by Lisa Kessler
Thanks for having me on the Writerspace site today! I thought I’d share one of my addictions as a writer… The tortured hero. I love to read them almost as much as I love writing them. There is something about the journey they take in a novel that appeals to me. That moment they crack their emotional armor just enough to barely let someone in, and the first time they laugh or almost smile…It makes my heart sing!
My new novel, BLOOD MOON, features Gareth, a lone wolf trapped in a Pack that has started to settle down. After losing his parents as a teen, he and his brother have been a team, but now his twin brother is dead too. Murdered. And Gareth has had his fill of death. He figures he’ll go his own way and protect himself from ever feeling that pain again.
But his inner wolf has primal instincts to hunt out its mate. The only woman he will ever love…
Here’s a little excerpt:
“Are you on your way out? I can come back later.” The breeze tugged at her dark hair and she tried to tame it behind her ear. “I shouldn’t have stopped by without calling or something. Sorry about that.” She glanced at her shoes. “I’ll just go.”
I groaned. No doubt this gorgeous empath sensed my annoyance the second the door opened. Running my gloved hand down my face, I wrestled with what came next. Her personal questions were the last thing I needed right now. I should’ve waited for her to turn around and walk herself back home.
But it was after ten at night. I couldn’t let her go alone. It didn’t matter that she was a werewolf now and probably very capable of protecting herself. Bottom line, sending her home alone late at night went against every lesson my father instilled in me as a boy.
I cleared my throat. “Is everything okay?”
She stopped and met my gaze. I’m no psychic, but I didn’t need to be to recognize the sadness and pain on her face. What happened? This was the girl who knew death had her number and smiled anyway. My gut twisted.
“I’m fine.” She shrugged, breaking eye contact. “Just couldn’t sleep and I didn’t want to worry everyone.”
Almost forgot I was her go-to, don’t-give-a-shit wolf. I took a slow breath and rolled my shoulders back. “I’m about to go for a ride. Want to come?”
Oh shit. What was happening here? I couldn’t reel the words back in now that I’d witnessed the smile on her face. That damned dimple in her cheek sent my better judgment out the window.
“I’d love to! I haven’t been on a motorcycle since I was a little girl riding behind my dad.” She came closer and stared at my Harley. “There’s nowhere to sit.”
“Can you ride on your own?”
Was I seriously going to let her anywhere near Gabe’s bike?
“I’ve never done it before, but I probably could.”
Probably could after some lessons. Shit.
I got off my bike and went back inside. Standing in front of Gabe’s Road King, I was grateful my leather gloves were already on, hiding the way my hands trembled. This shouldn’t bother me. My brother was gone. Immortalizing his bike like a museum artifact wouldn’t bring him back.
In fact, Gabe would probably be pissed that his bike hadn’t roared in almost a year.
I turned toward Nadya. “Some ground rules for tonight.”
Wariness shadowed her eyes. “All right.”
“No questions about my family. I’m riding to mellow out, not drudge up memories.”
Crossing my arms over my chest, I waited for her answer. Maybe I wouldn’t have to touch Gabe’s bike after all.
“Deal.” She nodded.
“Fine.” I went into my shop and came back with a modular helmet. I hated the damned things, but it would cover her entire head, face, and chin. Safety first. I also brought her a pair of leather gloves and a leather jacket. “Put these on. It’ll be cold at the lake tonight.”
“We’re going up to Tahoe?” She pulled the jacket on and started on the gloves.
“No. Pyramid Lake.”
Tugging on her second glove, she reached for the helmet. “I’ve never heard of it. Is it far?”
“Not really.” Holy shit, she looked amazing in leather. Damn. I ground my teeth together to rein in the unwelcome surge of lust. Remembering she was dying turned out to be the cold shower I needed. “It’s on the Paiute Reservation about forty-five minutes away.”
I tipped the Road King up, knocking the kickstand back while I gauged the weight. I’d only ridden Gabe’s bike once, after I fixed the suspension and replaced the shocks. Never thought I’d be rolling it out again.
Never thought I’d be taking anyone to Pyramid Lake, either.
Nadya followed me out of the garage, putting on her helmet. I lowered the door and got on the black Road King. Sitting on the bike, I stared at the key in the ignition. Gabe’s key.
Her voice broke my fixation on the keys. I was ready for plenty, but a ride to the lake with Nadya on my brother’s bike wasn’t high on that list. Probably should’ve thought about that before I invited her along.
“Yeah, climb on.” I offered my gloved hand to steady her while she swung her leg over the back. She slid into place, and even through the damned leather jacket I could feel her soft curves against my back. “All set?”
“Yep.” Her voice was clear and closer to my ear than I expected.
I grabbed my black no-nonsense half helmet and snapped it on. She slid her gloved hands around my waist, and my pulse throbbed below my belt. My body had missed the memo that this wasn’t a date.
Death had his eye on this girl, and I’d already had more than my share of loss.
I turned the key and fired up the engine. The Road King roared to life as if it hadn’t been sitting dormant for months. I glanced up toward the stars, toward my brother. The world lost a bright light when he was murdered.
And still no justice. No one in the Pack even mentioned Gabe anymore, let alone hunted his killer.
Not that I asked them to. What if killing Gabe’s murderer didn’t make the pain go away? For now, the thought of justice gave me a flicker of hope. I wasn’t willing to give that up. Moving to Colorado would be a new start. No more ghosts around every curve.
“Hang on.” I put the bike in gear and we roared into the darkness.
What about you? Do you love a good tortured hero? What’s your favorite part of his transformation, that first smile, first laugh, kiss that rocks his world, or?
Thanks for having me visit! I hope you’ll check out the Moon Series!