When writing, secondary characters sometimes interest the author enough to find themselves in their own book. This happened to me when I wrote Desert Inferno. David Bannister was an agent sent to Arizona to find evidence and arrest a dangerous man. He was slick, handsome, and dangerous. He and the hero of Inferno, Jake Donovan, became friends. I began to wonder about David's background. When I figured it out, Bannister's Way was on its way.
The heroine was a sculptress, teacher, and David's ex-wife. To catch a murderer, David was going undercover but didn't have in mind what his partner set up for him.
Having been in a lot of art classes, some with nude models, having painted and sculpted nudes, Raven was a fun heroine for me
David only half listened as he heard her tell them about the value there was to be had from taking seriously a study of fine art, how throughout the ages great artists have seen the study of the body--the musculature, the bone structure, in short the anatomy--was important to make their work come alive. They must take seriously the study of the nude--
Whoa! What had she just said? Nude! Who said anything about... nude? And then he knew and wished nothing so much as that Vance was nearby where he could get his hands around his throat. A good dodge, a natural way in, his friend had said. Friend, hah! He'd kill him!
He barely heard the rest of Raven's instructions. It was impossible. No way under this earth or above it could he take off his clothes in front of all these people! He looked at the students, at their interested gazes in a new way. They must know he was the model, the guinea pig, the sacrificial lamb, the... No! He would not strip. It was out of the question. No way could he do it.
Raven's voice broke through his thoughts. "At one time, I wouldn't have had to say what I am going to next, but times have changed and so have people. There will be no commenting about the model, nor any jokes." One of the girls giggled in what to David seemed a nasty way. He stared at her, wondering how such an innocent looking young woman could have such a perverted giggle. He looked back at Raven, who was looking over the students. "You will at no time treat the model with less than respect. You will not touch him. This is a serious class. If you behave as though your time here is a joke or an opportunity for voyeurism, you will be kicked out of the class. If it happens soon enough, you might be able to just drop it. If it’s too late, you will get a failing grade.”
He felt angry at her for the position in which he found himself, then he remembered her uncertainty, the many opportunities she had extended, trying to give him a graceful way out of it. Except he hadn't known what it was. He remembered her question--are you sure you know what you're doing? His own confident answer--of course.
He stared down at his scarred boot and thought again of Vance--the man who called himself friend, who had to be somewhere snickering, laughing at the ultimate stunt. This was the worst of the tricks to which Rich had ever subjected him. David's breathing wasn't coming easily as he considered how it would feel to be nude in a room where everyone else was clothed, of being stared at--intimately.
It is for art, he reminded himself. Everyone knew about the old masters, their works. Michelangelo’s David. Rodin’s Age of Bronze. He'd seen nude paintings on museum walls but never thought about the flesh and blood models who had posed for those works. The thought of being one of those models had never entered his head.
He’d almost turned down the assignment just on it being as a model--a fully clothed model. Only his interest, in what had appeared to be an unsolvable case and the knowledge that his ex-wife taught the class, had persuaded him. Now what was he going to do?