Everyone please help me in welcoming author Tara Fox Hall. Today she’s stopping by to talk about one of our favorite topics, bad boys. Be sure to leave a comment below so you will be entered to win a magnetic clip.
BAD BOYS: HOW BAD IS TOO BAD?
Everyone who writes fiction is aware of the compelling nature of the “bad boy” the dark horse who emerges from the shadows to steal the heroine’s heart by most any means he can. Often misunderstood with a blackened past to match his dark good looks, this male tends to take all the attention from other men in the work with his lusty bold actions and secretive, suspicious ways. ‘Damaged goods’ is he, a tragic figure whose wounded heart most every woman reader knows she could heal, if only she were allowed the chance. Redemption is always possible through forgiveness, repentance, and love, even for the worst offender.
But is that last statement true, really? In old romances of decades past, the worst that a bad boy could do was compromise the reputation of his love interest or kiss her out of turn, ala Rhett Butler. That was stepped up in following decades, when we saw women loving men that had stolen from them, slapped them around, cheated on them, or treated them as playthings. Now, in recent fiction, we’ve pushed the envelope a bit further, to have women getting their HEA with partners who once tried to kill them, had assaulted them, or worse. Forgiveness is a blessing, but at what point is there too much to forgive? If there such a line in our emotional sand, some act too terrible to gloss over, or not?
I’m guilty here too, I admit; I’ve got bad boys in my stories, chief among them vampire Devlin Dalcon, who golden good looks and charming ways have not stopped him from putting heroine Sarelle’s heart through the wringer several times in the first 10 books of my Promise Me Series. Although Sarelle has given Devlin back just as much angst with her actions and harsh words, she has forgiven him a hell of a lot in their transitioning relationship from mortal enemies to snuggle buddies. Yes, Devlin¾unlike most real life bad boys¾has reformed a great deal from the pure villain he was at the start of the series. He deserves a second chance at happiness, doesn’t he?
Take into consideration that for most of those 400 years previous to Sarelle and his recent attitude overhaul, Devlin was a despicable, inhuman monster, keeping order over his kingdom with a taloned fist. Should all those he murdered or hurt just be swept into the pages of history, and locked away? I’d argue yes, forgiveness is possible providing Devlin really has changed. But I’m not sure if the past can be so easily discarded. Even if forgiveness is granted, shouldn’t there still be a punishment for past deliberately evil actions, especially ones of great magnitude?
There are many tools a writer can use to influence a reader into feeling empathy for a character whose actions have been less than pristine. I have used a great many of them to transform Devlin from a scoundrel to a sort of hero, while still keeping a few of his darker tendencies intact. My argument is that the attraction of a bad bod is that he’s edgy and sometimes unpredictable; his passion stems from wild desire that doesn’t always follow the rules. A total conversion from bad boy to stalwart reliable hero may not sit well with readers who enjoyed the anti-hero’s tribulations and trials. Does total reformation make a previous bad boy boring, or not?
Bio: Tara Fox Hall’s writing credits include nonfiction, erotica, horror, suspense, action-adventure, children’s stories, and contemporary and historical paranormal romance. She is the author of the paranormal fantasy Lash series and the paranormal romantic drama Promise Me series. Tara divides her free time unequally between writing novels and short stories, chainsawing firewood, caring for stray animals, sewing cat and dog beds for donation to animal shelters, and target practice. All of her published children’s stories to date are free reads on www.childrens-stories.net.
Be sure to check out her latest release. Find an excerpt below.
A chain of tragic events culminating in the shattering of the magical “dream bond” between Theo and Sar turns the lovers against one another, as Ulysses attacks from all fronts, hoping to destroy Devlin for good. The return of Lash reignites the fire between he and Sar, even as he saves her daughter Elle from certain death. Finally joined under Oath, Lash, Devlin, and Sar face the storm of Ulysses’s wrath, knowing it will take their combined strength and courage to save all they love from his tempest of vengeance.
Excerpt: It was now or never. I said a quick prayer as I slid my hand to my belt, flipping open the blade as I yanked it free. I kneed Theo as hard as I could. He let out a cry, struggling to hold me. I stuck the knife Lash had given me into his arm, and he snarled in pain, flinching back from me, but he still had me with one hand. I bit his wrist as hard as I could, then jerked free. Theo was almost fully shifted into cougar form, but he was not only injured, he was tangled in his clothes. I ran out of the room as soon as I’d unlocked the door, and upstairs to the study, the knife still in my hand.
Before I reached the top step I heard a throaty purr, and heard clawed feet scrabbling on the stairs as they bounded up them after me. I got into the study just in time to slam the door and lock it, hoping to God Danial hadn’t moved the gun he had kept here since the attacks by Manir more than a year ago. Because I was running to a dead end with no way out, if what Theo had told me about teleporting was true. But I’d never have made it out the front door before he was on me. I tried to teleport immediately, and nothing happened. I tried the phone to call Terian, and got only static. An extension had to be off the hook somewhere.
The office door shuddered under Theo’s assault. He roared, and hit it again. Danial, however, had put this door on after the assault by Manir. The reinforced steel and oak creaked, but it held.
I wiped the knife off on my pants and folded it up, clipping it back to my belt loop, thanking God I’d put it on tonight. Unlocked the hidden safe in the wall, I retrieved a gun and bullets from inside, swearing because it was a regular silenced gun, not an explosive bullets gun. At least the rounds were jacketed hollow points. I had just gotten the first bullet into the chamber when I heard a key in the lock.
The door opened, and Theo stood there, nude, his blue eyes determined, a key in his hand. His arm where I cut him was still bleeding. “I’m not healing, Sarelle. You have werepoison on your blade,” he growled, advancing slowly. “That’s Lash’s knife clipped to your belt! I recognize it!”
I trained the gun on him, holding it with both hands so it didn’t shake too much.
“That’s a regular .38. You shoot me, you’d better hit my heart,” Theo growled. “Because you miss, and I’ll be on you in a second. This little chase you’ve led me on is over! Terian isn’t here to save you! Danial and Lash aren’t here to save you! And Devlin will be too late!”
“You have one chance to leave,” I said in a hard voice. “Or I will shoot you, Theo.”
Theo looked at me for a few moments, and then he lunged for me with a roar.
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