Let Talk with Terry Odell

Character Interview: Meet Ryan Harper.

by Terry Odell

When Danger Calls by Terry OdellLast time, I shared my interview with Frankie Castor, who was auditioning for a role in When Danger Calls. I figured it was only fair to show you the interview with Ryan Harper who was looking for work as an action-adventure romance hero.

As soon as he opens the door to my office, I’m sure there’s been a mistake.

“I’m Ryan Harper, ma’am,” he says.

I check the list my secretary gave me first thing this morning. No mistake. Number five just left, and number six is definitely Ryan Harper. I give him my, Thanks for coming smile. The one that I normally flash as they leave, not when they enter. But to be fair, I should hear him out.

I motion him inside. “Come in. Have a seat.”

He’s certainly tall enough, over six feet, but as he crosses to the client chair at my desk, he’s favoring one leg. Still, there’s nothing hesitant about the way he walks. Strides, actually, limp and all. Interesting. He’s got a scruffy full beard, and his hair hangs in unruly brown tendrils over the collar of a neatly-pressed blue oxford cloth shirt. His jeans, also neatly-pressed, bunch at the waist under his belt, which clearly has been tightened a notch. He grasps the arms of the chair and eases himself into it. I see his jaw clench.

I try to keep my expression neutral, my voice pleasant, but I know he’s aware I’ve noticed the pain he’s tried to hide. “Mr. Harper, you’re aware this position is for an action-adventure romance hero, right?”

“Yes, ma’am.” He stretches his legs in front of him. There’s a faint pallor under his tan. His gaze meets mine, and my heart does a quick flip. The weight of the world sits behind those whiskey-colored eyes. thoughts of finishing ahead of schedule and an early lunch vanish. I fumble for a pen.

“What made you apply for the job, Mr. Harper?”

“Please, call me Ryan.”

“Ryan.” I’m tempted to return the first-name invitation, but I normally reserve that for my characters after I hire them. “I have to be honest. You’re not exactly what readers expect when they meet the hero in one of my books.

His eyes never leave mine. He runs his hand across his beard. “I’m just back from an assignment. Things didn’t go so well, and frankly, my boss insisted I take time off. Lying around the beach didn’t appeal, and there were some … issues. I resigned. I saw your ad. I’ve had a lot of experience in the action-adventure realm.” He rubbed his knee. “That’s how I got injured.”

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