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Living in the exciting, bustling metropolis that is London, I’ve often found it a challenge to maintain the life/work balance. When a shiny new manuscript from an author drops into my inbox, I have been guilty of banishing the boyfriend, cancelling on friends, and ignoring my house-share’s cleaning rota. Perhaps my passion for my job is a little unique, but for the modern working girl, the pressures of work and our hectic social lives means that romance – with all its old-fashioned connotations - can be a sadly neglected part of our lives. Sometimes, there are just not enough hours in the day to devote to relationships, and with the demands of modern dating – creating a carefully tailored internet dating profile, attending speed-dating events, and selecting the right ‘matching’ app – looking for love is a job in itself that we just don’t have time for.
It made me ponder… does the Bridget Jones generation still exist? Is there still a stigma attached to being single – and is a woman still defined by her relationship status (married, single, it’s complicated)? Or as modern, new millennium women should we be ashamed of our inner Carrie Bradshaws? Instead of holding on to out-dated ideas of love, romance and alpha males, should we focus on our careers and our independence?
Mills & Boon’s sharply contemporary Modern Tempted series explores the hectic lifestyles of modern young women juggling a thirst for professional success and other pressures such as busy social lives – with a super-hot alpha male thrown into the mix! In Holiday with a Stranger (Christy McKellen, March), workaholic Josie is forced to take some time off before she burns out – little does she know, she will be sharing her holiday home in the South of France with laidback, sexy as sin Connor Preston! But how can she chill out with so much electrifying chemistry in the air? In Her Client from Hell (coming next month from Louisa George), vivacious Cassie Sweet has no time for love as she works 24/7 to keep her catering business afloat - until she meets handsome yet closed-off corporate suit Jack Brennan. How can she keep her mind on her work now?
For both of these wonderful Modern Tempted heroines, their drive for success masks deeper, more emotionally driven conflicts that stem from secret heartaches and hidden anxieties. A Modern Tempted heroine is lively, intelligent and lots of fun - her uncontrollable lust for life only matched by her burning desire for her hero. But perhaps the reason why we can identify so well with her is because she has a core of vulnerability too - her life is messy and complicated, she lets her emotions rule her and she doesn’t always get it right - and as readers we just adore her for it.
Are we perhaps putting too much pressure on ourselves to have it all and be so perfect? Bridget Jones’ mother can help us out here when she remarks to her daughter that men don’t have any hidden agendas when it comes to romance; they are, like us, ‘just looking for a friend’ to share their lives with. Perhaps, like the lovable, flawed heroines of Modern Tempted, we should just allow women (and men) to be human, and not be ashamed of the desire for romantic fulfilment. Let’s learn from Josie and Cassie, who maintain their professional integrity – while at the same time finding a kind of emotional redemption through love.
Another cracking line from Bridget Jones is on feng-shui: ‘Don’t put a wastepaper basket in your relationship corner’. My advice is to un-shackle yourself from that desk if just for a short time, clear out those cobwebs from the corners of your heart and allow a little romance to shine back in – you can have it all – starting with a wonderful Modern Tempted romantic read!!!