Lately, I’ve become a bit more analytical in my thinking about books. One of the things I’ve considered is what I like in a romance hero and who writes that hero best.
Linda Howard is the first author who comes to mind that writes the heroes I love. They are uber-alpha, supremely capable in every situation, and yet (often) completely befuddled by their attraction to and adoration of females who don’t necessarily make sense to their male minds.
I think my first Howard novel was Midnight Rainbow starring Grant Sullivan, secret operative extraordinaire, and a feisty rich woman. I don’t remember much about her, but I do remember that Sullivan was pretty darned swoon-worthy, especially considering I was a teenager when I read that book. But Sullivan’s not the only one. John Medina, who finally got his own woman in All the Queen’s Men after having cameo appearances in previous books, is another super spy who doesn’t break a sweat while the bullets are flying around him.
Howard’s heroes don’t have to be mercenaries or spies – though I’m certainly not complaining! – but they will be men who can maintain control of 99% of their environment. Ben Lewis, the Amazon guide in Heart of Fire, and James Diaz from Cry No More (one of my desert-isle keepers) are two men who may take questionable moral stances in some situation, yet they are 110% devoted to the safety of their women, even when they don’t understand what the women are planning or why.
She has also written two of my favorite cops (though I do adore Nelson deMille’s John Corey, but those aren’t romance, so we’ll save those for another day) in the hilarious Sam Donovan from Mr. Perfect and Dane Hollister in Dream Man. Honestly, who can resist a man who ends up with sympathy labor pains?
And speaking of Danes, or Dains as it were, I have to add Sebastian Ballister, the Marquess of Dain, from Loretta Chase’s Lord of Scoundrels to my list. Not only is Dain another uber-alpha male completely confounded and besotted by Jessica Trent, LoS is simply one of the best romance novels ever written. Ever. Seriously. I’m pretty sure there are scientific papers quantifying that.
Another author whose heroes I love? Laura Florand. If you haven’t read her chocolate or perfume series, get on it! She creates these gorgeous French men (and gorgeous French settings!) who are tough and rugged on outside, but molten chocolate on the inside – sweet, dark and delicious. Dominique Richard from The Chocolate Touch is my favorite of Florand’s bad boy chefs, but Gabe and Patrick are chocolatey heartthrobs as well (The Chocolate Rose and The Chocolate Temptation respectively). Honestly, though, if you’re going to read Florand’s books, just start at the beginning of the series with The Chocolate Thief and know that the books get better and better the more you read. Full disclosure, the first book in the series is actually my least favorite…though I do love that hero as well, Monsieur Sylvain Marquis.
tl;dr – I dig supremely capable alpha males who are drop-kicked by love!
Tell me who your favorite heroes are!
On Monday, January 18th, I’ll randomly choose one commenter to win a free digital copy of my first release, Three Little Words. It has a hero I love too 😉