With: Cindy McDonald
When an author receives a review on Amazon or Goodreads or other review sites, they like for their characters to be mentioned in the review. We authors love to hear about our characters and how readers like or dislike or relate to the characters. We try to make characters stand out—whether it be through good looks or behavior—we try to make the reader notice them, but what about the characters who seem to be overlooked, characters who are never mentioned in a review or even in a conversation?
There are a couple characters who go unmentioned by my readers that totally takes me by surprise. Of course most of my readers mention Jack Haliday—everyone seems to love him. Jack is handsome, witty, and heroic—what’s not to like? That said, the two characters who are never mentioned in reviews are, Lil Haliday, Jack’s little daughter, and Stewart Little—that’s right, he shares the same name with the little white mouse, and he hates it!
The one who surprises me the most is Lil. She’s adorable, and she makes quite a few appearances in the stories. As a matter of fact, she is the only character in the books who has a positive relationship with Stewart Little. Lil is fun-loving and full of life, and yet readers rarely mention the little sprite. Stewart is a huge brooding man and very intimidating as well. The operatives on team First Force have unanimously decided that his default expression is a scowl, but they all know that they could indeed count on Stewart to put his life on the line for each team member. Truth be told, he has a heart of gold—he just keeps it tightly under wraps.
What makes Stewart so…miserable?
What deep-rooted hurt fills his very soul?
The team accepts him and leaves him alone because that is what he seems to want. But not Lil. She runs toward him with hugs and sits on his lap and forces him to talk with her or read her a book—somehow this child knows he needs love, and she gives it to him whether he wants it or not. Jack is amazed at how Lil is able to climb over the solid brick wall that the big man has built around himself.
With each First Force book, I choose an operative and tell his story. That said, I’ve decided to save Stewart for last, and we’ve got a way to go—there have only been four books thus far and there are eight operatives. You can get acquainted with Stewart Little in each of the books, he plays a major role in all of them—although you may not notice him. In this short excerpt from To the Brink, book four of the First Force Series, I have provided a prime example of Stewart’s harsh yet soft demeanor…
“We’d better get moving,” Jack suggested. “We’ve got a lot of people to get through security.”
“Hold up a minute,” Stewart Little called. He opened the back door of Jack’s SUV to hand each of the girls several gift cards. “Here ya go ... some Disney dollars to spend. Have a good time, and for God’s sake don’t get lost. I don’t want the team to have to fly down to Orlando to find your sorry butts.” He sounded more like a Grizzly Bear roaring than a man bearing gifts.
“Thank you, Little Big Man,” Lil squealed in delight. Little Big Man was the name Lil had given the big team member, whose name was Little. He was as cantankerous as thunder snow in January, yet somehow those little girls were able to look beyond the harshness that inhabited his core to find the love that lie within the scoured layers beneath.
“Gracias,” Pat added with a smile on her lips and in her voice.
Each girl gave him a kiss on his cheek. He scolded, “Now quit fussin’, it’s just some lousy gift cards. Put your seatbelts on, Haliday’s drivin’,” he told them as he closed the door to walk away.
Rolling his eyes, Jack put in, “Is it just me, or is he getting harder to love?”
“This was very kind, Senor Little,” Bebe told him as he passed her on his way to his pickup that was parked behind the SUVs.
“It was nothin’. Have a good time,” the man of few words replied, while holding the door to the vehicle open for her and helping her inside, and then with his head bowed and his eyes focused on his feet, he hurried away. Rayne and Silja exchanged knowing grins before slipping into their assigned vehicles. They were amused by the flush washing over Little’s cheeks.
TO THE BRINK
Passion explodes between deception and danger!
Tess thought her life would settle after the death of her husband, Ballard Crafton. After all she’d escaped Russia with the formula to his secret serum that transforms ordinary soldiers into unstoppable machines. She was certain the Russians thought Ballard’s notes were lost in the explosion that destroyed his lab, but one man believes that Tess possesses the precious information, and he wants it for his own wicked agenda.
Hired assailants dog her night and day. She needs help and she needed it weeks ago. Now she turns to First Force for protection only to find the team is away with only one operative at First Force headquarters holding down the fort—Dan Garrison.
How can Dan keep her safe when he isn’t sure that he believes her story? How can Tess gain his trust, and how can either of them deny the underlying passion that is exploding between the fine line of deception and danger?
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