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All romance writers love the heroes they pen into existence. Much like natural born children, we labor diligently over them, polishing and perfecting, adding a bit of this, editing a bit of that. We worry if we’ve mixed the correct character ingredients to make a hero. Is he tall enough, his chin square enough? Do his eyes smolder when he looks at his lover and turn frigid when facing an enemy? Whether loud and boisterous or soft spoken and gruff, he has to be a gentleman. Maybe not quite the type you’d bring home to your mother, but the one you want in your bed.
Roman Nicolis, the hero of my debut novel, has all of those qualities, but that is not why he has endeared himself to me. I started writing the first version of Eternity late in 2007. I had no real plot direction and my characters were one dimensional cardboard cutouts. By early 2008 my personal life had completely fallen apart. Promises weren’t kept and betrayal ran deep. I needed a hero, a man who kept his word, honored his commitment and loved enough for twenty lifetimes.
Roman Nicolis became that man. I infused him with all the qualities I long for in a partner.He’s forthright, dependable, and the sexiest thing on two legs. He’s also honorable, places the needs of his family ahead of his, and most importantly he’s faithful. A curse, a demon and two thousand years couldn’t keep him from the woman he loves.
I didn’t make him infallible. He has the usual male handicaps; he’s bossy, arrogant and a bit of a control freak. I chalk that up to being a CEO of a security firm and head of a family with six equally arrogant and bossy men.
Creating Roman Nicolis and Eternity gave me something to believe in at a time that I needed it most. He will forever have a special place in my heart.
Interview with Roman Nicolis
After weeks of begging for an interview, Roman Nicolis agreed to meet at a restaurant one block away from his Park Avenue townhouse. I was calm, cool and collected until Roman walked in. 6’7” and muscular with wavy dark hair and intense blue eyes, I swallowed the drool forming and nearly fanned myself. I had to stay focused. I wasn’t here to drool over the man. I had questions that needed to be answered.
His hand swallowed mine when he shook it. He sat opposite me and ordered a scotch neat.
“Would you like something Ms. Stephens?” he asked while the waitress waited.
Yes, but a fruity drink wouldn’t steady my nerves. “Water, please.” As the waitress walked away Roman’s full attention landed on me. “I don’t have much time so let’s get this over with.”
Thanks for the prodding. I whipped the tape recorder from my purse. We already agreed I could record the interview so I didn’t expect him to balk. He scowled, but said nothing. I pressed record and began.
“Hi this is Tmonique Stephens, I’m here interviewing Roman Nicolis, CEO of Nicolis Security. Formerly, one of the most eligible bachelors in New York City who has finally agreed to sit down and talk to me.
“Sir, you’ve been missing from your company and the city for two months. Why the disappearing act?”
Roman Nicolis. “I’ve been on an extended vacation.”
TMS: “To where. There’s no record of you leaving the country.”
RN: “Are you stalking me, Ms. Stephens?” (a smile tweaked the corner of his mouth)
TMS: “Yes, I am. Mr. Nicolis, there has been some speculation on how you’ve made most of your personal fortune. Some say your company is just a cover for illegal activity overseas. Care to comment?”
Roman Nicolis: “I don’t comment on speculation.”
TMS: “So you’re not issuing a denial?”
RN: “There’s nothing to deny or confirm.”
TMS: “O.K.” (shuffles through some papers) “How’s the wedding preparations coming along with your lovely fiancée, Bianca Maylor?”
RN: (his face becomes shuttered) “I’m no longer engaged.”
TMS: “Really, the wedding was three months away. Is it because of houseguest, Miss Stella Walker that you’re no longer engaged?”
RN: “My personal life isn’t up for discussion.”
(The waitress returns with his scotch and my water. He downs his in a single gulp while I try not to choke on mine. His lips are compressed into a thin angry line)
TMS: “Okay, next question. You have a very interesting family. Can you tell us more about them?
RN: “There is not much to tell. I have 6 brothers. Thane, E.J., Avery, Tyrone, Brayden and Quin. Oh, and Hector, my butler.”
TMS: “Yes, but they’re not really your brothers. Not biologically.”
RN: “Blood couldn’t make us any closer. Many are descendants of my sister Aria. They were orphaned and adopted by me.”
TMS: “Wait, descendants of you sister? Just how old are you?”
RN: (His smile turned and wasn’t warm or welcoming)
TMS: “You look surprisingly youthful for someone who adopted several young boys who are now adult men. What’s your secret?”
RN: “Plenty of water and eight hours of sleep”
TMS: “Who lets a single man adopt young boys?”
RN: “Are you saying I did something illegal?”
TMS: “Did you?”
RN: (He gives a cool chuckle) “No. Next question?”
TMS: “Alright. Is it true there has been a Nicolis in every war since The Revolution?”
RN: “. . . Possibly.”
TMS: “More than possibly. I’ve done some research and dating back to the 1777 there’s documentation of one a Roman Marius Nicolis. And in each subsequent war I’ve found variations of that name until The Vietnam war. You come from a long line of military men.”
RN: “Is that an insult or a compliment, Mrs. Stephens?”
TMS: “Definitely a compliment. I also discovered some pictures of those men. They all have a striking resemblance to you. Any comment.”
RN: “Strong genes.”
TMS: “Speaking of genes, is there anything you’d like to say about your twin?”
RN: “My twin is dead. There’s nothing more to say. Next question.”
His anger surprised me. Flustered, I shuffled my papers trying to get the interview on track.
TMS: “Now that you’re single again the ladies will hang me if I don’t ask you some questions, so here goes. Blonde, brunette or red head?”
TMS: “Miss Maylor is blonde while Miss Walker is brunette. Interesting. Petite or statuesque?”
TMS: “Athletic or curvaceous?”
RN: (sighs) “This is ridiculous.”
TMS: “I must placate my female reader, please.”
RN: (leans closer) “You want to know what type of woman I’m attracted to? I’ll tell you without the silly questions. I want a woman with a mind of her own. One who knows what she wants and won’t stop until she gets it. One who isn’t afraid of life and living. A woman who will love me as much as I love her.”
Whoa! I can’t take my eyes off him. His intensity is intoxicating. A drug I would gladly get addicted too. I grab my water and slowly drain the glass. After a deep breath I was ready to continue.
TMS: “Have you already met the next Mrs. Roman Nicolis?”
A wry smile flashed across his face, but his eyes were forlorn.
RN: “I have time for a final question, Ms. Stephens.”
TMS: “What is your biggest regret, Mr. Nicolis?”
RN: “This interview.”
TMS: “Come on. Give me one.”
RN: “… I have many regrets. None I care to share with your rapacious readers.”
TMS: “Why did you agree?”
RN: “Lack of good judgment.” (He stood) “Your time is up Ms. Stephens.”
TMS: “One last question. If there was one thing you could change, what would it be?”
RN: (He pauses. For a brief moment his gaze becomes distant, almost wistful. Then his features became guarded) “I’d change nothing. I would live my life as I have, on my own terms with no regrets.” (He leaves)