Cupid’s Playground Hop

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I need a hero!

Does anyone remember that Rock n Roll song by Bonnie Tyler from the eighties? I only remember belting out the chorus—badly— at the top of my lungs. The rest of the lyrics had no meaning because I had already decided what my hero would look like.

He’d be tall, handsome, and rich, all the prerequisites of a romance hero. Twenty plus years and hundreds of romance novels later, I’m rethinking my definition of hero.


We always tell our daughters, and ourselves, that looks aren’t everything. It’s what’s in the person’s heart and how he treats you. Yet, the lure of the hard-bodied, bad attitude, bad boy populates romantic literature and our real lives.

Be honest, ho

w many times have you fallen for the bad boy, until heartache and wisdom showed the error of your ways. I, too, am a culprit and victim of this particular affliction.

Nearly every romance writer wants her hero oiled up with a six-pack. But why aren’t there any smart, geeky types on the most wanted list?  Cupid’s Arrow shouldn’t discriminate. As a writer, I’ve pondered this. Not that I’ve considered having one as my main hero, but why haven’t I considered one? Is it taboo? Are you less likely to fall for him if, instead of muscles and height, he had a deck of cards and a rash? That may not be a good analogy, but you get my drift.

In real life, it’s not the classic portrait of a hero that saves the world. In real life, Superman is the doctor that saves your child’s life. Batman is the detective that solves a thirty year old mystery. And Wonder Woman is every working mother.

Let’s face it, where would the world be without Gates, Jobs, Spielberg, Edison, and Einstein. All are or were giants in their chosen fields. All have made significant contribution to humanity. All were nerds.

In this present day, as America grows fatter, and more slovenly, the studly example of male virility will be harder to find in everyday life. Should romance novel reflect real life? My answer is no. Romance novels are the best form of escapism. It’s legal voyeurism into another world, another life, another time.

But I can’t help casting a secret ballot for the nerd. Maybe, I’ll write one where the hero isn’t Jason Bourne, Jack Reacher, or James Bond. But Jeffrey, the slightly overweight, grubby t-shirt, converse sneaker wearing, techie who just happens to save the world and get the girl without closing his laptop.

Coming to an e-book soon.


Now meet the hero of my debut novel Eternity.



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?”

RN: “Brunette.”

TMS: “Miss Maylor is blonde while Miss Walker is brunette. Interesting. Petite or statuesque?

RN: “Both.”

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)

As I gather my notes and my thoughts, I reflect on what I have learned about the enigmatic Roman Nicolis. Some questions were answers, but much more was left a mystery.

Maybe his brother, Reign has the answers I need.


If you want to discover more about Roman, check out Eternity, Available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

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