Tris’s parents are dead and his sister paralyzed in a car accident Tris is blamed for. Right from the start WITHOUT AIDEN plunges us into Tragedy. Here’s a young man, barely twenty-one years old, who is grieving for his parents, taking care of his dying sister, and looked at with suspicion by the people of his town. But worse than any of that, the lover who should have stood by his side, finds him as equally guilty as everyone else does and can’t forgive him.
To me, having characters face a real life crisis instantly captures my attention. Not that I like to see characters suffer. Far from it! But finding that instant connection with one, that sympathetic cord, will ensure I’ll continue reading the story. Now I have a vested interest in what happens to this character.
I find that this connection drives the story forward. There seems to be a sense of urgency in this type of story that isn’t apparent in other romances. The hero already has a strike against him. How is he going to win through to the end?
And can he have a happy ending? That’s always my concern. I become emotionally wrapped up in the tragic hero. I want him to be happy, darn it! I’ll read furiously, searching for those moments where we catch a glimpse of a smile, hear a soft laugh, feel a gentle touch. They’re few and far between. Don’t want to miss them!
When I set out to write my own tragic hero story, I took the gloves off, poor boy. I stripped him bare, vulnerable, ripe for sympathy. We had to work for his smiles. Kind words were few, until he began to find allies, first in his sister’s caregiver, then from the man willing to give him a job despite the censure of the town.
Tris’s smiles come from Aiden’s softening glances toward him, the gentle words he says, an intimate touch. These moments of tenderness from Aiden are usually done unconsciously, out of old habits, but they give us the hope that maybe he still cares for Tris. And we need that hope to keep going just as much as Tris does.
It’s not until the very end, when the issue of the car accident is resolved, that Tris finds the forgiveness he needs and walks with joy into the arms of his happily ever after. To me, tragedy in a story only makes the rewards at the end that much sweeter.
Thanks for stopping in and I hope your happy endings are in sight and are as sweet as you’re imagining!
Is a gift of love enough to open Aiden’s heart and let Tris back in?
After the car accident that killed his parents and left his sister paralyzed, Tris is left with nothing. His family is destroyed. His reputation is shot. And all he has is the guilt of knowing it was all his fault. People in town know he’d been drinking that night, and know he should never have gotten behind the wheel. And even Aiden, the man he thought he’d be with forever, blames him too much to stay.
But Tris can’t let him just disappear. After months of loneliness and isolation, Tris brings Aiden a gift on his birthday, a hawk he’s carved from a chunk of wood they’d found in the forest during an afternoon of love. A small chink seems to open in Aiden’s heart, the first sign of forgiveness. With renewed hope, Tris takes a job renovating one of the older homes in town and tries to rebuild his life. But the townspeople have long memories, and when his sister’s condition worsens, forgiveness—and Aiden—seem to slip even further out of reach…
Pulling a scrap of paper from a pocket, he studied the address he’d scribbled down, then swung a leg over his bike and pedaled away from Aiden’s home. The crisp spring air cooled his face and threaded fingers through his short hair, creating pleasant tingles down his neck. He pumped harder and raced along the side streets, ignoring the blare of a car horn as he made a quick left turn. He slowed in a quiet neighborhood and coasted to a halt at the end of the cul-de-sac.
Settling on the cushioned seat, he enjoyed the view while he caught his breath. A man he guessed to be in his early forties, shirtless now that the sun was warming, lifted cinder blocks from the back of an old flatbed truck. Most of the blocks were in a neat stack on the ground, and the man’s muscular back glistened with sweat as he picked up another one.
His arms bulged and Tris coughed to get his attention, then almost fell off his bike as the man swiveled toward him. Dark curls adorned his chiseled chest and abdomen and disappeared into the faded jeans snug on his hips. Tris smiled inwardly. The delicious body screamed ‘lady’s man’ from head to toe. What did Aiden say? Oh yeah, the gorgeous ones were always straight.
Still amused, Tris walked his bike up the cracked driveway and parked it by the detached garage. He approached the man in the yard and held out his hand, admiring the stranger’s attractive face and brown curls. “Good morning, Mr. Thompson. I’m Tris Price. We spoke on the phone earlier?”
The man’s keen hazel eyes swept over him, and Tris raised a brow. Tris’s father had designed and built furniture, and Tris was fit from years of lifting slabs of oak and cherry wood onto the bench to be cut into desired lengths. Though he couldn’t boast muscles like this six-foot hunk in front of him, he could handle anything the man might need. He stayed cool under the close inspection and tried not to let his amusement show in his eyes.
The man finally shook his hand. “Call me Andrew. Done any renovating before?”
“No, sir, but I’ve built furniture with my father and know my way around a piece of wood.”
“A ‘Price’ roll top desk came with the house. Solid oak. Superb workmanship.”
Heat rose in Tris’s face. “Thank you, sir. Dad would have appreciated that.”
Compassion stirred in the hazel eyes watching him. “I heard about the accident. I’m sorry. It can’t be easy.”
“No, sir.” Tris chewed a lip, not sure how they’d strayed onto the topic. “About the job…”
Andrew’s assessing gaze swept him again and Tris was conscious of his best jeans and sweater. “You’ll need to change… I have to pick up another load of bricks. Can you be back at three this afternoon?”
Tris let out a breath he’d been holding for three months. No one had wanted to buy Price Furniture from the son who’d caused the master craftsman’s death, no matter his skill level. No one would hire him for work. “You won’t be disappointed,” he said, unable to control the tremor in his voice.
One of the sexiest smiles he’d ever seen lifted the corner of Andrew’s mouth. “We’ll see,” he murmured and pulled another brick from the back of the truck, dismissing Tris. Tris watched him a minute, wondering if he’d just fallen in love. Then he shook his head, laughing at his folly as he collected his bike.
After growing up in California and spending the first ten years of marriage in Colorado, Dianne now live in the beautiful Willamette Valley of Oregon with her incredibly patient husband, who puts up with the endless hours she spends hunched over the keyboard letting her characters play.
She says Oregon’s raindrops are the perfect setting in which to write. There’s something about being cooped up in the house while it pours rain outside, a fire crackles on the hearth inside, and a cup of hot coffee warms her hands which kindles her imagination.
Currently, Dianne works as a floral designer in a locally-owned gift shop. Which is the perfect job for her. When not writing, she can express herself through the rich colors and textures of flowers and foliage.
Dianne will be awarding a $10 All Romance Ebooks Gift Card to a randomly drawn commenter during the tour. The more stops on which you comment the greater your chance to win, so be sure to follow the tour by clicking here for additional dates and opportunities to win!