In romance – in most stories – characters are supposed to go through some kind of arc. Sometimes it’s a progressive arc, and sometimes it’s a regressive arc, but the characters are not supposed to be the same people they were at the beginning of the book. In my book Rites of Spring, Cameron learns to trust and to let people into his life. In my first book, Midnight, Brandon learns to stop mourning for a relationship he should have ended years ago.
The characters in Hunter go through character arcs as well. Luis, one of the heroes, goes from a career focused man who pretended he didn’t want to be part of anything to someone who could admit to needing more than himself. Donovan, the other main character, goes from a closeted man living to make his family happy to a man who can truly be there for and cherish the great love of his life, the one who got away.
Side characters go through character arcs too. Donovan’s mother, Patricia, was one of my favorite side characters to write. (Which is funny, because Luis was absolutely my favorite character to write, and Patricia isn’t very nice to him at all.)
Patricia comes into the story well before we ever meet her. Donovan comes from a long line of police officers, and both of his parents were police officers in Boston. He went to Florida for college, but his intention was always to go back to Boston and go into the police academy. He dated Luis, and lived with him, throughout college.
Why is this a problem? Donovan’s parents hated Luis. At the time, they were both pretty racist, and as a result of the messages they were getting from their religion, they were pretty homophobic as well. Donovan was closeted, so they weren’t aware of the relationship between their son and Luis. Donovan knew he couldn’t say anything, and he broke up with Luis just before graduation.
Why would I include a racist homophobe, who is not the antagonist, in a story about a serial killer?
In the case of Patricia, I wanted to explore how people’s views evolve and change over time. It was important to me to show that a racist person could change, and that it wasn’t the job of the person most affected by their racism to hold their hand and gently teach them. Patricia changed her views during the time between Luis and Donovan’s breakup and when she and Luis meet up again, about midway through the book. She’s been through some things, not all of them fun, and she’s had to re-evaluate many of the ideas she once accepted from her parents unquestioningly.
Where Patricia really shines, though, is when Donovan comes out. I won’t give you any spoilers. Patricia still has some lingering ideas about homosexuality, but when Donovan comes out she makes a choice. She has to decide which is more important to her – her homophobia, or her son. It’s not an easy decision, but she doesn’t have any trouble making it.
She admits she’s still not comfortable with the idea. But, as she says, “That’s my problem, and not yours.” She chooses to accept all of her son, with open and loving arms. When it counts, Patricia chooses to accept Luis, too. That’s why I love her, and why I think in the end you’ll love her too.
Luis has spent his career chasing the darker side of life. First a vice cop, then an FBI profiler, now he lands in the Boston field office, and not by choice. He expects his caseload to have a much lighter tone than he’s used to.
He wasn’t counting on New England’s dark history, or their pride in it. He didn’t understand how close-knit the old towns could be, or how protective they were of their own. He soon finds he’s going to have to count on every skill he ever used in his time at headquarters, and a few skills he didn’t know he had, if he wants to keep body and soul together.
Complicating matters is a new case Luis has just been handed, working with the Mass. State Police. Luis has history there, and ugly history too. Detective Donovan Carey is the guy who broke Luis’ heart over a decade ago. He wasn’t willing to even peek his head outside the closet, certainly not for someone like Luis. Can they put their history aside to deal with a mystery centuries in the making?
Available in eBook or paperback Nov. 20, 2018