You know the saying a picture’s worth a thousand words? While I write a story, or sometimes long before I start writing it, I collect articles and pictures that inspire me to an Office program called One Note. For the Hauberk series, I tend to save stories about law enforcement techniques, or hostage incidents so I can refer to them later, either for technical data or ideas of how conflicts were resolved or just for inspiration. I also save pictures that speak to me. Or occasionally take them — I recently was in my local mall and had to stop and stare at a woman as she was exactly what I envisioned for one of the characters in the next in the Hauberk series, Hidden Heat.

Sometimes there is one that is so powerful, I’ll print it off and hang up around my monitor to inspire me while I’m writing. For Chad, I knew that he was a former FBI agent who would be a real straight arrow. Serious. Dedicated. He’d be proud too, and would be much more comfortable in a uniform or suit and tie than he would be in jeans and a T.

Muscular Male Torso

Now, I love mantitty with the best of them (and isn’t that a lovely picture? But Chad is different so for him I had pictures like this:

man aiming gun

And since he was also a family man at the start of the story, with a wife and baby daughter, this one was also taped up:

Couple in living room with baby smiling

Lauren had her pictures as well.  While I was writing the manuscript, I watched Ashley Judd in Double Jeopardy, as well as Amy Jo Johnson as Jules Callahan in one of my favorite television shows–Flashpoint. Lauren had characteristics from both their characters. The heartbreak and confusion Ashley’s character suffered that led to bloody-minded determination to regain her life and her name combined with Jules’ focus and ability to fit in with the guys on the Emergency Response Task force.  And since Lauren had been working out of country with a specialist group, this one definitely worked:

Military Woman With Gun

But now she’d retired and they were stuck in a safe house up in the Green Mountains…so this visual really jumped off the screen at me:

Junge Frau beim Joggen im Wald

A woman like Lauren, in her profession, would be required to stay fit. And running would also act as a form of stress relief. See the path? perfect for the setting they were in — not a path that is paved and even, something that would be uneven…Surrounded by these visuals, I sat down and wrote this:

Deliberate Deceptions

Copyright © 2011 Leah Braemel
All rights reserved — a Samhain Publishing, Ltd. publication

Once again he debated turning around and waiting for her to return to the house but decided against it. If it ended up with her screaming at him again, he’d rather do it where no one could hear. He found her pounding hell bent for leather down the path.

She glanced over her shoulder but kept running. “Leave me alone right now, Chad. I’m not very good company.”

His step hesitated as he almost did turn around. No, if someone was trying to discredit Hauberk through her, he owed it to Sam—and Troy—to find out just what the hell was going on.

“Lauren, slow down, damn it.”

She didn’t.

He sprinted, thinking he was fresher and could take advantage of her exhaustion. Considering she’d probably run close to five kilometers already, it still took a concerted effort to catch up. “You’re worn out and if you keep this up, you’re going to trip over a root and twist your ankle.” Not to mention he needed to talk to her face-to-face instead of to her ass, as nice a view as that was.

With a huff of exasperation, most likely more at herself than at him, Lauren slowed down and a few hundred yards up stopped entirely.

Breathing hard, she braced her hands on her knees. “Just leave me alone for a while. Please.”

“That’s not what you were begging me to do last night. Or have you forgotten how you got on your knees and sucked my dick?” Fuck.That was a stupid—

Before he could finish the thought, Lauren did a neat sweep with her foot he wasn’t expecting and he found himself flat on his back, the breath driven from him. He rolled to a stand and watched her disappear down the trail.

So she wanted to play it that way, did she? Game on.

They ran half the trail dodging and evading each other’s attacks. At some point, he couldn’t figure out when, his anger morphed to arousal. He found himself admiring that she’d run more than twice as far as he had yet showed no signs of tiring; he also found himself admiring the swing of her hips as she ran in front of him, the bounce of her breasts when they wrestled. Until they reached the steep hill and she stumbled over a protruding root as he’d predicted would happen. Launching himself at her, Chad trapped her by using his full weight on top of her.

She fought him for a moment, attempting to buck him off, then relaxed. Chuckling, she reached up and skimmed a finger down his jaw. “You still get turned on by the chase, don’t you?”

Considering the erection jabbing into her belly he could hardly deny it.

“Never could understand guys who liked submissive women.” He ground his cock against her mound then, with a sigh, sat back on his heels but stayed straddling her. “You realize my guys are probably watching on the monitors.”

“They even have cameras out here?”

He tipped his head toward the gazebo further down the path. “There are a couple mounted down there. They’re motion activated and we’re within range.”

“Shit.” She shoved him off and scrambled to her feet. “What did you want that you had to chase me for this far?”

He opened his mouth to say “I’m leaving” but the words wouldn’t come. The sensual side she’d shown him yesterday, the I want you. I’ve only ever wanted you hunger in her eyes had returned.

“Yesterday you said we needed to talk. I told you we’d talk this morning.” Talk? He wanted to bend her over the trunk of that fallen tree and fuck her from behind. He took a deep breath and centered himself. “I told you not to leave your room without me, or are you incapable of following orders?”

Yup, those visuals sure helped me write both the setting and the characters.

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