The Secret to Keeping a Relationship On Track [GUEST POST]

Couple on bench

A lasting relationship takes a certain key ingredient to make it work. Author Anna Belfrage shares what it is! (Photo courtesy Canva)

Any good romance has its fair share of complications. It starts out fairly straight forward: boy meets girl (or boy), sparks fly and if it’s a steamy romance, soon enough that interest swells into a wall of hot, sizzling attraction. Yup: those love birds end up entangled and hot and the less experienced romance reader may think that’s that. Ha! Those of us who’ve been around the block a few times know this is just the warm-up. Our happy couple are about to enter the area of turbulence.

One of the things that tends to cause a lot of turbulence, IRL as well as in books, is when our loving couple doesn’t communicate. It happens surprisingly often, a flyaway comment made by one party growing from a molehill to a mountain in the perception of the other, and suddenly there’s a major, major misunderstanding, thereby highlighting not only a lack of communication, but also of trust.

Trust is the mainstay in any relationship. That’s why it is so hard to salvage a relationship once that trust is broken. Yes, you say you’ve forgiven him/her for having been unfaithful—and cross your heart, you HAVE forgiven him/her—but in the back of your mind and heart lurks the suspicion that if he/she could betray you once, they can do so again. And that niggling suspicion will taint the entire relationship. He comes home late from work? Immediately you start considering why that might be. She stays away for hours shopping? Hmm…

Trust is something that needs to be nurtured—which is also why it is so easy to dent it. Sometimes, it is someone else who causes the damage, like a jealous ex, an overbearing mother-in-law or friends who make it very clear your choice of partner is a bad one. That someone doesn’t want our loving couple to reach their Happily Ever After and is prepared to go to great lengths to stop this from happening. That tender plant—trust—wilts under such toxic conditions.

In my series The Wanderer, my main characters, Jason and Helle, have a lot of obstacles to overcome. One of these is trust, starting already the first time Helle claps eyes on Jason. A total stranger, and yet she knows him intimately, all the way from the birthmarks that decorate him to the smell and sensation of his naked skin. Very weird—extremely frightening, even—and when Jason explains that the reason she knows him is because they’ve met before, in a previous life, he is taking a leap into the unknown, hoping Helle will trust him enough to believe him. Helle isn’t entirely sure she does believe him—but she is convinced he is telling her the truth as he perceives it. One thing after the other leads to Helle concluding that Jason is not living a life based on self-delusion. Nope: reincarnation, it seems, is possible, and here she is, the lucky heroine of an epic love story featuring not only her reunited lover but also their ancient nemesis, Sam Woolf—and fair Juliet.

Juliet is the jealous ex and boy does she excel at spreading toxicity! She cannot understand what Jason sees in Helle—at all. In comparison to Juliet, Helle feels unsophisticated and insecure, something Juliet happily capitalises on, this despite knowing that Jason has spent existence after existence looking not for Juliet but for Helle. When Juliet is severely injured due to Jason’s conflict with Woolf, this causes substantial tension between Helle and her man. Yes, she understands that Jason feels guilty, yes, she supports him when he decides he must help Juliet as much as he can—but she feels abandoned when Jason starts spending all his time with Juliet, a complicated penance for not loving Juliet as much as she loves him, for putting Juliet in danger.

Do they talk about it? No. Jason is twisting in guilt—and far too aware of the fact that he is shutting Helle out, which in turn increases how guilty he feels. Instead of telling Helle this, he reverts to being short-tempered and distanced, indirectly pushing her away. Initially, Helle tries to talk to him about Juliet, show him she is interested and willing to help both him and Juliet, but being rebuffed—at one point even being told she is pathetically jealous—has her retreating from him. The silence becomes tangible, a twisting thing that slowly strangles trust until it lies gasping for air.

This could have been the end of the Helle-Jason romance, but hey, I write romance and Jason has spent fifty lives looking for Helle, so fortunately he wakes up and smells the coffee before trust expires permanently.

Not everyone in this world smiles benignly at happy couples. Some will go to great lengths to kill off all possibilities of a Happily Ever After, whispering poison in one ear, in the other. If the relationship is new—or insecure—it is hard to turn a deaf ear to all those whispers. It is even harder to initiate a conversation with your partner about them—but that is the only way to address issues like this. Communication, remember? Most of us know that. Many of us shy away from doing so. Which is why, unfortunately, having a relationship almost collapse due to bad communication in a romance is not unrealistic.

Helle and Jason learn the hard way to be honest and forthright with each other. Along the way, they will have to confront a mother-in-law from hell and their ancient enemy, determined to destroy them. Whether or not their love and trust is sufficient to see them through to that rosy Happily Ever After is something I won’t reveal here. Instead, I suggest you throw yourself headlong into their world!

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Troubador Publishing


According to Helle Madsen, being the protagonist of a time-spanning epic love story has some things going for it, primarily Jason Morris. Because seriously, meeting up with your fated lover after 3 000 years apart is not bad–at all. Unfortunately, where Jason goes, there goes Sam Woolf, yet another very, very ancient acquaintance–with the fundamental difference that Sam is not into Happily Ever After. He’s into destruction, more specifically of Jason and Helle.

Helle may believe in second-chance love, but she sure doesn’t believe in reincarnation. Okay, she didn’t believe in stuff like that until she met Jason Morris a year or so ago. By now, she has accepted that sometimes impossible things are quite, quite possible–like an ancient princess being reborn as an ambitious financial analyst.

Finding Jason was like finding the part of her that had always been missing–a perfect match. But handling Sam Woolf, the reborn version of their ancient nemesis is something of a trial. No sooner do you have him well and surely beat, but up he bounces again. Sheesh, will it take an oak stake to permanently rid their lives of him?

Sam Woolf is a powerful adversary. Too powerful, even. Jason and Helle will need help from unexpected quarters to finally bring this tangled, ancient love-and-hate triangle to some sort of conclusion. Question is, will they survive the experience?

Anna Belfrage

Anna Belfrage


Had Anna Belfrage been allowed to choose, she’d have become a professional time-traveler. As such a profession does not exist, she settled for second best and became a financial professional with two absorbing interests, namely history and writing. These days, Anna combines an exciting day-job with a large family and her writing endeavors. Plus she always finds the time to try out new recipes, chase down obscure rose bushes and initiate a home renovation scheme or two.

Her most recent series, The Wanderer, is a step out of her comfort zone. Having previously published historical fiction & historical romance, with this first book about Jason and Helle Anna offers a dark and titillating contemporary romance, complete with a time-slip angle and hot and steamy scenes.

Her first series, The Graham Saga, is set in 17th-century Scotland and Virginia/Maryland. It tells the story of Matthew and Alex, two people who should never have met—not when she was born three hundred years after him. With this heady blend of time-travel, romance, adventure, high drama and historical accuracy, Anna hopes to entertain and captivate, and is more than thrilled when readers tell her just how much they love her books and her characters. There are nine books in the series so far, but Anna is considering adding one or two more.

Her second series is set in the 1320s and features Adam de Guirande, his wife Kit, and their adventures and misfortunes in connection with Roger Mortimer’s rise to power. The King’s Greatest Enemy is a series where passion and drama play out against a complex political situation, where today’s traitor may be tomorrow’s hero, and the Wheel of Fortune never stops rolling.

When she isn’t writing contemporary suspense with a time travelling twist, Anna is usually visiting her favorite historical periods, namely the 17th century and the 14th century. And yes, she is quite convinced people were as much about love back then as we are now!

For more information about Anna, visit her home on the Web at, like her on Facebook, and follow her on Twitter.

By Anna Belfrage
410 pp. Troubador Publishing. $20.99

TLC Book Tours Tour HostPurchase A Flame Through Eternity at one of these fine online retailers: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million, Half Price Books, IndieBound, and Powell’s.

A Flame Through Eternity is brought to you in association with TLC Book Tours.

About Anna Belfrage
I'm the author of "A Flame Through Eternity," the third in my romantic suspense series, The Wanderer. When I'm not writing contemporary suspense with a time travelling twist, I am usually visiting my favorite historical periods, namely the 17th century and the 14th century. And yes, I am quite convinced people were as much about love back then as we are now!

2 Responses to The Secret to Keeping a Relationship On Track [GUEST POST]

  1. Pingback: Anna Belfrage, author of A FLAME THROUGH ETERNITY, on tour February/March 2020 | TLC Book Tours

  2. Sara Strand says:

    I’m really glad Jason gets his act together in this one, it was pretty dicey after book two! Sara @ TLC Book Tours

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