I HEART Flawed Heroes and Other “Love”ly Goodness…

Another writer said to me the other day that you have to “surrender to your characters.” I couldn’t agree more. And my heroes always insist on being flawed. Broken in the past and not completely being done broken. They don’t want Hollywood versions of what it’s like to have been a bad boy or a wounded hero or a shell of a man trying to believe in love again because he can’t seem to stop completely no matter how hard he’s tried. And did I mention I write romance novels ;o) LOL!

hawt wounded hero

See, actually, I don’t. At least not anymore–not the category-type Harlequin novels that I love and began my career writing. I wish I still could–I had a good thing going there for a while. But these guys won’t stay out of my head. Or other writers’ heads, authors I admire like Susan Elizabeth Phillips and her Gabe Bonner in Dream a Little Dream, or Debra Dixon and her Sully in Bad to the Bone, or Linda Howard and her Webb in Shades of Twilight… This gives me comfort, because these are romance authors, too–the BEST at the game, IMHO. But they write bigger, deeper, gritter stories and characters who can challenge the reader through a full range of not always so comfortable feelings. Then they give us the most amazing happy endings. I LOVE that. Especially during release weeks for new books, when I can see readers responding to how I write flawed heroes, and loving it, too.

angsty wounded hero

I wanted to WRITE  that, back in the day I first started this ride–heroes, heroines, secondary characters and plots and themes that make others feel and experience and embrace the journey on the page (and in their imaginations) the same as these masters do . And now I am, in my own not-quite-romance, not-quite-women’s fiction, bigger book way.

Love on Mimosa Lane is my first full-on Valentine’s story. There’s a strong romantic central theme, there’s even a Valentne’s Dance and an amazing, happy ending where the central characters have just returned with the hero’s little girl from Disney World of all places. BEAUTIFUL, romantic, tough and challenging, hearts and flowers but only after real tears, because I’m also writing real problems and their ups and downs and aftermaths and crashes and then their rebounding and valiant recoveries that pull hearts and lives and relationships and entire communities together.

I HEART flawed heroes and heroines and communities and the amazing things they do to become who the need to be, once and for all, for themselves and the people they love so fiercely. And I’m so very lucky to be able to write these stories now, no holding back, no making them fit what every romance reader would want. These days, on Mimosa Lane, I get to write the whole story and characters that come to me, surrender completely, and bring eager readers along for a ride like they’d never find anywhere else!

scruffy wounded hero hoody

A Love on Mimosa Lane excerpt is below, from one of Law Beaumont and Kristen Hemming’s exciting turning points, to give you an idea what I’m talking about. Check out the reviews on Amazon, to see what early readers are saying about the story. And be sure to let me know your thoughts, too, when you get the chance.

Oh, and there’s a contest on my Anna DeStefano: Author Facebook Page until midnight tonight (1/22/14, EST),
giving away free signed copies of Love on Mimosa Lane and an Amazon gift card!
Check that out, too, because I want my most faithful blog buddies in the running for the prizes!

Thanks again to everyone who’s been so supportive on this “flawed” but fabulous ride!

FINAL LoML Front LowRes


Kristen was standing before her office window instead of sitting at the desk, staring through the blinds. She had the file he’d given her clutched in her hand.

She folded her arms over her chest and turned toward him.  He shut the door behind him, not knowing what to say. But he wasn’t leaving until this was done, and done right.

“This is a really bad idea,” she said—using his words from last night. “Open my door, Mr. Beaumont, or my staff will get the wrong impression.”

“I wasn’t brushing you off out there. I wanted to talk to you in private. And my name is Law.” He sighed, willing the frustration out of his voice. “Whatever else we are now, I think we at least owe it to each other to use our first names.”

“Okay.” Her eyebrow rose. “What are we, Law?” 

“I don’t know. But I know I’m not in a place to figure us out. Libby’s going to be on the warpath. I have to deal with her, and I can’t do that and worry about how any of this is affecting you, or what you’re thinking, or what I’m going to do if you decide you can’t handle another minute of my crazy life being mixed up with yours. I’m digging myself out of a deep hole. Deeper than I’d realized. I can’t afford to be distracted, the way I’ve tuned too many things out for too long.”

“I’m not trying to distract you.” Some of the rigidness eased from her posture. “What if I were to decide that being mixed up with your crazy life suited me just fine?”

Well, Law admitted to himself, that would be even worse, wouldn’t it?

“I don’t think that’s likely to happen.” There, he’d said it, because she wouldn’t. “You’ve been great to me, Kristen. But I need to be free of this before we end badly, too.”

She tilted her head to the side, as if she’d only now realized that he was nuts. “You barge in here, shut yourself in my office, and stay when I ask you to go, because you want to tell me we’re over, before we’ve even done anything to be over, so you can be free of me before we end badly?”

“That didn’t come out right.”

“I would hope not.”

This wasn’t what he wanted: her confrontational and hurting; him trying to do the right thing, but being an ass to her all over again. None of this was what he wanted.

God, she was sexy, giving him hell in that teacher’s tone of hers, in her prim little suit with a skirt that dared a man to run his hands all over and under and up her mile-high, toned legs.

“I never meant for this to happen,” he said, suddenly needing to adjust the fit of his jeans. But he’d be damned if he was going to draw attention to his predicament. “I never meant to upset you or your life.”

“I’m not upset.”

He was close enough now—three steps closer to the window, by his count—to know differently. Her pulse was beating away at the base of her throat.

“Law . . .” She said his name breathy and half-formed, while his finger traced the soft skin beneath her chin. “What do you want from me?”

“I want you to be okay with me keeping my distance while I sort things out with Libby.” He let his finger slide just a little lower, torturing himself, before dropping his hand to the waist of his jeans. To make sure it stayed there, he snagged his fingers in his belt. “But I want you to know that the last forty-eight hours between us is making it nearly impossible for me to let go.”

“Yeah,” she whispered. “I know exactly how you feel. But you are letting go, right? And here I was, thinking you’d trust me enough to let me help you sort things out.”

“Kristen . . .” He didn’t trust her. He didn’t know how to trust anyone.

Her hand tangled in his shirt, tugging him closer.

He brushed her lips with his, softly, sweetly. It was a chaste first kiss. It was a gentle good-bye.

“I don’t want to hurt you,” he whispered, his hands still at his sides. Hers were on his arms now, running up the muscles that felt like they might never unclench from the strain of maintaining space between them.

“Then don’t,” she whispered back.

She held his gaze for a second, and then she closed her eyes and kissed him. Harder, out of control, her mouth open to his, her lips soft to his tongue, her body pressed to his as they lost themselves in each other. No groping. No desperate need. Just touching and being touched and needing stronger than anything he’d let himself feel in a long time.

She stepped back, leaving him grasping for the emotional restraint he’d kept up all morning. He was in the midst of the most destructive mess of his life since the accident with Libby that had all but destroyed him. His daughter needed all of him now, to get her through this. And yet . . .

He needed Kristen, too, and the way she was making him feel broken open and stitched up and full to brimming and empty, all at the same time. He stared at her answering confusion.

“What are you going to do next?” she asked.

He shook his head. He had absolutely no idea.

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2 Responses to “I HEART Flawed Heroes and Other “Love”ly Goodness…”

  1. Emily Sewell says:

    Great post, Anna, and enticing excerpt! Definitely a book for my TBR list!

  2. Cris says:

    I love the title of this post, Anna. I always cringe when someone describes their latest as the perfect guy… big red flag! I love flaws, they meld into the things we can’t live without. I love it when two flawed characters heal each other.

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