Some of my favorite secondary characters aren’t people at all – they’re critters. I have a couple who is owned by a cat who adores one of them and hates the other. Half the cast of one of my hetero books are four-legged. Horses, cats, dogs—I love bringing them into my books.
I’m one of those people who will take an animal’s judgment of a person at face value. If a dog is wary of someone, I probably will be too. If a cat thinks you’re worthy of acknowledgment, you’re probably okay. If an otherwise friendly horse is immediately hostile toward you, I won’t necessarily show you the door, but it’s certainly a red flag. Looking back, I honestly wonder how many of my boyfriends realized I wasn’t just showing them my horse—her opinion of them mattered! (No joke—she loved everyone, but hated one of my boyfriends…who turned out to be a jerk.)
Obviously it’s not foolproof. Some animals just don’t like some people. I get along with most cats on the planet, but my mom’s cat—the infamous Spock—would prefer it if I kicked rocks. He loves everyone except for me. Huff. Or maybe he’s onto something that the rest of you don’t know about. *shifty eyes*
Anyhow, when an animal is involved in a scene, they can reveal a lot about the human characters. As mentioned above, they might immediately love or hate someone. We’ve all seen movies where the villain walks in and all the dogs start barking (and of course the villains with content lap cats, which is further proof that cats are just miniature supervillains).
There’s also how the people interact with the animals. In one of my books, the main character is terrified of dogs—he’s not hostile or mean to them, just nervous about them. Normally it’s not an issue for him, but the man he’s falling in love with is rarely far from a very large, very protective Rottweiler. The presence of the dog complicates their relationship at first, but eventually, he starts to relax, especially when he realizes how much more comfortable his significant other is with the dog close by.
And sometimes, interactions with animals reveal a lot about the character as a person. In Roped In, Graham is always gentle and considerate of his horse, and with the neglected horse they rescue later, his interactions with the poor creature underscore the kind of person he is—kind and caring. Kaz too cares about the animals (he’s an animal rights activist, after all), but he’s a little nervous around the horses—partly because he doesn’t want to upset them, and partly because he doesn’t have a lot of experience being up close and personal with them. Still, he trusts Graham not to put him in a position to get bitten or kicked, so he cautiously approaches and makes friends with the horse.
So that’s why it’s not unusual to see critters popping up in my books. In fact, now that I think about it, one of my characters really needs a foul-mouthed parrot…
About Roped In
Graham and his roping partner, Jackson, have been friends since they were boys. They’ve ruled the rodeo scene for ten years running, but lately, Graham’s heart isn’t in the game. He’s tired of the bruises, the cowboy mentality, and the animal rights activists who picket every event. He’s also tired of being in love with Jackson, and nothing’s been the same between them since their disastrous drunken encounter the year before.
Then Graham has a run-in with one of the rodeo protesters, and everything changes. Kaz is young, idealistic, and sexy as hell. But he’s also a know-it-all, animal-loving vegan, bent on saving the world one cow at a time. They have next to nothing in common, but Graham can’t stop thinking about what might happen if they can stop butting heads long enough to give it a try. Unfortunately, no matter how attracted Graham is to other men, he always panics and runs when the clothes start to come off. But Kaz has an idea for getting Graham past his nerves and into bed.
All they need is a bit of rope.
(Note: This is a re-edited second edition of a previously published title.)
About Marie Sexton
Marie Sexton lives in Colorado. She’s a fan of just about anything that involves muscular young men piling on top of each other. In particular, she loves the Denver Broncos and enjoys going to the games with her husband. Her imaginary friends often tag along.
Marie has one daughter, two cats, and one dog, all of whom seem bent on destroying what remains of her sanity. She loves them anyway.
Connect with Marie:
About L. A. Witt
L.A. Witt is an abnormal M/M romance writer who has finally been released from the purgatorial corn maze of Omaha, Nebraska, and now spends her time on the southwestern coast of Spain. In between wondering how she didn’t lose her mind in Omaha, she explores the country with her husband, several clairvoyant hamsters, and an ever-growing herd of rabid plot bunnies. She also has substantially more time on her hands these days, as she has recruited a small army of mercenaries to search South America for her nemesis, romance author Lauren Gallagher, but don’t tell Lauren. And definitely don’t tell Lori A. Witt or Ann Gallagher. Neither of those twits can keep their mouths shut . . .
Connect with L.A.:
Author Blog: gallagherwitt.blogspot.com
Personal Blog: navywifeadventures.blogspot.
To celebrate the release of Roped In, Marie and L.A. are giving away $20 in Riptide Publishing credit plus one ebook from each of their backlists. Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on June 25, 2016. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following the tour, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!