When I first saw the call to sub for Best Erotic Romance 2013, I had intended to write an entirely new story. I may even have an unfinished draft somewhere on my computer, but in the end I went with what would become “Nothing Important Happened Today.”
For those who haven’t read the story, the hero is John Ballystone. He’s irresistible to his estranged wife. He’s not a bad guy. He hasn’t killed anyone. He’s not violent. He’s not a thug. He’s a white collar criminal. He’s a snake. And he’s probably not sorry.
As laughable as it may sound, I look at John the same way I look at this douchecanoe:
John would totally do this to a child for fun.
I thought about being fussy and somewhere in the story sliding it in there that John is actually innocent, that he was set up, but in the end I just said “fuck it.”
Chalk it up to my penchant for bad guys. I lost interest in Game of Thrones because Sean Bean was a nice guy with principles instead of the usual maniac, but bring on Hannibal. While John doesn’t fall under the stabby variety of bad guy, he’s nonetheless the kind of guy who would (and has) con old ladies out of their savings.
And when it comes to cleaning him up because he’s a weasel, I’m glad I didn’t. I don’t expect it would have made much of a difference if I had him returning from an extended vacation versus being released from prison — it’s still a story about an estranged couple who just can’t keep their hands off of one another.
Excerpt (Holly to John):
“Maybe you were right the first time. This high-rise has no personality. Maybe a change of scenery would do me good. After all, you left me a shamed woman. My husband is a liar and a thief who went to jail for defrauding hundreds of clients of their hard-earned money. It’s hard to hold my head up in public any longer.”
Even after this, John doesn’t seem too concerned about what his incarceration might have done to his already shaky marriage. He digs his heels in. He’s going to win the battle with Holly. He’s home, and underneath it all he just wants to ignore the fact that he fucked up on so many levels.
But I like John the way he is … even if he will probably do it again