Elise Sax, author of An Affair to Dismember, shares with us her real life love story.
Romance writers get this a lot: “Why don’t you write real books?”
Love and happy endings don’t get a lot of respect in some circles. So I tell these nonbelievers that romance is serious business. “Don’t trifle with romance!” I tell them, wagging my finger to show them how serious romance is.
Let me tell you, romance is real. Romance happens. I have proof.
This really happened.
Recently I spent a week at a cozy inn in Santa Fe. I was there, trying to write. My deadline on my latest book was fast approaching, and I wasn’t as far along as I needed to be.
Santa Fe was the perfect place to be creative and productive. It was quiet, friendly, and draped in a pristine layer of white from a recent snow. The second morning I woke early and walked down to the elegant Victorian parlor on the bottom floor of the inn.
The owners had painstakingly restored the inn to its 19th century glory, and it took only the smallest amount of imagination to pretend that I really was back in time, sitting in the ornate dining area being served tea and a sumptuous breakfast.
I was dressed in my writer’s uniform: yoga pants and a sweater. My hair was pulled up into a ponytail, and round glasses framed my eyes. Green. No makeup. Clutched in my hand was a mismatched pile of scrap paper, my unfortunate organizational system when I’m writing a novel. I was hoping a high carb breakfast would kick start my brain and help me make sense out of all my notes.
Since I had gotten to breakfast late, I ate alone and sat a large round table. The innkeeper poured me tea and offered me sightseeing suggestions. My only sightseeing plans were to finish my book, and for that I would need to stay out in complete solitude.
After a few minutes, the innkeeper had left to do other things, I was on my second slice of toast, and my notes were scattered over the table. I almost had a crucial scene worked out when the inn’s front door burst open and along with it, a huge gust of air.
Needless to say, my papers went flying. Scattered all over the room like shrapnel. I might have whimpered. I was so focused on tracking the bits of paper as they flew around the room before landing in impossible places like behind the radiator and under the sofa, I didn’t notice the cause of my tragedy.
But there he was. He came up behind me, his head towering over me, his chest wide and strong and inches close to my back. I smelled him before I saw him. Eau de Sexy. He must have had more pheromones than a normal man. He was like a pheromone machine. I wanted to jump him before I ever laid eyes on him.
And then I turned around.
His face was familiar. His body was even more familiar. “Holy crap, you’re Gerard Butler!” I shouted. I might have drooled a little, too. Gerard Butler had bared his chest in such films as 300, and I was a fan. Gerard Butler is hot.
“Burton Smith,” he said, putting his hand out for me to shake. “I get that Gerard Butler thing all the time, but I don’t see the resemblance. I’m so sorry about the mess. Are those papers important?”
“Not at all,” I said. Honestly, I couldn’t remember my name let alone why those scraps of paper were important. I was too distracted by the everything of Burton Smith. Did I mention he had an English accent? Oh, yes.
Burton insisted I sit while he picked up every scrap of paper. When he was done, he sat across from me, and we talked. He was a local artist, an artisan. The inn asked him to restore a wood wardrobe. He moved to town three years ago after he visited as a tourist and fell in love with the place.
And he wanted to know all about me. He listened with interest to my life story and only interrupted once. “You are a beautiful woman,” he said, and then I was quiet for a long time and so was he. Our eyes connected, and I realized our connection didn’t end there.
He allowed me time to change and then I was in his car and riding up north outside of town. It was important to him to show me his work. His studio was located in an old barn and filled with beautiful handcrafted furniture he had made. I was impressed. He held my hand and walked me outside.
I had never seen a sky like that one. Black sky with big white stars, as if an artist had painted them on with a large paintbrush. So close I thought I could raise my hand up and touch them. “Beautiful,” I noted, and then he was kissing me.
It was that kind of kiss, the kind that never ends, that burns you, changes you. It surprised both of us because we had never experienced anything like it. Nothing even remotely close. We stepped into each other and held on for dear life and listened to the kiss’s message:
Connection. Soulmate. Forever. Love. Happily ever after.
We listened and made plans, never leaving each other’s side since our lips first met.
There. That’s romance. Powerful and real. And what kind of world would we live in if such things weren’t possible, where kisses held no power and soulmates were only legend?
Romance is real.
And this could have happened…
Elise Sax worked as a journalist for fifteen years, mostly in Paris, France. She took a detour from journalism and became a private investigator before trying her hand at writing fiction. She lives in Southern California with her two sons. An Affair to Dismember is her first novel.