My character, Austan, has lived a hard life. Humor plays a big part in who he is, but it’s actually a survival skill that’s helped him get through hard times and a way to mask his vulnerability. Suvi loves him because of his carefree personality. I also love people like Austan who can throw out a joke or a witty barb almost as easily as a smile. His humor draws Suvi in and helps her forget her painful past. Here’s an excerpt to show Austan’s humor, even at tense moments:
The rock was freezing! Grateful for her big coat, Suvi sank against the stone and waited for Austan. She’d just texted him. A week had passed, and she still hadn’t confronted him about Ruben’s video, but she planned to tonight.
Rustling noises behind her made her turn.
Austan materialized out of the trees, starting right in with his joking. “Hey, baby.” He grabbed a lock of hair. “Your hair’s funny. What did you do? Comb it with a corn husk?”
She smirked. “Yeah, do you want to borrow it to comb the hair on your back?”
He laughed and sank down beside her. “Good one, babe. You’re getting better.”
For some reason, he loved these stupid games of shooting off rude remarks to see if she could come up with a witty comeback. With a mischievous grin, he tried again. “I saw a mannequin at the store today with skin as pasty as yours. Relative of yours?”
She rolled her eyes. “Don’t knock my pale skin. It’s not my fault your ancestors stole all the dirty grease for theirs.”
Both his thumbs pointed downward as he groaned. “Lame.”
“Shut up,” she snapped. “I’m not in the mood for your juvenile games.”
He chuckled and pulled her onto his lap. It’d been three days since they’d been together; Austan had been working for his uncle—at least that’s what he’d told her. Now she wondered.
His hands rubbed her arms through her coat as he rested his chin on her shoulder. “I like your pasty skin,” he murmured against her cheek.
She wasn’t fair like most redheads; she’d inherited her father’s olive skin, which gave her an exotic look. Still, next to him, she appeared so; his Hispanic-mixed blood had given him the dark skin, hair and eyes she adored.
“You’re awfully quiet,” he said. “What’s up?”
“Nothing.” She chewed her lip, pondering how to broach the subject of the video. His hand stroked her and she closed her eyes, loving how he made her feel. She didn’t want to think about the stupid video. “Why don’t you kiss me anymore?”
He grinned as she faced him. “You want me to kiss you?”
When she nodded, Austan raised an eyebrow before leaning down to rest his lips on hers. His cinnamon breath teased her senses as his skilled mouth took control. She shivered in delight, but then flinched as he tickled her side. She burst out laughing and pushed him away.
“Honestly, Austan! You’re about as romantic as a Saint Bernard.”
“I’m more handsome though,” he snickered.
Her lips reluctantly softened into a smile. It was hard to get mad at him when he looked at her like that. “A little, maybe.”
“Come here, babe,” he said, opening his arms. “I promise not to drool on you too much. Woof!”
She giggled and gave him her hand.
“You know I love you.” He pecked her cheek.
Suvi fingered his shaggy hair and thought how stupid she’d been to believe anything Ruben said. Austan didn’t have any dirty secrets; he was an open book. That’s why she loved him so much.
Only 17 more days until the release of Hands of Mercy. I’m super excited! Hope you are too.