Sabrina Philips on First Loves and her First Harlequin Presents

Here”s a lovely post by new Harlequin/Mills & Boon author Sabrina Philips! Her debut book Valenti”s One-Month Mistress is available now in stores in the UK from M&B Modern Romance.  It will be released by Harlequin Presents in North America in March, but you can get it now at!

by Sabrina Philips

I was recently talking to a group of female friends of varying ages, all of whom are happily married, and we got on to the subject of first loves. One friend had been engaged to someone else before she’d met her now husband, but she had called off the wedding because her parents didn’t like him. Another friend had been going out with the boy next door for years until he went to University and ended their relationship, whilst another waxed lyrical about the most popular boy in school who she’d been crazy about for the duration of her teenage years, without ever plucking up the courage to tell him.

And that was when we started wondering, what if? What if my first friend had gone through with the first wedding she had planned? What if my second friend had never split up with her childhood sweet-heart? What if my third friend had told Mr Unobtainable how she felt, and found that the feeling was reciprocated? And for a moment it was fun to imagine how different their lives might have been.

But then, of course, we took off the rose-tinted glasses of nostalgia. My first friend confessed best online casino that the she had really only got engaged the first time because she knew her parents didn’t like him, and rebelling had been the appeal. My second friend conceded that she and her high-school sweetheart really had very little in common other than the fact that he lived next door, and my last friend admitted that aside from his good looks, Mr Unobtainable had nothing going for him (and the last she’d heard he’d lost all his hair and put on fifty pounds!)

The reality is that the first person we fall for isn’t often the right fit for life, but first loves do cause a whole host of new and exciting feelings, and that’s why we look back wistfully. However, the beauty of romance fiction is that we can imagine the what if without any of the why not – and that’s why I love first love reunion stories!

Imagine – the straight out of high school heroine falls head over heels in love with a devastatingly handsome man who she thinks is the one, but he breaks her heart. Six years on, she’d convinced herself that her feelings for him were nothing more than naïve infatuation (she’s made her own list of why not’s!) and has moved on with her life. But what if she is forced to confront him again, and even though she is older and wiser, she finds that she still wants him just as much as she always did, and maybe even more?

This is the situation Faye Matteson finds herself in at the beginning of my debut Harlequin Presents, Valenti’s One-Month Mistress, which I am delighted to say is now on the shelves in the UK and in the US from March. Or alternatively, enter my contest at by the 6th February to be in with a chance of winning a signed copy! And find out whether Faye’s first love was the right fit after all….

In the meantime I’d love to hear about your first love (we writers are always looking for new inspiration after all!), do you remember him wistfully, or do you look back and wonder what on earth you ever saw in him?!

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Comments ( 12 )
  1. Jackie Ashenden
    February 2, 2009 at 3:25 pm

    I married mine. Is that sad? 😉


  2. Felicity
    February 2, 2009 at 4:13 pm

    For years I wondered what happened to the guy I fell madly in love with at school. We met ten years later at our school reunion. His hair was thinning, he had put on 15 kg and he couldn’t even afford to buy me a drink. But when he was at school…what a sex God!

    I love reunion stories so I look forward to reading yours. Congratulations Sabrina

  3. Robyn Grady
    February 2, 2009 at 7:35 pm

    “Steggy” was the first boy I ever loved. Looking back, I still think he was gorgeous. Blond, tanned, the best blue eyes, plus he could speed skate like a dream! He once loaned me his woollen jumper. I slept with it under my pillow, washed it, tumble dried it, and gave it back to him a weeny size 4. I never did like laundry.

    Sabrina, your book sounds wonderful! I love reunion stories. Really looking forward to reading it.


  4. Madeline
    February 2, 2009 at 10:46 pm

    I’m still with mine, initially known only as the elusive ‘dreadlock boy’, though we are both still young. However I can’t see myself with any other man. I plucked up the courage to ask him out when we were strangers in a cafe at uni, after months of his regular presence holding me captive. Fantasies ran wild in my head, and I figured that actually talking with him would help me move on past a crazy infatuation with a guy I didn’t even know! But then he turned out to be the essence of my dreams, and I can hardly believe he’s the sensitive, good humoured soul that he is.

    Enough sap though – Sabrina, what a wonderful idea. I can’t wait to read it; sounds like a read full of sexual tension 🙂


  5. Jennie Lucas
    February 3, 2009 at 1:24 am

    Sabrina, congrats on your first book coming out! Here’s a toast to you!!

    And I have no idea what I saw in my first love. He had some good qualities but…Um, no!


  6. Lynn Raye Harris
    February 3, 2009 at 3:27 am

    Congrats, Sabrina! Can’t wait to read it. I do believe my first (teenage) love is in prison now. Apparently, Mom was right. 😉

    I married my first grown up love. We’re still married, and it’s been a very long time since we took the plunge…. 🙂

  7. Lynn Raye Harris
    February 3, 2009 at 3:27 am

    I am ALWAYS in moderation these days. Don’t know why….

  8. Sabrina Philips
    February 3, 2009 at 5:33 am

    Great stories! Jackie – not at all sad that you married your first love – wildly romantic in my opinion! I was infatuated with various blokes in my early teens but my husband and I have been together since we were sixteen, so much the same.

    Felicity – I love your hilarious school reunion story! That certainly seems to be a lot of people’s experience, although given the amount of ‘Friends Reunited’ love stories I’ve read about lately there must be some first loves out there who haven’t lost their appeal!

    Robyn – ha about Steggy and the jumper! I fancied this guy called Alex for ages, and he once gave me the end of his packet of cheese & onion crisps, I preserved them for years – oh dear!

    Madeline – I love it that dreadlock boy turned out to be everything you imagined! He sounds like a keeper.

    Thank you Jennie – it’s amazing to see Valenti on the shelves! I still have to pinch myself when I walk past it in the supermarket. (Not that I can get to it through all the snow we’re experiencing in the UK at the moment!)

  9. mulberry
    February 3, 2009 at 6:37 pm

    Sabrina, what a fab feeling to see your first book in print, hopefully the snow and ice will thaw soon so you can enjoy it even more!

    I was crazy in love with a gorgeous guy at school, but so painfully shy that when he came to sit next to me at a dance, I couldn’t even squeak a “Hello”. Clearly he was no better, because after sitting in silence to what seemed like an eternity, he stood up and walked away without saying a word. Thirty years later, married to a lovely man, I still wonder what might have happned if I’d been brave enough to speak.

  10. Myates
    February 4, 2009 at 3:11 am

    Ha! Sabrina the crisps made me laugh. A boy I liked in jr. high gave me a fun size candy bar which I kept for years in a box…even after I didn’t like him anymore. Opening it later proved to be quite a science experience.

    I worked with a man that I admired from afar, but he was much too old for me (25 to my 17). He was my first real grow-up crush with, uh, grown-up longings.

    We became very good friends and whined about our sad love-lives and it sort of shifted from there and our friendship became love. Five years later, we’re married with two kids and he’s still my best friend. And he’s still too old for me. 😉

    Congrats on your book and on your own happy marriage!

  11. Kate Hardy
    February 4, 2009 at 2:36 pm

    Congrats on your first book, Sabrina!

    I have to admit, my first love was when I was at school – this gorgeous half-Italian guy. Not only was he easy on the eye, he was a really sweet person. He must’ve been teased rotten about the short, round, nerdy girl who fancied him from afar (and was always reading or writing a book, even then), but he was always kind.

    This might have something to do with my fondness for Italian heroes 😉

    But the real love of my life… I met him when I was still a teenager, working as a barmaid in the uni holidays. We knew straight off that each other was The One, even though everyone thought we were complete opposites and it would never work. Here we are, over half a lifetime later, with two wonderful kids and a gorgeous spaniel. I think I’ve been lucky!

  12. Sabrina Philips
    February 5, 2009 at 5:34 am

    Oh dear Lynn – how often first loves turn out to be bad boys! Perhaps it’s the whole thrill of rebelling. Great to hear how many people here married their first grown up loves though, all romantics together 😀

    Mulberry, I can certainly relate to that painful silence…why as teenagers does it seem so impossible to overcome even when we know the other person is equally shy?! I can remember sitting next to a boy I liked at school and just not being able to articulate one single syllable.

    Myates – thank you for sharing about the candy bar, good to know I’m not alone! And I love the way you described meeting and falling in love with your husband, how romantic.

    Ahh Kate.. the truth comes out about your love of Italians! And funny how often The One is all about opposites attract – but isn’t that what keeps it exciting?!