Quirks and Foibles and Oddities, oh my!

20 Mar

The Passionate Reads authors are pleased to welcome today’s guest blogger, Cassandra Carr, author of COLD AS ICE.

 Have you ever read a book and thought, “Wow, this character is so interesting!” or the reverse, “I’m going to fall asleep if this character is actually this boring.” What causes these reactions?

 A lot of things, most likely, but one of those things is the little unique pieces of a character’s personality. Maybe it’s a police officer who collects rare stamps, or a smokin’ hot heroine who raises beagles. How about a villain with no sense of direction? All these personality traits make characters come alive. Without any quirks whatsoever the author runs the risk of writing cookie cutter characters.

 You can go too far with this as a writer, too, though. If your character has too many quirks they can sound like a cartoon, not a human. Humans aren’t perfect. Humans have faults and they do strange things. But when it comes down to it, they are human and should sound, look and act human.

 Let’s look at some foibles of well-known characters/people:

 – Snoopy: used to pretend he was the Red Baron

– Sherlock Holmes: doesn’t go anywhere without his pipe

– Walter Cronkite: closed every broadcast with “Good Night and Good Luck”

– The Fonz: can bump the jukebox, a car, etc. and make it work

 If you’re a writer, do you use these quirks, foibles, and oddities to make your characters come alive? If you’re a reader, do you appreciate characters with these personality traits? Is there a quirk you thought was brilliant? One that was overdone?

 BIO:

Cassandra Carr is a multi-published, award-winning erotic romance writer with Ellora’s Cave, Siren, and Loose Id who lives in Western New York with her husband, Inspiration, and her daughter, Too Cute for Words. When not writing she enjoys watching hockey and hanging out on Twitter. Cassandra’s book Caught was recently named Best BDSM Book 2011 by LoveRomancesCafe.

For more information about Cassandra, check out her website at http://www.booksbycassandracarr.com, “like” her Facebook fan page at http://www.facebook.com/AuthorCassandraCarror follow her on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/Cassandra_Carr.

Buy Link: http://www.bookstrand.com/cold-as-ice

COLD AS ICE Blurb:

Luc, Carter, and Jake make up the Buffalo Intimidators’ top scoring line and play together both on and off the ice, with a history of sharing women. Each of them is also a client of massage therapist Eva. When they decide they want to be more than just clients, they approach her about having a ménage a quatre.

Eva’s been secretly lusting after the guys for months, but was afraid to say anything in an attempt to keep her relationship with the guys on a strictly professional level. Besides, how could she pick just one when such mouthwatering displays of masculinity are spread out on her massage table every day? She agrees to the ménage, but when serious health problems begin to plague members of the team, will she want more than a quick score with her hockey boys?

COLD AS ICE Excerpt:

                                                  Chapter One

“Oh, God, that feels so good,” Luc Fletcher said, letting out a long, low moan as sensation arrowed through him. “Yeah, right there. Oh, shit, yeah.” He shifted to give her better access. “You have great hands, babe, you know that? No one’s ever touched me the way you do.”

Eva Saunders chuckled. “It’s my job.”

“I know, but seriously, if we win the Cup this year I’m lobbying to have your name included. Jake and Carter will back me up.”

“I highly doubt the NHL would go for putting someone like me on the Stanley Cup.”

“I’ll make them. You complete me.”

Now she snorted. “Nice one, Jerry Maguire. You just want free services. I don’t give away stuff often, you know.”

“Your skills aren’t the only reason we love you, though.”

“Then why do you love me?” He could hear the laughter in her voice as she dug her elbow into a stubborn knot on his back.

“Because you’re not only the best massage therapist in all of Buffalo, you’re also the hottest.”

“I bet you say that to all the massage therapists.”

Luc twisted to face her. “There’s only you, babe. Well, other than the trainer, but he does sports massage, and he’s a dude. You do all that relaxation stuff. I’m putty in your hands. Besides, you don’t believe me?”

“Why would I believe you? You’re a flirt. Now lie back down so I can finish your back.”

Luc knew better than to argue with her and reclined again, thinking about how happy he was that he’d found Eva.

He reclined on the table again, but wasn’t giving up that easy. He wanted Eva, and had ever since the first time he’d seenHe’d first seen her two months ago when he’d gone into a salon looking for a last-minute haircut and had ended up staying for an hour massage from her.

He’d gone home and told his teammates and best friends, Jake and Carter, about Eva and soon she had taken on all three of them as clients. She really was the best—he wasn’t blowing smoke up her ass about that. But it certainly didn’t hurt that she was also smokin’ hot.

All too soon his massage was finished and he had to suffer through a road trip before he was able to see her again. While they were on the road he’d decided to broach the subject of the 800-pound gorilla and ask his friends if they were as attracted to her as he was.

His linemates felt the same way after he’d introduced . The fact they’d shared women before made for an interesting situation with Eva. Could they convince her to give them a chance?

The three men were ensconced in a booth toward the back of a popular sports bar in Philadelphia. Luc had one eye on the game, where the Philadelphia Freedom were currently battling to tie up the score, and the other on his teammates.

Clearing his throat, he said, “I need to ask you guys something.”

Both Jake and Carter swiveled their heads in his direction. “Shoot, man,” Jake replied.

“I’m not sure how to put this.” Luc rubbed the bridge of his nose with his thumb and forefinger as he tried to articulate what he wanted to say.

“Just come out with it, man,” Carter urged him. “Is it about the game last night in New York? I know we didn’t play well-”

“It’s not that. It’s about Eva.”

“What about her?”

“If I’m right about what I’ve been hearing, and I think I am, both of you are attracted to her. Seriously attracted.”

Jake and Carter glanced at each other and then back at Luc. Carter shrugged. “She’s hot, dude. You know that.”

“Yes, I do, but I think it’s more than that. Am I right?”

“For me it is. I like talking to her. I keep thinking about asking her out, but then the fact that we go there for massages and she sees both of you made it seem like not such a hot idea,” Jake responded.

“I’ve thought about it, too,” Carter admitted.

“What would you say to all of us pursuing her? We’ve shared before.”

“But like this?” Jake asked. “Those were all one-night stands. I don’t just want a one-night stand with Eva. She’s too good for that.”

Luc nodded. “I agree.”

“So what do you suggest we do? Go after her all together?”

“I don’t see any other way to do it. Do you?”

“No. How about you, Carter?”

“Eva’s a cool girl. If she’s willing to take us on it sounds like fun, and if not, no harm, no foul.”

Luc shook his head at his younger teammate’s attitude. Carter still operated in the “I’m invincible, I’m gonna live forever,” vein, whereas he and Jake were both starting to realize there was a finite amount of time left in their careers. Knowing that colored everything Luc did.

“Why don’t we continue to see Eva for our massages and feel her out? Maybe flirt a little more than usual to see how she reacts?”

“Yeah, I can do that,” Jake said, and Carter agreed. They clinked their beer bottles to seal the deal and went back to hoping Washington would defeat Philadelphia.

A few weeks later, Luc was on the massage table again. He and the other guys had been watching Eva and waiting for the right moment to bring up their plan. In a couple of subsequent conversations to the one they’d had in Philadelphia they decided that once they’d laid their cards on the table they’d let Eva decide what she wanted to do without any arm-twisting on their part. As much as they all wanted her, they also wanted her to come to them without reservation or fear.

He’d just tucked the sheet around himself when Eva knocked on the door and entered.

She came over and glanced down at him as he lay face up on the table. “You look tired. You guys had a rough time of it.”

“Yeah, we did.”

“What hurts?”

Luc chuckled. “What doesn’t?”

“Okay, then I guess I’ve got my work cut out for me then, huh?”

“You can handle it.”

“I’m glad you have so much faith in me,” she answered, smiling at him as she pushed her hands down over his shoulders to his chest. “You need to take better care of yourself, Luc.”

“Hockey’s a brutal game, you know that.”

“I do, and I worry about you guys.”

Luc smiled. “I knew we were your favorite clients.”

Eva grinned back. “Humblest, too.”

“Why be humble when you’re one of the favorites of the hottest massage therapist in Buffalo?”

“Right…” Eva answered with a shake of her head.

“Seriously, Eva. You’re hot. Surely you know that.”

“So you’ve said.” She continued to work and he let her, closing his eyes to allow her to knead all the soreness and tension out of his aching muscles. There was one aching muscle he was hoping she would give a different kind of relief to soon. That muscle was about to embarrass him when she lifted the sheet a little. “Turn over, please.” Too late. As soon as he heard her husky voice his hard-on became obvious, tenting the sheet.

He turned, and his hard-on became obvious, tenting the sheet. Usually he didn’t comment on it, but now he made it a point to. “See what you do to me?”

“A good breeze would probably have the same effect.”

Luc grabbed her hand, and her gaze skittered to his. His eyes narrowed. Was that heat in the depths of her big, beautiful brown eyes? His gut told him yes, but there was one way to find out.

“It’s you, Eva.” Clearing his throat, he repeated, “It’s you— –. Aall you. We’ve been coming to you for a couple of months now and you’ve done all of us a world of good. But what we feel for you, it’s more than that. There are probably other places in Buffalo where we could get a massage, but you’ve got something special, baby.” He looked to see how she reacted to his use of the endearment. She didn’t slap him or step back, so he plowed on. “What would you say if I told you me and Jake and Carter share women?” He watched her face again closely as a blush crept up from her neck. The lust in her gaze didn’t diminish, though, and his cock twitched under the sheet. Was it really possible she was as interested as they were?

“Share?”

“Yeah. Can you imagine what it would feel like to have three men focused exclusively on you and your pleasure?” She made a squeaking noise and gave a weak attempt to pull out of his grip. He would never hurt a woman, and if she had really tried to get away he would’ve let her. Instead he ran his thumb over the back of her hand.

“Let’s just finish your massage.” She looked away, focusing on the mural in front of her, and he let her hand go. He’d planted the seed. Now it was up to his best friends and linemates to nurture it.

At the end of his massage Luc pulled five crisp twenties from a roll in his pocket—nearly twice as much as she charged for a massage—and all he could see was the three of them; Luc, Jake, and Carter. And and Eva, her body writhing, back arching, shiny brown hair spread all over his pillow as her mouth opened in ecstasy.

Oh, God, what a picture. I want that.

“Carter said he was coming in later today.”

“That’s right. He’ll be here in a few hours. Jake, too.”

“Be good to Carter. He took a lot of abuse during the game last night. I think they were keying on that sore quad.”

Eva made a note on the paperwork in front of her. “Thanks for letting me know.”

“You be a good girl, now.” Luc put a large, heavy hand on her shoulder and squeezed, caressing the skin bared by the thin strap of her tank top briefly with the rough pad of his thumb before turning and opening the door of her room. “See ya.”

                                       * * * *

 Carter Roy met his linemates and best friends, Luc Fletcher and Jake Lofton, for lunch.

 As soon as they were seated and had ordered, Luc turned to them. “She’s ready. We need to move.”

 “I’m in,” Carter replied.

 Luc regarded the third member of their line. “What about you, Jake?”

 “I’m all for it, but I wanna make sure this is what she wants. I like Eva. I don’t want to do this if we’re gonna fuck her once and be done with her.”

 “I don’t have any intention of this being a one-time thing. I know that’s our usual modus operandi, but there’s no way one night with Eva would be enough,” Luc replied.

 “Being with her for more than one night works for me, too,” Carter said. When both Luc and Jake stared at him, he said, “What?”

 Jake’s eyes narrowed. “You’re usually the one saying we shouldn’t get involved.”

 “And I don’t think we should, but that doesn’t mean we can’t see her more than once. Besides, why are we even worrying about this? We don’t have any idea if she’ll even say yes.”

 Jake blew out a loud breath, and Carter wondered about the direction of his friend’s thoughts. He hoped he wasn’t getting his hopes up or expecting too much. “No, we don’t.”

 “But are you gonna help?” Luc asked Jake. “I think the only way she’s going to go for it is if she thinks all three of us are into her. She was definitely interested, but she’ll need some encouragement.”

 “Are you sure she wasn’t grossed out or anything?”

 “Definitely not,” Luc answered. “I mentioned sharing and her hands tightened on me.”

 Jake nodded. “Okay. I’ll test the waters.”

 “Me, too,” Carter answered.

 “We can’t rush this, though. I don’t wanna freak her out.”

 “Agreed,” Luc said.

 “So we’ll take the next couple of weeks, drop some hints, and see what happens?”

 “Sounds like a plan.”

 Carter nodded and then sat back as their meals were delivered. It was strange to be looking forward to this. Normally these things just kind of happened, but since they all knew Eva they’d had to take a different tack. He had to admit, his level of interest in her was higher than it was for all those one-night stands the three of them were famous for. He just hoped all three of them were really on the same page. Carter didn’t want to hurt Eva, but he also knew he wasn’t ready for any kind of commitment like his teammates Leo and Scott had made to Kelly. He was pulled out of his thoughts when Luc flicked his ear.

“Ow! What the fuck, man?”

“Where’d you go? We were talking about the game last night.”

“What about it?”

“I didn’t like the way the team responded. I know we won, but we can’t let Boston let get the physical edge like that again. We have to play these guys three more times, and if they think they can come into our barn and run us over, they’ve got another think coming.” Luc crossed his arms over his chest, and Carter knew they were in for another rah-rah speech. Luc could do one of these anywhere, anytime, to anyone.

“We’ll get ’em next time,” Carter replied, shrugging. “And we won the game.—That’s the best revenge there is.”

“They made us look like pussies,” Luc growled.

Jake broke in. “But we won, dude. Let it go.”

“I’m the captain. I can’t let it go. If I let it go everyone else will think it’s okay to back off.”

Carter rolled his eyes. “Dude, I promise you, we don’t wanna look like pussies any more than you do.”

“I need you guys to back me up on this when I bring it up before the next game.”

“Of course we will,” Jake reasoned. “Don’t we always?”

Luc ran his hand over the back of his neck, and Carter wondered if the team’s response was the only thing bothering him. “What’s going on? What aren’t you telling us?”

“Gardiner challenged me to a fight last night. I didn’t take him up on it, but I might not be able to refuse next time.”

“You’re not a fighter,” Jake argued, and Carter nodded. Of the three of them, Jake was most likely to drop the gloves, but even he only did it seldomly and always to defend a teammate. Carter tended to live and let live. Luc would fight if need be, but Carter knew Tom, the head coach, didn’t want to take Luc off the ice for five full minutes, so he discouraged it.

“No, I’m not, but I may not be able to avoid it.”

“Why don’t you just tell Kinger about it?” Jake asked, referring to the team’s reigning pugilist.

Luc grimaced. “I could, but he’s gonna have his hands full as it is. Besides, having other people fight for me doesn’t sit well, you know?”

Carter shrugged. Sat fine with him. “It’s not your job, dude. Your job is to score goals and keep the team together. If you don’t have give Kinger something to do, he’ll get bored, and nobody wants that.” His lame attempt at humor worked, though, as both Jake and Luc laughed.

“True that,” Jake replied. “He’ll glue your pants together again.”

“I knew that was him,” Luc grumbled.

“Oh, shit, he’s gonna kick my ass. I thought you knew.”

“He’ll never know how I found out. But I’ll get that little fucker.”

“I don’t doubt that.”

Carter watched his teammates banter and relaxed again. As much as he loved hockey, as good as he was at it, and as competitive as he was, he hated all this extra stuff. He just wanted to go out there and play the game. Taking a big bite of his sandwich, he washed it down with a gulp of water and continued to watch the by-play of his friends. He was a lucky man, and if Eva agreed to take them on, he’d be even luckier.

Copyright 2012, Cassandra Carr

9 Responses to “Quirks and Foibles and Oddities, oh my!”

  1. Marilyn Campbell March 20, 2012 at 7:56 am #

    Welcome to PR Cassandra – Cold as Ice sure sounds HOT HOT HOT! Wishing you lots of attention.

    • Cassandra Carr March 20, 2012 at 8:33 am #

      Thanks for having me here! This was a fun blog to write, but as I re-read it, it occurred to me people might think I don’t know Walter Cronkite is a real person. I do. 😉 But he was quirky!

  2. Anya Richards March 20, 2012 at 8:32 am #

    Ooo, Cold as Ice sounds yummy, Cassandra!

    And what a good question! I love quirks that allow the characters to display a facet of their personality they can’t, or won’t, display in any other way. The ultra-confident heroine that secretly nibbles on the side of her finger, or the serious, slightly grumpy hero that somehow attracts every dog, cat or baby in the vicinity. Or even just a habitual motion that, once you get into the book, tells you what the character is thinking. It really makes them come alive.

  3. Riley Murphy March 20, 2012 at 9:06 am #

    Hi Cassandra!

    Cold as Ice sounds awesome!

    I love character quirks of all varieties. Physical and emotional. I also love to thread a run-on quirk in some stories. I did one where the heroine kept mixing up her metaphors and it drove the proper English hero batshit crazy. It wasn’t until the end of the story, when her best friend hears her lay down a doozie that the reader learns the truth. The heroine did her PHD on the usage of proper metaphors in modern day literature so the only reason she’d been mixing those suckers up was to purposely shake-up her man. The best part? At the end only her, her friend and the reader knew the truth because she never did tell the hero. Hehehe.

    Riley

    • Cassandra Carr March 20, 2012 at 9:17 am #

      Ha! That’s totally awesome! I tend to have heroes who express their frustration or anger through their body language, since that’s what men do anyway. Mine pinch the bridges of their noses, massage the backs of their necks, and run their hands through their hair.

  4. Karla March 20, 2012 at 11:48 am #

    Good post, Cassandra, and so true. Characters should be as unique as living humans, without being caricatures. I try to nail down my hero and heroine’s speech & behavior ticks early on, something noticeable to the reader without being hit-you-over-the-head obvious.

    • Cassandra Carr March 20, 2012 at 12:07 pm #

      He ran his hand through his blond hair; he ran his hand through his blond hair; he ran his hand through his blond, wavy hair. You mean like that? 😉

  5. Nara Malone March 20, 2012 at 3:08 pm #

    Oh boy, hockey players. I don’t know a lot about hockey, but I’m really loving hockey romances. I’m gonna have to add this to my TBR folder.

  6. Kate Willoughby March 20, 2012 at 3:48 pm #

    Quirks are great, and I speak as a reader and a writer. I sometimes give my characters their own cuss word or phrase, too, to differentiate them from one another, especially the guys. 🙂

    Your book sounds really hot!

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