With: Denise Moncrief
Congratulations to "Brooke B." the winner in Denise's giveaway. Thank you to all who participated!
The villain raises his hand to strike the heroine. She shrinks in fear. “No, no, please don’t hurt me.” Her eyes glow with terror. The villain utters the cliché, “Bwah ha ha.” In her heart she wonders where is her hero. She clutches her chest. Why hasn’t he found her and rescued her yet? No, he won’t abandon her in her hour of desperate need. He’s the hero! That’s what heroes do, right? Save the day? Enter the Hollywood handsome hero, a combination of Superman, Prince Charming, and that other guy, what’s-his-name. He breaks the door down, punches the bad guy in the nose, and saves the damsel in distress. This day, the heroine will NOT be tied to a railroad track while the villain twirls his mustache.
No, no, no. The modern romantic suspense reader doesn’t want the heroine to cower in fear. She expects her heroine to be a strong, independent, sometimes sassy woman with enough smarts to evaluate a situation and at least try to figure out how to get out of a scrape on her own.
One of the most disheartening reviews I’ve ever received complained that my heroine in An Impostor in Town covered (I think the reviewer meant cowered) in fear. Really? My heart sank, because I’d designed the heroine to be a woman who overcame her fears and stood her ground in the end. A woman who punches the bad guy while he’s driving a car on a mountainous road is NOT a damsel in distress. She’s a fighter. Okay, maybe she shrank when someone shoved a gun in her face, but who wouldn’t? Today’s heroine needs to be courageous and bold, but she also shouldn’t cross the border into unreality.
Romantic suspense readers want a heroine who can handle just about anything while still choosing to lean on her man...if that’s what she wants to do. No more damsels in distress. Oh sure, the heroine can find herself in a distressing situation, but she’s just as capable of handling it as her love interest, the hero, is.
One of my favorite heroines is Tess from Crisis of Serenity. She can handle just about anything. In the following scene she’s decided to take control of her destiny.
Would Jake come to my rescue? Would he once again be willing to become my knight in shining armor? I still didn’t need someone to protect me. I was still capable of taking care of myself, but this time...this time I needed him to rescue Joyce. She had needed protection and I had failed her. Could Jake help me fix what had gone horribly wrong?
Footsteps pounded on the dirt floor on the other side of the door. I braced for the impending confrontation. My back pressed into the rough siding of the barn, a splintered piece of the wood wall sticking into my skin. I shifted, ignored the sting of the fresh puncture wound, and reminded myself to bend a little. If I locked my knees I might pass out. I was already on the verge of fainting. My blood pulsed through my veins at a frightening rate.
I held my breath as the footsteps drew nearer. The door swung open and I pounced, jumping onto New Man’s back and wrapping my legs around his waist. I pounded him on his shoulders and the side of his face with my fury-driven fists.
“Where is she? What have you done with her?” I yanked at his long blonde hair. “She better still be alive.” Even in my frenzy, I realized a bold attack such as this might not have been the best offensive maneuver.
If you enjoyed this excerpt, you can read more of Tess in Crisis of Serenity. The book can be purchased on Amazon and at 5 Prince Books. Here’s the back cover description.
CRISIS OF SERENITY
Tess Copeland lives a quiet life in Gatlinburg, Tennessee. Thanks to the government’s witness protection program, she enjoys the freedom of never having to glance over her shoulder to see if someone is following her. Life has become safe, serene...and boring. Her heart longs for something more than just existing...until a ghost from her past shatters her serenity.
Once upon a time, Tess was stuck between the FBI and the men the feds were trying to take down. Jake Coleman is the U.S. Marshal who extracted her from the jam she was in with the FBI, a man she could have fallen for...hard...if she had let herself. It’s been a year since she last saw Jake, and in all the months that have passed, he’s never tried to find her. The longer he keeps his distance, the more she wonders why his absence hurts so much.
When a stranger comes to town searching for her, all of Tess’ old fears are resurrected. Asking Jake for help with her current crisis might lure him into a dangerous trap involving murder, kidnapping, and revenge. When Jake and Tess come face-to-face with the past, they will have to use all their wits to survive.
I’ll choose one person at random from commenters on this post to receive a free ebook copy of Crisis of Serenity.