Sunday, May 19, 2013

For a Hero by Jess Hunter and Sable Hunter

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Tonight one of my best friends convinced me to go downtown with him and a few more of the boys in Austin to celebrate a couple things. There are three of us that have May birthdays and another friend graduated from UT. So obviously, the best way to commemorate these events is to pour poison into our bodies and behave like we are a lot younger and stupider than we really are. So, we’re headed to 6th Street. (Don’t tell Sable, she worries. I’ll call her at 10 and tell her I’m home on the couch.)

A few of my friends are nervous about the concept of approaching women in bars and clubs. Some of us are fairly experienced (me); some of us are not. There seems to be enough determination among my entourage to make the night fairly exciting, we intend to go out and find the perfect woman. And with a drink in hand and a few smooth words, we intend to make a romantic connection. And that’s easier said than done. We all want to watch each other walk up to an attractive member of the opposite sex and try to manifest some kind of relationship out of thin air. Like this. “Hey, my name is Jess and from the moment I walked into the room, I haven’t been able to take my eyes off of you.” What do you think?

A lot of you women may not understand the pressure and struggle that comes with this whole facet of male life, meeting women and starting a relationship. For most men, for at least a portion of their life, this subject is a source of extreme, crippling anxiety. The fear of rejection is as real to us as it is to you. Some men adapt, learn, grow and master the art, but the lion's share of guys, unfortunately, settle or give up. Learning to be successful with women is something that pervades men’s thoughts from the time their voices begin to change to the day they give up the ghost.

So off we'll go, into the wild forests of the Austin nightlife. (Don’t worry. By the time Sable reads this, I’ll be home.) We intend to ridicule and laugh at each other as nerves and emotion eat away at our resolve, but secretly, deep down under all the machismo, we all hope to learn something from one another. We want to see one of us succeed and unlock some kind of secret, primal code that will show us how to attract and be successful with women.

When you read books by Sable or any similarly genred author, you won't see this struggle. You will see naturals, and masters, and princes. Warriors will sweep women off their feet and knights in shining armor will avow their hearts to rescue distressed damsels. You'll never know how much effort regular, real men exert to be like one of those guys, the ones that seem to catch your eye without even trying. 

I'm not too nervous about it. I'm not a master, but I'm not terrified either. I'm sure I will experience some degree of success; women respond well to a guy with courage and I have that (especially when I wear my cape). I'm not putting a whole lot of thought into it. What definitely WILL be on my mind is this: where in this world will I discover a scenario that makes both the man's and woman's wildest dreams come true? What is the perfect opening line? Is it a chase? Is it serendipity? Does a woman fantasize about a man who hones his social skills to perfection in order to communicate who he is and why she should care, in just a few short words? Must he be out-of-this-world? Is any of it fair?

This excitement of a first glance, a first smile, the acceleration of the heart is what I write about. I want to capture that feeling. I want to tell a story that will drive every person's mind wild with joy and love. Isn't there a place to go to watch romance happen organically? Does it happen that way at all? Tonight, I’m looking for it. I’ll let you know what – or who – I find.

Yes, I'm looking for it. I'm looking for love. I know you all are also. That's why you read books like mine. We'll search together, and we'll never give up hope. Until we find it, thank god for romance novels.

I love you all. Email me anytime
Here’s an excerpt from FOR A HERO – the first time Jenna sees David. Maybe, I should ride the bus around instead of going to a bar.

She reached into her purse and pulled out the letter she received in the mail that morning. Maggie had sent her a Hallmark card. Wow, she was so sweet. She pulled it from the envelope for the twentieth time today. The front of the card read “You’re on my mind so I decided to send you a hunk.” She opened it to reveal a very muscular, very naked fireman wearing nothing but his red hat. “Sex on Fire” by the Kings of Leon began to play and the caption read, “a hunk-a, hunk-a burning love!” Underneath the fire hose was a personal message to Jenna written in pen. “Hey Girl, miss you already! Scoop you up a hot one! The good ones are worth waiting for, I promise! With love, Maggie.”
The sentiment touched Jenna. Margaret had not given up on her. She gazed at the man. He was built, but there was no use getting excited about it. He wasn’t real. Real men don’t look like that. The only men who look like that are gay or criminals. Still, it would be nice. To be touched and held by a man with strong arms. To feel protected and safe, cherished by someone who could slay dragons for you if need be, something bigger than yourself. Her biting of her own lip snapped her back to reality. She folded the card and put it back into her purse.
Jenna looked up and out the windows. The city screeched by. She didn’t know it yet. She wouldn’t be sure she was close to home until she could see the tall building her apartment was in. It wasn’t quite dark yet, but the city was settling down. Austin came alive at night, she was told. Art, culture, and politics all had their place in the heart of the Lone Star State. Many people refuse to leave Austin once they visit and fall in love with it. Perhaps, one day, Jenna would feel the same way.
At that thought, a bustle of people shook the bus about as it slowed to a stop. Many strangers entered and among them, a man. It took Jenna a few seconds to realize what she was looking at. He was a REAL man. He must be 6’4” with shoulders as broad as a barn. A red t-shirt stretched across pecs and abs so perfectly defined that she had the urge to draw them. His jaw was herculean. His eyes were small, but wide and loving and a beautiful blue that could light up a darkened heart. She could see joy and love in them, as well as power and security. But there was something amiss about him. He looked angry. Jenna followed his gaze and found the source of his contempt. A slender little business man sat in the back of the bus talking on the phone. He was reclined and his possessions were so spread out that he was taking up three seats. There were women standing all around him, including one elderly lady. Wonder Boy there couldn’t be mad about not having a seat, could he? Was he angry that the other guy was not letting the women sit down?
Jenna shook her head and glanced at her hands folded in her lap. Probably not, that would be too good to be true. There were no men like that. Her excuse for a friend, Ben, was nice, but he would never become offended over the mistreatment of women, he was kind of a little bitch himself. Mr. McBride actually seemed like the kind of guy who would sit on the bus and take a lady’s spot. She must be mistaken. She must be reading the situation all wrong. The heroic looking man glaring at the little dweeb couldn’t be gorgeous AND sweet, could he?
Just then, a man behind Wonder Boy got up and moved toward the front of the bus. The handsome stranger tapped the elderly lady on the shoulder, stretched his arm toward the open seat and smiled. He guided her to the chair and eased her descent. After a pat, he returned to standing sentry over the asshole on the phone. Jenna wondered if he intended to say something when he hung up. She imagined his mom had taught him good manners.
Jenna watched him standing there with his arms crossed, and she realized something. She was attracted to him.  It was a feeling she had never felt before. Curiosity. About a man. She wanted to know more about him; she was drawn to him. Butterflies fluttered around inside her belly. She felt like a school girl. Is this what she had been missing out on? Stealing glances at him, Jenna felt sick with attraction, and giddy with emotion.
The bus slowed again and the doors folded open. People filed off onto the street. Asshole stood up, still talking on the phone. He tried to get by Wonder Boy but Gorgeous didn’t budge. He wouldn’t even allow him an inch. Jenna smiled to herself. Justice.
Unable to get off at the stop, the man realized he had missed his destination. The bus continued its long journey south on Lamar.
“What the hell was that about, Buddy?” The asshole sounded obstinate. The spoiled kind of rich kid. He was probably a legacy in a fraternity and his dad gave him everything he ever wanted. “You made me miss my stop! I’m going to be late because of your dumb ass!”
“Sorry, Sir.” The sultry voice of her Wonder Boy filled the bus. “I didn’t see you there. If I had known you were there, surely I would have let you pass, but unfortunately, I was distracted by all the poor ladies on the bus who couldn’t sit down. You see, there was this asshole on the phone taking up 3 seats in the back.” A low level of applause and validation began to grow in the air around them.
“Why, you Son-of-a-Bitch.” The asshole leaned back and threw a hard right hook at the nose of Wonder Boy. Jenna watched the events unfold and could not believe what she saw. Her angel was five inches taller than the other guy, seventy pounds heavier, he could destroy him, but instead, he stepped to the side.
The punch skimmed harmlessly to the left of Wonder Boy’s face. He instantly curled his arm toward the flying fist, wrapping his fingers around the little man’s elbow. Within a second, he pulled, causing the speed and momentum of the asshole’s attack to bring his face down, introducing it quickly, and painfully, to the rubber floor of the bus. Blood erupted from his nostrils and cheers and laughter filled the vehicle.
The bus driver clicked on his intercom and said, “Hey Rocky, get up here. What the hell are you doing? Fighting on a bus? Shit.” Jenna’s heart was beating a mile a minute as her angel walked by her to the cockpit of the vehicle.
‘Funny,’ she thought. ‘He doesn’t look very remorseful. Wow, his ass fills those jeans nicely.’
The driver had Wonder Boy stand by the door, like he was in time-out, until he pulled in at the next bus stop. As the bus came to a complete stop and the doors opened, several of the people shambled outside. The bus began to empty and Jenna looked down. She didn’t want her angel to know she had been staring at him, and with nobody else on the bus, it would be hard for her to blend in. However, the few other passengers made it easier. As they stepped off the bus, they stopped by Wonder Boy, shook his hand, patted his back and said nice things like “thank you.”
After the last passenger had departed, the driver turned to the angel with the most disappointed glare. As his eyes settled on him, his solemn expression broke into a laugh. “Chief!! It’s you! Of course you did something like that, you big softie.”
“You haven’t been talking to Blaine again, have you?” The ‘Chief’ answered with a smile.
“No, that hyena only gets on the bus when he rides with you. He’s too important for us normal folk, you know.” ‘Chief’ patted the bus driver on the back.
“Yeah, I know. It’s good to see you, Charles. I need to get down to the fire station, though. I’ve got a brisket cooking for the boys tonight.”
“Chief, now don’t you know I’ve heard good things about that brisket of yours? You better get gone before I wise up and come with ya!”
“You are always welcome, Charles. Please come by. I’ll save you a slice or two.” And with a handshake, Jenna watched her angel fly away. She thought to herself that maybe she could fall in love with this town after all.

Thank you for reading


  1. Hey Jess, You have my attention, your book has been on my kindle since it came out along with about 20 others! I promise to get to it this week, I'm already blushing over the Chief!

  2. Jess, when you least expect it, that's when love will find you. "For A Hero" is wonderful and is on my list of favorites that I recommend to my reader friends. ~ Shirley Bastian

  3. I bought "For a Hero" & read it as soon as I bought it. I thought this book was a very enjoyable read! I loved when Jenna put that bitch in her place at the firestation! (Sounds like something I woulda said/done in my single days...sticking up for people I cared about.) There needs to be more men like David out there!

  4. Well, done Jess. Bravo, I look forward to reading more. All the very best, Bruce