A Heart Shaped Romance with Author Tif Marcelo
It was at the Romance Writers of America conference in 2019 when I came up with the idea for the Heart Resort series. Though I was under contract for a third contemporary fiction book (which would become my sixth novel), my first three books were romance novels, and an escapist series tugged at my shirt sleeves. My initial idea: interconnected destination romance novels with the setting as relaxing and lush as it could be, despite the romantic angst and family drama I knew my characters would be placed in.
Then came COVID-19. I had released my second contemporary fiction, ONCE UPON A SUNSET, and was in edits for IN A BOOK CLUB FAR AWAY, and I was no longer under contract for future books. My need to escape heightened during the fear of lockdown. So, I dove headlong into the proposal of the Heart Resort series. At first, I thought of setting this book on an island in the Pacific Ocean but I could not make myself write it knowing that the borders were closed to travel due to the virus. Though I tried not to put COVID into my novels, still I needed to be realistic for the times.
Then the location dawned on me: our family’s most favorite vacation spot: the Outer Banks, or OBX. And especially south of 12: Nags Head, Rodanthe, Hatteras. On a printed map, I drew what would be the Heart Resort peninsula, connected to highway 12 via a land bridge.
Heart Resort is serendipitously heart-shaped. In the epicenter is the headquarters and the apartments of the four Puso siblings. Puso, which means “heart” in Tagalog—of course it does! Chris, Gil, Bea, and Brandon, the four Puso siblings, live and work on this resort. They are the heart, they make the resort and peninsula “go.” Though, we come to find out that they each have their own secrets and matters of the heart to contend with.
Everything on this peninsula is specific and special. Each home is named. Every employee is family. The view from every window is spectacular. And though they promise their clients their own version of the HEA, or the happily ever after, the Puso siblings clamor for theirs.
IT TAKES HEART, the first in the series, introduces Brandon Puso and Geneva Harris, former lovers reunited in their common mission to help rebuild the resort after a tropical storm. Neither knew the other was going to be there, and their first instinct is to run. But both are loyal to a fault, and soon they find themselves growing closer despite their best intentions. Surrounding them are a cast of characters, all with their stories to tell, all while trying make the resort successful despite throes of competition with another resort.
Love, loyalty, and business all in one peninsula located at one of the most gorgeous locations in the United States. Heart Resort is truly a place to read about to get your heart pumping.
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