So many books out today have strong women in them. Warriors in urban fantasy, the sword wielding, princess-in-disguise in YA, and hardened law enforcement in thrillers and procedurals, the kickass heroine is everywhere. Which is great as long as what it means to be ‘strong’ is well represented.
Don’t get me wrong, I adore the characters who can throw down better than everyone around them. Give me Eve Dallas from J. D. Robb’s In Death series, the Kate Daniels series from Ilona Andrews, or the Crows from Shelly Laurenston’s Call of Crows series and I’m a happy woman.
But I believe that there are myriad versions of strength and they should all be celebrated so that we can show the generations following us that who they are and how they live their strength is valid and true and treasured.
In my Zodiac Assassins series (if you’ve read any of my posts to date you had to know this was where I was going, lol), I have a slew of strong women currently on the page and many more planned. Some are brutal fighters, others fight only for their loved ones and friends, others are strong in quiet ways but just as devastatingly effective as their more physically aggressive sisters. They all have a place and I celebrate them as I celebrate the women in my life and all around me.
Before I go, here are some examples:
Lyon’s Roar – this is an exchange between Lyon aka Beast of the InBetween, and his personal healer:
Lyon fidgeted while his old healer barked orders at the guard coating his wounds with an unguent that reeked of the anal-gland discharge of a striped polecat. She swore the foul goop worked miracles on bruising and open wounds, but who cared about miracles if it meant no female would spread her legs for him? Not that he’d plowed anyone in years.
“You still won’t let me tend to your wounds?” She flung out a hand at the guard. “I would have been done by now.”
Lyon scowled. “I have enough blood on my hands, I’ll not add yours to the list.”
“By the goddess, my touch isn’t going to make you lose control.”
Lyon raised his hand to stop her. “Enough. Let it rest, hag.” He rolled his shoulders and cracked his neck.
She lowered her voice. “I heard about the pit match.”
Lyon remained silent and tuned out her chatter. Why he put up with the hag was a mystery. Maybe because she wasn’t afraid of him, despite his nasty temper and sullen silences. That was gutsy, impressive even, but more impressive was her penchant for InBetween gossip. The first few years after losing his mother and his freedom, Lyon had said nothing to the woman, so lost in his grief and shame and anger he could barely breathe, much less get words out. But the woman’s incessant magpie chatter about the goings-on outside his cell finally broke through his pain. They’d had one conversation; now he couldn’t get her to shut up.
Lyon’s Roar– Lyon and his estranged, very angry sister, Leona:
After winding up and up from the deepest bowels of the dungeon, they reached a set of steps. Lyon stopped. Carved out of stone centuries earlier, the risers dipped in the middle from the wear of boots and bare feet, cloven hoof and paw. The day he’d first descended the steps, his world had changed from purpose and luxury and love to a dark, barren cell punctuated only by an occasional death match that kept him from perishing of boredom.
A sharp sting between his shoulder blades jolted him back to the present; Leona had poked him with the tip of her dagger.
She removed the blade and passed him. “Move it,” she said over her shoulder. The group climbed the stairs and entered a hall. Leona picked up the pace until she was several feet ahead of Lyon.
“You’ve turned into a royal bitch, little sister.”
Leona stopped, and bowed her head. She whirled, one arm raised, her palm facing him. Her fingers curled inward and blanched as if wrapping around something more substantial than air.
Despite the distance separating them, he could feel her squeezing his throat tighter and tighter, until no air passed. He clawed at her fingers, gouging deep tracks in his flesh to gain purchase but there was nothing to grab, only five depressions in his skin. His heart raced, his ears buzzed. The hall faded to black in his narrowing vision until all he saw was her savage expression. He fell to his knees.
Leona’s hand followed him down. Her amber eyes shifted to a glittering gold, her face turned blue. She finally dropped her hand, breaking the attack, and collapsed to the ground.
Lyon keeled back, both hands around his neck. He sucked in air, then coughed until he dry heaved. The Creepers grabbed his arms and forced him to his feet.
One reached for Leona, but she slapped him away. Bright red lines appeared on her neck, as if her assault had ricocheted.
“What the hell, Leona?”
Lyon’s Roar – Lyon with Persephone, one of three women he has to bring out of the human world and into the InBetween in order to earn his freedom:
“How are we going to save Abella andTaryn?”
“We’re not. I’m going to get you as far away from here as I can in the next hour.”
“What will he do to them?”she asked, her voice high and tight.
“The same thing he’ll do to you if I hand you over.”
“He’ll hurt them?”
Lyon brushed past her and bundled up the remaining sheet strips. He stuffed them in his coat for later. “What does that mean?”
Persephone crossed her arms. “I’m not going with you. I’m going to help my friends.”
Lyon grabbed her arm. “You will go where I tell you.”
Her faced paled, but she lifted her chin. “No.”
Lyon leaned close, bared his teeth, and growled.
She cowered from him, her body trembling. “No.”
He crushed her against his chest and pushed her chin up so she could see his face. “I’ll just throw you in the trunk and drive away.”
He released her arm and backed her into the closest wall, pressing the length of his body against hers. Her pupils dilated until the black pushed out the purple. Her nostrils flared, her mouth opened. Lyon breathed deep and nearly smiled when the bitter scent of her fear shifted to the musk of her sex weeping with lust.
I have her.
She shook her head. “You can’t keep me in the trunk forever. You’ll have to let me out to eat and go to the bathroom, unless you want a horrid mess. Plus, my car is so old I’ll probably die from carbon monoxide poisoning.”
Son of a bitch, I lost her.
“You’re a fool. Your compassion is a weakness that will get us all killed.”
“Then go—or stay here, I don’t care. I’m going after my friends.”
He shoved off the wall and roared his frustration. He ripped the locked door off its hinges and walked outside, where he paced back and forth in the yard. “Damned insufferable woman.”
The screech of the screen door’s rusty hinges alerted him to Persephone’s presence. He turned. She crossed the yard and stopped just outside his reach, her purple eyes glowing like they were lit from within. The moon bathed part of her face in cool silver that matched her hair, while shadows enveloped the rest of her in fierce black.
His heart slowed. The anger in him cooled. The wind stopped and Lyon struggled to breathe. The world fell away, leaving only her. He wanted to freeze this moment so he could figure out why it felt so important. The answers were right in front of him, but…
Persephone squared her shoulders like the bravest warrior, yet her hands trembled like the fallen facing death. “I know what to do.”
Lyon shook his head. The why didn’t matter. Confronting the Zodiacs alone would be a disaster that would cost him Persephone and his freedom. “So your plan is to walk into the middle of a house filled with the most highly trained killers in any world, get your friends, then waltz out? Do you have a death wish? Or are you just that foolish?”
He sighed, his mind made up. If he could get Persephone to the InBetween in the next few hours, he could turn around and try to run down the other two women. “No, we’re running.”
Lyon turned away, but stopped when she placed her hand on his arm. Her casual touch made him shudder.
“My friends that you dismiss so easily? They’re my family. They mean everything to me.”
He whirled on her. “Family?” He leaned into her, his body trembling, his flash-fire rage all-consuming. “These people called family, they sidle up and say ‘I love you’ over and over until you believe it,until you relax and trust that they’ll be there when you need them most.”
Persephone backed up but Lyon followed her, pressing into her space. He wagged his finger. “But that’s when they have you. That’s when they rip your heart out and stomp on it. Family.” He stopped advancing and dropped his hand. “You better run as fast as you can away from them, before you learn this truth the hard way.”
Persephone shivered. She wrapped her arms over her chest, as if that would protect her. “Don’t you have anyone you would lay down your life for?”
Do you have strong women in your life, in your writing? Do have any favorite authors with strong women in their books? Comment so we can dish!
May your words flow freely,
The Zodiac Assassins series
Available on Kindle and Print, Nook and Kobo
Lyon’s Roar – https://amzn.to/2IB
Leona’s Descent – https://amzn.to/2yaDfjW
Libra’s Limbo – https://amzn.to/2q3VkNg
Leona’s Cage – https://amzn.to/2QTbVyp
Gemini Asunder Book 3 coming Fall 2019