John is kind of the middle child. I say kind of because it's hard to be one when you have twin older brothers. They grew up in Cincinnati with a drunken drug deal for a father and a stripper for a mother who couldn't give her children the time of day. The Brooks children were eventually separated by the state and that's where John's real trouble began.
Growing into adulthood, John did what he felt was necessary to survive, even if he knew it wasn't right. He was a drug mule for a short time. Stole money and items trying to get by. His life was going down a destructive path until Commander Charlie Westlake intervened
Originally, the Brooks brothers weren't in Mirror Image. The story wasn't intended to be a sci-fi romance but I kept having images of a tall, well-built handsome man with wild, slightly curly copper hair smiling at Maddie. They developed from there.
I think I'll let John tell the story. ;-) Here's another excerpt from Mirror Image:
"When you said earlier that I've had a rough life, you were right. Life was very different for us before we joined the agency. Mother was a hooker. Father was a drug dealer. He was killed when Elizabeth was a baby. I barely remember him. We spent most of our lives out on the streets of Cincinnati, just doing anything we could to survive. Eventually, child services came in and separated the four of us. I never saw my sister again after that."
"Oh, God, that's terrible," Maddie said, reaching out over the table and touching John's hand. He grabbed hers softly as he continued his troubled story.
"I was separated from my family, in and out of homes. I was angry all the time. I got kicked out of school for fighting. I badly needed an outlet for my anger."
"I'm so sorry."
"My brothers and I had it hard. We each handled it differently. Logan keeps his emotions inside. He doesn't let his guard down, and is always good for a fight. Seth, on the other hand, makes jokes. I'm sure you noticed. I use my fists. It's what I know."
"That had to be hard for you. What happened?"
"I did odd jobs as I got older. I stole to get money. I went to a very dark place, mentally. I did a lot of things I'm not proud of." John dropped his gaze away from her.
"But you came back from the dark place," Maddie gently said.
"Thanks to Commander Westlake. I don't know how but he found me. He helped clean me up, reunited me with my brothers. He gave me an outlet for my aggression. I owe him everything."
"You have a great amount of respect for him."
"Commander Westlake gave me a life. I'm very grateful to him. I did a lot of things I'm not proud of, but I wouldn't change anything about it."
"Why is that?"
"It made me who I am. It brought me here," John told her.
Something in the look in his eyes and the way he said the last sentence made her blush.