>By the time I had completed Chasing the Wind, I not only knew it was the beginning of a series, I knew the basic plot points of each of the subsequent books. I also knew that the later books would involve the future generations of the Mackenzie and Stewart families–particularly Daniel Mackenzie and Rusty Stewart.
I write everything down as it comes to me and file it away in case senility sets in and I can’t even remember my own name. In the following scene, Daniel, now twenty-five, is struggling to establish his own identity and deal with the supernatural gifts inherited from his father. As a result of his psychological rebellion, he’s become a bit of a scoundrel….
* * * * * * * * * *
The storm had knocked out the power.
From the moment Serena entered the house, she had the uneasy feeling she was not alone. She moved cautiously in the darkness, looking for a weapon–something, anything, with which she could defend herself. After a few frantic moments, she remembered the broadsword. It was hanging on the wall in the foyer.
She’d inherited it from her late father. It had been handed down through generations of his family. Now, it might well save her life. She gripped it tightly. Whoever was in the house was very close now. Watching her. Approaching her from behind….
Serena acted quickly. She spun around, stomping down hard on the intruder’s foot as she brought the sword upward, pushing him back against the wall.
“Put that thing down before you hurt somebody!” he yelped.
Serena immediately recognized the voice. She looked up in the darkness, realizing she had the blade pressed to his throat. “Daniel Mackenzie–what the hell are you doing here?” she demanded, lowering the sword.
“I could ask you the same question,” he responded, taking a deep breath.
“I live here, remember?”
“You were supposed to be in Hong Kong,” he said. “I thought I’d get the rest of my things and be gone before you came home.”
“I couldn’t be so fortunate.”
The lights came on abruptly. Serena wished they hadn’t. Face-to-face with him, he was damn near impossible to resist: well over six feet tall, with thick hair that was either chestnut or golden, depending upon the lighting, blue eyes that often held a wicked gleam, and a seductive grin. He’s hot and he knows it, she thought miserably.
He bent to pick up his hat, which had fallen when she pinned him to the wall. He’d had the battered fedora for as long as she’d known him. And those scuffed boots, she thought, glancing downward in an attempt to avoid his eyes. All his family’s money and he dresses like a bum. It had never mattered to Serena. Daniel without clothes was spectacular. So what if he never made the cover of GQ?
“Come on, Serena,” he said in a teasing tone. “You still love me. Admit it.”
“Any woman who loves you has to have a masochistic streak,” she shot back at him. “Get your things and go.”
“You’re not even going to offer me a drink?” he asked. A lock of his hair fell across his forehead. Serena stifled an urge to push it back, as she’d done out of habit when they were together.
He didn’t wait for her response. He stepped past her and went into the kitchen, taking a bottle of beer from the refrigerator. “I see you still keep it around,” he observed as he opened it.
“Serena, my dear, you don’t drink beer,” he reminded her. “You kept this here for me, didn’t you?”
“No,” she said with a shrug. “Just never bothered to get rid of it.”
He lifted the bottle to his mouth and took a long drink. “I’ve missed you, you know.”
“Haven’t found a replacement yet?” she asked.
He tried, but didn’t quite manage, to feign innocence. “I could never replace you.”
“Daniel, you’re so full of shit your eyes should be brown,” she told him. “Now, would you please just collect your things and leave?”
“You’d send me out into this storm?” he asked, playing the pity card.
“Storms have never bothered you before.”
“Maybe I’m just making excuses.”
She laughed at that. “Maybe?”
“Maybe I just want to be with you.”
“Maybe you just want to get laid.”
He laughed. “You say that as if it’s a bad thing.”
“Look, I don’t intend to be a casualty of war,” she told him. “You need to exorcise your demons, Daniel.”
“Demons aren’t allowed anywhere me,” he said, his tone suddenly somber.