A Romance Author’s Muse Becomes His Real-Life Love Interest

Mr. Murray spoke similarly. “When she held my hand it felt like coming home — she made me feel calm,” he said. “I’m a nurturer and a caring person. She became the one I wanted to give attention, help and love to.”

The next year and a half was filled with Mr. Murray visiting monthly and with Ms. Stevenson forming a relationship with Mr. Murray’s sons, Jontae, 22, and Joshua, 26, and his father, John Stevens Murray, 82. There were trips to the hospital for Ms. Stevenson, family trips to Aylen Lake, in Ontario, Canada, and trips to jewelers to research wedding rings.

In December 2019, Ms. Stevenson became sick. Two months went by without a diagnosis, which Ms. Stevenson thinks could have been Covid-19.

“That was scary; we didn’t know what was wrong,” Mr. Murray said. “Kim had several strokes. That was scary, too. Her cerebral palsy has been a part of her life. Now it’s part of both of our lives. There are challenges, but they are worth it. Her spirit and mind and creativity outweigh everything else.”

In March 2020, Ms. Stevenson and her mother, Cecelia Carelock, left for Qatar to celebrate her mother’s birthday. The pandemic followed a few weeks later. Once they were able to return to the States, Ms. Stevenson quarantined with her parents who live in Springfield, Mass. Imposed lockdowns and travel restriction meant she was unable to return to her home until June.

“I didn’t see John for 101 days,” she said. “That was torturous.”

A proposal came on Aug. 30, 2020, the anniversary of their first date, which they recreated, down to the table-side guacamole, served at their favorite Mexican restaurant, Plaza Azteca. When Ms. Stevenson returned from the restroom, a ring was on the table; Mr. Murray was crying. Ms. Stevenson did as well when she said yes.

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