The Pit and the Passion

She held her gaze steady, mainly so she could delve deep, deep into those chocolate eyes. Together with his sharp, angular nose and intense, almost predatory, expression, he reminded her of a peregrine falcon on the hunt.

The Pit & the Passion

Monday, May 12, 2014

Welcome to the Book Boyfriend Blog Hop--Meet the Heroes

Welcome to the Book Boyfriend Blog Hop. We'll be here May 12 to 18. All authors will be offering prizes, but in addition we are offering a grand prize: signed HIS HAVEN paperback by Harper A. Brooks, signed CLOAKED IN FUR paperback by T.F. Walsh, and a $20 Amazon gift card!


I don't know about you, but I like my heroes slightly eccentric. Handsome yes—usually with striking eyes and dark hair. They are real men, as in a Sean Connery kind of man—one who has lived a life of adventure and knows what he likes and wants. But they also have a streak of something peculiar—a slight glitch, like the one dropped stitch in your sweater. That's what makes them endearing to my independent, spirited heroine.
I love all my heroes, but for now let's focus on two of them.

Jack Andrews in Losers Keepers.
Gabriel Byrne
Jack is—was—a loser. Total washout, a creep. At least when Dagne first loved him. It took her a year and the advent of the young and lithe Samantha for her to get over him. Then, bang! He shows up at the intersection of her heart and a murder. Lucky for her, he's all "growed" up now.

The story:
DagneLonegan, aka Dear Philomena, advice dispenser extraordinaire, hoped that spending a year on the Eastern Shore island of  Chincoteague to write her novel would clear her sinuses, if not her heart, of any feelings for Jack Andrews, erstwhile lover and long-time jerk.  It’s just her luck that her first week on the island she’s in the right place at the right time to be involved with a murder.  Only she doesn’t know it.  Unfortunately, the murderer doesn’t know she doesn’t know.  Strange and dangerous things begin happening to her, interfering with her new romance with Tom Ellis, the handsome manager of the National Wildlife Refuge.  To complicate matters further, her Jack arrives to take charge of the murder investigation.
Will Dagne stick with the tall, cool glass of a Ranger or fall back into the arms of her first tempestuous passion?

This is what Jack used to be like:
Three years ago, on a rainy night in the middle of December I met a man…let’s call him Jack. I felt immediately, irredeemably, passionate about him, despite all my friends’ fervent warnings. They called him a salesman, a politician, a glad-hander. Cynical, superficial, shallow, and cold. And they were right. He was the kind of man who would sidle up to the desk clerk and talk to her in an intimate whisper as though they’d been friends for ages. You’d usually find him in a crowd of acquaintances, usually at a bar, calling the bartender by name. Or handing out cigars at some candidate’s rally. Or gazing soulfully into his latest victim’s eyes.
The victim being a woman, of course.
Women were always taken in because Jack listened. Even on the first date his prey would find herself telling him all sorts of secrets. He’d look deeply, with remarkably authentic sympathy, into her eyes, and before she knew it, she’d be feeding him tidbits from her plate. With any luck she’d recognize him for the hollow creature he was before it went too far. Jack wasn’t even an empty suit, more an empty polo shirt that he’d picked up as a freebie at a celebrity golf tournament.
I left Jack before he could finish eating my soul. I pretended to believe his self-serving observation that I didn’t love him, that I couldn’t possibly love him. I thought it would make it easier to forget him.

But then he redeemed himself:

He looked the same. A little more grizzled perhaps. Thinner. He wore a black suit and an aqua tie that drew her eyes straight up to his. He accepted her examination with patient equanimity. “What are you doing here, Jack?”
“You wouldn’t see me. I had to see you.” He peeked at her from under his bristly salt and pepper brows.
Dagne held her anger in check. “So, how’s Samantha?”
“I don’t know.” His voice was resigned.
“What do you mean?” Was it the Tabasco sauce in the boxers or the dog poop in the sweatshirt?
“I mean, I don’t know. I haven’t seen her since I last talked to you.”
Dagne tried to take a breath and failed. Mother always said, “If you can’t think of anything to say, don’t say anything.” She waited.
Apparently the conversation had peaked. She brought it back around. “Cora Anne said you were looking for me. What do you want, Jack?”
“May I sit down?” She nodded at a chair. “To be honest, Dagne, I’m here on business.”
“Business? What kind of business?”
“Police business.”
Dagne stared at him. So he’d finally taken the plunge. “You made it onto the police force?”
Jack grinned a little sheepishly. “Yup. When you walked out I had nothing to do but get my act together. Went to the police training academy, the whole works. Can you believe it? The State of Virginia in its infinite wisdom promoted me to detective last month.”
Despite herself Dagne was impressed, but she had no intention of showing it. Jack’s finally finding himself at forty-five didn’t seem all that much of an accomplishment.

Also the perfect bad boy:  Elian Davies in Lapses of Memory.
Simon Baker

Elian is a man who knows what he wants. He just doesn't bother to tell Sydney, the heroine. When he first set eyes on her at the age of seven he knew she was his true love. He also knew he wanted to be a journalist and cover international crises. He was great at the latter; not so much the former. He and Sydney spend more of their lives as competitors than as lovers.

To Sydney, Elian is an underhanded, womanizing, creep who scoops her stories without batting an eyelash. But there's something about that auburn cowlick, the scar on the back of his hand, the tantalizing blue eyes, that draws her.

Lapses of Memory is a novel in which two romances intertwine as a mother recounts her life-long love affair while her daughter juggles two lovers.  The story follows the exploits of two journalists as they travel the globe reporting on various world catastrophes. In one of their encounters they find themselves embroiled in the early stages of the revolution in Iran and only barely escape. A few years later we find them rivals in the search for a scoop on the Lebanese Civil War. 

Their love is reignited each time they meet, but in the long years following each encounter she forgets him. For his part, her lover knows from the age of seven that they are meant for each other, but when she finally sees the truth, he has lost his memory—literally.  Can she make him remember her? Will their new love be enough to replace the old one?

Blue-pencil Elian
Sydney pulled out her crossword puzzle, mints, pen, glasses, embroidery, and tissues and set them on the other seat before stealthily slipping the miniature bottle of Jack Daniels into the magazine pocket. She checked her ticket once again. They’d be in Rome tomorrow morning and from there the flight to Beirut should be less than five hours. As she searched for her seat belt a husky voice behind her ear said, “Excuse me. I believe I have the window seat?”
The scent of licorice filled her nostrils. She looked up into a pair of deep indigo eyes, half-obscured by a tangle of hair the color of cordovan. He used his angular chin, cloaked in reddish brown stubble, to indicate his seat. She looked him up and down without moving, and pronounced, “Elian Davies.”
He drew back, an expression of mock surprise on his face. “Sydney Bellek? Could it be you after all these years? My, how you’ve aged…I mean matured.”
Whatever joy she’d felt at seeing him faded. “You.”
He scooted around her knees and sat down. “Me.”
She picked up her crossword puzzle and pretended to work on it. He pointed a tanned finger at a spot on the page. “Eleven down is Oslo.”
The stewardess came by. “Please buckle your seat belt, sir. We’ll be taking off in five minutes.”
“Oh, Miss—” he peered at her name plate, “—Petula? What a lovely old-fashioned name!” He beamed at her. “Would you mind bringing me a glass of ice before we begin to taxi?”
The stewardess opened her mouth, then opened her eyes wide. “Why, you’re Elian Davies, the famous photojournalist, aren’t you?”
“At your service, Petula.” He bent in a graceful half bow.
“Right away, sir. I’ll be back in a jiffy.” She tore down the aisle, knocking into passengers’ elbows and knees along the way. Holding a glass high, she ran back like a bartender in a Bastille Day race, and proudly plunked it and a packet of peanuts on Elian’s knee.
When she’d gone he took a furtive look around and pulled a miniature bottle from his pocket. Sydney’s annoyance dissolved in giggles. “You too?” She pulled her own small whiskey out.
“Oh good, we’ll share this first one, shall we?”
She couldn’t say no, and besides, sipping kept her busy. Elian. She’d spent the last four years trying to hate him. It should have been easy. His reputation as an ace reporter and first-class scoop jockey had only grown since Tehran. Too many of her colleagues told stories of him racing across the tarmac just ahead of them to catch the final words of an escaping dictator, or jumping into a helicopter for a one-on-one interview with said dictator upon his triumphant return. Along with his derring-do came the even more infamous reputation as an inveterate ladies’ man, which the recent episode with Petula only confirmed.
She studied his left hand as it popped a peanut in his mouth—steady, strong, tanned. It looked familiar. Oh yes, I watched it unbutton my blouse in a supply room in Tehran. She turned away to hide the blush. When her cheeks had sufficiently cooled, she turned back only to have him glance away quickly.
Staring out the window, he inquired in a casual voice, “So how’s your boyfriend holding up while you’re off on these wasted efforts to follow in my footsteps?”
Her momentary affection melted away. Old Blue-pencil Davies at it again. Prick. “They’re all moping of course, poor babies. And yours?”
“Me? I don’t hold with leading women on.”
“That’s not what your adoring public thinks.”
He swung around on her, the customary smirk on his lips gone. “They’re wrong, Sydney.”
The remark—and his deadly serious face—threw her. To cover her confusion, she sipped her drink. After a minute he turned back to the window. As she watched his shoulders gradually relax, she reviewed the stories about him. From what she’d heard, women who crossed paths with him considered a one-night stand the standard reward. Could he be telling the truth? Just then Petula passed, slowing as she neared their row and heaving a soulful sigh. Sydney remembered the lovelorn look on her secretary’s face. Nah. He may not lead women on, but he sure draws them in.

Then the tables are turned:

“Sydney? Can I ask you something?”
“Uh huh.”
“Would you have picked me up that day at the Smithsonian if you didn’t think I was this Elian of yours?”
She started to say something flippant, but noticed his eyes glistened in the lamplight. “I…”
He continued to stare at the water. “Sydney, these last two weeks have been…special. I never thought…I mean, I know it’s strange. And me with no real background—nothing to offer you, no…me as it were. I—”
She stopped his meandering with her lips. His arms went tentatively around her. For a minute they floated in a cocoon of mist, the voices and music fading into the background. She drowned in a mixture of new feelings and old memories, of hope and despair, of the past and the possibility, hitherto unanticipated, of a future. He stepped back, holding her at arm’s length. His voice steady, he whispered, “The moment. Let’s live for that tonight.”
Resolved to accept his wish, at least for now, she followed him.

I hope you enjoy these forays into my heroes' psyches. If you'd like to win a copy of either Losers Keepers or Lapses of Memory, leave a comment describing your own hero. Be sure to leave your email address in the comment.

NOW: for more prizes, more fabulous heroes, and great excerpts, click here to go back to the blog hop home page.


T.F. Walsh said...

Two wonderful book boyfriends, and I can see why. I loved reading your post... Your voice is fantastic. Thanks for joining us on our blog hop:)

Ray said...

My own hero can be a bit cheeky, naughty and funny but at heart he should be loving, sensitive, honest, faithful and most of all a good guy.


Loralie Hall said...

Two super sexy guys to pick from. we have to pick?

Anonymous said...

I'll take them both, thank you. :)

M. S. Spencer said...

Thanks everyone!

Margo Bond Collins said...

Great book boyfriends! :)

My own: smart, funny, beautifully handsome . . . mmm . . .

JoAnne Myers said...

Great boyfriend reads. These men are worth waiting or maybe fighting for. Good luck with sales.

Melissa Keir said...

Wonderful post! I know someone like Jack who pushes all the right buttons until you start to fall for him and then he pulls back and makes you crazy!

Thanks for sharing!

Tara Quan said...

I'm partial to eccentric guys as well, especially if they look like Gabriel Byrne.

Laurel Lasky said...

I love the two strong men. My man is 89 and I am his child bride of 70. We are going on 28 years. I would love to have two men and be a cougar. Oh well. I love my husband very much.

Anonymous said...

I love the idea of a transformed hero. Great idea for Jack, M.S.! And I love the title. Perfect fit.

Thanks for hopping with us!


V.L. Locey said...

Hi there M.S.! Such great book boyfriends you have.

Book Attict said...

My perfect hero is tall, muscular, confident, loyal, Alpha, bad-ass, intelligent, protective, vulnerable and majorly damaged -- but ultimately redeemable!

Thanks for the amazing giveaway!
elizabeth @ bookattict . com

Christine Rains said...

Great teasers! I do like my men a little eccentric too. :)

Zoe Forward said...

I really enjoyed reading your post! Thank you.
writeforward @ yahoo dot com

Cathy Brockman said...

Both books sound Awesome I love both Gabriel Byrne and Simon Baker!

M. S. Spencer said...

Thanks everyone for reading and enjoying. I'll be posting the winner tomorrow. Feel free to check out all my books here! M. S.

Juana said...

I like my hero to be protective, faithful, and has a great sense of humor.

jmesparza821 at gmail dot com

bn100 said...

smart and funny

bn100candg at hotmail dot com

Sherry said...

My hero must be smart and put his partner first.
sstrode at scrtc dot com