The tragic heroine, the tormented one, often draws me in more than any other. However, I have to admit that I need to be in the right frame of mind for it. I love it when an author draws a heroine as dark, secretive, wounded emotionally and sometimes even physically. I especially love when these heroines find happiness and overcome the darkness.
My two most tormented souls are red dragon Emily Carrington in Ride the Lightning and Captain Tait Boland in Unbreak Me, coming later this year. Emily comes from an abused childhood and has a pain fetish she indulges at BDSM clubs. She’s a natural submissive except when it comes to her work where she’s a high-powered finance executive. When her mate spurns her she rides that pain for three years until the torment of their situation drives her to a suicide attempt. When her mate redeems himself and shows Emily how much he loves her, she has trouble believing that her life of pain is over. Her rise out of the dark abuse of her past is shown to the readers through the pristine white bedroom where Vahid takes her after he rescues her from a beating. The strength in Emily’s core helps her leave her past behind and embrace a new strong future with her mate at her side.
For Tait Boland, weakness meant death. An assassin assigned to an elite group of warrior-soldiers, Tait has spent her military career killing. When her lover’s unit is ambushed and she’s told of his death, she doesn’t stop until she finds out who betrayed him and then she kills the betrayer in cold blood. Courtmartialed and sentenced to prison, Tait spends the next few years being tortured. She escapes by faking her death in a prison fire. When her lover Ren returns from being held prisoner, the two are brought together by a magical heart that holds a piece of each of their souls. Ren thinks Tait betrayed him. Tait thinks Ren can’t want a scarred woman who is definitely broken. As betrayal upon betrayal is discovered, Tait tries to find herself again while Ren finds that he’ll do anything to unbreak her.
Both Emily and Tait are broken women. Yet both still have a core of strength they didn’t really know they had. They draw on that strength to hold them together through the more horrendous situations. In the end, they come out on top, vanquishing the darkness within themselves as the steadfast love of the heroes heal the broken parts of their hearts and souls. In the end, their strength only had to come from their belief in the love of their men.
I write stories like this because I’m a sucker for a poignant ending that makes you cry. And I’ve always written what I like to read. This type of theme is one I will come back to again and again when reading and writing because I so love a strong heroine who overcomes pain to find happiness.