I couldn’t decide who to write about for C. I have more than one character in the series who starts with C. There’s Carol Brooke(Kayla’s grandma), Caitlin Cooper(Adrian’s niece), Caitie Magaldi(Adrian’s cousin) and her older brother, Cormac, Callum & Connor(Adrian’s younger brothers), Christopher Takoda(James’ stepson). There’s a few others that are mostly distant cousins of Adrian(I have a very detailed family tree, my favorite form of procrastination).
Two of my favorites of these to write, though, have been Caitie Magaldi and Callum Riley.
Caitie was a bit unexpected, and so very different than me. She’s small, and often mistaken as a teenager. In fact, when Mark Young, firefighter and former Marine, first meets her that’s exactly what he thinks she is and so is very disturbed by his reaction to her. Until she sets him straight. She has an attitude about twice her size, though. Not a bad one, in fact she tends to be a bit bubbly and friendly. But, she doesn’t back down for much.
Caitie grew up with a father who ran a chain of pubs and a mother who’s a cop. Her two older brothers, Cormac and Brannon(named after an uncle but almost exclusively goes by Brann), joined the police department, and Caitie followed in their footsteps a few years later. She also has a younger brother, Giovanni, who was the only one to follow in their father into business. She moved to Crystal Glen, like her older cousin, Adrian, so she didn’t feel like she was always walking in her mother’s & brothers’ shadows. She ran into Mark Young a second time at Kayla and Adrian’s wedding and after one night together, thought she wouldn’t see him again(which she wasn’t too happy about). Of course, we can’t let that happen. 😉
From the first time Caitie & Mark run into each other after the wedding:
Caitie took a step forward. “Need some help here, Ham?”
“Just for these dumb smoke eaters to tell me what happened.”
She met Nolan’s gaze first and saw the smile spread across his face. “Fairy. What the hell are you doing here?”
Mark’s head jerked up at that. She saw him wince at the movement, but his gaze didn’t leave hers. There was pain in his eyes, but anger came in to cover it. “Caitie? What the hell?”
Then, his gaze moved down. Her skin tingled, as it roved over her chest to her badge, down to her waist, then back up, taking in her uniform. She held herself still, but she saw the muscle in his jaw twitch. “What the hell?” He said again.
She could feel Ham’s gaze on her too. “What’s going on, Magaldi? You know these guys?”
“Those two,” she said, indicating Mark and Nolan. She had to keep her eyes off Mark though. “They were at Adrian’s wedding. I don’t know the others.”
“They were there too,” Nolan said. “You must have missed them when you couldn’t take your eyes off Mark.”
“Shut the fuck up, Nolan,” Mark snarled.
He wasn’t looking at her anymore. Instead his gaze was focused across the room. That hurt, but she wasn’t going to let it show. Kayla had told her how he felt about women in their kind of jobs. Even if he’d been there when she woke up, it wouldn’t have worked.
“Let him get seen, and I’ll tell you anything you want to know,” Nolan was saying.
“I didn’t get hit in the fucking head. I’d remember that.”
“Obviously not,” Caitie said, putting one hand to the bruise on his face. He flinched, and she dropped her hand. She wanted to keep touching him though. And it was killing her that he wouldn’t even look her way. “You need to be seen, Mark. So, be a good boy…”
He growled and pushed up from the chair, shrugging off Nolan’s hand. When he towered over her, she should have been scared. But, she still remembered how gentle his hands were on her the other night. He didn’t frighten her.
Now, Callum, surprised me as well, but for different reasons. When he first showed up in Flames of Redemption, I didn’t expect too much from him. He was just Adrian’s younger brother, a recovering addict(although, at the time, I wasn’t even sure how *recovering* he was). There was a lot of conflict between him and Adrian since Adrian was the one who had arrested him about 2 years earlier. Some of that conflict remained in the next couple books, but by the time I started writing Callum’s story, Adrian was back on his brother’s side. And, a snippet of the two brothers together:
When he’d disappeared, Adrian sighed and crouched next to where Callum was sifting through the bolts laying on the ground. “What’s going on, Cal?”
He shook his head. “Nothing. I wish people would stop asking.”
“You’ve been acting weird since Easter. Even more since you moved here. Will you talk to me?”
Callum tossed one of the bolts to the ground. “Why? So you can lord it over me that I threw away the one possibly good thing in my life? That I let her walk away from me? What am I supposed to do? She’s the only one who looked at me and saw through all the shit I pulled. She’s the only one who saw me, Adrian. And she abandoned me when I was at my lowest. But, that’s my fault, too.”
“No, Adrian, it’s true. I made her promises. That I would get clean. That I would stay clean. That I wouldn’t go back. I broke all of those and spent nearly two years behind bars. Why the hell wouldn’t she walk away from me? And now she’ll barely look at me.”
He saw Adrian freeze. “You’ve seen her again?”
He nodded and gripped his arm tight. “At the fire yesterday. She was there.”
He finally looked up, and Adrian’s eyes were dark, shuttered. “She’s with the department.”
“Yes. She always talked about joining. I didn’t know she’d gone through with it.”
“Who, Cal? I don’t know which shift that would be.”
“Megan,” he said, her name just a breath across his lips. “Megan Luzat.”
“Damn. I’m sorry, Cal.”
He shook his head and walked over to the next piece they needed to attach to the swingset. “It doesn’t matter. Hell, why should I expect her to forgive me? I can’t even forgive myself. I don’t deserve to.”
“You know that isn’t true, Callum. You made mistakes. Your coping methods hurt you and others. But, you paid for that. And you’ve been making up for it. You don’t need to keep punishing yourself. I know I had my doubts about if you were serious this time. I don’t anymore. So, stop beating yourself up.”
“Whatever, Adrian,” he said, but a smile slid across his face as his brother slid the bolt into place, attaching the piece to the rest of it.