A Risk Worth Taking
October 22, 2013
When 22-year-old Summer Stafford’s parents split halfway through her senior year at college, Summer’s world is rocked. Everything she thought she knew—heck, everything she thought she wanted for her own life—feels like a lie. The truth is love is a risk. And the true kind, the kind that lasts, might even be a fairy tale.Reeling from the divorce, Summer derails her own future by breaking up with her parent-approved boyfriend and giving up her lifelong plans for a big-city career. She moves back home, business degree in hand. Dad needs her to fill the gaps her mother left behind; Summer needs to find who she is outside of the cookie-cutter life that failed so miserably for her parents.Ford O’Neal’s future involves one person: himself. He doesn’t have a permanent address and he definitely doesn’t commit. To a place or a person. Raised by hippies, he plans just far enough ahead to secure his next stop, this one landing him at a work-study program at Heritage Plantation where he can grow his own herbal and medicinal creations.Summer is gorgeous and smart and fun to be with, the perfect way to pass five months. It won’t be love—Ford’s got too many things to accomplish, too many places to go, before he settles down. Yet Summer pulls him in, challenging him to rethink his own philosophy.When Ford’s five months are up, each of them must decide if love is really worth the risk.
I have been a long standing Heather Hildenbrand fan. Loved her fantasy books, she can write awesome scenes without sacrificing the soul of the story. Then she wrote A RISK WORTH TAKING and writing took another meaning for her. See, Heather, is the type of writer who is not afraid to draw from her real life to write books. Read on to know how special this new adult novel is to her.
I’m going to tell you a secret. A Risk Worth Taking is sort of based on a true story.
When I wrote the book, only the first half had actually happened so far. Girl meets boy. Girl falls hard. Boy falls slower and won’t admit much. To himself or to her. Despite growing feelings of TRUE LOVE, Boy makes plans to LEAVE. That ending loomed in front of me, already set to be sad and lonely and very unlike the movies. So, I wrote Risk and gave it the ending I wanted for myself. Very happily ever after. I knew it was just wishful thinking. Me being a sappy romantic. A “girl.” So, I prepared to suffer through my very real life breakup. And then … holy shit. The happy ending happened for real! To me!
And I realized once and for all, stories ARE magic!
Here’s what I mean:
In 2013, I began dating Dylan. He’s in the Navy, and I knew when we started the relationship that he was set to transfer to a new duty station in the next 18 months or so. But I fell HARD and so did he and it was sort of a “Seize the moment” kind of speech that led to us realizing HAPPINESS now is still worth SADNESS later because you really aren’t guaranteed later. And why choose to walk away from something when you really CAN’T predict the future?? I’m a “GO FOR IT” kinda girl anyway.
So we decided to go for it, all the while KNOWING this thing had an expiration date on it.
The relationship was AMAZING. Like nothing I’d ever experienced. We had fun, we grew close, we learned new things about ourselves. He lights me up in a way I can’t shine on my own. I mean, I know I’m awesome. I “own” my awesome. But he makes the awesome so shiny it’s blinding if you know what I mean.
By month TWO, I was in love with him.
And he was in love with me.
But still. Leaving.
According to him, he had “big dreams to experience life in faraway places” and “even love can’t hold me back.” And said stuff like, “I never want to settle down. It’ll just keep me from my dreams.”
But he loved me. As much as he could love me while still putting an expiration date on this package.
And I went with it because—Seize the day, remember? He made me happy.
Then summer rolls around and he’s got orders—to GUAM. (Who the heck goes to Guam? It was so random and FREAKING FAR!)
And then his orders get bumped up and he’s not leaving in Spring of 2014—he’s leaving in November of 2013. TWO MONTHS AWAY. All we have is summer. (Get it, Summer? It’s a metaphor, yo.)
Much like A Risk Worth Taking, I promised myself over and over I wouldn’t ask him to stay. That’s a whole lifetime full of regret waiting to happen. And I LOVED him enough to just want him to be happy. Wherever that was. So, amid MUCH tears (real life is actually way more dramatic than fiction in this case), And of course CAVING and asking him to stay anyway—he told me NO. (No choice. Navy orders, remember?)
And we broke up.
That’s my devastated face.
Not only did I not have my boyfriend, I didn’t have my best friend. (How did it feel? Read RISK!)
And we still tried to talk but it was awkward and sad and full of “I miss yous” that didn’t matter because they COULDN’T matter. Ugh. It was a mess.
I told myself to move on. Forced myself to do “moving on” things like go out with my friends and throw myself into work, yadda yadda yadda. I met a couple other guys who were lame-o within five minutes comparatively. Which just made me mad at Dylan for being so awesome and setting the bar so high. Which meant, despite my heartache, we continued to talk almost daily as “friends” because we were both so miserable without the other.
And then Christmas EVE 2013—we were talking and I was sad and telling him how I was moving on, essentially giving up—and he stopped me and said some things. He’d thought it over. He’d lain awake at night. He’d walked around depressed.
Well, I CAN’T TELL YOU WHAT HE SAID OR DECIDED! You have to read the book!
Seriously, NO LIE, Dylan’s “I want you back” speech was a direct quote from Ford’s same speech in Risk. I didn’t stand a chance against that kind of sweetness! He’s like a book boyfriend come to life!
Fun facts I CAN tell you: Dylan’s grandma’s last name—O’Neal. (Ford’s last name.)
Dylan’s middle name—Crawford—As in, FORD.
P.S. If you want to read what comes next in my real life (totally cheesy) TRUE LOVE story, you should check out my blog and see what we’re doing about this whole “Guam” thing. I’m headed back there July 15!
Author of Across the Galaxy, Whisper, and the Dirty Blood series. I write, read, and fuss at my kids. Oh, and I do laundry, lots of laundry. I'm pretty good at it, too. Sometimes I even read WHILE doing laundry - and fussing at my kids. I'm a multi-tasker.
Likes and dislikes? I love vintage tees, hate socks with sandals, and if my house was on fire the one thing I'd grab is my DVR player!
Aside from the ebook, Heather is also giving away this signed swag pack below with a very pretty fascinator to one commenter (US Only).
Also don't forget to check out the print only giveaway, you might win one of the 8 prize packs up for grabs!