Who’s Best For Aydan?

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Judging by the comments in last week’s post, it seems like this is the top question on everyone’s minds.  So let’s go for it:

Which man is the best ‘forever after’ for Aydan:  John, Arnie, or Tom? (Or some combination? Or someone else entirely?) Why?

Is ‘forever after’ even a viable choice for her, or will her ingrained reactions and defense mechanisms ultimately poison any committed relationship she attempts?  Do any of the men have enough patience, empathy, and commitment to weather the storm?

39 thoughts on “Who’s Best For Aydan?

  1. A quickie comment as I’m at work eating cheese and crackers

    Arnie!!!! He understands what she needs and can give, I’d say any relationship between the two is honest and trusted, and that’s from day 1, when he almost beat her up even if she had a good go back giggles remembering.

    They trust each other completely if not why would they try bondage? Even if Arnie really wanted to see if he could let go and not hurt Aydan. As he didn’t it shows trust on both sides

    Liked by 1 person

    1. When did Arnie and Aydan ever engage in bondage? Other than Aydan tying Arnie down a time or two in book 11, they both are very clear that bondage doesn’t do it for either of them.
      You had it right in what you said later, it was about Arnie letting the feral beast loose without injuring Aydan. The other occasion was about comforting each other in the night without the worry of injury during a nightmare. Although each instance involved being tied, because neither of them desire to control or dominate the other, it isn’t accurate to say they tried bondage- it just looks a bit like bondage. You are right that Arnie exhibited a very deep trust in Aydan and himself to allow it all to happen. It is clearly an unprecedented level of intimacy shared. They are remarkably attuned to each other. I can’t imaging either of them ignoring such a deep connection. I can imagine them continuing much as they are now in their own homes and lives and not desiring marriage or daily contact.
      I think it isn’t just something Aydan says on occasion to keep Arnie from freaking out. She is not going to get married to anyone and she will not raise children. If society views that as being f’ed up, so be it.

      Therefore she is totally incompatible with John and his goals. They need to keep it platonic and remain good friends and teammates.

      Recalling Julie H’s scenario from a few days ago during introductions, I can see just how it would all work out. In doing research for one of the missions under Stemp’s command, an analyst finds a report about the Joint Strike Task Force dealing with terrorists on the commune land and figures out the involvement of Moonbeam and Karma. The analyst must report it to Stemp. Stemp uses his parents for a covert op and they learn about the true nature of his work and the rest of Julie’s plot falls into place.

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      1. LOVE the idea of Stemp stumbling onto the info about the commune!!!! EXCELLENT!!!!! Stemp is good, but it’s time for John to take over, and start to be a dad.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I dunno about John taking over, it would put him in a position to know more about our girl, which could be a good or bad thing depending on your point of view.

          We know how everything will affect Aydan if she retires but as John has feelings for her although they may have changed now he has his son and his ex back in his life, he could make life that bit easier or that bit harder for Aydan. Don’t forget Aydan was getting help from Stemp to become more informed about being an agent, the way John doesn’t let things go it could make it that much harder for her to pull off being a spy if she is doing spy 101 course’s, she got away with it with Stemp due to the trauma she had gone though but John would ask far more questions

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          1. I think Aydan is the right person to take over for Stemp. She has to stay with the department anyway and she has already shown good people handling skills and problem solving talent. If she ends up in a position of authority, wouldn’t the two alpha males (Kane and Tom) have a lot of problems with it? Hellhound gives her the support she would need, and I love their relationship!

            Liked by 2 people

            1. I can’t are Aydan taking over, not when Dermott and John have the seniority. I think that would be pushing the envelope a bit to much.

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  2. Okay, John’s out. Even for all his plusses, he’s still too needy and clingy. After all this time, he still doesn’t ‘get’ Aydan completely. Needs to deal with his issues, and needs to understand hers. And now he has the son he’s always wanted. Aydan doesn’t want kids, and John’s still gotta deal with his ex-wife’s crap. Then again, after Aydan had had enough of the whining bitch, she would, well, ‘reason’ with her. By hand. 🙂

    Tom? Unless we see lots of changes from him, he’s clearly out of the running. Lots of potential there (not a gunfire magnet, likes a lot of the same things Aydan does including the rural life, not a gunfire magnet), but weaknesses outweigh strengths…so far. But did I mention he’s not a gunfire magnet?

    Arnie? Clearly the best of the three listed options, but still not ideal. True, he is ‘protecting’ of Aydan without being ‘protective,’ if you see the difference. Has the same innate dislike of commitment, and all the other things we’ve already hashed over. But Arnie, unless we learn a lot more about him soon, is not the guy I would want for a buddy like Aydan.

    (Hm. The guy needs to like to live in the country without having to deal with livestock. He needs to love to fix stuff including old cars. Needs to like guns and be a skilled marksman. Needs to not be a gunfire magnet. Needs to know about solar and wind energy. Hey! I know a guy like that! But he’s into alien porn, so he’s off the table, so to speak.)

    Okay, for the three options listed, that’s the gospel according to me.

    Dr. Chow? Not a clue yet. But, hey! At least he’s not a gunfire magnet! Well, that I know of…

    Player to be named at a later date? Yeah. Probably that guy. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Sorry Lynn, I need to understand the meaning and significance of “gunfire magnet”. Aydan is one apparently, Arnie too, but Tom is not, nor Reggie Chow. Yet every one of them is comfortable with weapons, and as far as we know Aydan is the only one with a target on her back in her persona as a weapons dealer- although Kane has also played that role too. I’ve not been around weapons that much to know the fine points of language. Is a gunfire magnet similar to being a target?

      I shot a pistol once at a firing range in the basement of a gun store. Missed the target, missed the 4′ x 8′ sheet of plywood the target was pinned to, and that was enough for the owner. I also went shooting at an outdoor range with one of my brothers and used one of his AR-47s. It was less embarrassing, but clearly not an innate talent. I did learn to clean and reassemble that rifle, but by now, I’ve forgotten again. So yes, I’m unschooled about weapons.

      Also, I don’t think that an interest in alien porn should take a guy off the table- just saying.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. ‘Gunfire magnet’ is my sort of cavalier term for ‘prone to be shot at.’ People shoot at Aydan, John, and Arnie on a fairly regular basis, hence the term. The ones who are not gunfire magnets would be my long-term preference as a possible candidate for Aydan’s significant other, for lack of a better term. Especially now, since her cover now includes arms dealer with the obligatory over-the-top badass persona. How will she ever live long enough to retire safely and live to a ripe old age with–or at least as close as she wants to be–the man of her dreams, whoever he might be? Not the foggiest. And boy, am I glad I don’t have to figure that out! (Oh, hi, Diane!)

        The ‘significant other’ terminology is indicative enough without tying Aydan down (sorry, terrible choice of words) to an exclusive and/or too-close-for-comfort relationship.

        Are we good, Laurie? Clear as mud? 🙂

        For learning to shoot handguns, from experience I know that it’s best to start small and work up from there to as far as you want to go.

        It’s really better to start with something small and accurate like a .22 target pistol. Small to keep the initial noise/recoil intimidation down and accurate so that your target reflects your increases in skill. An inaccurate pistol is nothing but pure frustration. If it shoots for crap, how do you know when you’re improving? Go for small and accurate first. Learn the basics: hold, sight picture, trigger, etc. Then when you get all cocky and arrogant, try a Smith and Wesson 500 Magnum. NOT! 🙂

        AK47s are not really beginner guns, either. Again, it’s best to start with something small and accurate. A .22 target rifle is perfect. Again, your target will reflect your increasing skill and confidence. Then, when you’re all cocky and arrogant again, try a nice little Browning .458 Magnum. NOT! 🙂 (That caliber is suitable for elephant, rhino, and Cape buffalo…if you are a good enough shot.)

        Anyway, my best advice with firearms is to start small with something accurate and work up to whatever you are comfortable with.

        Trap and skeet? Some would suggest starting with a 16ga, but not me. Your probability of a hit as a beginner is higher with a larger shot load. Go straight to a 12ga, but use an auto-loader. Slightly less recoil. The recoil is not particularly ‘moderate,’ but wearing good ear plugs will do much to kick up the learning curve. My nano-penny’s worth.

        The alien porn reference? A whole other deal, that. 🙂

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        1. Thanks for the explanation. No one wants to be a “gun magnet” certainly, even if they have honed their skills. I just am not quite convinced that Aydan has any fear of spending time with those who might also be gun magnets, except to keep them safe from those ‘gunning’ for her lest they be caught in the crossfire. Arnie’s enemies/targets seldom live long enough to to endanger anyone else.

          Thanks also for the advice on the best weapons for novices. I’m not interested in starting an expensive new hobby. I live in a high crime urban neighborhood. I can’t afford to lose my homeowners insurance a second time which is likely to happen if I am burgled yet again, and if the burglars got hold of another firearm and this one was linked to me, I’d find it very difficult to deal with especially if it were later used to harm others. I was trying to amuse others with my story and instead I get kindness, understanding, and helpful advice. I really do appreciate the thought, Lynn. Where are those who would tell me I was wrong to even mess with guns in a responsible manner and that only those with a demonstrated need should own and use such weapons? You do have kind and thoughtful people in the group, Diane.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Thank you for that, Laurie. In a high crime areas, the idea is to wear ’em, not leave them in the house to be burgled. I’d call living in a home that’s been burgled a demonstrated need. Just sayin… 😉

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  3. Ok home from work and actually managed to eat something.

    I’ve mulled over this all afternoon, my gut says Arnie as I said earlier.
    But maybe there is someone else on the horizon that will be right.

    It would be nice to see Reggie being a new member of the gang, I think he has a place in the inner circle, he will get on with Arnie and replace John??? Coz John will be centred on his new family. Or maybe it’s just wishful thinking.

    I’d like to think there is someone out there for Aydan and Arnie. Can I volunteer myself for Arnie um OK maybe not.
    But I’m still putting it out there is be good for Arnie, I like my space he likes his, I tend not to notice if I don’t see someone for a while so not living each others pockets is great.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. LOADED QUESTION(s)!!!!
    I’m not sure if Aydan is ready for a “forever after” in the traditional sense. If some combination was the answer, then I’d have to say she has it right now. Why? Because a combination can ebb and flow, since there isn’t truly a “commitment”.
    So, I’m torn between a soul-mate and a twin-flame!!! (info on the difference between the two here: http://www.psychicsuniverse.com/articles/love-relationships/relationships/marriage/soulmates-vs-twin)
    I believe that John is a soul-mate to Aydan, but Arnie is her twin-flame. Only the choices Aydan makes will decide between which she needs in her life now. Since she still has so many “hang ups” I’m going to go with soul-mate. But it’s nice to have a twin-flame around to keep you balanced.
    So….guess my secret is out….I’m more of a hippie dippy!!!! Maybe I should move to the commune?????? LOL

    Liked by 2 people

      1. I’ve never been to a rainforest, but I’m not opposed to a visit to see how they are! I grew up a few blocks from Lake Michigan (Michigan side) and spent so much time just sitting at the edge of the lake and “chilling” while watching the waves.
        That being said, I am also a storm lover. My favorite thing to do during a storm is to sit in front of a window and watch the clouds roll in and/or listen to the rain while sitting in the dark!
        Hmmmm…when I actually write it out, I sound like a recluse!!! Not so, I LOVE to hang with my peeps and can easily socialize with strangers as well!

        Liked by 3 people

      1. I read it in a book once (what???me????read???? LOL) and decided to look into it. I am intrigued with Mythology, though I’m not as familiar with it as most people expect me to be. I’m first born generation in America (Mom’s side) and second born generation (Dad’s side) Amazingly enough, both sides of the family hail from the “greater” Kalamata area in Greece. The were friends of friends but not of each other, and my Mom met my Dad when she came to a cousin’s wedding in Michigan. Well, my Dad chased her around, and 3 moths later they were married – and they’re still together today! Love at first sight, yep, I believe in it!
        But I digress…. Since I’m 100% Greek, everyone believes I should know Greek Mythology like it’s written in my DNA….well, they didn’t teach it in the schools I went to, unless I signed up for it at University, and I didn’t, so I don’t!
        Twin-flames are part of that philosophical age when people were contemplating Gods and destiny and fate, so I do find it very interesting, even though I have no proof of it being true.

        Liked by 2 people

        1. I’m intrigued with Greek mythology, too, since so many urban fantasy books are based on it. I haven’t studied it, though – I count on the authors to give me the context I need. The funny thing is, just yesterday I read an urban fantasy book that actually mentioned twin-flames – odd coincidence!

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  5. I can’t say that I am ready to make a final determination. At times I have been cheering for each of them, but always go back to siding with John.

    Ayden’s character never feels put off, or sad where Arnie is concerned (unless of course Arnie is scared himself, or injured). She has had moments of both sadness and jealousy where John is concerned. Her feelings for him appear to run deep and the fact that that scares her is another key to the truth.

    I am happy to patiently (ok, impatiently) wait for Diane to write Ayden’s story and I’m looking forward to more of my all-time favourite characters. xoxo

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  6. Great discussion! I’ve been having fun watching it unfold, and it’s interesting that nobody has come up with a compelling argument for John. I get a lot of letters and comments cheering for him, but his fans are conspicuously quiet here.

    It’s also interesting that the poll results are beginning to skew over time. (Remember the “Whose team would you play for” poll on my main site?) I posted it around the time Book 5 and 6 were released, and in the initial polls John was ahead at 51%, Arnie was at about 22%, and 26% thought deciding would take the fun out of it. Now after Book 11, John has slipped to 46% while Arnie’s up to 30%. The poll won’t tally multiple votes from the same voter, so it seems that new voters are getting a different vibe now that the series has progressed. (But I still get lots of letters cheering for John!) 🙂

    It would be really interesting to see whether the opinions of the original voters have changed over time. Has that happened to anybody here?

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    1. I was team John at the start, but the more I read, and when I re-read I was team Arnie.

      If they were real people and I stood a chance I’d probably go for John at first but there is deffo something about Arnie, its an honesty that is just there without having to be forced. I feel that’s something you have to respect its hard not to. It’s something I always to be. It doesn’t always go down well or work out, but when it does its something you never want to loose.

      Just my two pence worth

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        1. Yes and no. When I wrote the first book, I wasn’t writing ‘seriously’ – I had no intention of admitting I’d written anything; I just wanted to see if I could do it for my own satisfaction. The story I had in mind was a standalone book with a standard plot trope: Civilian woman meets hot spy, shit happens, woman and hot spy end up together, the end.

          But then I got to know the characters and realized a) that oversimplified plot wouldn’t actually happen because a professional like John wouldn’t get involved with a woman he was supposed to prosecute or protect; and b) Hellhound, who was only supposed to be a minor walk-on character, was turning out far more complex and interesting than I’d intended. Next thing I know, Aydan’s in bed with Arnie and I’m going, “Wha… wait, what just happened here?!?”

          Then in the next couple of books, I followed the bread crumbs: In Book 1, Aydan views John as unattainable perfection – every woman’s fantasy. But what happens if he isn’t unattainable after all? Maybe every woman’s fantasy isn’t Aydan’s fantasy… or maybe it is, and she only has to summon the courage to claim it. And the rest is history… 😉

          Liked by 2 people

          1. I’m so pleased you wrote more than one book.

            I love the idea that Aydan in Arnie’s bed was as much of a shock to you, how could he have been a walk on???
            Although even your walk-on characters have depth wheeler who we haven’t seen in ages had depth and personality

            Thanks for the answer its always good to get an insider view

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          2. I’ll just say, I’m grateful for whatever happened to make you decide to publish! I absolutely LOVE these books. The characters are very “real” and fun! I love books that make react out loud – because I do laugh out loud, and gasp out loud, and even once or twice have cussed out loud!!!!! ❤

            Liked by 2 people

    2. <<<deep down am still team John…but I just love Arnie so much I don't want him to loose Aydan….UGH!!!!! I think I would be disappointed if it were finally settled between the two, because I love them both!!!!!!!!!!!

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  7. Who would I vote for now? That’s a tough one.

    When I voted ‘way back when, it was for John, because I didn’t really know who Arnie was. All I could see was the Hellhound persona, and with no more information than I had at the time, the comparison wasn’t really valid. Now, I’d hate to have to do it all again, because voting ‘for’ one of the choices would feel more like voting ‘against’ the other two.

    I don’t like voting against friends.

    I could hang with John. Honest and straightforward (within the bounds of his job, which I understand completely), car guy (we could talk, tweak, or build ’em together), gun guy (we could spend a day at a good outdoor range with everything from pistols to whatever and then kick back over a couple of frosty beverages at the end of the day and keep each other pleasantly entertained. Yep, I could hang with John.

    I could hang with Arnie. Same first and third qualifications, so no problems there. Biker. I can ride, still have my motorcycle license. If he wants to tune up his hog and then give it a good polish, I got the stuff in my garage. A buddy of mine, an apartment dweller, used to have a nice hog, and he’d bring it over every once in a while for some tweakage. Yep, I could hang with Arnie.

    I could hang with Tom, too. Probably the same three qualifications as John, if not on the same level for some of them. And I swore off the whole livestock thing when I got old enough to leave home on my own. That was my dad’s thing, not mine, but I can still saddle and ride a horse and take care of cattle. Never could rope anything, though. But the rest is like riding a bicycle. It would be a smelly, unpleasant ‘bicycle’ for me, but when one learns to ride one, one doesn’t forget how, after all. Oh, and Tom’s an EMT. I was a volunteer ambulance driver for two close friends who were fully-trained paramedics years ago. When we got the patient to the Emergency Receiving Center, they’d go inside with the accident victims or whatever, and I’d clean the blood and gore out of the back of the ambulance, disinfect it again, and help the hospital crew restock it with the supplies they’d expended on the 90 mile trip from the tiny little town where we lived out in the back of beyond to the big hospital with a real trauma center. Yep, I could hang with Tom. But he’d have to rope his own cattle and hose out his own ambulance. I don’t do that stuff anymore. 🙂

    I could hang out with any of the contenders. I just can’t vote against them.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Sounds well thought out Lynn.

      For me Arnie has always been there whispering he’s right for Aydan even when I thought it should be John.
      I’m never sure about relationships with guys who have kids and its not coz I don’t like kids, I just couldn’t eat a whole one hehe
      But seriously no I think kids should come first, and I don’t think I’m happy coming second in that sort of a relationship unless it was strong enough to cope with the introduction of a child. Maybe that’s just me and the fact I don’t have kids of my own

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  8. Well I think Aydan is fine just the wsy she is. I like that she’s kept her options open. If I had to chose, I would go with what I posted here on my first post…

    “…..I think ultimately Aydan is best suited to the unorthodox ‘relationship’ she has with Hellhound. The truth is that the trust and ease that exists between them is unsurpassed by her other love interests.

    It is Hellhound who understands her better than anyone else, and accepts her as she is without judgement. It is he that she never lies to.

    And their relationship has evolved and deepened more than any of the others. Slowly but surely they are overcoming their personal baggage – together….”

    I don’t think Aydan needs a conventional relationship. But the way the intimacy is slowly proceeding between her and Hellhound could eventually lead to a ‘committed’ relationshio on their own terms…unique terms.

    I do adore Kane. And I would like to understand why he went from being the strong silent guy who was self-assured to being so fragile. He doesn’t really listen to Aydan. He became too frustrated when she couldn’t give him what he needed even though she had been up front with him from day one….think we need to understand if his shift of personality was down to unresolved trauma or if he had always been that way and we just didn’t know until we got closer.

    Tom? I like Tom. I think Tom has more to offer. But we need to know lots more about him, and he needs to start respecting Aydans ability to take care of herself. He loves her independence but then wants ro rush in and protect her at the slightest hint of trouble. Maybe that’s down to something he has seen as a first responder? A strong woman who was still being battered by her partner? Maybe he’s seen that stuff a lot. Might account for his suspicion whenever he runs into Kane or Hellhound at a bad time….

    If I’m really having fun however, I like the idea that Aydan could have both Kane AND Hellhound, like Stemps mother has with her two partners. (And in a way Aydan already is!)

    I know that that probably couldn’t happen with these two guys tho. It would seem too incestuous to Kane at least, and I doubt he could keep his ego out of it. Hellhound might be able to. But tough with two guys who already had such a close and intimate friendship. If they had met through Aydan maybe… ?

    If I were Aydan, I don’t think I’d bother to chose. Its not her who needs to make this decision. She knows what she wants and needs. Its up to the men in her life to decide if they are able to give it to her.

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    1. I had an interesting aunt who had two men. I wish I knew the back story about how it developed and how it worked. As a kid, until well into adulthood, I was absolutely clueless. My aunt was married to a guy I will call Ted. (Not his real name). They had two kids early in their marriage. At some point many years later Ted’s best friend, who we’ll call Fred, had a relationship with my aunt and had a child together. This child was acknowledged within the aunt’s siblings and parents as Fred’s child, but given Ted’s last name. Fred was the Godfather. Fred lived next door to Aunty and Ted. To most folks they all were just best of friends, but if Ted went out of town on business, Fred spent the night. When Fred’s child got married, Fred was very involved in helping out with the backyard reception. That was when I got to meet Fred. I really liked him. He was great with us kids laughing and joking about cleaning the “bug soup” from the punch fountain that had been left out all night. Uncle Ted was a great guy too. He died first, and my aunt then married Fred. I sent my best wishes at the time- still clueless, and I got the impression from her reply that there were some who were not supportive of her second marriage. They had a few good years together until my aunt’s health declined. Fred took care of my aunt through it all and refused to put her into long term care throughout the remainder of her life. They made their 3-way relationship work, Moonbeam has made her situation work, perhaps there are a lot more of these complex relationships working than polite society would have us believe.

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  9. I love John, and you could definitely make me feel that he is the right person, but I don’t believe that she will ever commit and Hellhound provides more true emotional support and he doesn’t try to make her be different than she needs to be. You could even make me vote for Stemp if you chose to make him the right guy for her. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I’m coming real late to this discussion but wanted to add my 2 cents.
    Aydan is complex and she needs someone who is a counterpart to her complexity. Arnie is too much like Aydan and John is too much for himself. Tom is too balck and white and wants to “save” Aydan (he is irritating).

    What is needed is for someone new to pop up. Someone to really shake the three up (Arnie, John, and Aydan). Maybe then Aydan can start having a new view on relationship.

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