Conflict. It’s an inescapable part of life—especially when you’re a character in my stories. In TIES THAT BIND, a second-chance story released this week by The Wild Rose Press, the conflict between my hero and heroine isn’t so much about what happened in the past but how they each dealt with it.
In TIES THAT BIND, AEDAN ap OWEN and TESS, LADY OF BRIDSWELL each deal with their anger in hot and cold ways, respectively. This difference means each approaches conflict differently and often at odds with one another.
My heroine is icy in her fury, more likely to walk away from conflict than resolve it. In a prequel to this book, when Tess learned about Aedan’s misuse of his magical abilities, she appeared calm on the outside, as if the hurt didn’t quite touch her, and she told him to go away rather than deal with the hurt and anger of his betrayal.
Aedan, on the other hand, acts on his anger. When he learned Tess had married within a few months of his leaving, the drinking, fighting, whoring binge that followed kept medieval gossips talking for years.
For both characters, how they handled this conflict changed the course of their lives, and when they meet up five years later, they are both very different people from when they first met—a fact they both recognize immediately.
Tess stiffened at his words, and another gust of cold air blew between them, tangling a fine lace of curls that had escaped her braid. Her hair was darker now—a deep reddish auburn highlighted by strands the color of cinnamon. A memory of twining one of those curls around his finger pushed forward. The ache that followed surprised him.
“My lady.” Aedan bowed low, suddenly, keenly aware that neither of them was the raw youth who had loved so carelessly years before. “How do you fare?”
She tucked away the beckoning curl. The movement set a row of tiny copper bells along her sleeve ringing. “Well enough.”
“Who is this, Tess?” The dark-haired woman at William’s side sounded as suspicious as she looked. When Aedan gave her his best grin, her dark blue eyes glinted like the sharp edge of broken sapphire.
“I am Aedan ap Owen.”
“The king’s minstrel?” Excitement and disgust warred in her expression. “We have heard about you.”
Aedan flashed his most innocent smile. “Have you?”
“Yes.” Tess looked at him as if he’d run down her dog. “The gossips say you are rich in coin and women.”
“Do they?” Her inflection carried a challenge. “They also say the Duchess of Burgundy measured your sword with both hands and found it sturdy. Now the duke’s weapon no longer leaves its sheath.”
I had fun exploring how Aedan and Tess’ core personalities would influence the way they handle conflict—although I must admit, Tess’ reaction surprised me. She’s very outspoken except when it counts most.
In your writing or reading, have you come across any interesting ways characters handle anger and conflict? How does it affect their story?
Keena Kincaid, the author of three historical romance novels with The Wild Rose Press, is celebrating the release of TIES THAT BIND, the second of her Druids of Duncarnoch series. To learn more about her or her stories, go to: http://www.keenakincaid.com. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter and MySpace.