldier for his country, noble and sacrificing. Love that knows loss and pain yet still burns because… well… What is there to life otherwise? And because hope never dies.

A Lady's Wish

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In my novella, A LADY’S WISH (available tomorrow!), Lady Patricia Morgan dreams of experiencing again the passion she tasted as a young lady on one glorious day with a perfect gentleman whose name she never learned. Returning after nine years to England as a war hero, Captain Nikolas Acton cannot forget the girl to whom he gave his heart then who disappeared without trace. Young love. First love. A spark that burns longer and hotter than anyone ever imagined possible.

Except the lovers themselves.

To me, that love is simply irresistible.

Captured by a Rogue Lord

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What is your favorite first love story? How about your favorite reunion love story? Comment to win a copy of Katharine’s sexy, swashbuckling Regency, CAPTURED BY A ROGUE LORD (coming from Avon on March 29).

If you’d like to learn more about Katharine and her books, please visit Don’t miss her latest work:

46 thoughts on “The Spark…The Flame

  1. My favorite love story was a movie called,
    A PORTRAIT OF JENNIE,with young Joseph Cotton and Jeffifer Jones.
    Book would have to be Gone with the Wind

    1. Fabulous choices, Janet. :)

  2. Rebecca Booth says:

    My first love story that I can remember as a teenager was Peyton Place.Peyton Place opens in 1937. With the introduction of the small New Hampshire town and its characters, the social strata are clearly defined. Most noted among the well-to-do are Leslie Harrington, owner of the mill, and his spoiled son Rodney, the good-hearted doctor Matthew Swain and upstanding Seth Buswell, owner of the newspaper. The town’s middle class is represented by the book’s two main characters, Constance MacKenzie and her daughter Allison. The impoverished of the town are represented by Selena Cross and her family. The town is a character itself, a seductively beautiful facade that hides a plethora of ills… Constance, who gave birth to Allison in New York after an affair with a married man and then returned to Peyton Place pretending to be a widow, lives in fear that the truth of Allison’s illegitimacy will come out. Allison, who has few friends, dreams alternately about her wonderful father and about being a famous writer. Meanwhile, Peyton Place’s power elite gather to discuss ways of manipulating zoning laws to rid the town of tar-paper shacks. And Lucas Cross, owner of one such shack, is abusive toward his stepdaughter Selena. Allison, who is desperate for a friend, grows close to Selena, who is equally desperate to escape Lucas and poverty. But the two girls have many differences. While Allison wants Selena to share her love of bucolic little spots like Road’s End, Selena wants only to spend time at Allison’s mother’s dress shop and, increasingly, to talk with boys. Moreover, when Allison finally gets a look inside the shack where Selena lives, she is horrified by the squalor and the violence she sees in Lucas. Eventually, Allison and Selena grow distant because of Selena’s closeness with Ted Carter. At the same time, a new high school principal arrives to catch the eye of Allison’s mother, Constance, and to dredge up forbidden thoughts.

    1. Hi, Rebecca. Peyton Place is quite a story, isn’t it, with all the intertwined secrets and relationships. Sheer drama! :)

  3. Nynke says:

    Hi Katharine,

    wow, *two* new books! I’m looking forward to reading them; I really liked your last one! And I love a good reunion story… It’s so wonderful when people who had given up on ever being together unexpectedly get a second chance and make it.

    1. Thanks so much, Nynke! It’s great fun to have two books coming out at the same time. Even more fun because they’re tied together a bit. :)

  4. Teresa Kleeman says:

    Hi Katharine and Mia,

    I first want to thank Mia Katharine for having you here on her blog. For I will always support my beautiful neighbor friend.

    I’m excited about the new book coming out and about the Novella coming out tomorrow.

    My favorite love story is Nicholas Sparks the Notebook. I’ve never cried so much. I thought this a very touchy story.

    Katharine hope to see you at the library sometime lol.

    Teresa K.
    tcwgrlup41(at) yahoo dot com

    1. Mia Marlowe says:

      It’s my pleasure to host Katharine, Teresa. I’ve admired Katharine’s work from her debut, so I’m tickled to be able to introduce her to my readers.

    2. Hi, Teresa. How lovely you are — thank you! :) I haven’t read The Notebook, but I really loved the movie. The actors created the passion and play of first love so beautifully.

  5. Well, Lisa, I definitely think blind dates count as love at first sight if the spark catches that day. :) Congratulations to you on 33 years–wow!

  6. Lisa Hutson says:

    How about a good blind date story? Thats kind of love at first sight,isnt it? Well,not really I guess. haha I met my husband on a blind date. We met 33 years ago and have been married 31 years now. :-)

  7. Sandy says:

    Aaah, there is nothing than young love, and if it lasts for a lifetime all the better.

    My favorite story of young is a real life one where my sister and brother-in-law married at 19 and 21, and are still married 47 years later.

    I still remember the exhileration of my sister and I racing to get to the small church in her husband’s small town to get married. We had gone ahead of the rest of the family to be the first ones at the church, so she could get ready. lol What memories.

    1. Sandy, that is lovely! I feel so wonderful when I hear stories like that. I’ve known a few life-long first-love couples as well. It’s dreamy! :)

  8. Chelsea B. says:

    My favorite love story is Pride and Prejudice– either the book or any of the many movie versions :-) Well, *any* of them, but *especially* the Keira Knightley movie! :-)

    1. Chelsea, the Kiera Knightly version is so passionate! And I just love the Bennett family in that version, too, the sisters all so close despite their differences. (A LADY’S WISH features a strong sisterly relationship too!) Thanks for commenting. :)

  9. Mariee says:

    Great post. I love reunion stories! My favorites are Paradise by Judith McNaught and A Perfect Groom by Samantha James.

    1. Hi, Mariee. Aren’t reunion stories simply delicious? Thanks for commenting!

  10. Debra Hart says:

    Well, Katherine
    I believe I have broken a record posted about you today. Yes, I beliueve in love at first sight. My son never dated much as he got older. He used all of his spare time hunting. He always told us that when he met the right one he would know. Then one day, he was standing on a ladder at one of our local schools installing its security system. A teacher walked to her door and saw him on that ladder. Their eyes met. Joanna walked over to him and said, Aren’t you John Hart. You Mom was my teacher.” The bell rang. She brought him a piece of pie at lunch and they agreed to meet the next morning for breakfast. 22 months later…. They were married this weekend. The same thing with my parents. They married after meeting on a blind date three months prior. They are still married 62 years later and hold hands. Yes, I am so ready for this book.

    1. Debra, congratulations to you again on your son’s wedding and on gaining a lovely daughter! You, ma’am, are a testament to the beautiful truths in romance fiction. Your family has lived them! Thanks so much for commenting. :)

  11. Jeanne Miro says:

    My favorite love story is Don Quiote of la Mancha by Cervantes. It’s my favorite because he loved without reservation and saw only the best of Dulcinea overlooking all her shortcomings and faults.

    I met my husband in May 1969 and we married the following February. We celebrated our 41st anniversary this year and have alway tried to concentrate on each others strengths not weaknesses. We may not been each other’s first love but instead just waiting to fine our true love.

    1. Jeanne, that is simply beautiful. Thank you for sharing your love story. :) I too adore Don Quixote–his unreserved, unconditional devotion to the most unlikely of women–fabulous!

  12. Johanna Jochum says:

    OMG! Someone already mentioned Alexandra Hawkins! I’m re-reading After Dark with a Scoundrel for the 2nd time. I was up past midnight reading it last night! This is one of my new favorite first love stories! The heroine knew she loved the hero even when she was a little girl. So romantic and sweet! I love first love stories. Thanks for sharing with us today!

    1. Thanks, Johanna. I really adore first love stories. There is something so incredibly deep and romantic about them. Dreamy sigh! Thanks for commenting. :)

  13. Jena Lang says:

    Great post! My favorite first love story is TITANIC. One reunion story I liked a lot is NOT QUITE A HUSBAND by Sherry Thomas.

    1. Mia Marlowe says:

      I have yet to see TITANIC because I know the boat sinks. Just can’t bring myself to bear it.

      Dittos on the Sherry Thomas book. Her debut Private Arrangements is a reunion story of sorts. The couple has been estranged for 10 years at the beginning of the book and are reunited when the heroine starts divorce proceedings. A beautiful story about forgiveness and second chances.

      1. Mia, Jena is so right. (Yay, Jena!) TITANIC is a fabulous love story. Despite the whole lost love forEVER thing and the ship sinking and the total tragedy, those filmmakers and actors still managed to make it an unbearably compelling romance. Wow. And it just so happens to star Leo, who was a fabulous Romeo too. :)

      2. Nynke says:

        NOT QUITE A HUSBAND is really, really worth it, too! It is a tearjerker, but that makes the HEA so rewarding…

    2. Thanks, Jena! TITANIC is so wonderful, so intimate yet epic at once.

  14. Debra says:

    There is not just one favorite I have. The one I love most is Kate And Leopold, Not a book but a wonderful movie. I started reading with Kathleen Woodwiss, The Flame And The Flower, The Wolf And The Dove.These books started me on my journey with romance. That was over twenty years ago and I have not slowed down. It took me awhile to find your first book, but I will go the extra mile again to find Captured By A Rogue Lord. :-)

    1. Debra, thank you! I am honored. :) I love Kate & Leopold. Actually, I pretty much love anything Hugh Jackman stars in. ;)

  15. Ashley says:

    My very favorite love story would be BEAUTIFUL DREAMER by Elizabeth Lowell.

    My favorite reunion story would be SCANDAL OF THE YEAR by Laura Lee Guhrke.

    1. Two great ones, Ashley! Thanks for commenting. :)

      1. Mia Marlowe says:

        I’m a big Ghurke fan!

  16. Mia says:

    The first love story that really impacted me was Romeo and Juliet. While not strictly a romance, it caught my tweener imagination big time. I memorized Juliet’s lines and had myself several good boohoos over it. Is there anything more deeply felt that first love?

    1. Thanks for hosting me today, Mia. I’m so happy to be here!

      Can I tell you a secret? Every single time I watch Franco Zeffirelli’s Romeo & Juliet, I convince myself it’s going to turn out well in the end. I kid you not. There is something so incredibly powerful about those characters, that dialogue, the intensity of that love, and the actors in that film version render it so superbly. I want it all to last forever. I am simply certain it must! And then I weep. Oh, I weep! It’s wonderful… :)))

      1. Mia Marlowe says:

        That is my favorite film version of the play too–though the snippets in Shakespeare in Love are stunning!

        1. I absolutely adored Shakespeare In Love!! I even bought the soundtrack. :)

          1. Mia says:

            I did too. I confess to playing it while I write. The sprightly tunes and broad spectrum of emotions create the perfect musical sandbox for my subconscious to play in.

  17. Melanie Adkins says:

    My first romance is Beauty and the Beast in whatever form. Seems so true and can fit a multitude of situations. The reunion love story..hmm not sure I have one. I am a romance nut. Anything romantic and I enjoy it.

    1. I’m definitely with you there, Melanie. I am thoroughly addicted to romance! And I do love Beauty and the Beast (the Disney version is a favorite. Love love love a heroine who reads!). Have you read Eloisa James’s WHEN BEAUTY TAMED THE BEAST? I just started it last night and could barely put it down.

      1. Ashley says:

        I loved that book and the book A KISS AT MIDNIGHT. It was so easy to connect them to the Disney movies I grew up with. These books made me love those movies even more.

  18. June M. says:

    I can’t remember what my first love story was. A recent reunion book that I loved was Alexandra Hawkins AFTER DARK WITH A SCOUNDRAL. I loved this book. I love the cover of your new book and the story sounds really great. Best of luck with the release!

    1. Hi, June. Thank you so much! Alexandra Hawkins is wonderful, and what a great title with that book. :)

  19. Thanks, Desere! Oo, I love discovering new wonderful books. I’ll put Anne Mather’s on my list! And thanks for your lovely comment about the cover of CAPTURED BY A ROGUE LORD. I’m so happy with it. :)

    1. Desere Steenberg says:

      Your more than welcome and you must definitely read Anne’s book it is simply stunning !

  20. Desere Steenberg says:

    Great post !!! My favorite first love story is Jack Riordian’s Baby by Anne Mather which at the same time is also a reunion story !

    Captured by a rough sounds amazing I am dying to read it and the cover wow simply gorgeous !

    Take Care

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