Hanna's Hero was one of the possible titles for the novel I just completed for Ellora's Cave. We're talking heroes this week, so I thought since it didn't make it as the title for the book, I could use it as the title for today's blog post.
The final title is Chains of Desire, a futuristic erotic romance with a capture/bondage theme. Hanna, of course, is the heroine. I had her character down pretty well from the beginning, but the hero...well, he took me a little longer. I thought he was going to be a cocky scoundrel, like Han Solo in the original Star Wars movie. I LOVE that character and I was looking forward to basing a hero on him. But the story really wasn't working for me.
Then one day, while I was researching hero images (yes, I consider surfing the net drooling over the pictures of hunky guys research...don't you?) I came across this picture of Duane "The Rock" Johnson. And there was my hero. Hanna's Hero. Jarrod. And all the pieces fell into place.
Jarrod was a jaded escapee from the mines, a man of few words, who won't apologize for what he's had to do to survive. He's also a Master, a sexual dominant, but he's been trying to keep that beast chained inside him...until Hanna brings it out again.
Here's how Hanna, chained to the wall in the spaceship, first describes him:
As he stood before her, she had a good chance to study him as she chewed the food he slid past her lips. She could tell he was strong and well-trained. His well-sculpted muscles bulged beneath his tight black shirt as he moved. His skin was as dark and shiny as the hortnuts on Vanya. His eyes were nearly black and while she studied them for warmth, she never saw any signs.
His hand were wide, his fingers long and strong. Rough and calloused. He wore a wide leather cuff on his left wrist. She knew he could strangle her if he wanted, but he was almost gentle as he fed her. His musky scent grew stronger than that of the food remaining on the plate.
Hanna had never felt anything like Jarrod’s rough hands caressing her skin. She knew she shouldn’t like what he was doing. Shouldn’t be aching for more of this incredible friction that was sending waves of sensations over her skin. She shouldn’t be wanting more.
But as soon as she awoke and saw him standing there in the doorway, staring at her, she’d wanted him to touch her again. He wasn’t wearing a shirt and she couldn’t help but admire his sculpted muscles.
The tattoo surprised her. It was all black and covered the entire left side of his chest. It followed the curves of his chest, from his broad shoulder down past his tight nipple. Thick black lines radiated out from a center sunburst design to a circular border, with intricate designs between.
Some people on Vanya decorated their bodies in this way, but Hanna had never seen a tattoo that actually enhanced someone’s body as this one did. It made him look even stronger and sexier. If she ever got out of these cuffs and chains, she hoped she’d get a chance to touch it.
The tattoo ended up adding another layer to Jarrod's story. And I never would have known that part of his history if I hadn't come across this picture. Jarrod has ended up being one of my favorite heroes and I think it's because he became his own character, not a second-hand version of someone else.
We were talking about inspiration last week and I should have mentioned pictures. I use them alot. Do you use pictures to get a better handle on your characters? Are you like me, posting a picture up where you can see it as you write? Or do you really get into it, as some writers do, and make up a huge collage of images for your story? Or are your characters all in your head until you get them down on the page?
I can't wait to share cover and release date for Chains of Desire. You can be sure I'll let you all know when I get them.
Romance with more...sizzle