For weeks we’ve been bombarded with the various issues surrounding the events which occurred over the past few months in Ferguson, Missouri. As I write this story on December 1, 2014, there is a story of a father of six pushing his way through the protesters to get to one of his three jobs so he doesn’t get fired.
What does this have to do with writing romance novels you might ask?
In WHAT A RICH WOMAN WANTS (Samhain Publishing, May 2015) the hero is a mixed race former gang member turned sheriff’s deputy who is starting a program in his community to help young men like he was. He had little family structure and not the best start in life economically or educationally. Where are young men in his situation supposed to turn? In Niko’s case he follows his childhood friend into a loosely formed street gang and only escapes when he’s forced to make a choice between his friend and his son. (Niko first appears in A FOREVER KIND OF GUY, Samhain 2012)
I watch the continuing coverage about racial issues and Ferguson in particular and I wonder what it is we can do? Mostly, it seems, what we do is say to ourselves, “Oh, that’s too bad, but it’s not my problem.”
What I love about Niko is that from his perspective what kids need is guidance and support. Somewhere to go (if there’s no one at home for them) that isn’t the street. A safe place where they can get help with homework, a snack, friendship, counseling, mentoring. A place to play sports where the focus is learning to get along with others and working as a team not necessarily winning. Niko wants to give these kids the tools they need to be successful in life. He wants to keep them alive, off the streets, and out of prison.
Niko’s a bit idealistic but he believes in what he’s doing and he’s passionate about it. He sees a situation he thinks he can change and he does something. It isn’t easy. He’s forced out of his comfort zone and takes risks to accomplish his goal.
I wish there more heroes out there like Niko. Guys who really understand what it takes to turn your life around and who are willing to give back to the communities and help people who are where they once were. If more of them stood up maybe the rest of us would be there to stand behind them.
WHAT A RICH WOMAN WANTS
He knows she’s out of his reach. Until she reaches out to him.
Braddock Brotherhood, Book 4
Right about the time Lesley Robinson’s father’s stroke left her in charge of his Fortune 500 company, she adopted her housekeeper’s sick baby and divorced her philandering husband.
She’s survived the past six years by building an impenetrable wall around her emotions. But when a hunk of a sheriff’s deputy turns up at her office to apply for a grant from the company’s foundation, her distrust of men and relationships takes a direct hit.
Niko Morales clawed his way out of gang life to build a new one grounded in law enforcement and a passion to help disadvantaged youth. So, Lesley needs a companion for an upcoming social occasion? He’s no gigolo, but for his community center, and maybe for her, he’ll wear the monkey suit.
Without any apparent effort at all, Niko sneaks under Lesley’s cool façade, shaking up everything she believed about herself. But when their relationship is threatened by the sins of others, they’ll both have to step up—and out of their comfort zones. Or they’ll lose the one thing they want most: each other.