Introducting Caterina Shaw & Dr. Liliana Carrera from ‘Sins of the Flesh’ by Caridad Pineiro
I’m a sucker for strong female characters in a book, maybe because I’ve been able to have so many strong women in life as role models. Of course, strong women need strong men to balance them and I’m not just talking about physically strong. I’m talking emotionally centered men who know how to respect and nurture the powerful women in their lives.
But back to strong female characters. There are a number of them in SINS OF THE FLESH and I’d like to share some behind-the-scenes frank talk between two of those characters – Caterina Shaw, the heroine of the book, and Dr. Liliana Carrera, the younger sister of Mick, the hero.
Mick paced back and forth across the foot of the bed, distracting Liliana as she set up the plasmapheresis unit necessary to filter the harmful byproducts of the inhibitor complex from Caterina’s blood. As he paced, he shot occasional looks at Caterina as she lay in bed, her face flushed with the fever from the poisons in her system.
He was driving her crazy, so Liliana stopped working on the IV lines and faced him. “Why don’t you go get Caterina a soda?”
He immediately stopped and shot a confused look at the other woman. “Are you thirsty?”
Cat glanced from Liliana to Mick and then nodded slowly. “Yes, please. Grape soda if they have it.”
“Sure. I’ll be back in a second,” he said and rushed from the room, clearly determined to complete his task.
“Grape?” Liliana asked as she resumed her work, untangling the IV lines and bringing them to Caterina’s side.
Familiar with the treatment, Cat held out her arm so Liliana could insert the first needed and said, “I supposed they may not have grape soda down in the hospital cafeteria.”
“And you supposed Mick would do whatever he could to get you grape soda. I guess he was making you as crazy as he was me,” Liliana replied as she eased the IV needle into Caterina’s arm.
Only a small flinch communicated that there was any discomfort on Caterina’s part and Liliana went to her other arm, repeated the action. With a few more efficient movements, she had the assorted monitors in place on Caterina and kicked on the plasmapheresis unit.
Liliana sat down and laid her hand over Caterina’s as it rested on the edge of the hospital bed. “You’ve been feeling better?”
“Better,” Caterina said, but even as she did so, Liliana could see the color drain from her face, a reaction to the demands of the treatment she was undergoing.
“Good enough to finally let Mick know that you love him?” Liliana asked.
“Kind of nosy, but I guess it’s because – “
“I love my brother and I think he loves you,” Liliana said and wasn’t quite certain of whether or not that was a good thing.
Caterina slipped her hand from beneath Liliana’s and nervously plucked at the sheet on the bed. “I . . . care for him.”
“But you’re afraid. Of him?”
The answer was immediate. “No, well, not anymore.”
“Then of what?” Liliana pressed although she knew. She would be afraid as well if she had non-human genes replicating wildly throughout her body. But she also knew that sometimes facing your fears made them easier to deal with. She should know. She had found the courage to face down her ex-fiance and welcomed the peace that decision had brought.
“Of me,” Caterina said, her voice thick with emotion and tears glittering in her eyes. “Of what’s happening in my body,” she added, sweeping her hand along the length of her body in a gesture that sent the assorted monitors attached to her into fits of beeping and warnings.
“Sorry,” Caterina said and Liliana reached out, once again laid her hand over Caterina’s.
“No need to apologize to me,” she stressed and tenderly squeezed Caterina’s hand. “As for what’s happening in your body, trust me to make it better. Trust your heart to decide what to do about Mick.”
A weak smile slipped onto Caterina’s face. “Thank you. For everything.”
Liliana gripped her hand more tightly and was about to reply when Mick arrived at the door, grape soda in hand.
“I think it’s time for me to go,” Liliana said and walked toward her brother. At the door, she hugged him hard and said, “You take good care of Cat.”
“I will,” he said and as she walked down the hall, Liliana had no doubt that Mick would. That was the kind of man he was, her big brother. A hero and protector. He would do the right thing by Caterina, but in her heart she worried, would Caterina do the right thing by him.