To be sure, we are a sum of our experiences. What we go through as a child affects our actions and reactions as an adult. We know this. In fact, we use it in our writings. This gem of knowlege factors into our character's development. How has our heroine's or hero's background affected her or him?
In THOSE VIOLET EYES, my hero Win Fairchild is a wounded war vet. He's not only carrying the emotional wounds of what he's seen and the buddies he's lost, but he's also minus part of a leg. In otherwords, he is not the physically perfect hero we so often write about. He wears a prosthesis and is sometimes unsteady on his feet. His gait is not smooth; he walks with a slight limp. Yet in my heroine's eyes, he is perfect.
In the scene I'm about to share, Win is at Evie's house. After a tearful phone conversation, he rushes to her side to offer comfort. Her brother has stolen all of her money. In Win's haste to get to her, he's forgotten to reattach his prosthesis and is concerned how she will react to his stump.
Win readjusted his crutches and followed her inside. So far she hadn’t seemed repelled by his stump, but she hadn’t seen it in the light either. His stomach clenched. If she rejected him, he didn’t know how he’d handle it.
Her back was to him as she poured the coffee. “Living room’s to your right. Go on in and have a seat. I’ll bring the coffee.”
Win moved into the living room. Clean, neat with older furniture. The kind of room a person could relax in. He settled on the sofa.
Evie set the mugs on the stand by his elbow and looked at his leg.
His stomach clenched. What is she thinking?
She kneeled in front of him. “I didn’t know how much of your leg you’d lost.” Warm hands ran from his knee down. “You’ve got both knees, but your leg ends about three inches below that. You’re kind of red here.” She trailed fingertips over his stump and gazed up at him. “Hurt?”
“It’ll hurt if you stop.” He couldn’t believe she was touching him there, as if that part of his body were no different than his cheek or his elbow. Oh, how he needed her touch.
“Does walking so much in your prosthesis irritate your…your…” She tilted her head and regarded him. “Tell me the right term, Win.”
He shrugged. “Stump.”
“Stump,” she repeated.
Then damned if she didn’t lean over and kiss it. He didn’t realize how fearful he’d been that she’d reject him. In fact, he was sure she would.
“Evie.” The anguish in his voice surprised him.
She jerked back. “Did I hurt you?”
He wrapped his hands around her arms. “Come here.” He lifted her to his lap and threaded his fingers into her damp hair. “It doesn’t repulse you?” He tilted his head so his forehead touched hers. “I was afraid…”
Evie pressed her hands to his cheeks. “I’m attracted to your mind, your heart, your soul. Even that surly mood you’ve got goin’ on sometimes. I’m sorry about your wounds, but the loss of a limb does nothing to change the man you are.”
Win laid his head against the back of the sofa and exhaled an audible breath. “I was so worried…” He rushed here to comfort her and help her with whatever problems she had. Now, here she was comforting him. If he had any questions before about whether or not he adored her, her attitude just now lured him the rest of the way into love. How had he lived without her all of his life? How could he face the future without her and her sweet acceptance of his battle scars?
“A lot of women couldn’t handle an amputee.”
“Is that why you’ve been blowing hot and cold with me? Were you afraid I couldn’t handle less than physical perfection?”
“Made sense to me.”
“How stupid is that? Believe me, you’re the most perfect man I’ve met so far in my lifetime.” She pressed kisses to his eyelids. He ran his hands up her back and pulled her closer.
So, why did I chose to write about a wounded hero?
Yes, we deal with emotionally wounded heroes all the time. But could a less than physically perfect person--man or woman--be appealing to the opposite sex? In a world where we tend to worship perfection, I suppose I wanted to prove "perfection" was more than the physical. By society's standards, I am not worthy of a strong romantic love. I bear stretch marks from having three children, scars from six surgeries, an excess abundance of weight, not to mention cottage cheese thighs. And, yes folks, my pompoms have drooped. Yet I'm here to tell you Romance is alive and well at the Davis household. Less than perfection deserves and is capable of seducing romantic love.
In fact, an older heroine--a breast cancer survivor--has been niggling at my brain. She wants to show the world a fiesty woman with a double masectomy can capture the devotion of a man, too. What do you think? Shall I go for it?