Guest blog by Dani Collins, author of More than a Convenient Marriage?
As a reader, I’m a tough sell when it comes to characters keeping secrets. There’s always that part of me silently screaming, Just Say It. Do you find yourself doing that? Especially with movies, right?
As a writer, my worst nightmare is the writing a book that makes a reader roll her eyes and say, “Well if they would just talk it out...”
So how did I wind up with a hero with a Deep Dark Secret that doesn’t come out until the black moment?
First I have to admit to my own dark secret. I’m a bit of a pantser when it comes to writing. I have a synopsis, but I usually need a few chapters under my belt before I really know what’s going on—which is a giant nuisance. It means I kind of write an ugly excuse for a synopsis, then I write about thirty pages, then I hand in a synopsis that sounds great, but I have no idea how I’ll actually write it. When I finally do, my first draft is usually heavy to the heroine’s conflict and journey. My second pass is where my hero trusts me enough to give up his baggage.
So it was that I submitted a proposal to my editor that said something simple like, Gideon married under an assumed name so he wants to stay married. Then I had to write it and sell it. I mean, the reader is going to think, Why doesn’t he just tell Adara they’re not really married?
As with real people, Gideon’s doesn’t like to talk about things that pain him, but more importantly, he doesn’t want to hurt Adara. Especially as he begins to learn exactly how badly she’s been hurt by other things. Despite their having drifted apart in their five years of marriage, he takes his role as alpha-protector very seriously. The more he understands her, and the closer they get, the less he can bear to upset the apple cart. He starts dreaming their marriage can be even more real than it ever was.
Of course the truth finally comes out and of course Adara is upset. I won’t give away any more of the story, and you’ll have to be the judge as to whether I’ve made his reluctance to reveal his secret believable, but how do you feel about secrets in general? Obviously all characters have something they hide until they trust the other character, but when does their secretiveness stop working for you?
Tell me about some of your favorite characters with a Deep Dark Secret and I’ll draw for a signed copy of More than a Convenient Marriage??
It started with a signature…
Rich, powerful and with a beautiful wife to boot, it seems like Greek shipping magnate Gideon Vozaras has it all. But little does the world know his perfect life is all a façade…
After years of disguising her pain behind a flawless smile, untouchable heiress Adara Vozaras has reached breaking point. Her marriage, once held together by an undeniable passion, has become nothing more than a convenience.
But Gideon can't afford the public scrutiny that a divorce would bring and if there's one thing his harsh past has taught him, it's how to fight dirty to keep what's his...
Gideon Vozaras used all his discipline to keep his foot light on the accelerator as he followed the rented car, forcing himself to maintain an unhurried pace along the narrow island road while he gripped the wheel in white-knuckled fists. When the other car parked outside the palatial gate of an estate, he pulled his own rental onto the shoulder a discreet distance back then stayed in his vehicle to see if the other driver noticed. As he cut the engine, the AC stopped. Heat enveloped him.
Welcome to Hell.
He hated Greece at the best of times and today was predicted to be one of the hottest on record. The air shimmered under the relentless sun and it wasn’t even ten o’clock yet. But the weather was barely worth noticing.
The gates of the estate were open. The other car could have driven straight through and up to the house, but stayed parked outside. He watched the female driver emerge and take a moment to consider the unguarded entrance. Her shoulders gave a lift and drop as though she screwed up her courage before she took action and walked in.
As she disappeared between imposing brick posts, Gideon left his own car and followed at a measured pace, gut knotting with every step. Outraged stung his veins.
He wanted to believe that wasn’t his wife, but there was no mistaking Adara Vozaras. Not for him. Maybe her tourist clothes of flip-flops, jeans chopped above the knees, a sleeveless top, and a pair of pigtails didn’t fit her usual professional élan, but he knew that backside. The tug it caused in his blood was indisputable. No other woman made an immediate sexual fire crackle awake in him like this. His relentless hunger for Adara had always been his cross to bear and today it was particularly unwelcome.
Spending the week with her mother. This ain’t Chatham, sweetheart.
He paused as he came alongside her car, glancing inside to see a map of the island on the passenger seat. A logo in its corner matched the hotel he’d been told she was booked into. And now she was advising her lover where to meet her? Walking bold as you please up his million-dollar drive to his billion-dollar house? The only clue to the estate’s ownership, the shields welded to the gate, were turned back against the brick wall that fenced the estate from the road.
Gideon’s entire body twitched with an urge to slip his reins of control. He was not a poor man. He’d got past envying other men their wealth once he’d acquired a level of his own.
Nevertheless, a niggle of his dock-rat inferiority complex wormed to life as he took in what he could see of the shoreline property that rolled into a vineyard and orange grove. The towering stone house, three stories with turrets on each corner, belonged on an English estate, not a Greek island. It was twenty bedrooms minimum. If this was the owner’s weekend retreat, he was an obscenely rich man.
Not that Adara needed a rich man. She had grown up wanting for nothing. She had a fortune in her own right plus half of Gideon’s so what was the attraction here?
The insidious whisper formed a knot of betrayal behind his breastbone. Was this why she hadn’t shared that stacked body of hers with him for weeks? His hands curled into fists as he tried to swallow back his gall.
Dreading what he might see as he looked to the front door, he shifted for a full view. Adara had paused halfway to the house to speak with a gardener. A truck overflowing with landscaping tools was parked midway up the drive and workers were crawling like bees over the blooming gardens.
The sun seared the back of Gideon’s neck, strong enough to burn through his shirt to his shoulders, making sweat pool between his shoulder blades and tickle annoyingly down his spine.
They had arrived early this morning, Adara off the ferry, Gideon following in a power boat he was ‘test-piloting.’ She’d been driving a car she’d rented in Athens. His rental had been negotiated at the marina, but the island was small. It hadn’t surprised him when she’d driven right past the nose of his car as he had turned onto the main road.
No, the surprise had been the call thirty-six hours previously when their travel agent had dialed his mobile by mistake. Ever the survivor, Gideon had thought quickly. He’d mentioned that he’d like to surprise his wife by joining her and within seconds, Gideon had had all the details of Adara’s clandestine trip.
Well, not all. He didn’t know whom she was here to see or how she’d met her mystery man. Why was she doing this when he gave her everything she asked for?
He watched Adara’s slender neck bow in disappointment. Ha. The bastard wasn’t home. Grimly satisfied, Gideon folded his arms and waited for his wife.
BIO: Dani Collins spent twenty-five years dreaming of writing full time and finally made her first sale to Harlequin Mills & Boon in May of 2012. She’s still dreaming of making Romance Author her day job, but for now she writes around work, family, and enough exercise to keep her out of traction. For more information about Dani, you can visit her website at www.danicollins.com, listen to her interview with Nice Girls Reading Naughty Books, or watch her interview on GFTV.
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