My first ever crush was on a bad boy. James Cagney. Yeah, the actor who is dead. I think I loved him because he reminded me of my dad -- and most girls have their first big crush on their dads. Right? Also, Cagney often played a bad boy with a big heart that he managed to hide -- except from a certain persistent girl! Ah, romance!
I continued to be a sucker for a bad boy, falling head over heels for a boy in grade school who took a paddling with a smirk. Loved that guy! My first kiss was bestowed by a boy from the wrong side of the tracks. He made my toes curl, he was so baaaad! In college I fell for a bad boy with a big heart and I still have a soft spot for him when I think back on his mischievous smirk and cocky walk.
My deepest love was for a bad boy who was almost 10 years my senior and played musical beds with girls. I was a virgin and he kept telling himself to stay away from me because I was too young, too green, and way too much trouble. Well, we all know how that turned out, don't we? He was my "first" and no one was ever quite able to live up to him. I learned that there was a reason he had a line of girls willing to share the sheets with him. He ruined me for other men, the rake! But I managed to win his heart.
Naturally, when I create a hero he must have a bad boy persona. He's just no fun if he isn't a little (or a lot!) dangerous and flawed in some way. I also like the "misunderstood hero" ala Mr. Darcy in "Pride and Prejudice."
The hero in "Through His Eyes," is a classic bad boy hero and he is -- if I say so myself -- deliciously bad in the best sense of that word. Levi Wolfe springs from a troubled youth and launches himself into a destructive period as a young man to emerge with "No Trespassing" signs posted all over him, especially on his heart. He's a gifted psychic and self-made millionaire, but he has never known unconditional love. Into his life walks Trudy Tucker, also a talented psychic, who does a head and heart trip on Levi. Before he knows it, he's not only working with Trudy to track down a serial killer, he's also trying to get and keep her in his bed.
I think what I love about bad boys is their vulnerability. They can take care of themselves and they do because they usually have had to do just that. There wasn't anyone around they could trust to protect them, love them, and guide them as they grew from boys to men. Or they went down the wrong path in their youth, disappointed people who loved them, and then felt like they couldn't make enough amends when they finally regained their footing again on the right path.
Levi is one of those walking wounded who feels that he can't trust people with his deepest feelings and that he's damaged goods. Women look at him and swoon because he's a gorgeous specimen of manhood, but they don't look past his beauty to see the sad beast crouching within his heart. Trudy sees him -- all of him -- and she still loves him. And that both fascinates and terrifies Levi.
In "Through His Eyes" there is danger without -- a monstrous serial killer -- and danger within -- an explosive desire and budding love between two people who have learned how to guard their hearts. Add a dash of paranormal as the two psychics use their incredible gifts to track down a murdering psychopath and you have a truly badass book!
Mr. Cagney, I think, would be proud.