Hi, I'm Sarah Raplee, author of Paranormal and Steampunk Romance.
I’ve written two romance novels (one published) and a number of romantic short stories. Our suggested theme for Februaruy 2017 is “My most romantic…” We get to finish the sentence.
I decided to write about my most romantic character, out of the dozens of characters I’ve written in my stories. It was a hard decision to make. But after sorting through the crowd, I have to admit that one character is a hopeless romantic.
Her name is Melisenda Sepulveda. She’s the heroine of my debut book, BLINDSIGHT (Psychic Agents Book 1), available at all major e-book stores. The print book will be available the end of March.
In case you are wondering about her looks on the cover, Meli's father was a Chilean immigrant with a red-haired Spanish grandmother. He married a red-headed Idaho cowgirl. The result was red-haired, green-eyed Meli.
Here is the setup for this excerpt, which shows what a romantic Meli is:
Melisenda, or Meli for short, is a spirited blind wedding singer who longs for a family. All she has left is her elderly Guide Dog, Freddy. Meli has a wild psychic Talent that prevents her from being able to touch people skin-to-skin and makes every man she kisses pass out…but she doesn’t give up. And when she kisses undercover psychic FBI agent Hector, he is stunned for a bit, but he doesn’t pass out.
|Courtesy of the FBI|
Suffice it to say they end up on the run from the drug lord’s minions and begin to fall in love. But when they stumble onto a Cartel concentration camp for psychics hidden in the wilderness, Meli soon learns from one of the children that a Foreseer has seen her death coming the next day. Then they discover the family Hector believes died years ago is alive inside the camp.
The prisoners’ leader, Nate, broke the news to them in a private meeting in the building where they are hiding from the guards. He brought coffee. Hector and Meli are still processing the shocking revelation.
Meli’s throat ached. She hadn’t known how Hector took his coffee. Lori must have told Nate. After all, the woman had lived with Hector, had been engaged to him, had given birth to his baby. Whereas Meli had only known him for two days.
She’s Thanksgiving Dinner and I’m trail mix.
Not that it mattered. Lori and R.D. were Hector’s family. No way was Meli a home-wrecker. She couldn’t stand between a child and his father. Not after losing her own parents.
A spoon clinked on stoneware. Nate stirring her coffee? “Hand this to Meli, please,” he said.
Hector guided her fingers to the handle of a mug as if he’d done it a thousand times before. She blinked back more tears. He watched out for her, stood by her, accepted and respected her. How could she give him up?
Heat seeped through the ceramic mug into her hands. I am strong. She took a sip of the hot, creamy liquid. If I have to, I can do anything.
She loved Hector, heart and soul. But she and Freddy were doing just fine before the drug lord’s wedding. Before Hector. Well, maybe not exactly fine, but they managed. She could give Hector up, if that’s what she had to do to make him happy.
Remembering the four achingly lonely years since her uncle’s death, she discovered a lump the size of Mount Saint Helens lodged in her throat. During the last couple of days, terrible as they’d been in so many ways, Hector had filled a gaping hole in her heart. They’d become friends. Partners. Lovers.
Nate’s gravelly rumble broke the silence. Meli forced herself to drink her coffee and focus on his words.
“First, you need to understand that one of us, Zinnia Washington, is a foreseer. She gets glimpses of the most likely future. Our lives are not entirely predestined, you understand. We have free will. Think of life as a river flowing within high banks. Diverting or even blocking the flow is possible, but those things take a lot of energy and effort to accomplish. A group of people working together over months or even years might change the river’s course.”
A floorboard creaked beside her. “What does this have to do with us?” Hector said.
“When Zinnia and her father arrived a few months after me, she foresaw our most likely future. There would be no escape for us. For nearly six years we’ve worked to alter that future. We’ve accomplished a hundred little changes in preparation for an escape attempt, altered our plans over and over in hopes our efforts would add up to a big change in our future. After a couple of years, Hector showed up in one of Zinnia’s visions, but still no one escaped. Other than Hector’s appearance, only the details of our future changed. Despite all our efforts, the end result was always the same. We failed. We died. Hector died.”
Meli turned cold. She couldn’t let Hector die. Somehow, she had to protect him.
Nate continued. “The night of Mendoza’s wedding, something finally shifted. That night, Zinnia got a flash, a brief glimpse, of Lori and R.D. and Hector somewhere in the future. From Zinnia’s description of the room and the older Hispanic woman who held R.D. on her lap, Lori recognized Hector’s mother. R.D. blew out four candles on a birthday cake. He turns four in a few months. The three of them will make it out alive.”
Meli’s heart lightened. At least Hector and his son would escape—and Lori.
Hector’s warm, familiar hand enfolded hers. “What about Meli? The rest?”
“I’m sorry. We don’t know. Zinnia believes the fact that the glimpse of the future she got was so brief indicates things are still in flux. She’s seen nothing specific to indicate the rest don’t make it. If we work together, I believe all of us will escape.”
Hector was no doubt sure he could dowse a way out for them. But Meli knew the truth. Nate didn’t believe the rest of them would survive. Little Jake had told her so right after they’d arrived at the camp.
An unexpected calm settled over her like a warm, heavy blanket. She and Freddy were the key, the new elements in the equation. She had to figure out what they must do to save Hector and his family. This was her destiny. Protecting them would give her life—and her death—meaning.
Nate cleared his throat. “Will and Zinnia monitored Mendoza’s wedding and reception as part of the security detail. Will is Zinnia’s father, and a farseer. Their job was to watch for an attack from outside the camp. When Zinnia secretly told her father the probable future had shifted, he immediately scanned Mendoza’s compound and the surrounding forest. He spotted you in the gazebo, kissing Meli. He’s followed you as much as possible ever since.”
Meli’s lips curved into a small smile. Their kiss had changed the probable future.
I hope you enjoyed meeting my hopelessly romantic, heroic wedding singer. Are hopeless romantics naïve? Crazy? Or are they onto something worth dying for? ~~Sarah Raplee