My first thought for this post was “What kind of heroes do I write about?” My second thought was “they’re all different.” My third thought, and most revealing was “only on the surface.”
I’ll use the first three books in my Love and Murder series to prove my point. What do a county sheriff, a rancher and an Austrian police inspector have in common?
First off, they listen to women. I mean really listen. It’s the deep respect, love of the fairer sex and the pure enjoyment they have for time spent with the heroine that makes them oh so sexy. Talking to the ladies here – a man who doesn’t just hear you but actually listens is gold, right? He listens with his ears and his heart.
Secondly, they’ve got a streak of I-want-to-protect running through them they can’t help. Even if the heroine thinks she doesn’t need protecting, my heroes are driven. Even if she can shoot as good as he can and have an ample supply of gutsiness, he’s there when she needs him. In book one, The Art of Love and Murder, Sheriff Chance Meadowlark has the Hopi Peacekeeper blood running through his veins, and he takes it seriously. After having lost his first wife to a murderer, his desire to keep Lacy Dahl safe tests his peacekeeper abilities.
Are all of my heroes drop dead gorgeous? Not necessarily, but they do have that certain appeal. In The Art of Love and Murder, Lacy Dahl describes Sheriff Chance Meadowlark this way when she gazed at him: Not a perfect face, but perfectly, ruggedly handsome.
So even if he’s a serious minded county sheriff like Chance Meadowlark, a playboy rancher like Mason Meadowlark in book two of the series or a fascist-fighting Austrian inspector like Tobias Wolf in book three, they all have at least two things in common – they really listen and they’ll protect because they can’t help themselves.
Title: The Love of Art and Murder
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Date Published: May 2, 2014
Genre: romantic suspense
Lacy Dahl never questioned her past until the deaths of her adoptive parents and her husband. A husband who wasn't what he seemed. Her research uncovers secrets about the mother she never knew; secrets that dispute the identity of her father and threaten her life.
Sheriff Chance Meadowlark is still haunted by the murder of his wife and the revenge he unleashed in the name of justice. When he meets Lacy he is determined not to become involved, but their pasts may make that impossible. As they move closer to the truth, saving Lacy may be his only salvation.
Lacy begins to think the present is more important than her past...until Chance's connection to her mother and a murder spin her deeper into danger and further from love. Will the truth destroy Lacy and Chance or will it be the answer that frees them?
Momentarily struck dumb by his eye color, she stared back. Why hadn’t she noticed until now? Although not as light as hers or her father’s, the professor’s eyes were a startling green shade.
His hand nudged her arm. “Lacy?”
She jumped. “Oh, yes.” She slipped the tissue from the half-carved wolf. Another glance at his eyes and goose bumps riddled her arms.
He lifted the wood close to his face, using both hands as if handling a delicate hummingbird. His thumb traced the neck of the creature to the juncture of where it emerged from the wood. When he brought the piece to his nose, closing his eyes and breathing deeply, Lacy wanted to turn away from the oddly erotic gesture.
He swallowed, opened his eyes and set the wolf back on the tissue. His attention shifted to the photograph of the chest. He touched the photo, a smile on his lips. “Where is the chest?”
The chest. Like he knew it, had seen it before. “I’m having it sent. You’ve seen it before?”
He didn’t move, stared out the window as if deep in thought. “I’d like to show you something, Lacy.”
“All right.” She waited, watching his profile.
He turned and stared into her face a moment. “You’re so very lovely. A creation full of life and passion, surpassing any art form.”
His hypnotic voice floated on the classical strains drifting from the living room. She couldn’t speak. Didn’t know what to say. She’d been lifted upon a pedestal of admiration. With any other man, she might consider his words a means to a sexual end. The professor’s intentions, however, were crystal. He admired her like a work of art.
After many years of a near gypsy lifestyle, my husband and I have finally landed on the northern prairies of Arizona. We've transitioned from city people to country folk. We share our rambling farmhouse with our son the farmer, his wife, my granddaughter and three dogs. Together, we’ve embraced an age-old lifestyle that has been mostly lost in the United States - multiple generations living under one roof, who share the workload, follow their individual dreams and reap the benefits of combined talents.
Although I didn’t start out to write romance, I’ve found all good stories have to involve complicated human relationships. I’ve also learned, no matter a person’s age, a new discovery is right around every corner. Whether humorous or serious, straight contemporary or suspense, all my books revolve around those two facts.
Visit Brenda at www.brendawhiteside.com.
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She blogs on the 9th and 24th of every month at http://rosesofprose.blogspot.com
She blogs about prairie life and writing at http://brendawhiteside.blogspot.com/