My name is Gianna Simone, and I write mostly paranormal, with BDSM elements, but I also like to write historicals and I have a WIP that's sci-fi themed. I'm hoping that becomes the first of a three part series. I have two beautiful kids, and I work a full-time job that involves some travel, so that makes time a luxury for me. But whatever little bits of it I get, I spend writing. Or playing online. Mostly on Twitter, you can find me there under Gianna_Simone, or at my blog, http://giannasimone.blogspot.com.
My books, In the Devil's Arms and Healing the Mage, are both available through Noble Romance Publishing. http://www.nobleromance.com/BrowseListing.aspx?author=122. I also have a story, Bound for Love, that appears in the Red Roses and Shattered Glass anthology.
So we're talking about archetypes. I'm not very comfortable with them – they always elude me. Maybe because most of my heroes sprung from a villain in some way – whether it's a character in a TV show, a movie, a book, or my own wild musings. I can honestly say that my last several heroes have all come to life in my head because of one line of dialogue, or a phrase in a magazine article, and usually that line is told about a villain or spoken by a villain. And in fleshing them out, my heroes tend to have just as many bad traits as good. And they're not always willing to give up those traits or be redeemed. I always end up calling my heroes "anti-heroes." One of my first heroes, was a vampire bent on world domination. He did give up that goal to keep the woman he loved, but he never stopped being ruthless and vicious if necessary to his plans, even killing his rivals if he had to, just to achieve his goals. She loved him in spite of that, so obviously, he had some good traits as well, but that dark, edgy side of him was very prominent and never went away.
Heroine archetypes give me just as much trouble. My heroines don't always have a kick-ass personality or a steel spine. Sometimes they want to run away or hide from their issues instead of standing up and confronting them head-on. In my current WIP, my heroine wants nothing more than to stay in her quiet little corner of the world where it's safe. And when that world is turned upside down, she doesn't want to stand on the battle lines and fight, she wants to get her ass out of there! But her heart won't let her abandon the hero who terrifies her as much as he excites her. So she cries and screams and fights it every step of the way, but the allure of the bad boy who swears to keep her safe takes over and she finds herself in the middle of a situation she has absolutely no skill set to handle.
Because my heroes tend to lean heavily over the line separating good and evil, my villains have to be that much more over the top. It's hard to flesh out pure evil and not come across as cartoonish, so they can be tricky. There is no heart to them, not even buried deep. They will stop at nothing to achieve their goals, including turning on those who they supposedly care about. That's basically the difference between my heroes and villains – my heroes, ultimately, DO care, and will go to the same lengths, even using dishonorable means, to protect their loved ones. My villains will sacrifice their loved ones if there is something to be gained in that. So it's a fine line, and a difficult one to balance. My villains are usually irredeemable in just about every way, whereas my heroes have some redeemable qualities, even if they keep their dark side.
Here's the blurb and an excerpt from Healing the Mage:
Lily Prentiss wishes she could ignore her inborn healing magic so she can live life on her terms, not follow the path her Magiste family chose for her. But when she stumbles across Aidan Marchand in the excruciating throes of evolving into a Mage, her touch is all that stops his pain and she can no longer deny her powers. When the sexy Dom seduces her into willing submission, she finds she doesn’t want to resist and actually enjoys giving up control.
Aidan has more to worry about than just his rapidly maturing powers – his business partner is blackmailing him into funding a venture that involves kidnapping young girls both magical and mortal, and selling them as sex slaves. Even as Lily’s touch eases Aidan's pain, he knows staying with her puts her in danger from his enemies. But the gift of her sexual submission helps him even more than her healing magic...so how can he let her go?
Lily gaped at her aunt, then turned to Aidan. His lips twitched, as if they verged on a smile, and her fingers twitched as she fought the impulse to give him the same treatment she’d given her brother earlier. Not with any witnesses.
“You have to be kidding me. You said I would only have to stay until the potions start working.”
Helene hesitated, frowning. “Apparently, I was mistaken. You’ll need to stay near Aidan until his powers have stabilized.”
Helene’s calm demeanor spiked Lily’s anger further. Why did she have the sinking feeling from the moment she’d set eyes on Aidan Marchand last night, her life had crashed and burned, and there was no going back?
"I can’t stay here . . . out of the question. I have to work, I have a life. I can’t stay with him all the time."
"It shouldn’t be more than a few days. Aidan has more than enough space to share."
"My suite is quite large, you’ll have plenty of room," Aidan said, making no effort at all to conceal his hopeful smile.
"Very funny. I don’t think so." She eyed him cautiously, but no trace of the vicious anger remained. Relief left her knees trembling. The fury that had taken him over had been terrifying. Why wasn’t the potion enough to keep it at bay?
"You’ll have to stay in the same room with Aidan. He . . . there’s no telling when he might need to . . . touch you."
"What is this, a conspiracy?" Lily yelled. She didn’t care anymore. She would not give up her life, everything she’d worked so hard for, so some spoiled, rich, Zyndevine Mage could manhandle her whenever he wanted. How dare he try to dictate her life? She would not give him the chance to ruin everything. And what if his powers were dark? To be the only one around if his fury unleashed again panicked her. How could Helene put her in potential danger?
"No, it’s not. Lily, you need to calm down," said Helene.
"Calm down? Aunt Helene, didn’t you just say his powers could be dark? How could you put me in that position?"
"Could be. We don’t know for sure they are," Helene replied.
"We don’t know they’re not!" She struggled to steady her breathing. She avoided meeting Aidan’s gaze, stepping back as he reached for her. "Why is everyone trying to force me into this?"
"Lily, please." Helene glanced at Aidan, and the look brought a sudden spurt of wary annoyance to Lily. She backed up another step.
"No, you please! All I did was trip over him in the park. That doesn’t mean I am the only one who can help. He needs someone who is trained. Equipped to deal with this and the potential dark powers. I want no part of that!"
"There’s a reason you felt his pain, Lily," Helene said. "You’re not even trained to recognize it, and yet, your natural talents came into play."
Lily stared. Her worst nightmare came to life. "My father called you." She glanced over at Aidan, who shrugged and shook his head. "No, you will not do this to me. I won’t be forced into what he wants."
"No, I didn’t . . . yes, I did talk to your father. But he said nothing, asked me nothing. All he wanted to know was how you were."
The fist squeezing her heart tightened, and Lily’s breath came in sharp spurts. "I have to get out of here." She turned toward the Portal, her head spinning. This had all been a set-up! Helene and her father had conspired to get her shackled to Aidan, forcing her to use her healing skills, weak as they may be.
Aidan’s arms came around her, and he pulled her against him, preventing her flight. She struggled against his hold, but his grip only tightened. "Wait. Don’t go. Hear me out."
She fell limp, disturbed to find his warmth comforting, and she couldn’t resist the strident need to hear what he had to say. She sensed a desperation in him, a fear he didn't conceal very well, despite his efforts. Why? What frightened him? Her anger deflated a bit. For a moment, she longed to sink back into him, accept his comfort, but she held herself stiff. So much made sense now. She'd been played, and she needed the betrayal to remain the focus of her attention.
She had to get out of here, before she fell right into her father’s trap. The thought Aidan’s magic might be dark interwove everything else. She had heard plenty of stories about dark Magiste, knew they caused horror, violence and death. Her father had been on the front lines of the last Magiste war, and as Head Enforcer, often worked on cases involving dark magic. She'd heard enough growing up to know how terribly dark magic could be used. She recalled the case involving a dark Sorcerer who had used his magic to torture several women to death before he’d been caught and executed.
She wasn't equipped to deal with someone who had those tendencies. She hadn't studied magic, hadn’t prepared to defend herself against dark forces, she'd avoided training in any way at all. She had as much skill as she'd had at eight; how could she possibly withstand someone stronger than her, who could possibly hurt her? In more ways than one. The burst of panic stole her breath, and she struggled against Aidan's now restraining arms.
"Easy, Fleur. I’m not going to hurt you. I just want you to listen, okay?"
His lips at her ear made her shudder. How could such a pleasurable sensation be dark? It couldn’t. Could it? She desperately wanted to feel safe, and oddly, Aidan's embrace did make her feel secure. She nodded. She'd be better off to go along with him, anyway, and not anger him. As soon as the chance presented itself, she would get out of here.
"Lily, no one is forcing you. This is not some plan to trick you. I wouldn’t do that. But I need you." He sighed.
She bit her lip, the lump in her throat threatening to turn to a sob, her determination to get out of this situation fading. His warm breath sent tendrils of heat through her, and despite herself, she shivered. Beneath his hand, her heart raced, fast and uneven, panicked. A slice of fear, sharp as hers, yet separate, sizzled through her.
Aidan’s fear. When his hands stroked along her arms, the surge of wary anticipation grew. Those emotions tearing at her weren’t hers. The knowledge eroded still more of her resolve. What she felt from him didn't threaten her now; in fact, the emotional sensations beckoned a part of her she had buried ago.
The gods seemed to delight in tormenting her. So not fair. Her physical reaction to him practically sent her to her knees. He had to know letting her feel his fear would be the killing blow. At the same time, terror still held her in its tenuous grip, terror at how easily she wanted to give in. She grabbed onto one thought, desperate not to let her life get taken away from her again. "This has my father‘s signature all over it. Set it all up and shove me in. I can’t."
He gently turned her to face him, staring into her eyes. "That’s not what this is. Honestly. Please believe me, Lily."
Another surge of desperate dread speared her. Again, she recognized it as his.
She wanted to believe him, wanted to believe no conspiracy existed. She glanced around. Where had Helene disappeared to? The panic rose again. "I don’t like this. Where’s Aunt Helene?"
"She gave us a few moments of privacy to talk this over."
"We’re alone?" She swallowed the lump lodged in her throat, threatening to choke her.
"She’s right outside. Are you scared, Fleur?"
She shook her head, unable to voice the lie.
"I won’t hurt you."
She nodded, her throat still too thick to talk.