The Werecougar: A Complex Hero

BrokenPromiseFINAL2Guest Blog by Tara Fox Hall, author of Broken Promise.

A huge thank you to Love Romance Passion Bloggers for having me here today!

I’m here today to promote Broken Promise, the second book in the paranormal romance Promise Me series. First, let me give a little background on the complex hero of the second book, the werecougar Theo O’Connor.

Theo is a thirty something bodyguard who had already known loss in his early twenties, when the attack that turned him also killed his parents (“Heart’s Belles,” from the Bedtime Shadows Anthology). In the ten years since then, Theo has become best friend and partner of the vampire Danial Racklan, owner of the corporate detective business Solutions, Inc. (“Partners,” from the Midnight Thirsts 2 Anthology). Theo is secure from those that would hunt him, changing to animal form only on the grounds of Danial’s sprawling estate. While he enjoys regular trysts with a fellow werelion Tawny on his business trips to Europe guarding Danial, Theo has not had a real relationship since his art college days, and is isolated from all others of his kind (he killed the man that turned him, and caused the death of his family). He is afraid to; afraid of the animal inside, which he has never really made peace with. In fact, Theo has taken drugs regularly to subdue his werecougar urges, and keep the animal inside him leashed. Everything is going completely under his control until a stormy fall night, when Danial is attacked while out alone on a job.

When Danial falls in love with the Sarelle in Promise Me, Theo is positive it will end badly for the vampire and human couple. In fact, he goes so far as to tell Danial that verbatim in Sarelle’s presence, then further warns Sar several times out of Danial’s hearing. But when Danial and Sar become Oathed at the end of Promise Me—a sort of marriage for vampires and their lovers—Theo reluctantly gives his blessing, hoping for the best. Secretly he has come to love Sar himself in the months he has known her, but knows that she doesn’t love him in return.

I looked down at Jake’s corpse, remembering how quick he’d been. What might have happened to me if Theo hadn’t shown up when he had?

“You’re trembling,” he said. He put his arm around me, patting me awkwardly. “Don’t be afraid; they’re dead.”

I hadn’t had a gun. If Jake had finished Theo, I’d have been helpless. My shaking intensified. I hugged Theo hard with both arms, trying not to cry.

His arms tightened around me. “Hey, I’m sorry for saying what I did—”

“I’m okay,” I said shakily into his throat. “It’s just adrenaline.”

“Shh,” he said gently. “I’m right here. No one’s going to hurt you. Just breathe.”

I held him until my breathing went back to normal. The solidness of him was comforting. Safe. I felt safe.

“We should go back,” he whispered. “You must be cold.”

I smiled, ready to say that he was holding me way too close for me to be cold. But when I looked up and met his concerned storm-cloud blue eyes, my throat was so dry I couldn’t talk. I moved back, feeling awkward. “Yes, we should get back. Danial will be home soon.”

He nodded. “Please don’t mention this to him.”

I gave him an incredulous look. “You want me to lie?”

He cleared his throat, embarrassed. “I meant don’t say anything tonight. I’ll tell him later. But I don’t want to ruin the first night of your honeymoon. He’s waited a long time to love someone.”

“He told you.”

“Of course, he told me. He’s my friend and he’s ecstatic.”

“Won’t Ivan say something?”

“And risk being fired for watching porn when he was supposed to be standing guard? Not likely.” He reholstered his gun. “And as fights go, this was just a scuffle.”

I looked at him, then away. “Okay.”

“If you’d have stayed indoors, I’d have taken care of them with no problem.”

“Sure you would have.”

In the opening chapter of Broken Promise, a dark design of Danial’s comes to light, causing Sar to leave him for a separation. After his attempts to get her back in the next week fail, an angry Danial dissolves their relationship. Resolute in her choice but still hopeful for an eventual reconciliation, Sar takes the next few months to decide what she wants. When a shared dream in Broken Promise reveals that Theo’s concern for Sar was rooted in his own love for her and that he has fought his feelings for her all along, Sar contacts Theo and they begin a love affair. But the worst difficulty before the couple is not facing the wrath of Danial or the other obstacles facing them…it is Theo facing up to what he is.

A terrible thought suddenly struck me. “Theo, when Cia was here and she changed for me, she knew who I was and understood my words. Will you know me, understand me?”

“Probably not, Sar. I don’t want you near me when I change. I could hurt you, even think you were prey.” Theo looked away, unwilling to meet my eyes.

“Why is it that she has control and you don’t?” I asked bluntly

“Because she changes every week at least once, sometimes every night,” he said in exasperation. “She doesn’t take the drug, never has. None of the foxes do. The drug separates the human and animal, putting a wall between them, so it’s harder for the animal and human to communicate.”

The drug made it harder for the animal to get through to influence the human. The flip side was it also made it harder for the human to control the animal and its urges, when the animal finally assumed control.

“Why would you do that to yourself, Theo?” I asked. “Why cut yourself off—”

“Because I hate it, Sar! I hate it! I never asked to be this way!” he shouted. “Do you know how it feels, waking up with blood on you, naked in the forest? How it feels knowing that you have to do it again and again for the rest of your life?” His eyes flickered from blue to yellow, and then changed back to blue.

Happily, Sar is a woman more than up for the challenge when it involves a man she is also falling for.

Theo lay down next to me, and began to speak.

“Sar, I apologize again for attacking you. I shouldn’t have to change for a few more months. By then, Danial will have worked this out in his mind, and—”

I spoke quickly, before I could change my mind. This was going to be our first fight and maybe our last. “Theo, you are going to change tonight, too.”

“Sar, I don’t have to—” he began.

“You need to, and you do have to, Theo,” I said firmly. “We need to do it every night until you have the control you need, until you can recognize me when you’re a cougar. I can’t live with you here without you being in control of your animal side. You might hurt me, or my pets. I can’t risk either one.”

“I won’t, Sar, I promise. The drugs give me control over my animal side—”

“No, they don’t. They never did, Theo. They’re keeping you from having control, real control.”

“Sar, please, don’t ask me to—”

“Stop taking the drugs, Theo. You tell the truth to everyone but yourself. This is who you are, what you are.”

“It’s not who I want to be,” he whispered.

“It is that sentimentality that almost killed me last night, Theo,” I said gently, if those words could be gentle. “You need to stop hiding and be who you are.”

“You saw last night what I was capable of. What kind of man does that?” he said bitterly.

“The kind of man I’m falling in love with,” I said to him, a faint smile on my lips. “The kind of man who doesn’t lie to himself or anyone else.”

The look in his eyes when he understood my words suffused me with feeling for him. Seeing him look at me like that, I wondered how it could’ve taken me so long to say them to him.

He pulled me into his arms and kissed me, tears again on his face. “I’ll do it, Sar. I’ll do it. For you, for us, I’ll do it.”

Blurb from Broken Promise:

Shocked at Danial’s betrayal, Sarelle returns to her old home to consider her options. Yet even as Sar plans a reconciliation with Danial, Terian arrives, confessing his desire. When Theo witnesses Terian and Sar kiss, he angrily confronts Sar, leading to startling consequences. Will Sar’s heart choose Danial, Terian,…or Theo?

Buy: Broken Promise (Promise Me)

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For info on my recently published books Lash and Promise Me, click here: and here

Author: Guest Blogger

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