Welcome fellow Ellora’s Cave author, Kate Hill! I have to say, the whole topic of taming monsters is fascinating. Take it away Kate!
As a fan of horror and romance, few genres intrigue me more than paranormal romance. With so many authors and readers who love the genre as well, it seems I’m not alone in my fascination with the contradictory heroic monster.
Although there are many types of romance heroes and antiheroes, they must share at least some qualities that keep them from changing from the sexy bad boy to the story’s bad guy.
How do you make a horror character into a dream lover? Even more important, how do you tame him without losing the wildness that makes him so attractive?
Thinking about the top two “monstrous” fictional characters that turn me on, I looked for a pattern.
The first type of paranormal hero that came to mind was the vampire. For as long as I can remember I’ve been a fan of vampires. My mother enjoyed them too and I was raised on Christopher Lee’s Dracula movies. My love for vampires stayed without me throughout my life, so of course I enjoyed romance novels that featured blood-drinking heroes. Vampires have traditionally been frightening, disgusting monsters who rose from their graves to attack the living. How can that be sexy? Depending on your point of view, blood sharing might or might not be disgusting. The sexy comes in when the vampire controls his hunger for those he loves or when the blood-drinking itself becomes an act of intimacy between soul mates instead of a random act of violence with a stranger. In the traditional sense, vampires are supernatural creatures–cursed or undead. What happens when they instead become an alien species? In my Ancient Blood series, for instance, vampires are aliens. They’re not dead or undead. They eat, have heartbeats and other bodily functions and they don’t cringe if they see religious objects. They’re still powerful and are in many ways superior to humans, so they can inspire fear when necessary. Their willingness to control themselves because they have the ability to love keeps them from losing their edge.
The taming of a monster without breaking him brings me to the second paranormal creature on my list of favorites–the werewolf. Though I’m a big fan of werewolf movies, I have to admit that up until I discovered shapeshifter romances, they scared the h*ll out of me. Most of the time they’re fine in their human form, but as soon as the change takes place, the werewolf will destroy anyone in his path, even the people he loves. No one is safe from that kind of madness. While a werewolf lover is no doubt exciting, how can he or she possibly be sexy? The difference between a werewolf in the horror genre and a werewolf in the romance genre is easy enough to find. Provide the hero with intelligence along with instinct and you have the potential for an incredibly sexy lover who’s as warm as a fur blanket and can ward off just about any intruder. While alpha werewolves can be frustrating, few paranormal creatures have more “animal” magnetism.
There are other monstrous characters that rouse my interest and after thinking about what makes vampires and werewolves so appealing, I realized these monsters have the potential to be heroes too. With a few adjustments they can change from the villains who must be destroyed to the antiheroes who fight for the people they love.
What is your favorite type of monster turned hero and what makes the change work for you?
To enter this contest you must be 18 or over.
To enter for the chance to win a pdf download from my Ancient Blood series (winner’s choice of title), post a comment here. To find out more about the Ancient Blood series, visit http://www.kate-hill.com/ancientblood/ancienthome.html.
Excerpt from Ancient Blood 12: Revenge of the Court Jester
by Kate Hill
From Ellora’s Cave
With a body from heaven and a face from hell, Sadavis Baptista balances between two lives–one as a prize-fighting sculptor and another as a special forces agent for the vampire Network.
By chance Esmeralda Giordano finds herself at a professional fighting match where she is instantly attracted to a magnificent beast of a man known to fans as "The Court Jester".
It’s lust at first sight for Sadavis and Esmeralda, but their budding love affair is cut short when he is betrayed by a fellow agent. Imprisoned, tortured and near death, Sadavis performs a dangerous magical spell that prevents him from supplying information to his enemies. The effects of this spell linger long after he is set free. Sadavis’ mind slowly fractures and he must depend on Esmeralda to help him regain his sanity. Will their love be strong enough or will Sadavis be lost forever?
The following excerpt from Revenge of the Court Jester is for readers 18 and over.
Rage flooded Esmeralda from head to toe when Naldo’s heavy hand closed over her biceps. She’d stuck around, hoping for another glimpse of Sadavis, but of course the blond shit-head had been the one to approach her.
"Get your paw off me, buddy," she snarled, knowing her eyes must be glowing vampiric red with fury.
His fingers dug harder. She reached for her drink on the counter and flung it glass and all in his face.
"Bitch!" He wiped wine from his eyes.
"Conti, aren’t you growing quite weary of losing fights tonight?"
Esmeralda’s pulse skipped at the sound of that chocolaty voice. She and Naldo glanced at Sadavis who stood nearby, his stance relaxed while at the same time looking like that of a male lion ready to defend his pride. His hair was down this time. Thick, straight and black, it framed his face like a mane, further completing the leonine image.
"Mind your own business, Baptista. It was a bad night for me. Next time–"
"I don’t give a damn about next time. What I care about is your paw. I believe the woman asked you to take it off her."
Naldo’s teeth ground, but he stepped away from Esmeralda, growled softly at Sadavis and stalked out of the club. Obviously he didn’t want to risk a fight with the Court Jester outside the ring.
Esmeralda drew a deep breath, still irritated, and snapped, "I can take care of myself."
Sadavis’ piercing gaze fixed on her, almost making her jump. "You’re welcome."
He turned away and she realized how rude she must have sounded. After all it wasn’t him she was angry with, but Conti.
"I’m sorry," she called. "Thanks for the help."
He paused and glanced over his shoulder. "I can see you’re capable of taking care of yourself but I thought a little backup couldn’t hurt anyone."
Feeling a bit sheepish, she smiled slightly and nodded, then sat and ordered another drink.
Sadavis sat on one of the stools halfway down the bar, his long legs stretched out on either side of him, the muscles straining against the snug denim. His beautiful hair draped him and she longed to run her fingers through it to find out if it was soft or coarse.
She studied his profile with the harsh lines of his forehead, nose and chin. Hideous yet undoubtedly unique and, she realized, rather sexy. Actually sexual magnetism seemed to ooze from his every pore like lava from a volcano. Everything about him was so masculine, so. . .intense.
He must have felt her gaze upon him. Perhaps he was reading her thoughts, since she had the feeling he was old and psychically powerful enough to do so without her knowledge. Not all vamps respected the unwritten rule that frowned upon invading another’s thoughts without permission. Whatever the reason, he glanced at her. A strange half smile tugged at his lips before he looked away again.
A soft rock song wafted through the club and the lights dimmed even more now that all the matches were over for the night. Oh well. So much for her odd little fantasy. Esmeralda took a sip from the drink the bartender placed in front of her, her gaze continually drifting back to Sadavis. For some reason she couldn’t seem to ignore him.
He stood and she felt certain he was going to leave but surprised her by walking over and taking the barstool beside hers.
"Do you mind if I sit here?" he asked. "Or else I can take my paws along with the rest of me back to the other end of the bar."
Kate Hill is a vegetarian New Englander who loves writing romantic fantasies. When she’s not working on her books, Kate enjoys reading, working out, and researching vampires and Viking history. You can visit her online at http://www.kate-hill.com