Character Spotlight: Zahara Sloane

Well, we’ve finally made it to the final day of the A to Z Blog Challenge. It certainly was a challenge, but it was a fun and educating experience, and I found so many new people to revisit. I hope you were able to visit a lot of other blogs as well, and if you participated in the challenge, then good job! Let’s close this challenge with a final character spotlight for another character from my upcoming paranormal romance, Capturing the Wylde Wolf.

Zahara’s grandparents immigrated from Nairobi, Kenya when they were in their forties, bringing their three children with them to America. Their eldest was killed when he tried to thwart a gas station robbery, their second eldest became the first female doctor in the family, and the youngest boy would grow to make his living with a highly-profitable online business soon after e-commerce began to gain traction.

This man, Aasir, would fall victim to a rogue pack of vicious wolf shifters when he was 19, leaving him mangled and broken, but still alive . . . barely. He was nursed back to health and through his transformation by the woman he would later marry, Joyfa. She was a natural wolf shifter (born as a shifter) and became his light in the dark.

They started an online business that catered to non-humans, and they grew wealthy in a short period of time. They had four children, and the family prospered in Nevada for many years. Zahara had two brothers—one, a year and a half older, and the other a year younger—as well as a sister who was four years younger than her. “Family first” was a value ingrained in the children, and when any of them faced a problem, everyone else would do what they could to help, no matter what.

When Zahara was 14, the family suffered a devastating house fire that nearly took everyone’s lives. Both of her parents perished. Both she and her older brother tried to save the others, but only Zahara and her younger brother made it back out on their own. Her little sister was already dead when her body was pulled from the house by a fireman, followed by another who carried her unconscious brother. He would later die from smoke inhalation.

Zahara’s right arm and leg were badly burned, leaving permanent scars after they eventually healed. Her younger brother, Damarus, was far worse. He’d received third degree burns over 60 percent of his body and spent many months in the hospital, facing surgery after surgery. The two were split up, and Zahara was placed in foster care while her brother remained in the hospital. Twice, she ran away to go see him, but the family moved to Wisconsin, leaving her brother behind.

Though they stayed in touch, Damarus seemed to grow more and more distant over the years. He bounced between being angry and depressed, and while he never admitted it, Zahara would have bet her inheritance that he was either doing drugs or drinking. Unfortunately, not long after she turned 17, she was proven right.

After a week of ignored messages and unanswered calls, Zahara’s annoyance started to grow tinged with worry. As she stared at her phone, wondering what she should do, it rang—her brother’s number. She picked up and immediately started yelling at him for blowing her off, but someone else’s voice cut her off. It was Damarus’s foster father, and he was calling to confirm her worst fears.

The previous evening, Damarus had gotten drunk—something he’d apparently done before—and wrote a letter on his computer that was addressed to “the world.” He discussed all the pain and loss that he was never able to cope with, his love for Zahara, and his decision to “do what was best for everybody.” He then ended his life.

Zahara was incapable of handling yet another loss, her only remaining family. She ran away from home, anger and pain threatening to tear her apart. Months living on the streets was both difficult and cathartic. She frequently went hungry and slept wherever she could, but she also took the opportunity to vent her feelings. Zahara lied and stole daily, taking joy in her escapades.

She became a fighter as she mentally struggled to survive and physically battled with anyone who tried to do her harm. Zahara ended up in the hospital a year later when a concerned passerby stopped to see if she was alright. It was a rainy evening, and Zahara was slumped against the brick wall of an abandoned shop across from a movie theater, a blade sticking out of her chest.

After a lot of questions and police interviews, Zahara was approached by a young woman outside the police station who handed her an envelope, then walked away. Inside the envelope, Zahara found a piece of paper with an address typed onto it. Below the address, handwritten, was a note that said: “We know what you are. If you want a safe place to sleep at night amongst others like us, ask for Storm.”

With nowhere else to go and not ready to spend a night alone on the street again, Zahara went to the address. Storm was a fox shifter, and she was one of the Outagamie Pack leaders. They discussed the house rules and what would be expected of Zahara both during and after her probation period.

It took her a couple of months to feel comfortable, but Zahara slowly gained her confidence back. She wasn’t particularly close with anyone, preferring to keep people at a distance, but she did her part at the house and got a job to support herself. Eventually, her pack mates became her new family. Zahara took a self-defense course, kickboxing, then started martial arts in her free time. She refused to ever fall victim again.


I have to leave Zahara’s story here, but I’ve left a few extra details below.

Age: 22

Height: 5’7”

Build: Athletic, toned

Weight: 158 lbs

Hair color: Black

Eye color: Deep brown

Personality: distant, serious, doesn’t trust easily, family first

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