Business rivalries burn hot for alpha heroes. A Presents hero, particularly, is the sort of man who’s on top of his game. Who has a top spot in the business world. And anyone who seeks to threaten that is, of course, ripe for termination.
Ferro Calvaresi is an unquestioned force in the world of technology. A sexy Bill Gates with hardware of unparalleled efficiency and power.
Ferro’s biggest business rival is Julia Anderson. She’s your classic started-in-the-garage, self-taught, tech wunderkind. Think sexy Steve Jobs, minus the turtleneck, ad a pair of leather leggings.
That third rival I mentioned is what brings them together. Collaborating on a specific project is what will give them the edge in winning a certain account…and in order to make their temporary partnership believable to the public, Ferro suggests they make it look like they’ve ‘merged’ in private as well.
But both Julia and Ferro have a lot more vulnerability than they show to the world, and of course, close proximity and burning attraction starts to uncover that.
Ferro particularly, has mistakes in his past that he’d rather not have uncovered. Coming from the streets of Rome, he’s done things to survive that he isn’t proud of.
He maintains the facade of a respectable businessman, manages to convince the world that he carries on a normal life, but it’s a lie. He’s a pro at making himself seem normal. He’s learned the right things to do, the right things to say to come off as your standard, feckless playboy. But all of that is a disguise for the intense pain beneath.
As it is with most of my heroes, I suppose. You didn’t think I was going to give you a well-adjusted, functional guy, did you?
Ferro is really quite a dark hero, with a lot of regret and shame in his past. And when you’re dealing with that kind of deep dark shameiness…well, I feel like there has to be lightness in the book to balance it out. Which is where the giant metal salmon comes in.
Giant metal salmon? you say. Yes. Giant metal salmon.
Well, here’s a sample:
“Why is there a giant metal salmon in the my office?” Julia walked out into the foyer, coffee clutched in her hand, and over to Thad’s desk.
“I thought you ordered it,” he said, not looking at her and sounding way too innocent.
“You did not. Did Calvaresi come in and flash his abs at you?”
“I’m not that easy, Julia, honestly. You wound me.”
She leaned forward, hands planted on Thad’s desk. “And you let him put a fish in my office.”
“It’s not a real fish.”
“I thought since you were, you know, with him now, that it would be acceptable.”
She was about to say she wasn’t with him, but she couldn’t say it, because she just remembered that the assumption had been they were together before they’d actually slept together and that the ruse had to go on with the absence of actual sex.
It was officially so complicated. And she was so damn trapped! Stupid media. Stupid Facebook page. Stupid, stupid celebrity nickname! JulErro. Of all the ridiculous…
And it was only getting worse. There was a website now. With unauthorized merch. Little joke t-shirts showing his phone breeding with hers and making sleek sparkly phone babies that possessed tech superpowers. So dorky. And if it hadn’t been about her she would have thought it was hilarious.
“Assume that if Ferro wants to put anything in my office other than flowers, he’s messing with us both.” She turned and stormed back into her office, dialing Ferro as she went.
“Why the fish, Calvaresi?” she said when he answered.
“Why not? You liked it.”
“I was making conversation. How did you get it in here? How am I supposed to get it out?”
“That’s rude, Julia, you make it seem like you don’t like my gift.”
I’m a big believer in making sure there’s always light in the dark. (My college writing professor would be so proud) Because it’s nice to give readers a chance to catch their breath. And also, when you’re walking down a long hallway in the dark, your eyes adjust. So I like to shine a flashlight in your eyes suddenly to disorient you and make everything darker again. Because I’m nice like that.
Ultimately, I love a hero or heroine with a dark past because I think it makes the redemption they find in love that much more satisfying.
So what do you think of heroes…or heroines, with dark pasts? Comment for a chance to win a digital copy of The Couple Who Fooled the World!