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In a romance novel, the characters are the plot. Their foibles and flaws, wants and needs, drive the action and the way the plot unfolds. For Surreal Neal, I had to come up with a man who was handsome enough to catch Drew and Sophia’s eyes, intriguing enough to keep their interest, and kinky enough to bring something to the table that had been missing.

The other challenge I faced was in making sure neither Drew nor Sophia felt like their relationship was deficient. I wanted the addition of Neal to improve upon what they already had. This is part of the journey Sophia and Drew take as they fall for this imperfect hero.

Neal had to be submissive and a bit of a masochist because Sophia is a Domme and a bit of a sadist. He also needed to be strong because Drew is attracted to strong personalities. He makes the pair work to earn his trust, his submission, and ultimately his heart. He is the first man with whom Sophia voluntarily shares the details of her violent past. He’s a mirror, someone who can help her view her own life through a new viewpoint. Ultimately, he takes her further in the healing process.

Neal is the also first man who awakens Drew’s inner Dom. Until now, Drew had been content to sit back and let Sophia handle the role of Dominant. As he explores this new part of himself, he also gets a chance to see his life and his actions through an alternate lens.

In bringing perspective to both Sophia and Drew, Neal helps them become better people. In turn, they show him that he can learn to trust and love again. That part of his life isn’t over. It’s just beginning.

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