When you're plotting a novel, one of the things you have to establish early on is the profession of the main character. Sometimes, the plot springs organically from the hero or heroine's job, while other times what they do for a living may be a requirement of a submissions call. For instance, I wrote a story for a ménage anthology about billionaires. I knew I had to write about someone who was immensely rich; I just had to decide how he'd made his money. It would have been too easy to have him inherit his wealth, and I didn't want him to be one of those implausibly young plutocrats who've made their money in something nebulous that's referred to 'tech'. In the end, I made him someone who'd launched a record label while he was still at university, basing him on a fellow student in my old hall of residence who'd done exactly that, and throwing in a dash of Richard Branson for good measure.

Elizabeth Coldwell

Elizabeth Coldwell

With Pride Under Fire, the fifth book in my Lionhearts series about romances between lion shifters and their human mates, the title came first and the characters followed. It was obvious that I'd be writing about a firefighter, and I was quite surprised to realise this was the first time I'd settled on that profession for my hero. To be honest, on a subconscious level I was possibly fighting shy of using it. After all, the hot firefighter has appeared in so many romances (and semi-clad calendars) he's almost become a cliché. To some extent it's understandable - who doesn't get an erotic frisson at the thought of a man who's brave enough to risk his life every time he goes out on a big call, or has the strength to sweep you up and carry you out of a burning building in a fireman's lift?

But Connor Wabsik isn't a squeaky-clean hero at the beginning of the novel. Far from it. A simmering resentment between himself and his watch captain has built to the level where Connor has punched the man in the face during an argument. His career choices are stark - be thrown out of the fire service, or relocate from his comfortable, laidback life in Santa Monica to Riesgo, a small town up in the mountains. What he doesn't realise is that moving to Riesgo will bring him into contact with his destined mate, police detective Andy McGuire, and force him to confront threats he could never have imagined.

Taking Connor out of his comfort zone, and requiring him to join forces with Andy on both a personal and professional level as they hunt a serial arsonist, proved great fun to write. I know now more about how to set a fire while avoiding detection than is probably good for me, and I've learned a lot about the lifestyle of the average American firefighter, from the shift patterns they work to the fundraising they do in their local communities. And though they may not all be square-jawed hunks, they do a job that's often dangerous and worthy of respect. I hope you enjoy reading about Connor and Andy as much as I enjoyed creating them.

About Elizabeth Coldwell:

Elizabeth Coldwell is the author of numerous short stories and two full-length novels, 'Calendar Girl' and 'Playing The Field'. Her stories have appeared in the best-selling 'Best Women's Erotica' series and Black Lace's popular 'Wicked Words' collections. Formerly the editor of the UK edition of Forum magazine, she now contributes a spicy monthly column, 'The Cougar Chronicles', to its pages. When she is not busy writing, she is an avid supporter of Rotherham United Football Club and can be regularly found on the terraces at weekends, cheering her boys to victory (hopefully!)

Pride Under Fire blurb:

Will their passion burn out of control?

Connor Wabsik's career as a firefighter is on the line after he punched out his commanding officer. Redemption is possible in the form of a move to a sleepy California mountain town, but it will mean leaving his old life behind. What he doesn't know is that his destiny waits for him in Riesgo. Fate has paired him with a human mate, Andy McGuire-a man with secrets of his own. Connor is fighting to protect the town from a dangerous firestarter. When Andy's life is threatened, will Connor be able to keep him safe, too?

Detective Andy McGuire is unlucky in love, but when he meets Connor, the handsome new recruit to the Riesgo Fire Service, things start looking up. How can he stop a serial arsonist from destroying everything he holds dear? And as passion threatens to burn out of control between him and Connor, what will happen when Andy learns that the man he loves might not be what he seems?

Buy Links:

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