I grew up in Sunday school, and inevitably the teacher would ask, what was our favorite biblical story. The other students would say, "Christ's birth," "The Three Wise Men" or "Noah and the Flood," but I would always say, "David and Bathsheba."
Even at 10, I had a heart for flawed heroes and tragic consequences.
AEDAN ap OWEN, the hero of my current book TIES THAT BIND, is most definitely not perfect, not even close. He idles at angry, tends to act-out rather than think through his actions, and misuses his magical abilities for his own gain.
Yet, I have a soft spot for him. Despite his character flaws, he has a big heart—and what he wants most is to protect and be with those he loves. Of all my heroes, I think he needs his happy ending the most.
But as I wrote his story, there were times I wondered if he would get it. Each time he fails to think through his actions, the reactions pull him deeper into a quagmire of treason and murder. I wasn’t sure that even I had the ability to save him.
So I didn’t. I let him endure the consequences of his choices. Like my favorite biblical king, Aedan suffers because of his own faults—and grows because of it. Here’s a quick, edited excerpt of when that growth begins:
The tension spilling from Aedan was enough to make her skin prickle, and Tess wondered which emotions were hers and which were his.
"He would use her to bend me to his will," she said softly.
“The dead use no one."
In the silence that followed, he didn’t move, barely breathed, yet he shifted to become someone else. The change was slight, no more noticeable than if the wind had adjusted a curl, yet it consumed him. Gone was the mocking minstrel with an inconsiderate air.
In its place was a man radiating tense energy that cut as keenly as his sword. His skin seemed to glow and his mouth drew into a hard, thin line. But the change in his eyes was most pronounced. No longer blue-gray or glinting, they were ocean-dark against his skin and just as treacherous. He wore his otherness as a second skin. It should have made him vulnerable, but the effect was opposite.
He radiated power and magic and authority. In another world, Aedan would be king.
Aedan’s mixed, yet more-sweet-than-bitter HEA leads me to my question for you: When it comes to happy endings, do you find it more or less satisfying if there's a touch of realism in it?
Everyone who submits a comment will be entered into a drawing for an e-copy of TIES THAT BIND.
Keena Kincaid is the author of three historical romance novels with The Wild Rose Press. TIES THAT BIND, the second of her Druids of Duncarnoch series, is available from TWRP, as well as Amazon and other bookstores. Also, you can find her on Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, and http://www.keenakincaid.com/.