Author Takeover: Virginia Vaughan

A Reluctant Hero

Thank you, Dana, for allowing me to post on your blog today!

In a few short days, book #3 of my Cowboy Lawmen series, TEXAS TARGET STANDOFF, releases. Since I started this series, I’ve been fascinated by how the character of Paul Avery has grown throughout the previous two books. To be honest, when I started this series, I had only a vague idea of who he was and what his story would be but, as he made appearances in the first two books of the series, I became intrigued. He had established himself as highly skilled, fiercely loyal, and the first one to step into danger. I couldn’t wait to write his story!

If you read Book #2, Texas Holiday Hideout, you know the last we see of Paul Avery is him getting run down by a car in an attempt to save his sister-in-law and nephew from a killer. Even though the story eventually has a happy ending (*spoiler), Paul Avery is left suffering another injury and another failure, something that continues to haunt him throughout his own story. In the opening scene of TEXAS TARGET STANDOFF, he’s barely recovered from that injury but desperate to get back to his SEAL team, and he needs heroine Shelby Warren’s recommendation to do so. Yet, even in their first encounter, he’s keeping his real emotions to himself.

He’s what my grandfather used to call “a tough nut to crack”. He is a character intent on keeping his thoughts and feelings to himself… even from me, his creator! My conventional methods of getting to know this character wasn’t working so I had to find a new approach to get this reluctant hero talking. So, I followed my heroine’s example…and interviewed his family. I knew if he wouldn’t talk to me, they would, and, boy, did they!

As you can see below, his parents and siblings had much to say about their navy SEAL son and brother when I asked their view of him.


Mother – “he’s sad, never laughs”

Father – “he worries too much; won’t surrender to God’s control”

Lawson (brother) – “he’s someone you can always count on”

Bree (sister-in-law) – “he’s gentle with the horses but hard to get to know”

Josh (brother) – “he pushes himself too hard; seeks perfection in himself and everyone else”

Colby (brother) – “he fights hard and always gets back up no matter how many times he’s been knocked down”

Kellyanne (sister) – “he has the typical big brother attitude; always thinks he knows best”

Miles (brother) – “he’s loyal to a fault but keeps his emotions close to his chest”

Melissa (sister-in-law) – “he’s like one of those candies—hard shell but gooey on the inside”

I did finally get this character to open up to me—probably he just wanted an opportunity to counter his family’s opinions! He turned out to be a very interesting and complex character and oh-so-easy to fall in love with. He proved himself vulnerable, stubborn, fiercely loyal, and a fighter, but it’s Melissa, the newest outsider’s, view of Paul that I think sums him up perfectly—hard shell but gooey on the inside. And isn’t that the best kind of hero?

If you’d like to get to know navy SEAL Paul Avery better too, check out his story in TEXAS TARGET STANDOFF, book #3 in my Cowboy Lawmen series with Love Inspired Suspense. It releases March 1st but it now available for pre-order.  

QUESTION & AN OPPORTUNITY TO WIN: What’s your favorite trait to see in a romantic hero? Comment below to win an opportunity to win a paperback copy of TEXAS TARGET STANDOFF (US only; e-book outside the US).



Texas Target Standoff Blurb:

A sniper lurks closer…

and only a navy SEAL can save her.

When psychologist Shelby Warren suddenly becomes a sniper’s target, navy SEAL Paul Avery springs into action to protect her. He needs her evaluation to get back to his team…and rescuing her might finally give him the redemption he’s been searching for. But when danger follows them to his family’s Texas ranch, keeping Shelby safe could be his most difficult assignment yet.

From Harlequin Love Inspired Suspense: Courage. Danger. Faith.

Cowboy Lawmen

Book 1: Texas Twin Abduction

Book 2: Texas Holiday Hideout

Book 3: Texas Target Standoff

Author Bio:

Virginia Vaughan is a Publisher’s Weekly Bestselling author of inspirational romantic suspense. She was a lover of books even from a young age, devouring gothic romance novels and stories of romance, danger, and love. She soon started writing them herself. A former investigator for the State of Mississippi, Virginia utilizes her criminal justice background with her love of writing to transform words into powerful stories of romance and danger. Don’t miss her fourteenth book with Love Inspired Suspense, TEXAS TARGET STANDOFF, releasing March 1, 2021.

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  1. Paty Hinojosa on February 22, 2021 at 9:12 pm

    Hi! Your book sounds intriguing! I’d love to read it!
    My favorite trait in a hero is kindness and compassion! Many others, but those are a must!
    Thanks for the chance! You’re a new author to me.,

    • Virginia Vaughan on February 23, 2021 at 2:24 pm

      Hi, Paty! Thanks for stopping by and commenting. I agree, compassion and kindness are so important.

  2. Marilyn on February 22, 2021 at 9:28 pm

    A favorite trait in a romantic hero is his integrity and compassion. This sounds like an intriguing story. Thank you for giveaway opportunity.

    • Virginia Vaughan on February 23, 2021 at 2:25 pm

      Thanks for stopping by, Marilyn!

  3. Trixi on February 22, 2021 at 10:00 pm

    I like those “tough nuts to crack” heroes….strong on the outside, but absolute mush on the inside. Even though they try their best to hide it! I also like loyalty, honesty,and integrity. A hero you can count on when things get tough!

    Thank you for the giveaway chance to win “Texas Target Standoff”, sound like a good book and series to read!

    • Virginia Vaughan on February 23, 2021 at 2:25 pm

      I agree, Trixi! Thanks for commenting.

  4. Theresa Faith on February 22, 2021 at 10:25 pm

    Hi Virginia! Your stellar reputation precedes you and I am honored to be able to visit with you tonight.
    I absolutely LOVE NavySEALS! I have a WIP with the hero as one. The best of the best always intrigue me.
    Cruelty is the worst thing in the world to me. So the opposite obviously is the best. Kindness? Not sure that word is sufficient but it’s close enough. Gentle? Yes, but not TOO gentle else what kind of here would he be, haha. Needs to be able to fight off the bad guys for sure. My husband is the perfect man. So my word is Myles. I may have to add on my phone is not letting me scroll up. Theresa Faith

  5. Virginia Vaughan on February 23, 2021 at 2:28 pm

    I agree, Theresa! Navy SEAL heroes are fun to write.

  6. Ernestine K aye Haggard on February 23, 2021 at 4:49 pm

    Kindness ,Trust,Passion is what I like in a Here.I dont like crutlyat at all or meanness.This book sounds great I’ve got to get it.

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