I just received the author copies of my 40th Harlequin book, and I think a celebration is in order.  In some ways, it feels as though I’ve been sitting at my desk for ages.  But then again, it seems like only yesterday when that very first box arrived and I held COWBOY COURAGE in my hands.  Books

While almost all of those romances were Special Editions, I’ve tried to make each one unique, with its own set of characters who each have new hopes and dreams, new pasts and conflicts. 

These couples have met in various places, including honky-tonks, ranches, hospitals, and even at the heroine’s front door. 

But sometimes, real life can be more interesting than the stories we read. 

Yesterday, while I was poking around on Facebook, I read a post by a friend asking where people met their spouses.  And the comments were really interesting.  So I thought it might be fun to blog about real life romance.

My personal hero and I were given a second chance at love.  Friends we both respected had introduced us, and we hit it off.  However, I had four children—which was a huge step for a divorced man who’d been on his own for ten years. 

We, of course, took things slowly at first, which I completely understood.   Our situation would be complicated, so making a commitment to each other would be huge.  I had some strong feelings for him, but I kept them to myself.  (After all, he was a keeper, so why scare him off!)

One day, my youngest, a five-year-old boy asked him, “Are you going to marry my mom?”

I was mortified…  I mean, the poor man had to assume that I’d been talking about marriage in front of the kids—but I hadn’t!  I wanted to dig a hole in the living room carpet and slip under it.

My future hubby lifted up my son, looked him in the eye and said, “The man who marries your mom is going to be a very lucky man.”

Then he set the boy down, and my son dashed off, happy to have his question answered in such a kind and sweet manner.

And it was at that very moment that I realized whatever I’d been feeling was true love.  hawaii

So where did you meet the love of your life?  Were you introduced by a matchmaker?  Did Fate step in and create a magical moment?

Did you look across a crowded room and just KNOW that he or she was the ONE for you?

Was yours a Cinderella story?  A Reunion story?  How about Friends to Lovers? 


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39 Responses to REAL LIFE ROMANCE By Judy Duarte

  1. Judy, great story. That man is a keeper fersure. :D I met my great love at Parents Without Partners. We were each divorced, each with a child. It was in a discussion group about love, marriage and relationships, so we got to know each other and each other’s hangups and secrets before we ever went out.

  2. Felicia Ciaudelli says:

    How fantastic – I love it – of course, I have my son and the rest of my family, whom I love very much – but as far as That Special Guy – not yet – maybe someday, but I am not holding my breath – LOL

    • Judy Duarte says:

      Goodness, don’t hold your breath, Felicia. You wouldn’t want to be all blue in the face when he rides up on that white steed. :)

      But he’ll come your way one day–usually where and when you least expect him!

  3. Dyan says:

    I met my husband on campus. We dated for a month and he was the proverbial nice guy. I dumped him! Three years later, while I was sitting around bored, I found his number in an old address book. I called him and two weeks later we were engaged and married 6 months after that! And that was 20 years ago!

  4. Caro Carson says:

    I was just talking about this yesterday–isn’t it funny how some subjects seem to surface in the general psyche? I met my husband on a blind date. The person who set us up was my Mary Kay cosmetics representative! It was years before I bought any other brand of make-up, and then I felt like the most horrible person, ever. I was afraid Mary Kay Ash herself would see me at the register with Revlon…

    • Judy Duarte says:

      OMG, Caro! I knew I read a FB post that triggered that memory! And it was yours! That’s what I meant by a friend, LOL. It was a FB friend. I knew it was another Special author, too. So I started scanning different FB pages this morning trying to find out whose post I’d LIKED yesterday so I could give credit where credit was due!

      I even saw that Mary Kay photo again, paused long enough to smile and remember all the MK parties I attended in the past, then glossed right over the comments I’d read yesterday!

      Then I thought I’d better get that blog posted before it morning wore on any later, so I did.

      Too funny! :)

      • Caro Carson says:

        LOL! I absolutely love “how we met” stories. I read a great psychology article where they could predict which couples would be divorced within 5 years after hearing them tell how they met. It didn’t matter how they met, either–it mattered if they told the story with relish or if they shrugged and said something mundane. Even if the couple thought their marriage was going through a difficult time, as long as they still smiled when describing how they met, they were unlikely to get divorced. Isn’t that interesting? (Yes, I’m a pop psychology geek.)

  5. Olivia Miles says:

    That’s such a sweet story, Judy. I really enjoyed it! I actually met my husband through an internet dating site, which still sort of baffles me, and we just tell everyone we met at Starbucks :-) We emailed for a month before we met in person, and he really liked my letters, which I guess makes sense considering I soon thereafter became a published writer! Congrats on your 40th book!

    • Judy Duarte says:


      I know people who’ve had great luck with those internet dating web sites. My cousin met her husband through one, and so did my closest friend. :)

      I can understand why you’d tell people you met at Starbucks, though. I guess

  6. Congratulations, Judy! What an accomplishment. I love the words your husband spoke to your son – what a real hero. My hubby and I met on a blind date. We were both living in Colorado and set up by two people in our hometown of Cincinnati. We were from different parts of town but ended up having lots of overlapping history – my grandpa even worked with his dad at GE years before. At that point I decided my angel grandpa had really ‘set us up’ and knew he was a keeper. :-)

    • Judy Duarte says:


      It really is a small world, isn’t it? And it’s nice to know that there was some matchmaking going on — the earthly kind, as well as some angelic. :)

  7. Jane Squires says:

    I met the love of my life at church. I was going to two churches – being single. I taught at both on different times. I was to meet a friend of Assistant Pastor’s (son of my first Sunday School Teacher). But he chickened out. I was mad because my friend would not tell me if he was coming or not. Ron thought I looked cute mad – bet he don’t now. Anyway I had just moved into an apartment so I gave him a card with address and phone number. He called me next day and we had our first date on Easter. We married in June. And here we are 34 years later.

    • Judy Duarte says:


      That’s a sweet story–and I’ll bet you’re right. He probably doesn’t think you’re quite as cute when you’re mad now. :)

      And even though he chickened out on that first meet, it certainly didn’t take him very many dates to know that you were the girl for him–and 34 years together. Now that’s something to be proud of. :)

  8. Congratulations on your 40th book, Judy! Here’s to the next 40 and the 40 after that. The Norwegian and I were one of those saw-each-other-across-a-crowded-room stories. It was very romantic.

  9. Linda Henderson says:

    Well I don’t have a special someone right now but I met my ex at work, we worked together for a couple of years before we got together.

  10. Congratulations, Judy!

    The first week at my very first RN job, the preceptor told me she had the perfect guy for me. I laughed, put her off and kept training. Every day, at some point she told me that. By the end of the week I told her we could exchange phone numbers, and I’d talk to him on the phone. Later we agreed to meet for pizza and one year later, almost to the day we were married.

    That woman thought she had matchmaker creds after that, but we were her only real and lasting “match”

  11. Joanna Sims says:

    Hi Judy!

    Thank you for sharing your story. You’re husband definitely sounds like a true keeper! And, congratulations on your 40th book. That truly is a reason to celebrate!


  12. Debbie Haupt says:

    Judy, I’m tearing up about your story, how sweet. I love all “how’d you meet stories” here’s mine. At the time I worked in retail as a multiple-store manager and my boss had just told me that he was adding another store to my stable. I was angry, so I decided to stop in at a little neighborhood bar before I went home. Usually when I went out by myself I had a fake wedding ring I wore if I didn’t want to be bothered, I mean who wants to be picked up in a bar. LOL ;)
    But I didn’t have the prop so I went in solo, sat at the far end of the bar and this guy kept sliding closer and closer. He started talking to me but I wouldn’t let him buy me a drink and I agreed to go out on a date with him in a few days. Believe me I went back and forth a LOT deciding whether or not I should cancel. I decided to go. That was 1979 :)

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