“He’s a pretender. He can became anyone he wants to be.”
For four years I listened to those words at the beginning of The Pretender. And each week I fell a little deeper for Jarod. I mean, what’s not to love about a character who has been tortured and betrayed his entire life? How are you supposed to not empathize with a man who was never given the chance to know his family, but was instead taken and experimented on until he became an adult?
Okay, honestly, I never thought that much about it until after I started writing and studying characterization. When I did though, I began to see the depth of Jarod’s character. Eventually I began to wonder what it took to create such an interesting character. And then Dr. H made himself known to me.
Dr. H is an empathy who was stolen from his family as a child. He was experimented on. Tormented until his natural abilities changed and morphed into something…more. Now, I have a fun story with my own tormented character finding his way in the world after growing up in captivity. Like Jarod, H is determined to help people who could be hurt like he was. Unlike Jarod, he tends to need a little more coaxing before he opens himself up to others.
And like Jarod, H is now being hunted by the people he escaped from.
Ava Malia knows three things. She was once a kickass covert operative. She will eventually adjust to her new team, the FBI Specialized Crimes Unit. And the only way to finally be free of her professional past is to solve her first case and get her hands on a game-changing technology. The only problem? Success rides on her ability to swallow her distaste for the persona she must adopt in order to earn the trust of a mysterious scientist.
Dr. H escaped childhood captivity with three things. His sister. Complete control of his gift. And an engulfing distrust of anyone in the government. Adjusting to a life of freedom hasn’t been easy, but he’s found peace in solitude. The sexy woman auditing his empathic studies, though, has a way of getting under his skin that’s both arousing and disturbing. Plus, his psychic ability warns him of secrets so deeply buried in her psyche, they’d be better left alone.
Yet their instant attraction strips away all their protective barriers, down to the foundation of a new, fragile trust. And a vulnerability that, when an old enemy opens fire, could blast away any chance of a future.