Behind the scenes: Lure of the Tiger

You’ve come to the right place to peek behind the scenes of Lure of the Tiger! You’ll hear about character inspiration, how the story developed, my favorite scenes, and more below.

The story

Lure of the Tiger is a story that evolved over a long time. From the very beginning, I wanted to write a “woman as bait” story, but it took me a while to puzzle out exactly what and how. Once I brought Jody into contact with Cruz, the story took off in its own direction and ended up being a cross between “woman as bait” and “assassin becomes bodyguard” which was a lot of fun. The villain was the hardest part to pin down (SPOILER AHEAD!). I wanted to gradually draw Moira into the fold but still keep her involvement indirect. I fluctuated between a vampire villain and lion shifters. Which did I pick? If you’ve read Lure of the Tiger, you’ll know. If you haven’t read it yet - well, let’s just say you’ll find it worthwhile.

So there were a lot of changes along the way to completion of this story. One element that remained constant was the plan to write Maui with bad weather. Why? For one thing, that fits the Waterstone perfectly. The stormy weather is also a great reflection of Cruz’s inner turmoil and the incursion of evil into paradise. And when the sun does come out in the end, it makes the happy end that much happier!

The characters

Cruz has been gradually developing throughout the first three books in the series. He’s a grouchy recluse who hates humans, and this story explains why. The hardest part was making his transformation believable - it’s a long road from jaded soldier type to a man who can inhabit Jody’s sunny world. Which is why Jody evolved as a foil or opposite to Cruz. She’s an upbeat, glass-half-full type - and being a surfer fits that perfectly, don’t you think? I didn’t want Cruz and Jody to be too opposite - just opposite enough to push each other’s limits and have each develop individually. Jody doesn’t lose her sunny outlook on life, but she learns to be a little more careful about who she trusts. Cruz, meanwhile, reaches beyond the pain in his past to rediscover the joys of life. Of course, little Keiki is part of that process, too!

I love Jody’s family background and how her parents fell in love at first sight. The story of how her parents met is a combination of something that happened to my mother (the car stuck on bridge episode) with the story of a really sweet friend of mine who married his flame and immediately adopted her girls as his own. Of course, neither my mother nor that friend has any supernatural elements in their roots! (Second spoiler ahead!) That part of Jody’s family history came about to fit the vampire-seeking-new-flavors idea. And if you’re wondering - yes, I will probably bring her younger sister into a future book!

While Lure of the Tiger is Cruz’s story, we also learn a lot about Silas in this book. We understand a little more of why such an eligible bachelor is still single, for one thing. Throughout the previous books in the series, he’s always been the cool, collected leader. But here, we catch glimpses of his emotions and the pain he still feels from his experience with Moira. Of course, his full story doesn’t come out until Love of the Dragon. That’s Book 5 which releases in October!

My favorite scene

As usual, it’s hard to decide, so I’ll mention my favorite snippets rather than a single favorite scene. I love Cruz’s interactions with Keiki - especially when the kitten mimics him and tries to shift. I really enjoyed the tension of the first time Cruz and Jody are in a car together (leaving the pandemonium of the club), and how Jody still keeps herself together in spite of everything. I love when they loosen up in a much later scene - driving to the beach photo shoot when Jody tells Cruz surfer jokes. And, yes - I love the (literally) steamy love scene, first in the car, and then in the tree house with rain pouring down all around.

Biggest change from early drafts to final edition

The biggest change in this case was the villain. Originally, I had the idea that the product manager, Richard, would be the one who ordered a hit on Jody so he could create publicity for his own campaign. But that shifted to an even more sinister behind-the-scenes foe that would be a greater challenge for Cruz to overcome.

Also, way back in the first concept for this series, there was no Keiki. She sort of popped out of nowhere in Lure of the Bear, demanding a starring role! And she ends up playing an important role in this story, too, because she’s the one who first coaxes Cruz’s emotions out of their cage. She’s also kind of a go-between for him and Jody, helping them trust each other and grow closer. I can’t help but write adorable tough-guy-holding-tiny-kitten scenes. In so many ways, Keiki has been a huge bonus for the men of Koa Point and for this series. Don’t you think?