Exploring Romantic Suspense: The Hero

I don’t know about you, but when I’m reading, the heroine really isn’t the reason. I mean sure, we need her there for the hero to fall in love with, and I love a happy ending as much as the next girl (pun intended), but the hero can make or break a book for me.

In romantic suspense, heroes aren’t often the indecisive, talkative types. They’re the step-up-and-take-charge men who would throw themselves to the wolves if it meant saving the heroine (though they’d do everything in their power to save themselves too, and anyone else hanging around).

I like my heroes alpha, but not in the overbearing “my way or the highway” sort of personality. I prefer true alphas like you’d find in a wolf pack (yes, I know that my personal paranormal inclination is showing). True alphas are not loud or menacing, but rather they’re normally the strong, quieter type who tend to stay calm even when challenged by one of those yappy betas. It’s very rare for an alpha to lose his temper, but when he does, no one’s getting out unharmed. They aren’t constantly throwing their weight around because they don’t have to – others naturally respect that mysterious aura they seem to have, the one that lets everyone know without words that “this guy is in charge”.

I get heroes who constantly blow things out of proportion, and are too dense to take the heroine’s feelings into account. That’s just bad behavior, no matter where they happen to be in the pecking order. Heroes need flaws, of course, but I’m reading fiction, so I do expect them to be sexy and desirable and, well, not jerks. But that’s just me.

How do you like your heroes? Over-easy? Hard-boiled? With a side of hot sauce?

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6 comments on “Exploring Romantic Suspense: The Hero

  1. Maureen Miller

    I agree with you completely, Jamie. I think the guidelines for romantic suspense state that you should have a heroine ‘in peril’. If the heroine is in peril then she needs someone to help her out. Someone strong. Someone who is going to kick some butt. Someone hot. Okay, I digress :), but that’s what I’m looking for when I pick up a romantic suspense novel. I’m not saying the heroine is frail and pathetic by any means…I’m just saying that she needs help. Preferably from a hot, strong, take-charge kinda guy.


  2. Carol

    I think my favourite are the reluctant heroes. They’re strong and tough and independent, and it only takes the right woman to bring them to their knees.

  3. Jamie DeBree

    LOL – Indeed. Really, who doesn’t want to read about a hot, strong, take-charge kinda guy? It is fantasy, right? 😉

    *ducks lest male readers delurk*

  4. Jamie DeBree

    Now doesn’t that bring up a lovely image first thing in the morning…I should go check out your hump-day hunk. 😉

    The first sentence in that last line should read “I *don’t* get…”

  5. Dolly

    I love HEROES :-)) You are right…they do totally make or break the book. I love girl heroes, but the guy has to be “all that”

    So it’s not very surprising that my MC has turned out to be a hero in my current book. I started off from Heroine’s point of view, and even wrote a whole draft – but then Hero just took over, and told his own story, and the book totally belongs to him.

  6. India Drummond

    I’ve never really liked the alpha male. That could be why werewolf books often leave me cold. Oh, I do like a powerful man, but I like them to be powerful in a quiet way, if you know what I mean. I’d tend to go for the first mate, rather than the captain. =)