When I started writing this book, I was playing with the idea of writing a romance novel. Then Joshua decided he wanted it to be more about him. So many times when I write, I have a vision in my head of what’s going to happen in the plot, but the characters themselves take it in a different direction.
I find character driven plots more interesting. The characters become so real to me that I feel like I’ve met them before and by the time the novel is over, I wind up missing them as daily parts of my life. Ravensong was just such a character.
I usually write fantasy, but this time I decided to write about my hometown, San Francisco. It was fun to go back and remember all the locations of my childhood. And branching into a new genre is something I recommend every writer do at some point in his or her career. You never want to get stale.
Joshua came awake at the sound of the coffee pot striking the floor. He sat bolt upright and listened, then slowly relaxed as he heard Elena curse the cat. Obviously no one was hurt. No reason to go charging in there like a hero when she’d just broken a glass or something. Yet as he lay there listening to her moving in the other room, he decided she might appreciate a little help, and he wanted to prove himself useful to Elena.
He stopped in the doorway and surveyed the scene. She had her back to him and was crouching on the floor, trying to sweep the broken glass into a dust pan. Her hair was loose, curling in damp ringlets.
“Can I help?” he said, surprised by how husky his voice sounded in his own ears.
She turned abruptly, her eyes dilating in surprise. The throat of her robe fell open, offering him a beguiling glimpse of bare thigh. He couldn’t stop his eyes from traveling over her.
“Hell,” he whispered, “I knew your hair would be gorgeous loose.”
She rose to her feet, her eyes fixed on his, seemingly unaware of her disarray. Again his gaze lowered.
“I was trying to make coffee,” she said, looking down at the mess. She caught sight of her open robe and her cheeks colored. Pulling it closed, she tied the belt tighter, unwillingly accentuating her waist.
Joshua’s breath escaped in a rush as her hair spilled over her shoulder and blocked her features for a moment. “Can I help you?”
She glanced down on the mess again. “Could you hold the dust pan?”
He nodded, unable to speak. He crossed to her side and knelt, picking up the dust pan, his eyes still riveted on her. She retrieved the broom and brushed it across the floor, then stopped. Her eyes shifted to his face and she knelt, wrapping her fingers around his wrist and directing the dust pan into place.
He shook himself at her touch and realized he wasn’t being much help staring at her. “Sorry,” he murmured gruffly and frowned, trying hard to concentrate on the task at hand.
It wasn’t easy with Elena so close, the smell of her damp hair filling his nostrils. As she bent to take the dust pan from him, her hair brushed against his bare chest. Joshua closed his eyes.
Aware of his response, Elena quickly turned away and emptied the dust pan in the garbage. “I’m afraid there won’t be any coffee this morn...”
She stopped abruptly. Joshua had moved up behind her and as she turned to speak with him, she found herself nearly in his arms.
“Joshua...” she began, but he interrupted her.
“When I told you last night that I was infatuated with a woman, I was afraid to tell you who it was, but I can’t pretend anymore. Since the moment I saw you, Elena...”
“Stop,” she said. “Please, I don’t want to hear this.”
“Why? Are you afraid you won’t be able to hide in your safe little cocoon of marriage?”
“That’s not it. I made a commitment...”
“...to a man you don’t love. What are you afraid of?”
“This isn’t any of your business.”
Joshua licked his lips slowly. Elena couldn’t help but follow the move with her eyes. “It wasn’t my business, until last night, until...” He paused and frowned. “Until it became obvious that we both are feeling the same attraction...”
His jaw hardened. “You’re right.”
Elena started to ask him what he meant, but he moved too quickly, catching her in his arms and pulling her against him. He lowered his head and captured her lips.
Sliding her hands up either side of his neck, she sank her fingers in his thick black hair. He crushed her tighter against him.
“Joshua,” she breathed, but he swallowed her words with his mouth.
At first the pressure was gentle, probing, but then he captured her lower lip with his teeth and she gasped in surprise. His tongue traced around her lips, forcing her to part them, his hands sliding down her back to her hips, crushing them against his own.
“Joshua,” she whispered again. “Please...stop...”
He stopped abruptly, his eyes flashing up to hers. “Why, Elena?”
“If we don’t stop, we both know where this will lead us.”
“And that would be bad?”
She smiled. “I’m engaged to be married and you’re...”
“No longer in a relationship.” He shook his head. “You don’t love the man.”
Elena looked away. “I don’t want this. Can’t you understand?”
“I don’t want to be just another conquest.”
Joshua released her and stepped back.
“That’s right, Joshua, isn’t it? You only want me because you know you can’t have me, because I’m committed to someone else. But should I give in to you, you’d be on to the next woman as soon as it was over.” She jabbed him in the chest with her finger. “Admit it. You couldn’t have a relationship and make it work if your life depended on it.”