All characters grow throughout the course of their story. Strong women romantic heroines, I would argue, develop along their own unique trajectory. Part of that arc is to accept their female vulnerabilities that the wider world, for one reason or another, has prevented them from developing or forced them to keep hidden.
In Thirteen Nights, the heroine is an Amazon warrior, required by culture and vows to be strong. And alone. She has sworn never to permanently bond with another, never to raise her own children even though she is required to try to conceive them. Casual sex partners are organized through a speed dating event.
Annie’s empathic—softer emotions of mercy, love, belonging are a real part of her DNA. On her journey, our heroine comes to realize that strength as she has known it cannot be measured by battle victories or number of kills, but by the courage to follow her own path, and question authority when authority should be questioned. Love, she learns, is not the weakness as she’s been told it was, just a different source of strength.
Here’s her moment of internal choice: Where she accepts her love, and by extension her true self.
Tai made love like he lived. Fiercely. Passionately. He demanded everything, gave everything, never allowed either of them to be less than whole. Stars burst behind her eyes, her body tightened, she was on the edge, so ready to explode into the oblivion he delivered so well. He stopped, ripped his lips from hers. No.
“Say it, Annie,” he whispered against the edge of her mouth, his breath hot against her cheek.
She knew what he wanted, could read the feelings he projected loudly. “I feel love, Tai, but I don’t know if those feelings are my own, or I’m reflecting yours.”
“Yes, Annie, you do.” He did a slow lunge in, pushing his chest tighter against hers.
He was forcing her to choose, asking her for a different kind of courage. Not that of a warrior picking up a sword or a gun and running into the fray of battle, a job she’d trained for since she was four. He asked her to find the courage of an ordinary life, of choosing to love when the world said no, to break the rules that bound hearts and minds from reaching their potential. Did she have this kind of courage?
A bite on her chin. “Annie?”
Her moment of external choice, when she decides to act on the internal moment of choice.
“Do you want to stay with me, raise our child together?” he whispered into Annie’s hair, his arms held her tight against him, his mind and heart willing her to say yes.
“What do you mean, Tai?”
“The blood bond.” A lifetime commitment, like a human marriage, but more.
“The Amazon Elders haven’t permitted a bond since they ruled all conception matches required prior genetic approval and launched Thirteen Nights.”
“I’m not asking the Elders, Annie, I’m asking you.”
Thirteen Nights is Annie's journey. I hope you have as much fun reading about her and Tai as I did writing about them.
Who’s your favorite strong female heroine? What do you like about her?
Publisher: Ellora’s Cave
Date of Publication: December 6, 2013
Elloras Cave: http://www.ellorascave.com/thirteen-nights.html
Book Description:Annie’s always been different. An empathic Amazon, she hides her emotional anomaly beneath her legendary fighting skills. To avoid passing on her genetic disorder, she’s always avoided the Thirteen Nights Ritual—the annual breeding rite among the warrior races of the Greek Pantheon. Only months away from 30, she is now duty-bound to participate. When she meets Tai, a half-human warrior who revs her up beyond legal limits and nurtures the gentleness she’s had to keep secret, thirteen nights of pleasure don’t seem nearly enough.
As a half human, Tai has survived by being faster, more lethal, and a whole lot smarter than his brethren. While the male warriors accept him for his achievements, the Amazons have never given him a second look. Until he meets Annie, whose smile is warm and real and whose body shudders with desire—for him. Determined to have her, he hacks into the Thirteen Nights database and rearranges the pairings to make Annie his breeding partner. Together, their strength and tenderness combust into pure love.
But Tai’s actions are forbidden under Amazon law, subject to a death. To stay together and alive, they must take on the Greek Pantheon and win.
About the Author:Sabrina Garie is on a journey to create the most kick-ass heroine romance fiction has ever known and the hero who can take her. A believer that big, audacious goals spice up life, she relies on coffee, red wine and laughter to make those goals (and her characters) come alive.
When not at the computer, she wrangles vegetables and extra helpings of homework into her fashion-loving progeny, kowtows to a fat cat and reads, a lot.
Since it is more fun to travel in packs, come along for the ride.