Wednesday, February 25, 2015

All Scar Cast by Marian Perera

 Please welcome our guest, Marian Perera, to The Roses of Prose.

Why are so many romance heroes scarred?
Scars look sexy.

I could end this post right now, but I do love talking about scarred fictional men, so here goes. Actually, the one who came to mind right away isn’t in a romance novel—he’s Lieutenant Pullings, from Master and Commander : The Far Side of the World. He’s got a scar which cuts right across his cheek and the bridge of his nose, it is the most eye-catching saber cut ever, and you can bet I hit the pause button every time there was a close-up of him.

Scars hint at a person who can take care of themselves.

My favorite fictional hero ever, Rhett Butler, once displayed a scar that was a souvenir of a knife fight in California. And being the awesomeness that is Rhett Butler, he only showed this scar so his stepson would believe he’d fought in the war and would be proud of him. As opposed to being made fun of by other kids because Rhett didn’t enlist right away and made money off blockade running instead.

Whether they’re gunshot marks or eyepatches (Elle Driver, anyone?), scars say : I’ve been in a fight for my life, and I’m still here.

Scars can mean a lot of angst.

Many romances I read in the 80s had heroes with scars—but these marks always made them look more rugged. They were never disfiguring, let alone impairing.

These days? Wow. Mary Balogh is great at this—one of her heroes was an artist who fought in a war and lost his right arm. That was the end of his painting. One of my keepers is her novel The Secret Pearl, where the hero’s facial scars are ugly to the point of repulsing his wife and even the heroine, at first.

But I think it’s rarer to find a heroine with nasty scars. Especially ones on her face.

I read Vonda N. McIntyre’s science fiction novel Dreamsnake a long time ago, but I always remembered a little redheaded girl called Melissa who meets the heroine—because Melissa, who works in a stable, has third-degree burns across half her face. She tried to rescue the horses when a fire broke out.

I liked her—and hated the way people treated her, as if her scars were contagious. So I wanted to write a heroine like her, and that’s Captain Lera Vanze, in my romance The Highest Tide. Lera’s also a redhead with a third-degree burn. Very pretty if you look at her from one angle. From another? The Hound from Game of Thrones.

The scar tends to keep people at arm’s length and Lera doesn’t trust anyone easily. So when she feels lonely, she goes to a high-class brothel, since enough silver will make anyone do what she wants without asking questions.

But the first man who sees her there isn’t an employee. Jason Remerley is a public health inspector who’s just conducted a routine check, and the moment he sees her, he wants her.

So when she asks if he works there, he plays along and takes her to a private room. If the madam of the brothel discovers them, it won’t go well for him. But he’s never met a woman who fascinates him so much. If their initial encounter has to be on her terms, in the brothel, he’ll take it—and do his damnedest not to give himself away.

I’d love to hear more from readers about this topic! Who are your favorite scarred characters?

Blurb :

One touch, and the tide isn’t all that’s rising.

When brothel health inspector Jason Remerley finds a uniformed woman waiting impatiently in the Velvet Court parlor, wanting to hire a man’s services, he’s struck by lightning. His intense, immediate attraction compels him to pretend his way into her arms.

Enough silver, and most men forget about Captain Lera Vanze’s half-burned face. She senses something off about the handsome, ill-dressed prostitute who sells himself so cheaply. But with his first touch, goose bumps turn to shivers of desire—right before the truth drives them in opposite directions.

Her fury is still simmering when they face each other in a more “official” capacity. She’s joined a warship to stop a terrorist only Jason can identify. Though trust is scarce, they’re swept away in a tidal wave of murderous plots and an explosive attraction that could leave them marooned in an emotional—and very real—minefield.

Warning: She knows how to wield her sword, he knows just how, when, and where to apply his…mind. Contains deception in a brothel, sex in a cave, a shark with a bad habit, and one very large wave.

Buy links :

Excerpt : (from
Her clothes were almost as intriguing as her appearance. In stark contrast to the rich colors and glamour of the room, she had on a well-worn white coat and brown breeches, so she looked crisply efficient as well as exotic. He’d never seen a woman in men’s garb before. A foreigner, obviously, but what was she doing there? One arm was bent, knuckles resting on her hip and holding her coat back enough for him to see the saber that hung from her belt.
Lightning, he realized, had just struck.
He had stopped when he saw her, and he didn’t think he was breathing, much less making a sound, but the woman turned from the window as if she sensed someone was there. And he saw the other half of her face.
A burn scar, he knew at once. Dark and thick as armor, except without the smoothness of steel or skin. The injury had missed her eye, thankfully, but it scorched all the way down to her jawline, and while there was nothing at all pretty about the scar, it made her look unusual and real, fiercely alive in the cold, poised surroundings of the Velvet Court. An old quote came to mind: the imperfection that enables perfection.
Her eyes narrowed a little in a way that suggested she was braced for shocked reactions when people saw the right side of her face. “Do you work here?”
Surely she couldn’t be there for that. But he didn’t see any other reason a foreigner might come to a brothel. “Yes,” he heard himself say.
The woman’s gaze swept down his body, swift and evaluating. Jason had a moment to feel grateful he didn’t have to wear any particular uniform or badge of office as a health inspector, before his startled better sense caught up with him. What in hell did he think he was doing?
“And does this establishment provide services to women?”
That was the kind of question only a foreigner would need to ask. Jason swallowed, pushing doubts and common sense alike away. When lightning struck, one had to react just as swiftly, seize the moment.
“Of course,” he said. “We wouldn’t turn away half our potential customers.”
“Good. How much do you charge?”
Damn. He had no idea, and even if he did, he would have said a lower figure. The woman saw his hesitation, but misinterpreted it.
“I have silver,” she said. “It’s Denalait money, but still silver.”
So she was from Denalay. That explained the slight accent yet the features which—apart from the scar—were indistinguishable from those of a Dagran woman’s. Except for being more beautiful.
“That will do.” He fell back on years of experience in keeping his voice calm and emotionless, his face as bland as if he were playing cards for high stakes—and no stakes could be higher than this. “Please come with me.”
He started up the steps, ears attuned to the soft thuds of her boots behind him, more attuned to any creaks from upstairs that would indicate a door being opened. Benevolent Ones, don’t let anyone come out of their rooms, he thought before he wondered if he had truly gone crazy. The Benevolent Ones were probably looking down at the unfolding spectacle with horrified eyes. He’d be fortunate if they didn’t strike him dead for his iniquity.
Walking as though he was in no hurry at all was an effort, but to his relief no one was in sight when he reached the landing. He went to the nearest open door and glanced in to make sure the room was empty before he stepped aside to let the woman enter.
He breathed in deeply as she walked past him—keeping a careful space between their bodies, he noticed. A crisp, salty scent clung to her clothes, the smell of sun-warmed wood and sea wind.
Of course, her people were seafarers and Sandcliff was a port city. He’d even figured out what she was doing in a foreign land, because he had heard of a recent race between Denalait ships and a Dagran vessel, a race which had ended at an island off the coast and had, naturally, been won by the Dagran ship. A thread of disappointment wove itself through an attraction stronger than anything he had felt before, because she wouldn’t be here for long, would she? Soon she would sail back to her homeland.
Brisk footsteps hurried up the stairs. Jason was inside the room in the next instant, closing the door behind him with a soft click, and to his relief there was a key in the lock. He turned it. If the worst came to the worst and Mary or the house guards started hammering on the door, he might try climbing out of the window. In all his life he had never done anything so unhinged, had never dreamed of putting his career at such risk.
But in all his life he had never met a woman like her, a woman he wanted so much.
It was almost a surprise to realize he still didn’t know her name

Bio : Marian Perera was born in Sri Lanka, grew up in the United Arab Emirates, studied in the United States, and lives in Canada. For now. Her sharkpunk romances The Deepest Ocean, The Farthest Shore and The Highest Tide were released by Samhain Publishing, and another fantasy romance set in Africa has been published by Loose Id. You can learn more about her and her books at her website, her blog and on Twitter (@MDPerera). She collects books and swords, grows tomatoes, loves writing and reads everything. 


Margo Hoornstra said...

Fascinating excerpt. imperfections are part of life. Your current heroine proves that. May she triumph.

Jannine Gallant said...

I've never given scars a lot of thought, one way or the other. A couple of my heroes have had them, for the reasons you state. To show they've been in battle and survived. Very brave of you to scar your heroine! Wishing you many sales!

Diane Burton said...

When you mentioned women with scars, my 1st thought was Tina Fey. My characters tend to have emotional scars not physical ones. But you've given me some ideas. Love your blurb, esp. the warning. LOL This sounds like a great book. My TBR pile just gained another book.

Marian Perera said...

Thanks for hosting me! And much appreciate the good wishes.

Diane : hope you enjoy the book. :)