Behind the scenes: Lure of the Bear

A bear shifter and a policewoman - how did those two end up as destined mates? Find out all about the inspiration for Lure of the Bear here!

The characters

Hunter and Dawn both appear in the first two books of the series, and each time they cross paths, a heavy undercurrent of passion lights up the scene. Well, they finally get their own story in Lure of the Bear!

An interesting character has a lot of contrasts, which was one reason I made big, burly Hunter tough yet sensitive inside. Another reason is that I just love gentle giants! That quality really comes out in the scenes with Hunter and Keiki, the kitten, I think. Despite everything Hunter has been through, he hasn’t lost his capacity to love. Every great hero needs a bad guy and an internal challenge to overcome, and for Hunter, the latter is the battle against his own demons for the woman he loves.

Officer Dawn Meli, the cool, collected love of Hunter’s life, was originally going to have an entirely different last name. But when my Plot Wizards suggested Meli as her last name (it’s the Hawaiian word for honey), I knew it was too good to pass up. She’s tough, but like Hunter, she is scarred, which is how her backstory came about. She’s a Polynesian beauty much like Tarita Teri’ipaia (look her up - she stole Marlin Brando’s heart during the filming of Mutiny on the Bounty) - but she’s more interested in justice and duty than flaunting her looks. The theme of this story is trust - trusting your heart and trusting another person. By design, that applies equally for both Hunter and Dawn.

While I’m on the subject of characters, I can’t resist bringing up Regina Vanderpelt. I have so much fun with love-to-hate characters like Regina (much like Audrey in the Twin Moon Ranch stories). Well, it was fun to think up her hissy fits and unreasonable demands - even if the spoiled brat drove me crazy at the same time! Her name comes from another suggestion in my wonderful Plot Wizards group - I just about doubled over laughing when someone first suggested it. And boy, does it fit!

The story

Like a lot of my stories, Lure of the Bear started with the characters which eventually drove the situation around them, although it took quite a while to fit all the pieces into place. Book 2 of the Aloha Shifters series, Lure of the Wolf, already brought us to the exclusive Kapa’akea Resort, and somehow, my mind latched onto the idea of an extravagant wedding as the background for this story. Bring in a spoiled Bridezilla character, a tropical storm, and a jewel worth a fortune, and presto – there’s all the tension a good story needs. And that’s just the background tension, because the main conflict is the inner one, with Dawn pulled in two directions between her attraction to Hunter and her fears of getting intimate with a man.

My favorite scene

My favorite scene in this story is probably the dinner scene - in part due to the swirling tension between Dawn and Hunter, and in part for Lily’s innuendo. Lily is such a laugh! I also enjoy the atmosphere of the love scene with the antique Victrola scraping around and around long after the song on the record has reached the end. By the way, that song is a really cute one. I recommend looking it up - it’s called On a Little Bamboo Bridge.

Biggest change from early drafts to final edition

In outlining this story, I kept going back and forth on whether Hunter and Dawn had known each other for years or whether they only met recently. At one point, I had a much more complicated background story in which Hunter’s rescue of Dawn in high school got him into hot water with Clive’s powerful family. In the end, I decided that might be more of a distraction than a bonus, so I kept it a little more straightforward.

Keiki, the kitten, was a fairly last-minute addition to the cast. I love calicos like the one my aunt had when I was a kid - plus, my kids always show me funny kitten memes, so those probably inspired Keiki in my subconscious, too!

Cross-links with other series

Did you catch the links to my other series? The most obvious one is in Chapter 1 when Hunter considers leaving Maui for Arizona where he hears there’s an up-and-coming bear clan. That’s a shout out to the BLUE MOON SALOON series, of course! Even though the saloon is a fictional place, I love visiting it as often as I can, either by reading one of the stories or simply daydreaming about walking through the swinging saloon doors and having a bear shifter slide a cool drink down the bar to me.

Thanks so much for visiting this section of website. I hope you’re enjoying the bonus materials. I want to give you a lot for your money, and this is part of that effort. Check back soon for bonus material on Lure of the Tiger, the next book in the Aloha Shifters series!