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Monday, January 28, 2013

PLOTTING WITH WOUNDED HEROES by Cheryl PIerson


My heroes are all wounded. Not just emotionally, but physically, as well. Being a hero in a Cheryl Pierson story is like being an expendable member of the landing party on Star Trek. If you had on a red shirt when you beamed down to the planet’s surface, you could pretty well figure you weren’t going to be returning to the Enterprise in one piece, or alive.

In my historical western release, Fire Eyes, U.S. Marshal Kaed Turner is tortured and shot at the hands of the villain, Andrew Fallon, and his gang of cutthroats. A band of Choctaw Indians deposit Kaed on Jessica Monroe’s doorstep with instructions to take care of him. “Do not allow him to die,” the chief tells her.



Can she save him? Or will he meet the same fate that befell her husband, Billy? Although Kaed’s injuries are severe, he recovers under a combination of Jessica’s expert care and his own resolve and inner strength.

The injuries he sustained give him the time he needs to get to know Jessica quickly. Their relationship becomes more intimate in a shorter time span due to the circumstances. Under normal conditions of courtship, the level their relationship skyrockets to in just a few days would take weeks, or months.

Wounding the hero is a way to also show the evil deeds of the villain. We can develop
a kinship with the hero as he faces what seem to be insurmountable odds against the villain. How will he overcome those odds? Even if he weren’t injured, it would be hard enough—but now, we feel each setback more keenly than ever. He’s vulnerable in a way he has no control over. How will he deal with it, in the face of this imminent danger?

Enter the heroine. She’ll do what she can to help, but will it be enough to make a difference? This is her chance to show what she’s made of, and further the relationship between them. (If he dies, of course, that can’t happen.)

From this point on, as the hero begins to recover, he also regains his confidence as well as his strength.

It’s almost like “The Six Million Dollar Man”: We can build him stronger…faster…better…

He will recover, but now he has something to lose—the newfound love between him and the heroine. Now, he’s deadlier than ever, and it’s all about protecting the woman he loves.

Or, his injuries may give him a view of life that he hadn’t hoped for before. Maybe the heroine’s care and the ensuing love between them make the hero realize qualities in himself he hadn’t known were there.


In my holiday short story, A Night For Miracles, wounded gunman Nick Dalton arrives on widow Angela Bentley’s doorstep in a snowstorm. Angela is tempted at first to turn him away, until she realizes he’s traveling with three half-frozen youngsters, and he’s bleeding.

As she settles the children into the warmth of her home and begins to treat Nick’s injury, she realizes it’s Christmas Eve—“A Night For Miracles,” Nick says wryly. “I’m ready for mine.”

In this excerpt, the undercurrents between them are strong, but Nick realizes Angela’s fears. She’s almost as afraid of taking in a gunman with a reputation as she is of being alone again.

FROM “A NIGHT FOR MIRACLES”

Angela placed the whiskey-damp cloth against the jagged wound. The man flinched, but held himself hard against the pain. Finally, he opened his eyes. She looked into his sun-bronzed face, his deep blue gaze burning with a startling, compelling intensity as he watched her. He moistened his lips, reminding Angela that she should give him a drink. She laid the cloth in a bowl and turned to pour the water into the cup she’d brought.

He spoke first. “What…what’s your name?” His voice was raspy with pain, but held an underlying tone of gentleness. As if he were apologizing for putting her to this trouble, she thought. The sound of it comforted her. She didn’t know why, and she didn’t want to think about it. He’d be leaving soon.

“Angela.” She lifted his head and gently pressed the metal cup to his lips. “Angela Bentley.”

He took two deep swallows of the water. “Angel,” he said, as she drew the cup away and set it on the nightstand. “It fits.”

She looked down, unsure of the compliment and suddenly nervous. She walked to the low oak chest to retrieve the bandaging and dishpan. “And you are…”

“Nick Dalton, ma’am.” His eyes slid shut as she whirled to face him. A cynical smile touched his lips. “I see…you’ve heard of me.”

A killer. A gunfighter. A ruthless mercenary. What was he doing with these children? She’d heard of him, all right, bits and pieces, whispers at the back fence. Gossip, mainly. And the stories consisted of such variation there was no telling what was true and what wasn’t.

She’d heard. She just hadn’t expected him to be so handsome. Hadn’t expected to see kindness in his eyes. Hadn’t expected to have him show up on her doorstep carrying a piece of lead in him, and with three children in tow. She forced herself to respond through stiff lips. “Heard of you? Who hasn’t?”

He met her challenging stare. “I mean you no harm.”

She remained silent, and he closed his eyes once more. His hands rested on the edge of the sheet, and Angela noticed the traces of blood on his left thumb and index finger. He’d tried to stem the blood flow from his right side as he rode. “I’m only human, it seems, after all,” he muttered huskily. “Not a legend tonight. Just a man.”

He was too badly injured to be a threat, and somehow, looking into his face, she found herself trusting him despite his fearsome reputation. She kept her expression blank and approached the bed with the dishpan and the bandaging tucked beneath her arm. She fought off the wave of compassion that threatened to engulf her. It was too dangerous. When she spoke, her tone was curt. “A soldier of fortune, from what I hear.”

He gave a faint smile. “Things aren’t always what they seem, Miss Bentley.”

I hope you’ve enjoyed this peek into what makes my heroes ‘tick.’ Thanks for reading, and please leave a comment for a chance to win a copy of A NIGHT FOR MIRACLES!

Cheryl's Amazon Author Page:


https://www.amazon.com/author/cherylpierson

16 comments:

  1. I loved Fire Eyes. I have to say, your heroes are half dead dead when you get through putting them through their paces, but they're still so sensual and charismatic. Fire Eyes has the most intense villain I've read. The meaner the villain, the better the hero.
    A Night for Miracles was another great story. I loved it. Hey, I think the new cover rocks, too.

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    1. Sarah, thank you so much--you are always so supportive and positive. I love that villain in Fire Eyes too. I think the other one that might hold a candle to him is the one in Sweet Danger, Tabor Hardin. I do have a lot of half-dead heroes, don't I?LOLLOL Karen Nutt always does a great job on my covers, I think. She is very talented. Thanks so much for coming by and commenting!
      Cheryl

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  2. I'm a big Cheryl Pierson fan. Her wounded heroes are to die for, except they don't die. They live to save the day and win the girl - yay!

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    1. LOL MAGGIE!!! Thanks for coming by--I don't know how you find enough hours in the day to everything you do. Thanks for making time for me. I'm so glad to know you enjoy my stories so much.
      Cheryl

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  3. Whenever I pick up a Cheryl Pierson book or story, I always wonder what you are going to do to this poor hero and I can't wait to find out. And you create some of the most dastardly villains we could ever want to read about. That is now your "brand", Cheryl, and no getting away from it. It's what keeps us coming back for more every time. I really liked Rafe from Time Plains Drifter, and I hope there is a sequel there for his poor anguished brother one of these days. LOL Of course, between writing and promoting for WF, PbRJV, and WTB, you are one busy lady.

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    1. BECCA!So good to see you here, and I hope you are feeling MUCH better. I loved Rafe from TPD too. And Cris--I still have Cris's story I'm dying to tell but keep getting sidetracked, darn it! LOL I guess this is my "brand" for sure...don't know what that says about me...LOLLOL Thanks so much for always being so supportive. I'm glad you're my publisher, AND most of all, my friend.
      Hugs,
      Cheryl

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  4. I love her wounded heroes. I just want to take them in, hug them and squeeze them and keep them safe. Secretly, though, I think Cheryl Pierson has a secret masochistic side, considering what she does to her heroes.

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    1. LOL KEENA, I always give them a happy ending, though, you have to admit...they just have to work for it.

      Thanks for popping in, Keena.
      Hugs,
      Cheryl

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  5. Cheryl, I've already begun a novella with a wonded hero arriving on the heroine's doorstep in a raging blizzard, but the children are with her and are her niece and nephew. Please don't think I copied you when I publish it later this year. ☺

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    1. No, I would never think that! I read a book by my pal over at P&P, Traci Garrett--think it was called A TOUCH OF TEXAS. The hero was wounded and came upon a cabin in a raging snowstorm, and the heroine lived there with her little brother, I think it was...it's been a while. Anyhow, there are a lot of wounded heroes out there and raging snowstorms. LOLLOL But I love stories like that so much (as you might be able to tell...)I'll be looking forward to yours!
      Cheryl

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    2. Miss Nancy opened the door to see what had been causing the scratching, bracing it with her foot so the fierce blizzard didn't slam it wide open. A man fell through the doorway and lay moaning on the dirt floor of the cabin. She looked at the man, obviously wounded from the blood on his jacket. Then she looked at the empty holster, the lack of a wedding ring on his blue, shaking fingers, and the Texas Rangers badge pinned to his shirt.

      "It's about time!" she said. "Here I am, a single woman living alone in the Wild West and in spite of all the stories, this is the third winter I've had to endure before a handsome stranger stumbles in from a blizzard, needing to be nursed back to health. What took you so long?"

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    3. LOL Gerry! Now write the REST of that story and get it out there! LOL

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  6. Oooh, Cheryl, I've got to read A NIGHT FOR MIRACLES. You had me at "he’s traveling with three half-frozen youngsters, and he’s bleeding."

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    1. HI PENNY! So good to see you here. All my heroes are bleeding at one point. LOL I'll put your name in the drawing! Thanks for coming over.
      Cheryl

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  7. My winner for A NIGHT FOR MIRACLES is.......


    PENNY RADER!!!!!!

    Penny, please contact me at fabkat_edit@yahoo.com to claim your prize!
    Thanks to everyone for coming by and commenting!

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    1. Really! I'm sooo excited. Thanks, Cheryl. I cannot wait to read the story. I'll email my email addy to you right now.

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