SHE HADN’T even noticed it was happening.

Alex Gantry, the heroine in my debut contemporary romance Below the Beltway, stood watching everything in her life turn upside down, suddenly realizing she had set it all in motion.

One expert on said, “Jealousy isn’t something we have much control over.”

Talking to hundreds of women and men over years, I’ve come to believe this statement on jealously to be false. Except when we find ourselves between two men, which is rarely planned in advance and doesn’t come with a manual.

Jealousy, Romance and Playing with Passion

Alex is determined to leave Brian Marks in her past. She thought moving from Hollywood to Washington, D.C. to join forces with her best friend, Berkley Banks, would send a message.

It did but not the one Alex had hoped.

In new love, jealousy works to confirm our hopes, sometimes our fears too, that our feelings are shared.

We can even set up situations to confirm what we’re experiencing to make sure we haven’t misjudged a situation that could quickly become overwhelming.

Once jealousy took up residence in the repertoire of human emotions, who was to say it couldn’t be used strategically? In fact, reports University of Texas psychologist David Buss, 40 percent of women deliberately provoke a bit of jealousy in a partner to get a reading on the strength of the bond. (Men do it too, but not nearly as often as women.) It can also up one’s desirability in a mate’s eyes. [Psychology Today]

The day Brian Marks faces T.J. Gale for the first time, Alex is caught flat-footed and stunned. She quickly learns the cost of unintended chance meetings and the blow back when two men’s passions are exposed to one another.

By then it’s too late.

Deadly complications have developed from Brian’s jealousy over the lack of power he has over Alex’s new life.

There are few things more dangerous than a man that is used to getting whatever he wants finding out he can no longer have what he once took for granted.

Coveting after conquest ebbs can lead to dangerous outcomes.

Enjoy Below the Beltway Now!

This post has been updated, current cover by Mirna Gillman of BGS.