Come Hell or High Desire is, at heart, a story about redemption. In their dangerous quest to find a missing woman, Zack and Sloane learn to forgive themselves, move beyond the past, and believe they’re worthy of love, trust, and scorching desire.
For his part, Zack faces seemingly insurmountable odds when he’s discovered by police at the scene of a crime holding a murder weapon. Yet he manages to escape and stay one step ahead of law enforcement while trying to clear his name and find Ann. These are, of course, physical challenges, but I believe his emotional and psychological hurdles are just as great for him to overcome. I hope the journey is exciting and poignant for the reader.
Do you think there is such a thing as an ideal hero?
I don’t think there is one single ideal hero, but rather an ideal hero for a particular story and its unique heroine. Heroines need different things in their heroes depending on their personalities as well as the story parameters.
Zack’s background ‘breaks the mould’. How are you able to do this and still make him a hunky hero?
I think his quiet strength and the humble vulnerability he exhibits to Sloane is appealing to readers. At least I hope so. :)
Lone-wolf, quiet, with an edge carefully cultivated to keep people at a distance, Zack tells himself he doesn’t give a shit what people think, but he’s fooling himself. He never knew what it felt like to “belong” until his mentor came along, and when he died, Zack’s crushing guilt only makes his walls grow taller. But being a protector is hard-wired into his genes just as dominantly as his broad shoulders and sexy green eyes, so when the woman he can’t stop thinking about finds herself in the cross-hairs of a dangerous web of deceit, he doesn’t hesitate to put himself in the line of fire to save her.
I drew inspiration for him from three men whom I love the most: my hubby (Zack’s calm and protective nature), my brother (Zack’s introspection and fearlessness), and my first love—my dad—who is a construction entrepreneur (Zack’s like-a-rock steadiness and down-in-the-trenches work ethic).
Some people show their love through acts of service, others through physical contact and so on. How does Zack show how he feels about Sloane?
Zack is mostly a man of action and observation. He doesn’t trust what people say as much as what they do, so he expresses his tenderness and care for Sloane by doing all he can to shield her from harm, by maintaining eye contact while they touch, and later when they learn to communicate psychically, he expresses his love by respecting the privacy of her mind when he’d rather know everything he can to protect her.
The connection between Zack and Sloane delves into the world of psychics. Can you tell us any interesting facts you discovered while researching psychics?
Sloane is psychometric which completely fascinated me when I learned of the ability. People who are psychometric are able to touch an inanimate object and “read” the emotions of the last person who touched that object. The sense is particularly strong if the object is metal, like a piece of jewelry. I had so much fun translating Sloane’s ability as a psychometric individual.
How are your characters influenced by the setting?
The book is set in my hometown of Fargo, North Dakota which is on the Red River one of the few rivers in the Northern Hemisphere that flows North. Zack lives in a bungalow with his dogs in a very private, wooded spot on the river, and the Red River itself actually plays a key role in the novel.
Would your story work if it was set in another part of the world?
Technically, yes, but in my heart, I can’t imagine this story set anywhere else because the Red River almost becomes its own character in the story.
Where does your title come from?
COME HELL OR HIGH DESIRE is a play on the phrase, “come hell or high water” for two personally meaningful reasons: a) because Zack will protect Sloane no matter what it takes; and b) because the Red River floods annually and our community pulls together to save our city in the epic flood years. I also love the juxtaposition of Hell and Desire weaving round each other as the battle for their lives plays out in the story.
What are you currently working on?
I’m so excited to be working on a paranormal romance series about post-human Guardians who battle with five Legions of Hell and try to bond with their long-awaited soul mates who will make them suffer like never before.
The series will not only deal with love, passion, and danger, but also the self-defining moments at the intersection between humankind’s free will and the everlasting struggle to resist temptation.
I’m not a black and white person, and so I’m really digging exploring these shades of gray that make characters so richly unique and interesting.
Can you share an excerpt from your work with us?
This excerpt is from COME HELL OR HIGH DESIRE:
Her fingernails suddenly raked at her skull. “Lord! I almost forgot. We have to go back to Ann’s. She has a diary!”
He swerved into an empty parking lot and swiveled to face her, blood pounding in his ears. “What are you talking about?”
“Ann keeps a diary. We have to find it.”
“You’re just telling me this now? You should have goddamn said something right away!”
“Don’t you dare curse at me like that, you seismic jackass!”
He had to get out. He flung the truck door open and strode onto the cracked asphalt. Her door slammed shut moments later, and within seconds she was wagging a finger in his face. “And don’t you walk away from me, either!”
“Then don’t be such a damn shrew.”
Color flooded over her cheekbones seconds before she punched him in the gut. Hard. An ancient fire lit up his nerve circuits and adrenaline had him widening his stance. His heart gunned.
His groin tightened.
And she was still shrill.
“I’m not a shrew! How am I supposed to act in a situation like this? You think I’m enjoying this? I hate it! But unfortunately I have a conscience which would haunt me for the rest of my life if I don’t follow this through until we have some answers. You came to me and wanted to rule out the church first. Then with everything that happened, I forgot about the diary until right now. That clear enough for you, you—”
Clear enough, honey.
He vised her head between his palms and kissed her. He hadn’t meant to, but the moment her mouth opened to his, he was lost. Not breaking contact with her mouth, he wrapped one arm around her, his hand splaying across her ass, locking her hips against him. Her hands were in his hair, her hips grinding, driving him crazy. They feasted on each other’s mouth, tongues dueling, daring, seeking. He felt her fingers between their bodies, slipping underneath the waistband of his jeans, pulling at the hem of his shirt. Her fingernail scraped his abs and he groaned. She leaned away from his mouth, her eyes dead sexy. Liquid brown. He was gonna--
A car horn blew, jerking him back to life. Back to the parking lot. He looked over to see a man in a black minivan at a stoplight giving them the thumbs up. He honked twice more, waved, and drove on.
Sloane burst into a fit of laughter that quickly dissolved into tears.
And that clinched it. He’d woken up this morning in some creepy-assed Twilight Zone.