What’s hot, what’s not?

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I’m talking about hero’s names. Some just grab you and say ‘There’s a whole lot of testosterone pumping here!’ and others kind of fizzle to a ‘Is there any testosterone pumping here?’ I love naming my heroes and I have a few favorites: Jack, Nick, Lucas, Max, Quinn, Nathan, Anthony, Michael, Noah, Peter, Sam, Ian, Rourke… Do you have favorite hero names? I’d love to know what they are.

When I’m choosing a name, I get a visual and go from there. When I named THE SWEETEST DEAL’S Max Jerrnigan, I knew he was going to have dark hair, Caribbean blue eyes and a killer build. He was also going to possess a gentle side he didn’t often show as well as a sense of humor and a deep level of sensuality. Okay, many of my heroes are like this, but there’s always something that makes them stand apart. I usually write about wounded heroes, so one might be an orphan, another lost a wife or a child, and another had a cheating wife and vowed never to open up his heart again. One of my books had a blind hero and he was wonderful to write about. His name was Matthew – okay, I like that name, too.

The trick in naming a hero is finding first and last names that go together and fit personality, profession, and background. Think of some of the heroes in your favorite books. Did their names match their persona? Which was your favorite and why? When I first started writing Max’s character, his name was Jack. I love that name because it reminds me of a tough Jack Bauer 24 type guy. I was working on another book at the same time and that hero’s character seemed more a ‘Jack’ type, while this guy was a definite Max. The Jerrnigan just kind of flowed after about ten or so tries. As for Max’s friend, Rhyder Remmington, who will have his own story with C.C. Crowell’s best friend, Roxie Revito, those names just popped into my head – crazy, isn’t it?

Truthfully, Max’s name could have been Egor and C.C.’s Morticia and they still would have been attracted to each other. Read the excerpt below where they are trying so hard to deny that attraction.

“Max—” she looked down at her feet, “—can we just forget about last night?”

Sure, that was like asking if he could forget what a cold beer tasted like after working all day in the scorching heat. “No problem.”

“It was just a kiss,” she murmured.

Just a kiss? Hardly. She had her tongue in his mouth, he had his hands under her sweatshirt. It was way past a kiss. “So you didn’t feel anything?”

“No.”

Something in her denial sounded false. He’d pull the truth from her, even if he had to make her angry to do it. He couldn’t help himself. “You haven’t kissed many guys, have you?”

“What?”

He could tell that comment annoyed her. Good. She might just lose control and let the truth slip out. Max shrugged and feigned indifference. “I could tell you weren’t very experienced.”

“Really?” Her gaze sliced him. Yup. She didn’t like that remark one bit.

“Uh-huh. No big deal; it’s not like I’m going to broadcast it.” A pause. “Not much passion there either.” Lie. Lie. Lie.

She slammed the plate of cookies and the drawings on the boardroom table, and advanced on him like a she-wolf. “I don’t know how to kiss? I can’t evoke passion?” She stopped when she was within eye-gouging distance and spat out, “I had my tongue in your mouth. I had my body pressed against yours.” Her voice grew louder. “You had your hands under my shirt. I was writhing against you.” She jabbed a finger at him. “Did you hear me? I was writhing.”

The woman talked about sex like she owned the word. “Yes,” he managed. “You were writhing. And your tongue was in my mouth.”

She let out a self-satisfied hmmmph. “I know how to kiss. And I know about passion. Oh, yes, I do. It’s all inside. Here.” She pointed to the left side of her navy blouse. “Buried deep.”

Buried deep. Interesting phrase.

C.C. leaned toward him, her honey-brown eyes large, her breath falling on his skin in quick, little puffs that smelled faintly of chocolate. “I’m an expert on passion.”

“Show me.” His voice turned gritty and hard.

She inched closer, clasped his face between her hands and lunged at his mouth. Not a sophisticated, demure kiss but a fierce clashing of teeth and tongue and raw sensuality that sucked at his logic and made him dizzy. She drove her fingers into his hair, massaging and kneading as she thrust her body against his, sliding along his chest in a breath-stealing motion.

This was passion.

Raw. Explosive. Incredible.

And then it was over.

C.C. jerked back, her face pale, her perfect bun lopsided. She straightened her blouse which had come partway undone to reveal delicious scraps of red. Max remained silent, his gaze trained on her mouth as she opened it, closed it, opened it again. She smoothed her bun and said, “That was passion.”

That was sex with clothes on. “Yes.” He tried to be as matter-of-fact as she was. “That was passion.”

C.C. nodded and said, “Very well. I think we’ve covered enough today.”

Bio:  When Mary’s not working on her craft or following the lives of five young adult children, she’s digging in the dirt with her flowers and herbs, cooking, reading, walking her rescue lab mix, Cooper, or on the perfect day, riding off into the sunset with her very own ‘hero’ husband on his Electra Glide Classic.