• Happy Hulk

When I first started writing Rubies of the Viper, I expected that Stefan would be the co-protagonist. He seemed to have all the right stuff: a gorgeous, gigantic physique, a happy-go-lucky disposition, and a lifelong relationship with the heroine.

As often happens in writing, however, the character soon began to exert his independence and took off in his own direction. Before I knew what was happening, the Leading Man had turned into a Hound Dog.

I guess it just couldn’t be helped.

Stefan is, to put it delicately, a chick magnet. Hardly a woman looks at him without getting ideas. Rich or poor, patrician or plebeian, free or slave… they all find themselves drawn to his irresistible animal magnetism. And he, kind soul that he is, (almost) always is happy to oblige.

But Stefan’s great physical presence hides a couple of nasty little secrets.

He’s a coward. A lover, not a fighter. On several occasions, when he has an opportunity to defend the woman he supposedly loves, he just stands there and lets somebody else come to her rescue.

He’s also a moral weakling. All those women throwing themselves at him… It’s not his fault. He can’t help himself. Fidelity just ain’t in his blood.

—text copyright © Martha Marks—