Shannon Stacey

The baby-free happily ever after

There’s a conversation on Twitter about infertile heroines who are or become okay with that. Even though it’s no secret I love my babylicious epilogues, I’ll probably keep an eye out for good recommendations anyway.

I’ve written two heroines who can’t or won’t have babies.

Eliza, from Taming Eliza Jane (Kindle/Nook) can’t have children. I had a little fun with reader expectation (with regard to the romance hero’s magic sperm) in that epilogue.

And Carmen, from No Surrender (Kindle/Nook) flat-out doesn’t want to be a mother. Ever. I’ve been asked a couple of times if, after spending time with Gallagher’s family and agreeing to marry him, Carmen does have a baby. Nope. Gallagher and Carmen never have children. When his sister gets older and starts having babies, they spoil the crap out of their nieces and nephews, though.

Of course, thinking about No Surrender always makes me think about (and often re-read) the “I love you” scene. Those are really hard for me to write (though kissing scenes are harder), but this one wasn’t and it’s still my favorite declaration scene of all of my books.

From the paper bag, he pulled a beautifully—and no doubt professionally—wrapped box and set it on her lap.

He had to help her take the ribbons off and he cursed himself the entire time. “I can’t believe I was so stupid. I should have thought of your hands.”

“Shut up. I’ve never had pretty ribbons on a present, so don’t ruin it for me.”

He slit the tape for her, too, and she gingerly peeled back the paper, not wanting to tear it. A plain white box dragged the anticipation out until she felt like a little girl on Christmas morning.

Finally she managed to open the lid and pull out the tissue paper. Inside was a bottle of scented lotion—mandarin.

“They didn’t have a big selection at the gift shop,” he said, talking too fast as though he was nervous. As if he didn’t know he’d just given her the best present of her life. “So I made O’Brien drive me down the street to the…whatever you call it. The smelly lotion place. The girl said lavender was a soothing scent, but you said you don’t like flowery shit. Oh, and O’Brien and I almost came to blows over whether vanilla’s a flower or a fruit. We still don’t know.”

He didn’t seem to notice she hadn’t said anything. That she couldn’t say anything because her throat was clogged with emotion.

“They had grapefruit, but she said that was energizing, which would suck when you’re stuck in the hospital. And they had peach, but horny’s probably not so good, either. So we kept trying them out until we both smelled like a fucking fruit salad. I picked mandarin because the woman said it promotes serenity and tranquility, so—”

“I love you.”

“—I bought that one. What?”

“I love you.” And then, to her horror, a tear trickled down her cheek.

She’d hadn’t said those words since her mother died, and the emotional rush of putting them out there seemed to break through the dam and more tears followed.

“Oh shit. Carmen?” He grabbed four or five tissues from the box on her bedside table and shoved them at her. “Please don’t cry, babe. Shit. I’m sorry.”

Unfortunately, his utter helplessness in the face of her tears made her laugh, which killed her bruised ribs, limiting her to a weird wheezing, hiccupping sound.

“Jeez, Carm.” He screwed the lid off the lotion and waved it under her nose. “Here, be serene. Tranquil, whatever.”

It took the nurse and the threat of Gallagher being expelled from her room to calm things down.

“Are you serious?” He recapped the lotion and set it down so he could touch her. “Because I’ve risked my life for you, and gone through hell for you. I’ve taken bullets for you, and now I buy you some fruity cream shit and you love me?”

“Yes, I love you because you bought me fruity cream shit. And yes, I’m serious.”

Okay, back to work for me.

5 comments to “The baby-free happily ever after”

  1. Allie
      · February 23rd, 2012 at 5:15 pm · Link

    Since I don’t want kids and won’t be having any, I prefer romances where there are no kids involved. Obviously this is not always easy to find. When I do find one, I celebrate. I do like to read about descendants, after they have grown up and now have their own story.

    I sometimes think I must be the only romance reader who isn’t interested in the kids thing.

  2. Jaci Burton
      · February 23rd, 2012 at 5:37 pm · Link

    You know I freaking love the Devlin series. And am waiting ever so impatiently for the next one.

  3. Lee Laughlin
      · February 23rd, 2012 at 8:07 pm · Link

    What Jaci said to the millionth degree. How did I miss the convo on Twitter. I clearly don’t follow enough of the right people ;)

  4. aida alberto
      · February 23rd, 2012 at 9:25 pm · Link

    As a woman who hasn’t been able to have children and is perfectly fine with that I like to read romances who aren’t about the woman searching for the man with the perfect ending of the white picket fence and two perfect children. What we need is an understanding that it is perfectly fine for women to choose for themselves what works for them. I’ve been told I’m not a real woman because I’ve never had children. I’m here to tell you differently. i am a very real woman in every sense of the word.

  5. Shannon
      · February 24th, 2012 at 11:28 am · Link

    Trust me, nobody wants me to finish DG4 more than me. :lol:

    I think romances are definitely biased toward children being part of the HEA, so I imagine it’s harder to find books without the kids running amok. I need to keep that in mind when I’m reading so when I come across good ones, I can recommend them.

    Aida, I’m so disappointed somebody’s said that to you because it’s very much not true. We all get one chance at this whole “life” thing and judging people and trying to get them to bow to archaic societal pressure is so wrong. It’s nobody’s business how you to choose to live your life.

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