When I let people read what I write, the first person who reads them is my sister, Tierra. And boy does she have opinions. For example, she boycotted reading book three for a solid month because she had a feeling that I was going to undo the relationship between her two favorite characters. Well, I am, so she was right, but I was convinced that once she read it, she would come to the same conclusion that I had---they don't belong together and they SHOULDN'T get a happily ever after.
Eventually she read it, and the first thing she said was: "You made me hate him." Which is the correct response. I was right. I didn't want to be. I had originally planned for these two to end up together, but somewhere in the middle of the second book, they told me it wasn't supposed to end that way. Their story was never meant to be happy, and while it hurt all of us to end it, we had to. In a way, I grieved for that relationship that only lived inside my head more than I grieved some real life relationships that ended.
Now, in book four, I am bringing together two characters who have both been with other people in the series, but who, in my mind, make more sense than just about anyone else. I know that readers will hate the progression when they realize what is happening, but I can only hope that if they stay on the ride with me, and finish it, they will have the same reaction Tierra and I did. This is how it was always supposed to be. I didn't like it at first. I actively decided to stop writing for two weeks hoping the characters would change their mind, and I cried when I wrote the final scene between them as their relationship imploded. But my books are better, and more complete, because of it.
Here's a small excerpt from book four. I'm eliminating names to preserve the surprises in my plot, but I'll mail a digital cookie to anyone who figures it out. This scene is where two characters are talking about their feelings and how they came to figure out that they were going to be together. Enjoy and let me know what you think.
She shook her head. “I can manage.” She looked around ruefully. “This is where I brought Griffin to clean her up after the Familiars attacked us.” She sighed deeply and shucked off her jeans. “This is hitting way too close to home. Everywhere I look there are memories.”
He nodded solemnly. “You don’t need to tell me about it. I’m right there with you.” He held her hand to help her balance as she climbed into the shower and pulled the curtain shut. “I’ll wait right outside in case you need me.” He paused at the door. “This is going to be hardest on us. You know that, right?”
She poked her head out. “We’ve been careening toward this since the Choosing, maybe even before. It was never going to be easy, and it was never going to be right. It was just always going to be.”
He ran his hands over his face. “I think that’s what makes it the hardest. I didn’t have much of a choice. You and _________ had to happen. You and I are choosing this, when we both know we shouldn’t.”
She disappeared back into the shower. “We deserve that choice. We’ve paid our dues. We’ve both done everything they’ve asked, and everything they’ve demanded. We deserve to make some choices on our own.”