From the moment I first introduced the character of Trevor Watkins, in IN HER NAME, he fascinated me. He carried a wounded darkness that told me he had a story that might be worth telling. I was afraid of what I might find out, in drafting his protagonist character packet. I was afraid he might turn out to be too wounded, too damaged, to save. But it quickly became apparent that wouldn’t matter to Jaye. She was going to be too determined to save him, even in spite of himself.
But when it came time for this particular confrontation, both Jaye and I were left stunned and horrified, for very different reasons. Hers stemmed from guilt and fear of how Trevor would react to the secrets she’s hiding. But this scene shook me to the core, because it was the first time I realized just how much rage and darkness Trevor’s past left him struggling with. This wasn’t protective instinct – it was dark, dangerous hate. And, for a brief time while I was writing the scene, even I wasn’t sure I’d come out the other end of the scene with a hero still intact, or if he’d have disintegrated into a murderer.
“Scent of Evil” – Excerpt from SHADOW WALKER (Project Prometheus, Book #3) —
“There you are, boy!”
Trevor’s eyes snapped open at the familiar voice, and raw rage poured through him, replacing the sweet torture of Jaye’s presence. His hackles rose at the degenerate scent of cheap cigars and cheaper bourbon, and a low, feral snarl rumbled in his chest as his world went red.
“What the hell do you want?” He growled menacingly, his gaze fixed sourly on the dark, grizzled man in a rumpled three-piece suit.
Jerome Watkins stopped, and his eyes took on a wary look. Then, with forced heartiness, he continued, “I heard they had my boy in here; that you was a real hero. I also heard you got amnesia.” He stuck out one beefy hand as he advanced again. “I’m your dad.”
The murderous haze filming his vision deepened, and Trevor scented blood. Wildness clawed its way through him, and he drew in a scent no human sense could detect – the rotten taint of evil. This man bathed himself in it.
“I know damned well who you are.” Trevor’s lips pulled back in a snarl, exposing his teeth. “You’re not my father, Jerome. You’re nothing more than a goddamned sperm donor.”
Jerome’s hand dropped to his side, and he took an uncertain step back.
“Now look, son; I know I wasn’t around as much as I shoulda been, but I was young, and I didn’t know nothing about taking care of a bunch of little kids,” he tried, with a faltering smile. “Your mama should have –”
Trevor lunged at him in a blur of motion, an attack the other man didn’t see coming until he was pressed up against the wall, face-first, his arm twisted up behind his back, hard, and Trevor’s elbow pressed tightly against the back of his neck.
“You listen to me, old man,” Trevor snarled, “and you listen good. If you ever mention her in my presence again, if you dare even try, I’ll rip your fucking throat out.” He thunked Jerome’s face against the wall, hard. “You killed her, you stupid son of a bitch. Her and Delmar both. You’re not good enough to even think about them.”
Jerome trembled violently, and the scent of his fear filled the corridor. Swallowing jerkily, he rasped, “Okay, son. I didn’t want to rehash that stuff, anyway.”
With a muttered expletive, Trevor released Jerome with a shove, and stepped back. “Then why the hell are you here?”
“I… I got me a job.” Jerome massaged his arm as he put distance between himself and his son. “It gives us something in common, so I thought we could… I dunno…”
“I don’t give a damn what –”
“I’m working for this rich guy in Philly; you’ve probably heard of him. Charles Billings?”
Trevor’s eyes narrowed. Yeah, he’d heard of Billings. The name came up in the files Julia sent him over. The guy was some kind of political high-roller. He still hadn’t figured out what Billings had to do with Prometheus, but if Jerome was involved with the guy, it likely wasn’t good. “Figures.”
“Anyway,” Jerome continued, undaunted as he warmed to his subject. “You were my inspiration, Trevor. I figured, if you could work for the highest bidder, so could I. Guess that gives us something in common, huh? With us both being mercenaries, and all…”
The rage he kept bottled up exploded with the roar of a volcano, filling Trevor’s ears with its thundering power, even as his voice went lethally quiet. “We’re nothing alike, you bastard! I work for a better world, and you…” His lips curled in silent disgust. “You’re nothing more than a hired thug. You disgust me, Jerome. Now, get the hell out of my sight, and don’t ever come back. If I see you again, I’ll kill you.”
Terror flashed in Jerome’s eyes, and he nearly tripped over his own feet in his haste to get away. Within seconds, Trevor again had the corridor to himself, as the haze of fury seeped from his body.
Trevor drew a ragged breath and eased himself into one of the waiting chairs, trembling violently. The ferocity of his emotions shocked him, and their power was a soul-robbing, physically taxing force. He was weak and unsteady from the intensity of his reactions to both Jaye and Jerome; he had no idea which one was worse, passion or hate.