Perhaps it was the badge, shiny, gold and engraved.
Conceivably, it could have been the career –— FBI special agent. There is a hint of excitement and danger associated with that profession, one that might appeal to a young woman looking for both.
More likely, it was the man, with the badge in his pocket and the gun tucked in his shoulder holster, with those tantalizing blue eyes and that devilish grin — a lethal combination suggesting dangerous romance. I fell for my husband, Jed.
My hero in my newest romantic suspense, The Devil She Knew, carries both the badge and the gun, as does the leading man in my debut novel, Love’s Secret Fire. Are they my husband?
No, they are works of fiction. But if you know Jed, you’ll see glimpses of him on my pages. Yes, his expertise as a federal agent and lawman are there. He is my “go to” guy who makes sure the action scenes might really happen the way I’ve written them, or that the caliber of the weapon is correct, and the depiction of the mob leader terrorizing my heroine in The Devil She Knew, is accurate.
More than that, he is my romance factor. Romance for me, as well as my heroines, is defined by the little things. It’s not the roses he sends on our anniversary or the sentimental American Greetings card on my birthday. It’s the way he always reaches for my hand when we get out of the car. Or how he pulls me close in his sleep.
Clay Cestra pulls Cassidy Hoake close in The Devil She Knew, and often leans over the truck console to give her knee a reassuring squeeze … the little things.
I laughed once when someone asked the definition of love: Love is walking the dog he hates when I’m out of town, I said. And running the vacuum to pick up the dog hair before I return home.
It’s the special “Congratulations” martini glass waiting for me on the kitchen counter the day Crimson Romance released my debut novel and the card that said, “You make me proud.”
A couple of years ago, we were in the middle of a typical bleak Cleveland winter. It seemed like it started snowing at Halloween and, with Easter in sight, it was still snowing. Everywhere I looked there were piles of shoveled, dirty, ugly snow.
I was particularly cranky and crabby one Sunday afternoon when I walked out into the front yard with the dogs. I went over to the corner of the house where my daffodils and tulips were planted and began kicking at the pile of snow burying them, squatting to claw at the offensive shroud. My husband had followed us outside and asked what I was doing.
“I can’t stand it anymore,” I said in my most dramatic fashion. “I know we live in Cleveland and it’s winter but I can’t take much more of this. If I don’t see a flower pretty soon, I’m going to die. I just know it.”
He rolled his eyes and reminded me that we have no control over the weather.
The next day at work, a flower delivery arrived. They were for me! A basket brimming with pink, yellow and white daisies peppered with carnations and enfolded in greens that smelled fresh and wonderful. The card said simply: “Don’t die. I couldn’t live without you.”
He’s not perfect. He’s a guy and he thinks belching out loud is funny. But he is my romantic inspiration. And my hero!
You’ll get more glimpses of the man behind the scenes when you read The Devil She Knew or Love’s Secret Fire, available now.
Do you have someone special behind the scenes?
For more information about Rena and her heroes, check out her website.