When it came time to do the art fact sheet for the cover of Caught in Amber, I sent in physical/personality descriptions of the hero and heroine as well as pictures of a couple of actors I thought looked like them. Amber Heard as a redhead fit the bill for heroine Sasha James, and I think the cover artist did an outstanding job capturing that.
Hero Nathan Sterling looks like actor Nicholas Bishop (I don’t have rights to a picture of him, but this is my favorite. Come back when you’ve stopped drooling ; ) Handsome, but not a pretty boy. Short blond hair and pale blue eyes with a scruff of day-old whiskers on his chin, he’s practical in his dress and in his behavior.
Admittedly, I was a bit surprised when Sterling didn’t appear on the cover. This is mostly Sasha’s story, romance or not, so I was good with having her solo. But Sterling, as he prefers to be called (except by Sasha ; ), plays a huge role in her change from get-through-the-day parolee to a woman who sees she’s in charge of her own life.
Who is Nathan Sterling?
Sterling was introduced in Rulebreaker as the lawman who spurs Liv’s decision to betray her crew of extortionists for a greater good—and avoid a stint in a correctional mine. As I wrote that story, I knew there was more to his secondary character that needed to come out. Hence his becoming the hero in Caught in Amber. Pairing my justice-seeking lawman with a former addict seemed like a good way to show his distain for those who break the law while giving him a reason to step back and understand that sometimes people make mistakes and deserve a second chance. Sterling brings Sasha into his plan to save his sister, initially thinking of her as a tool to achieve his goal, but quickly realizes she’s more than a “means to his end.” And part of his personal mission is to make Sasha see that as well.
So we have a stalwart lawman (who isn’t always by the book, by the way) who obviously cares for his family and is able to see past faults. What else do we learn about Sterling? Well, he was raised as a Revivalist, the fundemental religious group that has been on Nevarro since its early days, but no longer practices. His family runs a cattle ranch, and he’s the only brother to several sisters. In a more initmate moment with Sasha, Sterling tells her how he got the scar on his forehead. I love that scene because the two of them are just starting to trust one another and he reveals a bit about himself that no one else knows.
A few things that don’t come out in CiA (though may be alluded to in the next book ; )? Sterling never had a pet growing up (animals were considered useful only for work or profit by his family) but wanted one. His father passed away when he was in his early teens and his mother quickly remarried. Sterling has two full sisters and a couple of half-sisters as a result. His mother and step-father still run the ranch. As a Colonial Mining Agent, he’s trained in self-defense but isn’t keen on the most popular sport on Nevarro, cage fighting. Beating the crap out of someone should be reserved for those who truly deserve it.
Here’s a taste of his protective side, after he saves Sasha from a bad, bad man:
Her feet slid on the icy walk, and her legs gave way.
Sterling caught her up in his arms before she could join
the slag mucker on the ground. He hugged her slender,
trembling body, pulling her closer when he felt her shaking.
What did she mass, forty-five, fifty kilos? And the
shaking. That had nothing to do with slipping on the ice.
“Easy,” he said into her hair. It smelled like rain and
flowers. Without a second thought, he drew in a slow
breath and rested his cheek on her head. “You’re safe.”
She buried her face against his chest, gripping
the sides of his coat. Her breath permeated his shirt,
warmed his skin. She felt small and fragile in his arms.
Her voice was muffled but steady. As she took more
of her own weight, he reluctantly eased his arms away
from her, ready to catch her again if necessary.
“What the hell did he do to you?” Sterling glared
down at the drug dealer’s dog, more than willing to
shoot the man with the pulser holstered at the small
of his back.
Nathan Sterling would do anything and everything in his power to help those he loves. Isn’t that just the sort of hero any woman deserves?
Reader participation time: I’m usually drawn to dark-haired, dark-eyed heroes, but that may be because my husband has that coloring : ) Sterling is blond and blue-eyed. Go figure. Do you have a preference?
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Cathy Pegau lives in Alaska with her family, pets, and the occasional black bear trundling through the yard. She prefers writing speculative fiction because she can make stuff up as she goes along.
Pick up Caught in Amber at Carina Press, Amazon or B&N or wherever you can find it! (Just not a pirate site, please!)