Hi friends! Let’s pretend it is Thursday, shall we please? I admit – I gaffed. Total cock up, and Barbara Monajem was all things kind and understanding. She’s the best. She also has a really great post complete with thoughtful questions, so there’s nothing for me to add to. But I do want to point out that she is generously hosting a giveaway so do remember to comment! (Also please to make me feel less guilty? :X)
Usually, I’m infatuated with the heroes of my stories. If I were young, nubile, and ripe for an exciting love life, I could easily fall for any one of them.
Not so with Constantine Dufray, the hero of my new release, Heart of Constantine. At first glance, he seemed great—a gorgeous, sexy, Native American…yum, so far… rock star.
That’s strike one against him. I would not want to fall for a famous person. (Fame and glitz just don’t do it for me. At all. And they wouldn’t for any heroine of mine, either.)
And that was only the beginning. Constantine is a vigilante. He’s dangerously telepathic; his thoughts can do a lot of harm, and he’s afraid that he has lost control of his mind. He is completely mired in secrets, some of which are buried so deep he doesn’t even remember them.
Not a good prospect for a permanent relationship. In fact, I think Constantine would have gone completely insane if I hadn’t given him a spirit guide with attitude and back-dated it to his childhood. The spirit guide shows up in the form of various birds, and that scary owl on the cover is one of the guide’s incarnations.
Anyway, Constantine needed a heroine to come to his rescue. (The spirit guide said so. Repeatedly.) She had to have some unusual ability, or she would be no match for Constantine. He needed a woman who could dispense with most of his layers in short order. That’s why I gave her the ability to read auras.
Let me backtrack a little. I have synesthesia, a neurological condition where one kind of stimulus automatically activates another. It’s fairly common (1 in 23 people, according to Wikipedia) and manifests itself in different ways. In my case, letters, numbers, days of the week and months of the year are all associated in my mind with certain colors. So are people to some extent. (A startling question springs to mind. Is Lime actually lime??)
I think the association of colors with people is what made me choose a heroine who reads auras. I didn’t want something as simple as red=anger, green=envy, blue=melancholy. True aura-reading must be more complex and interesting than that. Marguerite, the heroine, sees auras in terms of both colors and patterns which fluctuate according to people’s moods and emotions. She has become very good at reading people. She sees through Constantine’s façades—right down to what he really feels at any given moment, which can get disconcerting:
Setup: Constantine is helping Marguerite tidy up after her house has been ransacked. Someone is trying to frame him for rape and murder, and he wants to make sure she isn’t the next victim. She is far more concerned about the unsettling effect he has on her. Just because she (like me) isn’t wowed by fame and glitz, doesn’t make her immune (sadly, I’ve never had the chance to test this out personally) to a tall, dark, mysterious rock star.
(Well. I did meet Leonard Cohen briefly while collecting a fine from him when I worked in a Montreal library eons ago. As well as being tall and dark, he was very polite. Out of reciprocal politeness (my version, which I will defend if you like), I pretended not to know who he was and treated him like any other delinquent library patron, but I’ll never forget it. So maybe I’m not completely immune after all, sad to say.)
To return to our hero and heroine:
“I refuse to be responsible for any murders I don’t commit myself,” Constantine said. “Therefore, I need to protect you.” He stilled the broom. “Go take your shower while I clean up.”
No big deal; he wouldn’t imagine her naked and wet only a few feet away. He’d think about that sexy new riff he’d written the other night after watching Marguerite and her dog from the bayou. He’d been thinking about toppling her into the water and taking her then and there.
Marguerite stared as if he’d gone out of his mind. “You want me to take a shower.” Pause. “While you’re in the kitchen.” She threw up her hands. “Thinking about me wet and naked!”
“I’m not—that is, I won’t be—” Christ. He was babbling. What had happened to being Zen about sex? She was just another woman, and being horny shouldn’t reduce him from total control to incoherence. “I didn’t telepath anything. What are you, a mind reader?”
“No, of course not.” She averted her eyes. “I just know.”
He pounced on that. “How do you know?”
“I just do.”
Well. It might be fun to find out what went on in that honey-blond head, behind those hazel eyes. “It doesn’t matter what I’m thinking. I’m attracted to a lot of women, but I don’t act on the attraction. You’re a fan, and you have a skewed idea of me.”
“No,” Marguerite said, “you are skewed.”
He couldn’t help but grin. “True, but you can take your shower. I swear upon my honor and all that’s holy, I will not come on to you.”
“Fine,” she said. “But has it never occurred to you that I might come on to you?”
Um…not that she wants to, of course. She’d much rather get back to her ordinary life, the one without mayhem and murder and Constantine. Or would she?
Do any of you read auras? Have premonitions? Send or receive telepathic messages? Inquiring minds are eager to know, and one lucky commenter will receive a copy of Heart of Constantine, e-book or paper, winner’s choice (or one of my other Bayou Gavotte novels if you prefer.)