I couldn’t write a Beta hero if he donned the finest kid gloves to pet, soothe and sympathize me into a gentle swoon with his ‘neighborliness’. Yes, I am prejudiced, but I have to go with my heart as a reader…when I write.
I like my heroes tortured, damaged, and in pain, especially when they are so lacking in self-awareness, they couldn’t find their own pulse. I enjoy a right royal bastard, the king of jerks and pricks, because to me, behind all that iron-balled posturing is a man worthy of an epic saving—by a heroine with sufficient grit and passion to bring about his redemption—but never, never, his full surrender. (If you’ve fallen for a bastard, it makes no sense that you’d continue to love him if he changed to the extent a jaunty halo wouldn’t look out of place, gleaming atop his handsome head.)
Of course, such men are not always easy to like. And therein lies the rub. Because you don’t just want your reader to like, you need them to fall in love. You want them to cast aside their aversion along with their knickers (panties—as I’m learning to speak and spell American).
Revealing the integrity that lies beneath the mean as a celibate snake, hard boiled exterior is far from easy. And that’s where the backstory comes in, the drive behind his motivation if you like. The bastard hero needs a reason to behave as he does. A convincing apology (unspoken by him) to excuse his bad-assed-ness.
Some of my favorite heroes (and heroines) who put the ‘B’ into bastard and bitch but who nevertheless have a weird kind of integrity one can only respect are:
The brethren of the Black Dagger Brotherhood J R Ward
The Dark Hunters (especially Acheron) Sherrilyn Kenyon
The very hot and jaded, fighters against The League (Born of Shadows etc) Sherrilyn Kenyon
The Ghost Walker warriors Christine Feehan
Lords of the Underworld Gena Showalter
The exquisitely psychotic detective, Kathy Mallory, created by Carol O’Connell
Grace Macbride (of the Monkeewrench Software fame) P J Tracy
Lucas Davenport John Sandford
Dave Robicheaux James Lee Burk
The brilliant John Luther (played by Idris Elba) in the BBC drama series Luther
Lady Fury Shehanne Moore
Any more entries for the Rogues’ Gallery?... I’d be delighted to investigate and add them.
Writer of Romantic Suspence and thrillers for Entangled Publishing.
Night Owl 5 Star Review:
" This book was so sexy and adventurous. It kept me on my toes and on the edge of my seat until the very end."