Today’s YA Indie Carnival Topic is an amazing one, courtesy of Dani from Refracted Light Reviews. She’s in the list down there but I’ll make it easy on ya’, go here to read her amazing blogs. Anyway, the topic is a great one, to me, because it covers why my favorite character is who they are.
Ironically, my favorite character is from the first book I’d ever written for young adults ages 13 and up, and no, before you ask, it’s not published because I wouldn’t punish my public with it but, my favorite character, Oliver Wells, is a particularly interesting one to me, not because he’s one of the main characters, but because he is pure and uncomplicated. He knows what he wants and he’s determined to get it. He’s funny and handsome, sincere and incredible.
He’s no dummy either. No, although Oliver does put up with a lot from my main character Natalie, he knows what he’s worth and I love that about him. He is pure male, confident yet not completely sure of himself, exposing the humility we ladies love when we look at a gorgeous male.
Anyway, here’s a few, well, more than a few paragraphs highlighting the impossibly amazing Oliver Wells.
“Move an inch and this knife will move five into your rib cage.”
Oliver barely breathed. “What do you want from me?”
By this time, Natalie’s stalker returned to assist Oliver’s captor. The armed man laughed hysterically.
“Boy, you are officially my leverage. Your young lady has gotten herself in to quite a predicament and, by sheer luck, she has alluded us. Judging from how cozy the two of you just were, you are clearly going to be our bait.”
Oliver wondered what the hell kind of trouble Natalie had gotten herself into.
His captor continued, “This is what we’re going to do. The sun is up and soon the naively trusting lemmings of this community will be about. You are going to walk a pace ahead of us at all times. We’ll direct you as needed.”
“And if I don’t cooperate?”
“Then we’ll drag you to our place by your hair. Capture the dark headed girl, kill her in front of you, and soon after, you’ll share a similar fate, but not before we afflict you with a little payback of our own for the trouble.”
“Ahhh, considering the consequences” mocked Oliver, “your demands sound perfectly reasonable to me, sir. Point me in the direction you need me to go”.
The men led Oliver to their hotel where they further directed him to their room. Inside, they sat Oliver in a desk chair. One sat at the edge of the bed and the other on a dresser at the opposite end of the room and proceeded with questioning.
Natalie’s stalker began first, “Tell me, son, who is the girl you were kissing? Rather a pretty thing.” He took out his own dagger and used it to clean his fingernails. “When I’m done with her though, kissing will be the least of her concerns.”
Both men laughed out loud at their distasteful thoughts and Oliver was repulsed. He repressed every instinct he had to stand and spit in his eye.
“She’s just a girl I met at a party several days ago,” Oliver lied. “We had a pleasant evening and I tried to convince her to go to breakfast with me, but she would have none of it.”
“Sure she is!” Chuckled Natalie’s stalker. “Lucky for you, we don’t care what you know or even who you know. We don’t really plan on keeping you alive. The only person we want is the brunette and her blonde friend.”
Blonde friend? Thought Oliver. Natalie was turning out to be someone he merely thought he knew. Still, he kept his thoughts to himself. They wouldn’t believe him either way. They bound him by his hands, feet and legs, taped his mouth, and set him in the bathtub of their room’s bathroom.
“What’s your name anyway?”
Oliver refused. It was ineffective though, they turned him on his belly and removed his wallet.
His original captor snickered, “Oliver Wells, New York City, New York. Nice to meet you, Oliver. I doubt you’ll feel the same when all is said and done.”
They both erupted in uproarious laughter.
They’re both screaming mad, Oliver thought. The men sat Oliver back in the tub, locked the bathroom door from the outside and made their way out of their room, leaving Oliver to his thoughts. He wondered how in the world he had gotten to where he was.
Just a few minutes ago I was in heaven. Why does everything with Natalie have to be so damn complicated? I swear. Oliver laughed. If I wasn’t so hopelessly in love with her I would have been long gone.
He had trouble wrapping his head around what she was doing in Marseille.
If I ever get out of this, he said to himself, she’s going to have so much to answer for. I won’t accept anything less than an, in his best impression of Natalie, ‘Oh Oli, it was a matter of life or death’ excuse or, well, I don’t know, but it’d better be good. He shifted in the bathtub. I’m sweating like a pig in here. My legs are too long for these European bathtubs. My legs are too long even for American bathtubs! I’m six foot three! He grumbled out loud. And when the tape comes off, my stubble will too and it’ll hurt like hell. Man, does she owe me. She owes me an explanation, she owes me a nice, agreeable dinner without a single argumentative word and…you know? She contradicts me so often. Why does she do that? She just loves to torment me. I’ve decided. Yes, I’ve decided, I am not going to give her the gift I bought her last week for her ‘safe homecoming’. Safe homecoming indeed! What a joke! Oli paused a moment and smiled. She did smell amazing, though. She makes me so miserable and so deliriously happy all at the same time. She is such a riddle of a woman. Oliver thought seriously for a moment. A real gift from God. The best gift I’ve ever gotten.
Oliver stayed still as he heard rustling outside.
“Are the idiots back?” He whispered.
They weren’t though. It was only the housekeeper passing in the hallway.
Several hours passed by and Oliver had made a game out of counting the tiles around him. First, he counted the first row horizontally and diagonally along the first, second, and third wall. He multiplied and then added all three figures in his head. That took forever. Then, he counted them individually. His first number was grossly incorrect. Oliver guessed by then that it was late. Very late. The entire hotel, and even what he had deciphered as street noise earlier, was deadly quiet. His captors had not returned and he fell asleep waiting.
“That’s it,” he said.
He looked around to see what he might be able to hit in order to get someone’s attention. He kicked the walls, breaking the tile around his boots and tried his best to scream only to end up exhausted with no help at all. Then, it came to him. Oliver removed his shoes and worked his feet enough to put the plug in the tub and stuffed as many bathroom soaps in the overflow drain that it would allow, preventing it from catching any water. Then, he ran both the hot and cold water the maximum it would allow.
“Agh!” Oli yelled! “My God, that’s cold!”
Eventually the water warmed up and the tub quickly filled with water, overflowing onto the tile floor. He could hear the rushing of water and it sounded like freedom to him. After half an hour, the water started to swell higher and higher up the bathroom walls.
The inhabitants in the room underneath Oliver’s saw their ceiling swelling with water and called the concierge. The maintenance man entered their room, scratched his head, and deciphered that it had to be coming from the room above them. He knocked on the door to Oliver’s captor’s room. When no one answered, he unlocked the door with his master key and saw water gushing from underneath the bathroom door. When he opened it, he saw a thrashing Oliver, signaling for his help. Shocked, he quickly untied Oliver’s hands, feet and legs and Oliver ripped off the tape.
“No stubble! A major triumph! Thank you, old man!”
Without saying another word, he fled down the stairs, sopping wet and with no shoes. He didn’t know what he was going to do to find Natalie but he knew he had to try. He dripped buckets of water over the entire marble lobby floor, slipping and sliding in all his ridiculousness. He looked up…and there she was.
Time stood still for him.
He never thought he’d see her again so soon. He had a lump in his throat and lost his breath. He instantly decided that he didn’t want anything to do with her that moment, she could get herself out of whatever mess she was in. He bolted toward the hotel doors that were already open to the cobblestone French street.
“Oli!” Screamed Natalie. She sat upright in her chair, overcome with emotion.
The girls sprung into action, dragging an antagonized soggy Oliver out of the hotel. The entire time he yelled at Natalie, but all she could do was cry and hold him. The girls took him somewhere secluded. Before he could get his bearings, Sophie asked if he remembered the room number he was kept in. He only knew it was on the third floor and told her so. She referenced the names from the register and the only guest from her list on the third floor was a man named Thomas Stewart.
“Got him!” She said. “I’m taking the rest of the girls up there.”
She left Natalie with Oliver but he could barely look at her. They both tried to speak at once.
“I don’t understand Natalie. How long has this been going on?”
“Egypt was my first mission,” she said.
“Mission? What does that mean?”
“Well, Oli, maybe we should sit on that bench in the sun so you can dry off.”
They sat down and Oliver didn’t give Natalie a chance to continue. “I can’t sit. This is all so very confusing. I have to walk. Come with me.” Oliver headed toward the port where Natalie’s original hotel was. “I asked your hotel concierge to keep my bags for me until I found out where you were staying when I first arrived. I need to get them.”
They walked toward her hotel and Natalie continued on. “Long story short, I was recruited in New York by Sophie.”
“Which one is Sophie?”
“She’s the tall one with long blonde hair.”
“The one who asked me if I remembered what room I was in?”
“Yes. That’s Sophie. Anyway, Sophie leads an assembly of girls who solve crimes but we specialize in the clandestine. Usually high profile clients needing results quickly and as demurely as possible. Each of us has a specialty of our own. Sophie is head of tactics. I use my knowledge of pharmacology, obviously, and the other girls are weapons experts. I’ve been training for six months, Oli.”
“So you’ve quit your job then?”
“And you made me walk you to your old place of work for months? What is wrong with you? You must think I’m nuts! You know, I’ve been so late to work so many times because I thought it was important to walk you every day? I’ve gotten written up twice!”
Natalie was moved. She grabbed Oliver’s hand and placed her fingers between his. He sighed heavily but didn’t stop her. She felt so relieved. So was he. He now knew that she didn’t run because she wasn’t interested in him, it was because of an entirely different reason altogether. Although, that didn’t make him feel any better either.
“So what is going on here in Marseille?” He asked.
“The prime minister of Lorina’s son is missing. We’ve been hired to help find him. It’s quite serious, Oliver, and we’ll need you to stay with us now that his kidnappers know who you are.”
Natalie didn’t mind much and she didn’t think Oliver did either. She tried to continue but got distracted by Oliver’s condition. “And why are you soaking wet?”
He shrugged his shoulders, “Don’t even ask Natalie. I’ll tell you later. Now I’ve got a crick in my back that would cripple a horse and I just want my bags.”
When they arrived at the hotel, Oliver went inside and emerged with both his tan leather bags shortly after. He walked as if in slow motion toward Natalie and she stood out of breath. He was captivating and she felt so stupid as to have not noticed it before. He was always her Oliver and now he was her Oliver.
“Wait, is he my Oliver? Please let him be my Oliver.”
Natalie was so wrapped up in her thoughts she hadn’t noticed he was standing right beside her.
“Uh, hello, Nat? Are you listening to me?”
“I’m listening, Oli. Sorry, what did you say?”
Oliver chuckled. “Okay so let’s make our way back to Oceania.”
They made their way back toward the hotel where the girls were supposed to be but noticed Jean’s car careening down the street toward them.
“They came back!” Screamed Eliza from the passenger side window, “Get in!”
Oliver shoved his bags in the trunk and both he and Natalie jumped in the back seat. Sophie was driving, Eliza was in the front passenger seat, Oliver sat in the center of the back seat with Natalie on his left and Hali on his right. Katherine perched herself on the console of the front seat with her face practically touching Oliver’s. By then, Sophie was speeding through the tiny French streets trying to lose their pursuers and their gun shots, turning sharply and causing everyone to dramatically bounce all over Jean’s car.
Hali screamed, “Please Sophie! My knives are digging into my thigh!” Oliver slowly turned his head to stare at Hali, shocked.
“Hello!” Grinned Katherine, introducing herself with one hand extended. Oliver swiftly turned his head.“I’m Katherine. I’ve heard so much about you.”
“Pleasure to meet you, Katherine?” Oliver said shaking her hand.
“This is Eliza” she pointed to her cousin, Eliza nodded and waved.
Katherine pointed to the others, “Hali and Sophie.”
In unison, Hali and Sophie nodded and waved hello. All the girls were calm and gracious in the midst of the chaos.
“A pleasure, I’m sure, ladies,” said Oliver sarcastically.
The men were not far behind and continually shot at Jean’s car. Everyone ducked their heads with each shot. Oliver looked at Natalie flabbergasted, mouth gaped open. Natalie shrugged her shoulders and half-grinned. She’d forgotten that gunshots and high speed chases were not normal.
She tried to reassure him, “It’s okay, Oli.”
Oliver’s eyes nearly popped from his head, “It’s okay? I’m sorry, I’m hearing things. It’s okay? It is not okay, Natalie. You know, these past two days I have been kidnapped, bound, gagged, soaked, shot at, grossly insulted and I am just not seeing how this is ‘okay’.”
Oliver had a way of losing control sometimes so Natalie took charge. “Get a hold of yourself, Oli! Now, we are going to survive this car ride and you and I will have some time to discuss the going’s on of your past few days, but right now the focus is on surviving!”
Oliver pursed his lips together and stayed quiet the entire hectic ride, out of anger but also out of shock. Another gunshot rang through the car.
“Okay, that’s it” said Hali.
Hali cooly removed a pouch from underneath her seat. She rolled it out across hers and Oliver’s lap. He counted 20 or so blades shining back in his face.
“Just hand them to me as needed, Oliver. Thank you.”
He watched Hali roll down the window, climb out, only leaving her legs, and sat in the window of the car. The girls were unaffected by this. She stuck her hand out for a dagger and Oliver handed one to her, bewildered. He watched as she stuck the armed pursuer in the shoulder and he dropped his weapon in the street.
She climbed back in, “That was really aggravating me.”
“Let’s hope it was their only weapon,” laughed Katherine.
Everyone laughed, except Oliver, who was preoccupied with his shock.
Hali wrapped her blades back up and winked at Oliver, “Don’t worry, Oliver. I’ve plenty more back at Jean’s.”
By this time, the pursuers were trailing so far behind, Sophie made one turn and lost them for good.
Eliza said, “I suspect Jean’s car will need repairing, Sophie.”
Sophie laughed, “Indeed. Poor Jean.”
The girls got back to business and headed back to Jean’s in Aubagne. Oliver’s knuckles were still white from clenching his fists. Natalie ran her fingers across his to relax his hands for him and flashed him a reassuring smile.
She kept her eyes with Oliver’s even when she asked, “What did you find?”
“Well,” said Hali, “when we arrived at the room, the door was wide open. They were cleaning up Oliver’s mess.” They all laughed, including a nervous Oliver. She continued, “they left for a moment and we went in to do some digging around. “Basically, there was nothing there, except Katherine found a crumpled up piece of paper with one word scribbled on it. When we get back to Jean’s we’ll have some more digging to do. Finally! Something we can work with! Anyway, when we were walking through the lobby one of the men noticed Sophie and then we ran like the wind. We drove to the alcove we left you in but you were no where to be found. Eliza figured you might have gone near the port so we headed that direction and there you were. And now, here we are.”
Ba ha ha ha! I think it would be good for junior high kids but I know I’ll never end up pubbing. I like writing for the big kids better.
Anyway, so that’s Oli. Cute, right? I love him. He was my first male lead and you know what they say, you never forget your first love.
Dani is interviewing our very own Kimberly Kinrade! Check it out!
Beyond The Veil: A Ghost Story Anthology by Rachel Coles is out on Kindle too! GET IT!!!!!
The Carnies, baby!
The Incredible Patti Larsen
The Talented Courtney Cole
The Witty Wren Emerson
The Accomplished Nicole Williams
The Clever Laura Elliott
The Skillful Amy Jones
The Staggering P.J. Hoover
The Brilliant Alicia McCalla
The Resplendent Heather Cashman
The Lustrous Abbi Glines
The Polished Cheri Schmidt
The Inventive Cidney Swanson
The Radiant Rachel Coles
The Gifted T.R. Graves
The Phenomenal Cyndi Tefft
The Lovely Lexus Luke
The Sassy Suzy Turner
The Exceptional Gwenn Wright
The Stupendous Kimberly Kinrade
The Quick J.L. Bryan
The Saucy Darby Karchut
The Magnificent M. Leighton
The Impressive Madeline Smoot