If you're like me that's all it would take. Well, assuming he's a good person and there's some major chemistry happening. In every book I've written there's a child who's critical to the love relationship. In Trust No One my heroine is a single mother of a child with developmental delays. Sophie and Nathan meet under false pretenses: when he discovers she's using a fake identity to hide from someone, he decides not to reveal that he's a PI searching for her stepbrother—which leads to her kidnapping him at gunpoint. At this point in the book they've cleared all that up and Sophie is beginning to trust him, but they're on the run. They've taken refuge at Nathan's sister's house, and he has just returned with information that requires them to hit the road again.
Sophie was holding Max on her lap, spooning scrambled eggs into his mouth, when Nathan walked into the kitchen. He looked exhausted. Strung out, like he'd been up all night taking drugs. The circles under his eyes were darker, whiskers covered his jaw, and his hair was a mess.
He was so appealing she stopped breathing and just stared at him.
The Bannister twins, Ryan and Lizzie, were strapped into booster seats, and began clattering and calling, "Unca Nafan! Unca Nafan!" Nathan bent down and kissed the tops of their heads, but his eyes were on Sophie and Max. Kat walked into her brother's arms and held him tightly for a moment. Still, his eyes held Sophie's.
Max stretched an arm out to him and said, "Boodie."
The smile on Nathan's face when he looked at her son stripped away all remaining defenses she had built to protect her heart. He rounded the table without saying a word and picked up Max off her lap. "How ya doin', Sport?" he asked, and kissed his eggy cheek. Max slapped his hands on Nathan's cheeks, wanting to play their game. Nathan puffed one cheek out and Max tried to slap it before he switched. Sometimes he let Max win and other times he switched around on him, getting the little boy all excited and bouncy. Max wasn't quite up to bouncy at the moment, so Nathan let him win.
Out of the corner of her eye, Sophie could see Kat taking in the whole scene, a small smile on her lips.
"Are you okay?" Sophie asked. "Want some scrambled eggs?"
Nathan shook his head. "We need to go," he said quietly.
Fear clutched at her throat. "Can I finish feeding Max?"
"Finish fast," he said.
Do you like books where one or both of the characters have children, or do they detract from the story?
I'm a sucker for a man with a big heart. :) I've only written one book (DEADLY BONDS) that had a single father who was a widower, but I really enjoyed exploring his 10-year-old son's point of view. I'd definitely do something similar again in a future story! Parenthood can certainly show another side to a character. ;)
I think children add and a whole different perspective. Another level of internal conflict and motivation. The kiddos keep the adults in line. :-)
They definitely do add conflict -- especially in real life ;) But they absolutely bring out another side to a character, and one that I think fills them out.
In the third book in my Murders by Design series an abandoned baby boy and his yet unborn sister play a major role in the conflict. Since children are what sex is all about (okay, okay), it's not surprising that they be present in fiction and that they impact a character's life. Think of the first moment you knew you were pregnant. Or not! Anyway, a compelling question.
Ha ha, I try not to remember being pregnant! But I can't seem to develop my grown up characters without a kid or two in the mix -- it wouldn't seem realistic, I guess.
The kid in the mix always tugs at my heartstrings. I think it takes real character to take on someone else's child, especially when there are problems there.
I'm a sucker for a guy who turns to mush for a kid. Did you ever see that Navy Federal commercial with the drill Sargent who's daughter is painting her room pink? He looks at the camera and says, "So, my daughter is a princess. Do you have a problem with that? Hoo-rah!"
Darn it, Maureen, I missed that one. I guess I need to watch more television! And yes, I really wanted to give the child some challenges, in part because so many kids have special needs, and in part to show the kind of guy my hero is.
Great excerpt, Ana. Yes, I love having kids in fiction--they are a great way to judge an adult's character.
I'm a sucker for any guy who likes kids, and treats then with affection and kindness. I hopefully did that with my current book, Ultimate Betrayal, where the hero is on vacation needing some R and R but still spends time and plays with the two boys at the B&B he's staying at. I think a hero dealing with kids, whether they belong to him or not, says a lot about the depth of his character. Great excerpt.
Thanks for the comments, all of you. I love the sound of some of the books you've mentioned -- I'll check them out for sure.
Love the stories with kids. Pulls on my heart and if he is good with them, it melts my heart! :)
I love books with kids, and as you know, I am a big fan of your books, Ana. Wonderful blog!
Thanks, Mary. :)
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