Note from Chelsea/VBC: I adore Karina Cooper’s novels. Her Dark Mission series offers excellent world building with a huge wallop of sexy. I strongly suggest starting with the first book in the series Blood of the Wicked (VBC review), and continuing from there. Today Karina agreed to stop by and talk about the volatile nature of the couple in Sacrifice the Wicked (Dark Mission #4): Parker and Simon. The book releases today, and you should buy it.
The Persuaders once sang that it was a thin line between love and hate. Someone else told me that enemies were so emotionally invested in each other that it was just as powerful as love; that people could throw everything they have at it, set aside everything they are, just to keep that emotional connection with an enemy.
Relationships built on love and hatred, rivalry and adoration, are pure emotion. The facts surrounding may change—she smiled at him on the bus, he took her promotion, she burned his favorite jacket, he lied, she cried, they laughed together all night long—but the root always comes down to the heart, the furnace that keeps it burning. Emotion.
Mission Director Parker Adams is a woman whose passions run hot, and whose perfect façade crystallizes to ice. She values control, most specifically over herself, and she’s well aware of what’s at stake when she sends a missionary out on an operation. She despises politics, typically because they fly in the face of common sense, and she refuses to give her agents any reason to doubt her.
Missionary Simon Wells is a man with secrets sharp enough to cut; a witch on one hand, a missionary on the other, and a double-agent who’s playing so many sides, it’s a wonder his whole world doesn’t get wrapped up in a twisted tangle of lies and deceit. Ever since the moment he met his new Mission boss, he’d gone out of his way to poke, prod, and dig at that icy façade. Control is all well and good, but who, really, ever has it?
They are oil and water, fire and ice. Simon’s masculinity isn’t the issue—Parker is always surrounded by the hard, combat-honed bodies of her trained agents—but how he wields it is. Like a weapon, a precise chisel chipping away at her façade, he teases, goads and outright provokes her ire as he lies blatantly to her face, chooses what orders to obey and which to discard, and laughs—laughs!—at her attempts to rein him in.
Simon is everything she hates in an agent—to say nothing of his certifiable double status. Opposites in every way. She’s a woman who values authority; he doesn’t bother. She counts on her control; he takes it away. He holds secrets close to his chest; she’s sworn to find and reveal them. He’s a witch; she’s an executioner. Natural enemies, is it any wonder that so many conflicting emotions simmer so close to the surface when they’re in the same room?
But isn’t hate just a thin line away from love? Isn’t even one emotion the first drop in a flood?
Isn’t anger and frustration just an emotional tie? One that could, if plucked at the right time and with the right words, open a whole other door to more emotions, to endorphins and adrenaline; to all those fabulous chemical responses that don’t care the how so much as that they find release in whatever way they can.
And oh, isn’t that extremely passionate edge found in anger just another spice in the palate of sexual hunger?
Simon and Parker are enemies, both in public and private. They skate on a flood of emotional responses that are as much trained into both as they are instinctual, and each conflicts with the other. But raw attraction—that visceral, guts-twisting, heart-pounding sexual appeal that can spark so hot and so brightly between two extremely strong personalities—can skew that emotional slide so far in any direction.
Is it the kind of foundation that can turn into love?
I’m a Virgo/Libra cusp baby married to a full-on Aries. I know something about conflict and strong emotions. I know about passions that can veer crazily off course. When the mancandy and I get into some of our more spectacular arguments, I find myself torn between strangling the life out of him and loving his spirit and strength fiercely. (SO far, the homicidal urge hasn’t won out.)
I don’t envy the road for these two, but I sure hope they stick it out. If they can find love burning at the root of all this strong feeling, they’ll find something worth more than anything else in this world.
What do you think? Do you believe that two extremely strong personalities can strike a balance? Or are they forever doomed to succumb to the negative spread of conflict, frustration, and anger?
After writing happily ever afters for all of her friends in school, Karina Cooper eventually grew up (sort of), went to work in the real world (kind of), where she decided that making stuff up was way more fun (true!). She writes dark and sexy paranormal romance, steampunk urban fantasy, and writes across multiple genres with mad glee. One part glamour, one part dork and all imagination, Karina is also a gamer, an airship captain’s wife, and a steampunk fashionista. She lives in the beautiful Pacific Northwest with a husband, a menagerie, a severe coffee habit, and a passel of adopted gamer geeks. Visit her at www.karinacooper.com, because she says so.