|My writing model for Ethan *sigh*|
Ethan Roberts was the deluxe edition—his dark blond hair a little too long to be fashionable, his deep-set, gray-blue eyes examining me with what seemed like X-ray vision, his strong jaw skimmed by the barest shading of beard, highlighting the cleft in his chin. He was a gypsy, a pirate, a swashbuckling hero in a loose sweater and tight-fitting jeans. Ethan Roberts was the one Mama warned you about.
—Asia Burdette describing the hero of Unchained Memory
From that description it should be easy to see why the heroine of my science fiction suspense novel Unchained Memory would be attracted to the psychiatrist who becomes her therapist, her ally, her protector and, finally, her lover. But Dr. Ethan Roberts is more than just a pretty boy, and he and Asia have a lot more between them than mere sexual attraction, as problematic as that is.
When Asia meets Ethan for the first time, she is suffering from a life-altering tragedy that has dropped her into a self-destructive downward spiral. But her healer has wounds of his own, both physical and emotional, lingering from the accident that killed his wife and critically injured him two years before. He carries a burden of guilt from that accident, just as Asia carries the weight of responsibility for the night she lost her family. He feels an instant kinship with her because of it, even though that bond is at an unconscious level.
Much more obvious and troublesome is his physical attraction to Asia, just as immediate and just as strong as hers is to him. Ethan is an ethical man; he knows this is completely outside the bounds of proper medical practice. But Asia’s problem—her nightmares of a place that cannot possibly exist, her insistence that the three hours of time she lost on the night of the tragedy are not explainable—is just as compelling as the woman herself. She has been unable to find help anywhere else; Ethan is her last resort. He feels he has a duty to help her. So he vows never to act on his feelings and continues to work with her.
If Asia had been any other woman and her case any other case, Ethan might have had a chance of keeping his vow. As it happens, though, what is revealed in his sessions with Asia reshapes Ethan’s perception of reality completely. Not only is Asia not delusional, but many of the things everyone believes about the world are simply not true. And given what Asia has been through, she is much stronger than she first appears to be.
Ethan terminates therapy with Asia, but doesn’t give up on the central mystery of what happened to her. He has an idea of how to solve that mystery, a solution that involves data from past clients with similar stories. But just as he becomes an ally in Asia’s search for answers, he must become her protector. Agents of an unknown black ops organization want Asia for their own purposes, and the two of them are soon on the run from the violent kidnappers.
But not before Asia breaks down the first, and strongest, of Ethan’s walls. She wants him, she knows he wants her, and now that she is not his patient, she is no longer willing to wait. She calls his bluff, and Ethan is unable to keep his professional distance. His resistance crumbles, along with the protections around his heart.
As Asia and Ethan form their bond and face the challenges of the last half of Unchained Memory, Ethan heals those wounds he’s carried for so long and uses his strength to help his heroine win the day. So what kind of man does that make Ethan Roberts?
Warm, caring, intelligent, protective, determined. And what you don’t know yet—a driver inordinately attached to his ancient BMW, Baby; a doctor content to live and work out of a modest bungalow in Nashville, though he could probably afford better; the son of a college professor father and a mother from a family of means who “married beneath herself”; a man who likes to box for exercise, despite the gimpy leg from his accident; a good friend; a man who likes kids and both dogs and cats, but has none.
Ethan Roberts is, in fact, a hero. Just like Asia says.
Unchained Memory is available for pre-order now on Amazon.com!
Congrats to Pippa, on her win in the 2014 Judge a Book By Its Cover contest! Check out the details in Pippa's Wednesday post. This girl is on fire!