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May. 9th, 2006 @ 10:05 pm More about characters...
Current Location: Oberon, California
Current Mood: tiredtired
Current Music: Speed of Sound ~ Coldplay

One of the best parts about writing a series is watching the characters evolve from book to book. Nick Greco was particularly gratifying in that respect. He started out in Scent of the Roses as a pretty standard, good guy hero...even if he did have a streak of wildness in his past. But he never stopped surprising me, growing more and more complex with every book, and walking away with a good-sized subplot in all but two of the nine books.

Here's a short excerpt featuring my amber-eyed hero...

This scene takes place shortly after Nick and Scout finally come face to face after a separation of twenty years...

Nick slammed his car into gear and sped off down the street. For as far back as he could remember, the only thing that seemed to help him let off steam, or deal with any of the bad things life threw at him, was speed. Before it was cars, it had been dirt bikes, bicycles, skate boards – the pattern went all the way back to one of the most vivid of his early memories:

Tears blurred his vision as he raced down the driveway on his tricycle. His hands clutched the handles as if they were the only things solid in the whole world. His feet pushed the pedals harder, faster. Down the driveway and around and around the block he sped for hours that day.

The day they told him his father was dead . . .

There wasn’t really any place he needed to get to right now. He’d go back to his office later, and see what he could learn about the missing woman. But he hadn’t been lying, either, when he said he had to leave. He couldn’t have stayed in that room any longer. He couldn’t have stayed and not said or done something he would regret.

He turned away from town, headed for the narrow, winding highway that stretched along the coast. With its unexpected dips and rises, its relentless, irregular curves, and its unobstructed view – straight out and down – of the endless, blue Pacific, it was the kind of road that made tourists quail. But Nick had lived all his life in Oberon and these roads held no terror for him. The real terror in his life was in that house he had just run away from.

He’d put his lights on, and now, all along the road in front of him, slowly moving cars pulled over to the side to let him pass. He felt a small flare of amusement. This had to be one of his favorite job perks. Everybody falling all over themselves to get out of the cop’s way. He stomped down harder on the gas as he fished around in the side pocket for the pack of cigarettes he’d remembered leaving there after the last time he’d quit.

Kate missed this one. He felt a tiny stab of guilt as he punched the cigarette lighter in. His daughter hated his smoking and had already convinced him to quit three times. But Kate was vacationing with her mother. And Scout was back in town. This was no time to be worried about something as innocuous as tobacco. His other addiction had always been far more hazardous to his health.

Nick knew trouble when it stared him in the face. Growing up, he’d been nothing but trouble. He’d been an almost constant source of worry for his mother, his aunt, his uncle, the sisters at St. Dominic elementary school, and later for the brothers at Navarre County Catholic High School. He had barely avoided expulsion countless times solely--and he had this on the best authority--due to the grace of God. Not that he’d ever done anything that was too illegal, but he liked trouble and he liked to fight and he never could resist the chance to pull a prank or take a dare.

By the time he was fourteen, he was on a first name basis with most of the cops in town. By the time he was seventeen, he had decided that, seeing as he didn’t seem able to beat them, he might as well try and join them, instead.

Power, control, the opportunity to get a little action now and then, and the chance to drive real fast whenever he wanted – who could ask for anything more from a job?

He hadn’t really changed all that much from when he was a kid. Although he knew he had somehow managed to convince most of the people who were close to him that he had. It was better that way. Simpler. Less worrying for the people he cared about. But the truth was, he had always liked trouble, and he still did. Which is why his obsession with Scout made perfect sense. She was trouble personified.

He’d been just twenty-two, that misty April evening, when she materialized at the side of the road. A tall, leggy hitchhiker, wreathed in fog, with a guitar and a backpack thrown over her shoulders. When he stopped, she threw open the door, tossed her bags in the back without a word, and slid into the seat next to him. All with a fluid, graceful motion, that was mind-blowing in its sexiness.

“Whew! Thanks!” she said, exhaling a deep, gusty breath as she turned to face him.

And then she smiled.

It was no ordinary smile. It was a grin that started at her mouth in a spark of mischief and traveled over her face until it hit her eyes and ignited twin flares of such merry devilment that he knew, beyond any doubt, he’d just met his match.


©PG Forte 2006, All Rights Reserved.

(By Blog Flux)

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