Romancing the Baddies
First of all, I’d like to thank you for having me over to you wonderful site, Celia. It’s such a pleasure to be here and talk about romancing the baddies.
Apart of what made The Exhibition, and the whole Executive Decisions Trilogy, so much fun to write was writing the baddies. The return of Terrance Jamison, the baddie from the first book of the trilogy, was very exciting for me because I got the chance to explore him more as a character.
What I’ve discovered is that the best baddies are baddies by whom I’d secretly like to be seduced IF I could get away with it unscathed, which of course is always impossible. For a baddie to really work his magic in a novel, he has to entice the reader into the shadows. There needs to be something about him that we want. There needs to be depth and dimension that are well-rounded and dark enough to balance the hero in the seesaw of plot twists and turns that lead to the Happy Ever After.
I think the baddie has to do more than just make the hero shine. He also has to elicit more than hate from the reader and the other characters. I think for a baddie to really make a plot sing, he has to elicit our own dark lusts and our own voyeuristic walk on the wild side. The baddie attracts us because he’s brave enough, bold enough, not to care about convention, not to care about what civilised society expects. He’s quite comfortable with his dark side. And he gets what he wants because he doesn’t mind doing whatever he has to in order to get it.
Terrance Jamison was terrifying to write because even in his darkest, most wicked moments, his logic seems to make perfect sense. His passions, lusts and desires seem so reasonable, and even when they don’t, the very conviction with which he believes them to be worthy makes everything he does seem almost sympathetic. Even as I wrote him in all his monstrosity, I found myself wanting to make excuses for him. And when the worst of him is revealed, when the lives of both Stacie and Harris are under threat by him, I still couldn’t keep from wanting to make excuses for him, from wanting him to somehow redeem himself even as I knew if he did he just wouldn’t be the same, he wouldn’t have the same impact. It’s his darkness I love, and it’s his darkness that makes the fire of the hero and heroine burn brighter.
And that leads me to the true job of the baddie in a good read, the baddie is there for the hero and heroine to spark against, the baddie is there to help the reader get a better picture of who the hero and heroine are.
And finally the baddie is the reader’s (and the writer’s) voyeuristic walk on the dark side. We can go on that dark journey with the baddie and we can go there safely, have a totally wicked time, and be back in time for dinner with the hero and heroine.
Now I’d like to introduce you to Terrance Jamison, my baddie in The Exhibition, as he is remembered through the eyes of my heroine, Stacie Emerson.
Stacie poured herself another cup of coffee and paced the small wood floor in the middle of the studio flat that had been her home for those first few years as she struggled to get the gallery back on its feet. No, this wasn’t the first time she’d had to sink or swim. Not by a long shot. At least this time she was going in with her eyes open. Not like back then. She leaned against the kitchen counter and let the thick morning light bathe her face, her eyes open just enough to see the slight motion of the lace curtains on the soft breeze that felt more like spring than autumn.
When she let herself into the flat that day, he had been standing there, the halo of that heavy lazy light surrounding him, making him look like an angel, or maybe an apparition. Her gasp of surprise caused him to turn just enough that his face was in shadow, and he could have been anyone for an instant, except for the scent, except for the power of his presence that always filled any space he entered so that there was room for nothing else. Come to think of it, he could have never been mistaken for anyone else. She would have known the feel of him anywhere. Then he moved forward out of the shadow offering her a reassuring smile.
‘I’m sorry, Stacie. I didn’t mean to startle you. Zoe gave me a key to the flat a long time ago, and I forgot that this is no longer gallery property. This is your home. Please forgive the intrusion.’ He bowed his head in what, on anyone else would have passed as an act of humility. Then he offered her a smile that made her feel things; the hammering in her chest that made her want to run away, the pulsing low in her belly that made her want to stay.
‘On the other hand –’ he stepped closer ‘– it is beginning to seem like if I want to see you I have to break into your flat to do it. If I didn’t know just how busy you’ve been with the gallery, I’d think you were avoiding me.’
‘I have been busy,’ she repeated his words sounding breathless and slightly idiotic. ‘Where’s Zoe?’ She asked, fighting back the urge to run and close the door behind her. She hung her jacket on the peg in the hall and glanced down at her watch. ‘What’s going on? I told her I had lunch with the rep from Americans for the Arts before our meeting. Didn’t she tell you we’d meet in her office?’
‘She told me, Stacie,’ his gaze felt like it would bore right through her; it made her squirm, made her feel as though she’d somehow done something wrong and he was here to punish her. Or maybe it felt like she’d done something very right and he was here to reward her. She felt wrong-footed having him here in her private space uninvited, having him here in a space that reminded her how tenuous her life in New York really was, no matter who she rubbed shoulders with. She’d been to his penthouse suite. The bathroom alone was bigger that her whole flat; and it wasn’t really her flat. It was the space she stayed in, the place for her meagre possessions, the only place she could escape to. But then again, why shouldn’t he come in without asking permission? After all, at least for now, the place technically belonged to him.
‘Darling, Zoe won’t be at the meeting today, and I didn’t have the key to her office. That’s why I came here.’
‘I don’t understand,’ Stacie said.
‘Oh I think you do,’ he moved into her personal space and smooth a strand of hair away from her face. His touch felt electric against her skin, like it always did; slightly disturbing; intriguingly arousing. ‘I think we both do, dear.’
Successful NYC gallery owner, Stacie Emerson, is ex-fiancée to one Thorne brother and ex-wife to the other. Though the three have made peace, Ellison Thorne’s friend, wildlife photographer, Harris Walker, still doesn’t like her. When Stacie convinces Harris to exhibit his work for the opening of her new gallery she never intended to include him in her other more hazardous plans. But when those plans draw the attention of dangerous business tycoon, Terrance Jamison, Harris comes to her aid. In the shadow of a threat only Stacie understands, can she dare let Harris into her life and make room for love?
As successful gallery owner, Stacie Emerson, finds herself in the clutches of a powerful enemy from her dark past, her growing feelings for her latest exhibitor, wildlife photographer, Harris Walker, could get them both killed. Sharing her secret could destroy their relationship, but keeping it could be fatal.
Grace Marshall lives in South England with her husband and the growing gang of hooligan birds who frequent their feeders. When Grace isn’t busy writing something sexy and romantic, she’s busy digging in her ever-expanding veg garden or walking across the British countryside. She finds inspiration outdoors in nature, and most of her best story ideas come to her while she’s walking or gardening.
Grace is the author of the fast paced, quirky Executive Decisions Trilogy published by Xcite Romance. All three novels are available now.
Grace Marshall’s alter-ego, K D Grace, writes critically acclaimed, best-selling erotic romance. Whether it’s sexy romance or romantic sex, between The Graces, there’s a story for you.
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