Thursday, March 1, 2012

My Top Five Hero Requirements

Photo courtesy of Photos.com

I read romance not just to identify with the plucky heroine but also to fall in love with the hero. Most of us read to escape into other lives and worlds. I like to do my escaping with a hunk. Spaceship captain, investment banker, cowboy, soldier, barbarian or duke I find I enjoy them the most when they follow five basic guidelines.
1.      He is physically impressive. I don’t mean facial features though I won’t turn my nose up at a beautiful man. The first book I remember stealing, cough, I mean borrowing, at age fourteen from an aunt, was Julie Garwood’s The Prize. The hero, Baron Royce, had a significant facial scar. All the heroes I wrote that year were disfigured in some way.

By physically impressive I just mean that I like a large man. I like muscles whether they are sleek or bulky. Sure he needs to be able to lift a drink to his mouth and have a neck but other than that, I’m flexible (no pun intended). I sometimes watch wrestling with the mute on. I’m just saying. (I shrug here in a carefree manner.)

2.      He can kick ass and frequently does. Even if he doesn’t, he could. I am the daughter of a Marine. I rode past soldiers engaged in hot, sweaty, physical fitness on the way to the commissary during puberty. Enough said.

3.      He has a kind and gentle side. I like this in a hero even if the heroine is the only one who truly gets to see it. I like my heroes to be alphas and let’s face it, alphas can be pricks sometimes. It’s good to dial down the testosterone every once in a while.

4.      He’s dominant in the bedroom. Sigh. I write erotic romance. I really have closed a book or skipped over the love scenes if they were just a bit too vanilla. I like a little bite with my sex. I don’t write the hard stuff. I’ve read comments where my work is affectionately called intense. I subscribe to the “don’t like it, don’t look” school of romance.

5.      He loves and desires the heroine above everything else in his life. The hero would do anything to keep her emotionally and physically well. He would also do anything to keep her with him. I get antsy when the hero walks away from the heroine. Even if he thinks he needs to leave, I don’t want him to actually be able to do it.

Here is an excerpt from my eBook, Enslaved in Desire, that shows some of the sexual tension between my hero Venn and my heroine Camryn. It gives you a little taste of number 4.
The following excerpt is for those readers who are 18 and over only.
Copyright © Stormie Kent, 2011
All Rights Reserved, Ellora’s Cave Publishing, Inc.
He crowded her back and she watched in the mirror. He was dressed for meetings in a black dress coat, crisp white shirt and fitted black pants. The contrast of her nude body pressed against his fully clothed form made her press back against him to feel the pleasure of the smooth material against her hot skin.
“I didn’t tell you to move, sweet.” He stepped back.
She groaned. Her eyes clashed with his in the mirror.
“What’s with the restraint?” she asked.
“I know you like it when I hold you down, but I wanted to use my hands today. And you did say it would take chains to keep you in one place,” he replied.
She remained as still as possible and he watched her for a while before moving behind her once more. She wanted to think she would resist him, but she couldn’t. When he got like this, he wasn’t going to be put off and she liked how he handled her too much. She liked that he took all the passion and barbarian in himself and locked it down, only for it to emerge again once he’d made her mindless. She knew it was there, just sitting under the surface of his skin. She could see it in the way his smile didn’t match the fire in his eyes.
He gathered her hair in one hand and wrapped it once around his hand. He pulled her head gently to the side. She curled her toes into the carpet so she wouldn’t move.
His other hand came up, but only one finger trailed her throat from her hairline to her shoulder. His mouth followed and his cool hair swung forward and trailed over her arm and breast. He did the same thing over and over again to the back of her neck and then transferred her hair to his other hand and worked the same magic on the other side of her neck. He tugged harder on her hair and the pleasure shot straight to her cunt.
He stepped beside her and leaned forward, raining kisses on her chin and neck. Then he turned her loose completely. She whimpered.
“Keep your eyes on your face and body in the mirror,” he said, lacing his voice with command.
She stared into his eyes in the mirror. Then she lowered her gaze to her own face. Her eyes were slumberous. Her bottom lip was swollen where she’d bitten it in concentration and she was flushed.
“Beautiful,” he said.
*****                                                                   *****                                                           *****
So what are your requirements in a hero or heroine? Do you have any deal breakers? Are you attracted to one type of hero more than others? Leave a comment and let me know.


Stormie Kent said...

Oh, yeah. I wanted to add to #1. I don't mean he can't have a physical impairment. In my mind I think a amputee soldier would make a stellar hero. The idea has been floating around in my head for years.

Tina Donahue said...

Nice wish list, Stormie - sounds like my kinda guy. :)

Love your excerpt.

Welcome to SNSD as one of our newest Divas - may you reign well and long!!

Liz said...

Fun post! probably the only thing I'd add is "tall". I've got this thing about writing tall heroines (I do it a lot without realizing it) and I want them to still be able to look up at their man (Sorry Tom Cruise).
And I do like it if the hero walks away sometimes. And I've done it. but he always comes back, having learned his lesson one way or another.

jean hart stewart said...

Great list, but I like the hero to be taller than the heroine, probably taller by quite a bit. Just a personal preference I can't kick. His face should be a little off someway, maybe a scar?

Stormie Kent said...

Thanks Tina!

Hi Liz and Jean,
I like a tall man as well. My alien hero from Enslaved in Desire is VERY tall and muscular.

Fiona McGier said...

Okay, I'll be devil's advocate. I don't like alpha heroes much...the ones I've met in real life were ALL hard-nosed pricks who had no idea how to treat a woman as an equal. I write alpha heroines sometimes, because I like to identify with women who can do the kinds of things I can't...but I prefer beta males, or those who have alpha just around the edges, or hidden beneath the surface. I like men who are in touch with their own feelings, besides the violent ones, and can express them.

Stormie Kent said...

Hi Fiona,
I understand where you are coming from. I like my heroines to be alpha tamers though;-)
I do find that when I write alpha heroines the hero has to be slightly more... balanced. I wouldn't call them Beta though.

Sabrina Garie said...

Fun post to read. I have two additions.

First, I look for smarts and street sense. I like a hero who can out think as well as out fight enemies and opposition.

Second, I like heroes who carry some type of significant internal pain. I like heroines who help heal them and help them to move beyond it.

Stormie Kent said...

Hi Sabrina,
I used to be a hero with internal pain junkie. I think I kind of burned out. I've been taking a break. I will go back. Thanks for the comment :-)