by Alexa Bourne
I learned the hard way to listen to my characters. If I tried to write the story the way I wanted, they’d go on an extended vacation until I was ready to hear what they had to say. Sometimes, I try to ignore the voices so I can focus on other, more important stories. But Grady Cooper, the hero from my full-length romantic suspense story, Liar, Liar, refused to go away. He’d whisper sweet nothings in my ear to coax me back to his story. When those words didn’t make me budge, he resorted to hollering in my head. He’d interrupt my writing of the book I was working on to get his point across. The man had a story to tell and I needed to take him seriously.
So, finally, I did.
What an amazing character he turned out to be. He’s rough around the edges and tells it exactly as it is, but he’s still the type of guy I’d want to be friends with. He has a gentle side, but he’s not comfortable sharing it until his heroine, Devin McQueen, rocks his world. When I listened to him and started typing out his scenes, he came alive even more. Soon, he became one of my all-time favorite characters of my own. He fights to keep Devin in his life and he pushes to get his brother out of his life. I didn’t necessarily agree with his choices, but I had to admire him. No matter what he believes, whether it’s right or wrong, he puts all his effort behind it and doesn’t pull any punches. How could I not love a man like that? If you’ve read Liar, Liar, I hope you agree. If you haven’t read it, Grady and I invite you to take a journey into his world. We both guarantee it will be quite a ride.
If Grady Cooper had any hope of salvaging his professional reputation, he needed to charm Devin McQueen into giving him what she’d never given any other man.
He tucked his keys into his cargo shorts, stared up at the five-story office building and cursed the humidity.
And his dilemma.
Needing anyone was bad enough. Being forced to rely on a complete stranger to help prove he wasn’t a menace to society was as appealing as the Red Sox using his head for batting practice. If she refused to help him, he’d lose his job for sure.
“That’s not going to happen,” he whispered. He’d do whatever he had to, promise her the world even, to get himself out of this mess and restore his reputation. By the time she realized he had no intention of honoring his pledge, he’d be a free man and he could get back to chasing the bad guys instead of being labeled one.
Whatever it took.
He pushed the glass door open and flew up the stairs two at a time to the third floor. As he walked down the hallway, he glanced at the business names on the doors: law offices, non-profit offices, save the bleeding heart offices. Rooms of people he’d probably chased a bail jumper for at one time or another.
Loud thumps filtered into the hallway from somewhere up ahead.
The hairs on the back of his neck stood up. Trade rule number one: Always expect the worst. Still, the noises could have been any number of things: a fallen chair, a muffled voicemail message, boxes of printer paper being dropped. It could have been nothing connected to this woman.
As he got closer to the door with Soul Survivors carved on it, the name of McQueen’s business, the noises got louder. Glass shattered. A series of thumps passed from behind the door. A woman’s voice flew through the walls like a high-pitched war cry.
What if someone wanted Devin McQueen even more than Grady did?
Too bad. He had to put his own needs first.
Adrenaline pushed him. He turned the doorknob.
Damn it. Locked.
He shoved his shoulder against the wooden door. It budged. Barely. Inside, more glass broke. A male voice growled through a string of swear words.
Whoever stood on the other side of this door could not have her.
Grady gritted his teeth and jammed his shoulder against the door again. This time, it flew open and hurled him into the office.
Silence reigned across the room. With his shoulder throbbing, he scanned the scene. One upended chair, one thug cradling his nuts, the other, older one, bleeding from his nose and one wild-eyed woman in the center of it all. The bleeding man had his arms wrapped around the woman’s chest, crushing her…assets under his forearms.
Grady bit back a grin. If this was Devin McQueen, then some of the rumors were true. She could hold her own. But now she didn’t need to. “What’s the matter, guys? Couldn’t find anyone your own size to pick on?”