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Monday, November 5, 2012

Villians


To me nothing beats a good villain in a book or a movie. A villain doesn't necessarily have to be a person. It can be the weather, like in the movie The Day After Tomorrow or a group of people or humans as in Avatar.

I love writing villains probably just as much as writing about the hero or heroine. I also love learning what makes them tic and what motivates them to do what they do. I think if you have a great villain it really can make a good movie or book great.

I really enjoyed writing about Malcolm, the villain in my paranormal, sci-fi romance, Shrouded in Darkness. I tried to make him as three dimensional as possible. He’s self-centered, has great taste in clothing, somewhat of a metro-sexual, has a bit of a God complex, and surprisingly loves the heroine Margot in his sick, twisted way. Secretly he’s very jealous of Jake and doesn't understand why ethics make Jake do the things he does. Below is an excerpt of when Malcolm and Margot first meet after having not seen each other for a number of years.

Malcolm’s casual shrug made her forget caution, forget anything but the anger. She waved her frozen dinner at him. “I want you off my property. Now.”

He caught her wrist. “Or what?” He pulled her toward him until he peered down at her and his breath, moist and hot, brushed her temple. He arched a brow. “You’ll beat me? Or better yet—spank me? Sounds kind of kinky, but I’d like that. You still have a tight little body—at least from what I’ve seen of it. I could go for a little T. and A. right now.”

She jerked her wrist from his grasp. “You make me sick!”

“I never used to.” He reached out to touch her cheek, but she stepped aside. “There was a time when you liked it.” His voice turned husky. “Seriously, Margot. It was good there for a while between us. You have to admit that.”

He was being serious. She saw it in his eyes and was stunned, so stunned that she couldn’t form a coherent response.

“Remember when we’d go to Jackson’s after dinner.” His face softened. “Damn, but you knew how to dance. The way you moved that body of yours.”

She finally found her voice. “Sex. You’re talking about sex. For a brief second, I thought you might have changed, might have actually had some feelings for what we once had.”

He looked insulted. “Of course I did! Why do you think I married you!” Anger darkened his face. “And we’d still be together if it wasn’t for you. You and your damned divorce!”

“My divorce? You’re the reason for the divorce. Any sane person couldn’t live with someone like you. Your temper is frightening. You lose control all the time and—”

“Are you calling yourself sane now?” His lip curled at the corner. “My. I don’t think that would be the correct term to use...not with your past record-—”

“Don’t!” He’d hit way below the belt on that one. Her voice turned sharp with anger. “I’ve had enough of you and your snide innuendoes. You always have to push me, back me into a corner every single time until I can’t do anything but hit back. I think in some sick way you enjoy doing it. I don’t know why, and I don’t want to know why. But I do want you to leave. I don’t want you here—now or anytime in the future. Got that?”

A red flush stained his cheeks. “Oh, I hear you. Loud and clear. You can yell all you want, and I’ll be the only one able to hear you. It’s just you and me up here. All alone. All by ourselves. Got that?” He stepped toward her.

She didn’t move back. They were only threats. She wasn’t about to show him they bothered her as she walked past him, brushing a shoulder against his arm on the way to the front door. And anyway, she could threaten just as well as Malcolm. “I’m leaving, and if you’re not gone by the time I get to the phone, I’ll call Carl.”

“Carl? You can’t be serious. The guy’s a joke. I’ve had the bad luck to meet him twice, but hell, that’ll do me for a lifetime. He’s got the brain the size of a pea. The only thing not funny about him is the way he blabs and snoops into everyone’s business. If he doesn’t watch it, someone’s going to make sure he shuts his trap for good.”

“You might not take him seriously, but what about another restraining order? Will you take that seriously?” Stopping at the front door, she looked over her shoulder and watched his expression change, the slight tensing of his jaw, the angry glitter in the back of his eyes. She’d hit home. “I’ll do it again if I have to.”

“Don’t push me, Margot.”
Fear shot into her veins. That low, deadly tone of voice was far too familiar. If she let herself remember... No. She wouldn’t let herself think back. She hitched her chin up a notch and stared back, hoping like hell she looked self-assured. “Then don’t push me, Malcolm. I won’t be pushed. Not anymore. You’d be smart to remember that.”

She hugged the groceries against her chest and fumbled with the key to unlock the front door. Her hands were stiff, dangerously close to being frostbitten, which right now was almost a blessing. The cold masked the pain from the slivers of wine bottle embedded in her palms. She didn’t want to think how they would feel when warmed.

Sighing with resignation, she gripped the brass doorknob. Suddenly, Malcolm lunged, shoving her away from the door and barring her path into the house.

“Is that a threat?” he asked harshly by her ear, his palm pressed flat against the doorframe.

Margot froze. He was so close that she smelled peppermint on his breath. “It’s more than a threat, Malcolm.” She stood her ground, not about to back away with fear. She wouldn’t give him that satisfaction. Clenching her jaw hard, she glared at his chest and said through gritted teeth, “It’s a promise. I swear if you step into my house one more time without being invited, I’ll call the police and happily press charges. If Carl doesn’t charge you with breaking and entering, I’ll be damned sure I find something else he can arrest you for. Assault and battery is a good one for starters. I bet you’d like that. And what about stalking? I think Arizona has a law against—”

Malcolm grabbed her upper arm. His hand on her made her react without thinking, and she swung the carton of milk. It landed against his cheek. The thin cardboard cracked open, spraying milk everywhere. Chips of broken glass frozen to the carton caught on his cheek, scraping his smoothly tanned flesh and drawing blood.

Margot broke free and dragged frigid air into her lungs as icy milk trickled from her face, down her neck to seep into her sweater and jacket.  For several, long heartbeats they stood without moving, breathing heavily, staring.  A muscle ticked along the edge of his jaw while milk coated one side of his face and dripped from his ear lobe. Then Malcolm growled and lurched for her with both hands.

She stumbled back onto slick ice. This time, she couldn’t regain her footing, couldn’t do anything but helplessly clutch at air.

Her skull hit the side of the railing as she went down. White pinpricks flashed across her vision as the world blurred around her. Then she was falling into blackness.

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