Call me crazy, but I love to write alpha males. There’s something a whole lot of fun about a guy who can walk into a room, not speak a word and still let everyone know he’s the big dog. As much as I love alphas, they are challenging. They can be stubborn and arrogant and bossy. Most of the time, the good ones listen to reason. The good ones also march into battle with no idea if they’ll come out and they don’t care. All they want is to fix whatever problem lies in front of them. For me, that strength is the lure of the alpha male.
When I began plotting my new Harlequin Intrigue, THE PROSECUTOR, I knew I wanted an alpha as the hero, but I wanted someone…well…different. This hero would be a prosecutor in his early thirties and wouldn’t have a military background. He wouldn’t know how to clean a gun or survive in a jungle for extended periods.
But he had to be strong.
Strong, but not overly-aggressive. He had to be ambitious, but not to the point where that ambition became a negative. In short, I wanted a guy who craved a courtroom battle and would find justice for victims, no matter what.
I set out to build an alpha male who wasn’t “chest-bumpy” and came up with Zac Hennings, a Cook County prosecutor who deals with some of the most violent crimes the city of Chicago has ever seen. Zac isn’t afraid to face a fight. For him, his brain is his not-so-secret weapon.
After brainstorming ideas for Zac, I started writing and enjoyed creating a tough character who had no problem using his intellect to conquer his opponent. Even if his opponent was his sister.
Want to see a little of Zac in action? Here’s a scene from THE PROSECUTOR:
Detective John Cutler marched into Zac’s office wearing a wrinkled blue sport coat and a scowl. The man didn’t like being summoned to an ASA’s office in the middle of the day. Zac didn’t care.
Not when one of Cutler’s investigations was about to be sliced and diced in court and Zac would be the one taking the hit.
He tossed a pen on his stacked desk and leaned back in his chair. “Have a seat, detective.”
Cutler stared down at the two chairs, curled his lip at the one with the stack of file folders and dropped his bloated body into the vacant one. He spent a few seconds shifting into what would have to pass as a comfortable position, then stretched his neck where loose skin spilled over his collar.
Zac waited. Why not? No sense giving the detective the ever-important mental edge. Nope. Zac would control the festivities.
Finally, Cutler held up his hands. “What do you need?”
Zac leaned over, scooped a box off the floor and set it on the desk. “The Sinclair case. These are the files. On a six-month investigation. Am I missing something?”
Cutler’s gaze tracked left then came back to Zac. “How do I know what your office did with the files?”
Not an answer. “Is this box everything? If you tell me yes, then I work with what I have. If you tell me no, we have missing evidence.”
Cutler folded his hands across his belly and tapped his index fingers. “I’d have to look through the box. See what’s there.”
“Sure.” Cutler got up to leave. “I’m not finished, detective.”
The man made a show of checking his watch, and Zac nearly laughed. He’d grown up in a household that produced three lawyers. He thrived on conflict.
Cutler reclaimed his seat.
“Couple of things,” Zac said. “What do you remember about a parking garage receipt given to you by Melody,” he checked his legal pad, “Clayton. She’s a friend of Brian Sinclair who claims he was with her around the time of the murder.”
Slowly, Cutler shook his head.
Patience, Zac. Patience. “You don’t remember a receipt?”
“No. She could have given it to Steve and I wasn’t aware.”
“Steve Bennett? The other detective?”
Sure, another dead guy to blame. This case was rife with dead guys. “I’ll look into that. I’m assuming you viewed the video I sent over. What do you remember about the witness?”
Cutler shrugged. “It’s not like we coerced him. We showed him a six-pack, helped him narrow it down.”
Helped him narrow it down… “And what about the white shirt? Who told him Brian Sinclair was wearing a white shirt?”
“I don’t know anything about that. That must have been Steve.”
Zac jotted more notes and the detective tugged on his too-tight collar again. Yes, detective, you should be nervous. The truth was, Zac scribbled gibberish. The Area 2 detectives weren’t the only ones who knew how to play mind games.
“The victim’s friend told Emma Sinclair that Ben Leeks—I’m sure you’re aware he’s the son of a Chicago PD detective—was abusive.”
Cutler shot Zac a hard look. Well, maybe Cutler thought it was a hard look. Zac thought it was more of a desperate, defensive man’s way of trying to intimidate an opponent. “The kid was cleared early on.”
“He was inside the club. We had witnesses who saw him getting busy with some brunette. He didn’t leave the club until closing. When he did leave, he left with a group and they all went to the diner down the street.”
Zac nodded. “I need names. They’re not in the case file.”
Cutler grabbed one of the armrests and shifted his big body. “I told you I don’t have anything. I turned over all the reports.”
“Even the GPRs?” Zac smacked his knuckle against the box. “I didn’t see any GPRs.”
“I turned over everything.”
“Did you write up any GPRs?”
Again the detective tried a hard look and Zac angled forward. “I’m aware that you’re not happy being questioned. I don’t care. I’m about to get hauled into court to defend your work. My guess is you want me to feel confident about that work. I’m far from confident. Cut the nonsense and answer my questions.”
Cutler sighed. “I wrote up GPRs. I don’t know what happened to them.”
“Did you make copies?”
“Of course you didn’t. Does it shock you that reports pertaining to the allegedly abusive son of a detective were not submitted into evidence for a murder trial?”
Cutler stayed silent. The blue wall.
Zac eased his chair up to the desk and put the box back on the floor. “I think we’re done. For now.”
The detective sat across from him, his breaths coming in short, heavy bursts and his cheeks flamed. He was obviously steaming mad.
Zac was about to get his butt handed to him—by his baby sister, no less—and he wasn’t going down alone. Ignoring the about-to-be-raging bull across from him, he flipped open one of the many file folders on his desk and began reading. Cutler finally pushed himself out of his chair.
“That Sinclair kid is guilty,” he said. “No two ways about it.”
Zac didn’t bother to look up. “A video of him leaving the parking garage at 12:37 might say otherwise. Buckle up, detective. We’re about to go for a rough ride.”
Readers, who are some of your favorite male heroes in books?
USA Today bestselling author Adrienne Giordano writes romantic suspense and mystery. She is a Jersey girl at heart, but now lives in the Midwest with her workaholic husband, sports obsessed son and Buddy the Wheaten Terrorist (Terrier). She is a co-founder of Romance University blog and Lady Jane’s Salon-Naperville, a reading series dedicated to romantic fiction. For more information on Adrienne’s books, please visit www.AdrienneGiordano.com. Adrienne can also be found on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/AdrienneGiordanoAuthor and Twitter at http://twitter.com/AdriennGiordano. For information on Adrienne’s street team, Dangerous Darlings, go to http://www.facebook.com/groups/dangerousdarlings.
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