E is for Ex-wife or girlfriend
"Heaven has no rage like love to hatred turned
Nor hell a fury like a woman scorned."
(William Congreve 1670-1729)
As Jim Samuels said "A wife lasts only for the length of the marriage, but an ex-wife is there for the rest of your life." And when they do hang around, ex-wives, whether they chose their ex-certificate or not, make excellent villains, as I've discovered. And I'm not alone. Ex-wives are stereotypically jealous, avaricious and vindictive - what better qualities can you ask for in a good villain?
Ex-wives and girlfriends (even an ex-boyfriend) have worked villainously well for me in two stories. In Shopping for Love, Greg's ex, Josie, chose to leave her husband for a man who promised her a more glamorous lifestyle. However, although she discarded Greg, she is determined not to let him find happiness with anyone else. Emma's ex-boyfriend, Bailey, is not as malicious as Josie, but is equally intent on keeping close tabs on Greg and Emma's happiness - and throwing the occasional spanner in the works when and where he can.
But my most hated villain so far is Amber Rayne, former lead singer of Wishful and ex-girlfriend of Christian Goodchild in Wishful Thinking. With her psychopathic tendencies, Amber will go to any lengths to destroy Christian's blossoming relationship with Jess.
After lunch Christian’s manager, Tom Powers arrived to talk business and whisked an apologetic Christian off to his study after being introduced to Jess. Jess and Ben settled into a sitting room with a TV the size of a cinema screen to await Christian’s return. They had just decided on a film to watch when Amber sauntered in.
“So, ghost-writer, Jess, how and when exactly did you meet our Christian?” she asked, reclining on a nearby sofa and pulling her legs up underneath the cushions.
Jess explained very briefly how they had met.
Amber nodded thoughtfully. “No time at all, then. Of course we go back absolute centuries – right to the start of Wishful. I suppose he’s told you all about me?”
“Actually no. He’s told me very little,” Jess answered.
“Perhaps that’s because it’s so complicated - as you can imagine after so many years. We’ve often talked about marriage, you know.”
Jess compressed her lips for a brief moment. “I read you were going to marry Adam Ainsworth,” she said as calmly as her tremulous voice would allow.
Amber shrugged her shoulders before fluttering her fingers in a dismissive gesture. “The press will say anything – you should know that.” Amber glanced at her hand for a moment and Jess wondered if she was counting her fake nails or contemplating her future wedding ring. “Your little boy is adorable. Where does Benjamin’s daddy figure in your lives?”
Jess refused to answer, partly because she felt it was none of Amber’s business and partly because she did not want to discuss the subject in front of Ben. She had already seen him roll his eyes and shake his head at the mention of his name. He disliked being called Benjamin and muttered “I’m Ben” under his breath, but she thought Amber had probably not heard him.
Amber gave her a knowing look. “Off limits? Yes, I suppose it can be difficult for some people when strangers start prying into your personal backgrounds, can’t it?”
“The very last thing I would want to do – and I’m sure that goes for Christian as well,” Jess said in a voice shaking with pent-up frustration, “Is cause any personal distress to anyone. The idea behind the autobiography is for Chris to document the history of the band and his involvement in it – not to do some tabloidesque exposé!”
“Oh that’s how Chris sees it, is it?” Amber asked, the emphasis on his name sounding derisory. “But he’ll never tell you the full truth about us. Believe me, ghost-writer – if he did, he knows he wouldn’t see you – or your darling little boy - again for dust.” And with those words, Amber rose and left the room, leaving Jess trembling with misery and frustration.
There's a review on Amazon which produced a huge smile when I read it: "I love Ms Sofras' villains. I want to find them and strangle them before they spoil everything."