Nolan Hunter is another character who was supposed to basically be a throwaway. I simply needed another firefighter in the scene. Then, as I was plotting Flames of Retribution(book 3), I realized he was a very close friend of Mark’s. And I realized why. It was about halfway through writing that one, I also realized Nolan has a secret he’s been keeping(even from that closest friend) and that he’d be getting his own story. I actually thought his story would come right after Mark’s, but I was surprised again. There was one other between them, but I’m working on Nolan’s right now.
Name: Nolan Hunter
Parents: Carrick & Ariana Hunter
Siblings: Older brothers – Tate & Kelan, Younger brother – Jace, Younger sister – Jessica
Background: Nolan grew up in Crystal Glen right in the middle of a large family. The son of a construction worker and art teacher, he always felt slightly apart from his close-knit family. Always a bit quiet and introspective, he still wasn’t the creative type. He spent two years in college pursuing a degree in psychology before leaving to join the Marine Corps. He served for four years, but after being wounded and realizing it wasn’t the life for him, didn’t reenlist. Instead, he went home and joined the fire department as he still wanted to help people. But, he worried the same people who had welcomed him home as a hero would shun him if they ever learned the secret he kept.
And a snippet from Nolan’s story(him & Mark are talking about Mark’s sister at the beginning. And yes, I need to clear up who’s saying what better. This is rough).
“What’s she have to say anyway? I know the kids start to school next week.”
“Evan’s being a fuckhead about something. She didn’t say what exactly, except he apparently wants them back. Asshole,” he muttered.
“He didn’t care about them when he had them. Why would he want them back now?”
“I don’t know, brother. She says she won’t go back. I just hope she sticks to it.”
“You know, I used to think she was happy just being the trophy wife. If I’d known how miserable she actually was-”
“She didn’t want you to know, Mark. I knew. I could hear it when I talked to her. But, she denied it even to me. She’d just say she was tired or the kids were wearing her out. I knew that wasn’t it, but I let it go.” He clenched his fist now. “I wish I’d done more before she was completely miserable.”
“It wasn’t for you to do anything. It’s still not.”
His head whipped back up, but Mark held his hands out in front of him. “No need to jump at me, brother. I’m not saying I’d stand in the way if she wants a relationship with you. I’m just saying she has to be the one to make herself not miserable. Isn’t that pretty much what you told me earlier this year.”
Nolan knew his friend was right. And it’s what he’d been telling Mark for longer than six months. More like six years. “I was going to check on them when our shift is over.”
He caught the smirk on Mark’s face but ignored it. “Should I keep my tux handy?” he asked.
Nolan barked out a laugh. “Like you own one. I figured you’d wear Class As like you did to Kayla’s wedding.” Then, he froze at what he’d just insinuated. “Shit. I didn’t mean that. I don’t have any plans to marry your sister.”
“And why not?” Mark asked. “There’s nothing wrong with her. Are you ashamed of your feelings for her, too?”
Damn, why did it feel like everyone was ganging up on him on this topic? “I’m not ashamed of any of my feelings. I’ve told you that before. But, she’s just getting out of one marriage. Why would I rush her into another?”
“I noticed you haven’t done much rushing,” Mark admitted. “That kind of surprised me.”
“I figured she’d need some space. Time to figure out what she wants. I’ll be there for her when she does decide what that is, though.”
“And if she decides it’s not you?” Mark asked, serious again.
He shrugged one shoulder. “I’ll be fine.”
Nolan knew by the look Mark sent him that he didn’t really believe it. Nolan wasn’t so sure he did either. But, he needed to make himself. He knew she’d been pushed into the relationship with her ex-husband by her father. This time a relationship had to be her decision, not anyone else’s.