Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Deciding on a Character’s Profession

By Morticia Knight (Guest Blogger)

I write a lot of men in uniform stories. I also write historical, sci-fi and BDSM, but a significant amount of my books involve those alpha heroes we love to fantasize about. Justice Prevails (Sin City Uniforms 3) just came out last Friday and that makes it the tenth book I’ve written with at least one of the men in a profession that is typically associated with uniforms. I’ll confess that Beau, the homicide detective who was featured in book 2 (Copping an Attitude), doesn’t necessarily wear a uniform, but everyone wanted Beau’s story, so here we are.

My next step was to find to find Beau a man who would lead him to his HEA. Sometimes I feel like a matchmaking service as I put my two men together, searching for their perfect match in terms of temperament, things in common, chemistry and all the varying attributes that bring a couple together in real life. One of the more significant aspects of a character, in my opinion, is what it is that fictional person does for a living. Our careers define a big part of who we are. Even the lack of a career or one we’re only in temporarily speaks to what our personality and interests are. Another important part of the career choice is that it can be how our characters meet.

In Sin City 1, All Fired Up, foot patrol officer, Shawn, meets fireman, Trent, during a failed rescue attempt. Shawn jumps into the freezing waters of the Bellagio fountain in Las Vegas to save a drunk who’s drowning, but soon gets dragged under by the struggling man. Strong alpha Trent saves Shawn, and their story goes on from there. They don’t work together, but they still meet for the first time due to circumstances that are specific to their chosen careers.

In Copping an Attitude, Officer Parker meets prostitute Slade during a routine arrest. Slade gets away, but the pimp wars on the strip and the presumption that Slade is in danger causes Parker to seek him out, if only to get him into a program. Circumstances arise that throw them into close proximity, and they begin a romantic relationship. I’ll confess, building a romance between a cop and a rent boy to was a challenging!

For Justice Prevails, I already had Beau. But who would be a good match for him? What type of interests would they share or not share that would shout to them that they were meant to be? What type of career would Beau’s love interest have, and would that be how they met? I imagined that Beau would want someone who understood the type of pressures a homicide detective faced. He would want someone smart and fun who could take him away from the grim reality he sometimes faces. Part of Beau’s personality though, is that he doesn’t know that those traits are exactly what he needs. It isn’t until he meets Investigative Technician II, Austin, that it becomes clear.

You’re probably wondering what the hell an IT II is, unless you’ve ever worked for the District Attorney’s office. While I was still in the process of figuring out everything for Justice Prevails, I was having lunch with a friend who was describing to me the job she used to do for the District Attorney’s office in Riverside, California. She would serve the subpoenas to reluctant witnesses for cases the D.A. was taking to trial, deliver evidence files from the police station to the D.A.’s office, and in some cases, sit in on internet chat rooms under an alias looking for pedophiles or wanted felons.

I’d never heard of such a profession. I understood that there was someone out there performing those tasks, but I’d never heard it named and I had no idea this individual worked directly for the D.A. Since I’m always looking for less run-of-the-mill professions for my characters, I asked her to share with me some of her experiences. More than once she had to have police protection when she served a gang member a subpoena to snitch on another gang member. Some of her stories were frightening, others were funny. The first time she hid on the floor of her car as gunfire erupted around her however, she was done. Her tales inspired me to make Austin Kent, Beau’s love interest in Justice Prevails, an IT II. The opening scene in Justice is loosely based on an incident she described to me.




Excerpt

You wanna fuck later?”

Jesus, Romeo. How can I resist when you put it like that?”

Austin Kent wiped the sweat from his forehead with a handkerchief before stuffing it back in his jeans pocket. The Las Vegas heat sucked ass in June. It had its moments the rest of the year too. Picking up his binoculars, he then peered through them at what, to anyone else, would appear to be an abandoned trailer. He ignored Kyle’s offer. Austin was currently more interested in the police officer’s protection than his dick.

Don’t see why I can’t carry a piece on the job.

Apparently, Investigative Technicians weren’t considered to be the bad-asses of the justice system in Vegas.

Was that a yes?”

He decided it wouldn’t be a good idea to punch Kyle, since it would give away their location. Other than that, it was an awesome idea.

That was a vehement ‘no’. I never know what I’m getting into with you.”

I thought you enjoyed last time.”

I shot a load. That part I enjoyed. The rest I could’ve done without.”

I wanted to surprise you.”

Oh, I was surprised all right.”

You know, a lot of guys like it when—”

Shh. Here comes Daniel now.”

Kyle grabbed the binoculars. “Shit. In the nick of time too. Our boy’s on the move.”

Hey. Do you mind?” Austin yanked the glasses back. “Goddammit.”

It looked as if his witness was going to evade being served yet again. It was ironic since Austin had originally thought it would be quick and simple. He’d met Vinnie at the first annual Powwow on the Paiute Indian Reservation when they were both only ten years old. Austin’s stepdad was almost full-blooded and had taken him so he could experience the culture. He’d explained that even though Austin didn’t have enough Paiute blood in him to be considered an official tribe member, he should still learn about that part of his heritage. Ever since then, he and Vinnie had been close friends—even if things had eroded somewhat in recent years. It sucked to be the one who had to serve him.

He missed his stepdad The guy had treated him pretty good. Ben had always told him to live his life the way he wanted, that when he got older, people would try to change him—tell him how he should be. Austin had always wondered if Ben had known all along that Austin was gay. Not too long after that first Powwow, the Gulf War had begun and Ben was a part of Operation Desert Shield. He never came back.

Hey guys, we had a scuffle at the golf course. I got here as soon as I could.” Their backup, Daniel Ochoa—Kyle’s fellow officer of Paiute law enforcement—kept his voice low as he approached.

Austin snorted. “I guess those old white guys can get vicious on the green.”

You have no idea.”

Austin and Kyle were hidden behind a large boulder. Daniel crouched next to them and Austin noted that the Paiute officer had parked his vehicle down the incline and out of sight. He’d driven in on the same back desert road that he and Kyle had used to avoid detection. Kyle elbowed him in the ribs.

Ow. Fuck.”

Look, look, look. He wasn’t leaving. Vinnie’s just sitting out there smoking.” Kyle had the binoculars pressed to his face. “This is better, man. We can see everything around him.”

Except for who’s in the trailer, dickwad.”

Daniel nodded his head. “Austin’s right, Kyle. There’s no telling who might be in there. We approach Vinnie now and we could get picked off in an instant. One of Marquez’ guys could be in there cooking. We should secure the residence before Austin tries to serve him.”

Kyle frowned, seemingly butt hurt over Daniel not taking his side. “There’s never been any intel to indicate Vinnie’s trailer was being used to manufacture meth.”

Right.” Daniel swatted at a small bug flitting around his sweat-soaked face. “But there hasn’t been any indicator that he wasnt cooking in his home either.”

Home was too kind a word. Vinnie’s abode wasn’t in any danger of being featured in Architectural Digest, or anywhere, ever. It was lucky to still be upright. The dented, rusted mess was a blight, set way back on his mom’s property, a mockery to her beautiful recently built house. He’d told Austin a few years back that as long as he didn’t have to see her face or hear her shit, he didn’t care what he lived in.

Austin sighed, too stressed out from the whole cockstorm that had been his day to dwell on all that had gone wrong with the life of one of his longest and closest friends. There was a job to do and he was the fucker who got to serve a witness subpoena to someone who would view it as an act of utter betrayal.

Okay then. What’s the plan?”

Austin directed his question to Daniel. Kyle had gone on Austin’s ‘you’re brain dead to me now’ list after the ‘you wanna fuck’ remark in the middle of their stakeout.

I’m gonna sneak around the back. I can make it without detection if I keep low behind the sage brush over there.” He gestured toward the area he meant. “When I radio that the trailer is clear, I want you both to advance on him.” Daniel turned to Kyle. “Don’t draw on him, but be ready. We don’t want to come in aggressive, get him worked up. Hopefully, when he sees Austin, he’ll be cool.”

Austin prayed Daniel was right. Since Vinnie had been off his meds, no one knew what to expect from him anymore. Iraq hadn’t been kind to anyone close to Austin. Not only had he lost his stepdad in the Gulf War, he’d in essence lost his closest friend to the Iraq War. Whatever it was that had happened to Vinnie when he’d served had forever broken him.

Be ready.” Daniel turned toward his destination, but whispered over his shoulder before taking off. “Kyle, make sure your radio is on low and listen for my all clear.”

Kyle grunted after Daniel was out of earshot. “Can you believe that shit? He always treats me like I’m an idiot.”

Even though Kyle had walked right into that one, Austin was too cranky and heat exhausted to run with it. He bit at his lip and futilely tried to get his bristly dark hair to stay off his face. He typically kept it short—it would get too frizzy otherwise. But he was a busy guy, and other than staying in reasonably good physical shape, he didn’t give too much thought to his appearance.

There was a small crackle from Kyle’s radio then he whispered into it. He nodded at Austin to go ahead. Austin’s joints complained at being in the unforgiving position for so long as he rose to his feet. He was only thirty-five years old, but his body was constantly being abused on the job in one way or another. It didn’t help that he could be a bit klutzy at times either. A nice soak in the hot tub at his condo later would be a welcome treat. The first rush of pebbles and dirt down the incline once they’d gotten close to their target caused Vinnie to twist around. His eyes widened in shock then quickly narrowed in anger as he glared at Austin. He threw his cigarette to the ground.

Come on, guy. Its me. Just doinmy job.

Hey, Vinster. How goes it?”

Fuck you. Don’t even be acting like you’re my friend. Fucking traitors—both of you!”

Look, Vinnie, this sucks for me too.”

He guffawed and waved his arms around. “Oh! Oh, really? Sucks for you? You?”

Vinnie lurched toward them and Kyle pulled his weapon, pointing it at Vinnie, bracing the hand that held his Glock 17 with the other. “Stay right where you are!”

Austin held up both hands as if in surrender. “Hey now. Everyone chill. All I wanna do is give you this piece of paper then we’ll all be on our way.”

Then he might as well shoot me. Cause my life ain’t gonna be worth shit if I testify against the Marquez brothers. You know it, he knows it and they know it.”

Austin noted Daniel coming up from the rear on the other side of the trailer. He had his weapon drawn, but was approaching slowly, carefully. All of Vinnie’s attention was on Austin and Kyle, his frantic gaze flitting back and forth between them. He was obviously unaware that Daniel was behind him.

It’s gonna be okay, Vinnie.” Austin was desperate to get his friend to hear him, to believe him. “I’ll make sure you’re protected. Please, man. Let’s not do this.”

A drop of sweat left a long trail in its wake as it worked its way down from Austin’s hairline, into his brow then onto his eyelid. As soon as he blinked, the salty water momentarily blurred his vision, stinging his eyes. He squeezed them shut. The loud bang of two firearms going off almost simultaneously jolted him, his eyes flying open in time to see Vinnie hit the ground.

No!”

He rushed to his friend who was lying face down in the dirt, his legs and arms splayed in crazy angles away from his torso. The gun he must’ve had hidden on him was a few feet from his right hand. Austin dropped to his knees then rolled Vinnie over, cradling him by his shoulders. His half-lidded stare confirmed what Austin had already guessed when he’d seen the copious amount of blood soaking his shirt right where his heart would be.

Fuck, Vinnie.” He spoke softly, his words not meant for anyone else. It was all so senseless. They’d been so excited after their respective graduations, anxious to begin their lives. “Why can’t we go back, man? Why can’t it be like it was when the world was still new to us?”

Daniel’s agitated voice brought him back to the present. He turned his head toward the sound. The officer was in a similar position holding Kyle, who had obviously been hit too. He was anxiously speaking into the radio mic attached to his shoulder. Austin’s gut clenched. Goofy Kyle couldn’t be gone too. It would be the thing that pushed him closer than ever to becoming as broken as Vinnie had been. Austin never saw the glitter of Vegas. He only saw the ugliness.

Once Daniel had finished calling it in, Austin gently laid Vinnie back down then rose. He looked away, not able to bear seeing him like that anymore and dreading the conversation he felt it was his duty to have with Vinnie’s mother. Austin hurried over to where Daniel tended to Kyle. He had a bandana pressed to Kyle’s abdomen. Kyle appeared unconscious—at least he prayed that’s what it was.

Is he…?”

Daniel shook his head. “No. But I hope the ambulance doesn’t take too long.”

Austin nodded grimly. A woman’s shrill scream broke out and he twisted in the direction of the sound.

Vinnie’s mom.

After taking a deep breath, he jogged toward her, anxious to stop her before she could see her son’s bloodied body lying in the dirt. When he finally reached her, his expression must have told her all she needed to know. She collapsed in his arms, weeping uncontrollably. He consoled her the only way he knew how, by holding her and letting her cry. There was nothing to say.

As she poured out her grief, he surveyed the surrounding desert of the reservation. The Spring Mountains were a peaceful backdrop on the east side of the Paiute land and Austin wondered why no one had ever been able to save Vinnie. Maybe there was something more Austin could’ve done when Vinnie had decided dealing drugs was a better way to go than getting his rightful salary as a member of the Paiute Tribe.

Maybe it’s because we all have to save ourselves.

Justice Prevails is available now at these links:







About Morticia Knight

M/M Erotic Romance author Morticia Knight enjoys hot stories of men loving men forever after. They can be men in uniform, Doms and subs, rock stars or bikers - but they're all searching for the one (or two!) who was meant only for them.

When not indulging in her passion for books, she loves the outdoors, film and music. Once upon a time she was the singer in an indie rock band that toured the West Coast and charted on U.S. college radio. She is currently working on more installments of Sin City Uniforms and The Hampton Road Club, as well as the follow-up to Bryan and Aubrey's story from Rockin' the Alternative.




4 comments:

Lisabet Sarai said...

Hi, Morticia,

Great post! (Though that's a pretty heavy excerpt, I have to say.)

I also spend a lot of time thinking about the occupations of my characters. I think that's because I know that different jobs attract different personalities.

On the other hand, I probably write more technology geeks than most authors, because that's what I know (that's what I do!) The heroine of my very first novel was a software engineer.

Good luck with the new release!

Morticia Knight said...

Thank you, Lisabet - I appreciate your comments and for you hosting me today.

I wish I had the expertise that you do in that area. I spend waaaay too much time on research for those types of professions. In the case of this book, finding out my friend had specific knowledge in a profession related to crime was a fantastic break for me!

Debby said...

Thought provoking. There are some professions that fit certain people. The excerpt was quite intriguing. Thanks
debby236 at gmail dot com

Morticia Knight said...

Thanks for stopping by Debby :-)

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