On this day, one year ago, I wrote this post Into the Darkside which talked about the different types of villains. Today, I’d like to talk about the different types of heroes. It used to be that heroes were set in stone in the romance genre. They had to be benevolent, compassionate, understanding, well endowed and most importantly, suffering from ‘White Knight’ syndrome. The ones that really made us
vomit swoon, were those that could fight off a whole army single-handedly while spouting poetry! I really do not miss those guys!
Nowadays when you pick up a romance novel, especially of the erotic variety, you’re more likely to get a hero with more baggage, scars, and possible bounties on their heads, than the heroine. They’re still Alpha males, some even more so than their predecessors, but they’re gritty, vulgar, twisted and either emotionally cut off or just closed mouthed – as in, they don’t want to burden their girl with their garbage, thus tend to screw everything up, because they’re too afraid to share. In other words, more realistic.
Of course, our heroines have seen their own evolution from damsels in distress to independent damsels in really bad situations they’re determined to get themselves out of, if only the hero would stop distracting them with their naughty charm, hawt bods and bad-boy attitudes! Gaw, fer realz dude, can you just go away for a second?
So, the following are my views on the different types of Heroes in the modern romance era:
The Guy Next Door Hero
Think Ford Sawyer from Nora Roberts’ novel Tribute (if you haven’t read it, dew it now). He’s kind of handy, mostly geeky, just as bashful as he is persistent. His jokes can be cheesy, but his mind is quick and witty. He’s always coming up with a new plan to get the heroine’s attention, which is either a complete disaster or absolutely charming. He doesn’t have a lot of baggage, and usually gets along great with his family except for maybe that one cousin. He loves kids, dogs and knows how to man a grill. Everyone in town knows him and loves him, the heroine will have no choice but to fall for this guy, because let’s face it, there’s nothing about this hero that doesn’t absolutely rock in all of the best ways. The sweet, steadily smoldering ways – oh and did I mention that all of that goofy, smiling, steak-maestro awesomeness is actually hiding a pornstar in bed? Yeah… it’s always the quiet ones.
The Rustic / Cowboy Hero
Let’s face it, there is NOTHING this guy can’t do! He can climb mountains, build shelters in the woods with his bare hands and survive by only his endless knowledge of the wilderness. He can track, hunt, wrestle anacondas and perform better first aid than most EMT’s, with none of their supplies. He’s the new model upgrade of MacGyver, he’s the Jason Bourne of the wild. On a ranch, he is the master, the cattle bow at his boots at feeding time. He wrestles steers with the same perfection he wrestles his cowgirl into bed – or into the hay, whichever! He is never clumsy, never wrong, always consistent and sturdy – yet, never prepared for the one who’ll knock him out of his saddle and leave him begging for more.
The Serve & Protect Hero
Calling all Firefighters! What’s not to love about these guys? They have their own calendar for the love of Pete! (I think Pete was April?) Anyway, these guys might be a little haunted, there might have been that one house fire they couldn’t get to in time that ended tragically, or they lost someone in a fire, which is what inspired them to run down to the local station and volunteer. Nine times out of ten, they come from a long line of firefighters, it’s a family thing. They’re honorable and loyal to a fault, and come with an entire group of friends their love interest has to adopt like an extended family. They’re the beer-chugging, sport’s loving, hanging out at the local pub kind of guy that has ‘kicked back’ and ‘level-headed’ down to a science. But they’re hawt and fearlessly driven and don’t take no for an answer in the pursuit of the one that catches their eye.
Hellooooo, Mr. Police Officer. Like their firefighter counterparts, these heroes are honorable and loyal, but their dedication runs in different directions. They can also be far more haunted from the things they’ve seen out on the streets, dealing with the darker sides of humanity, the monsters that roam around with pretty faces. They’re tenacious and highly intuitive, not much gets past their super cop senses. They can be loners, just as easily as they can be family-oriented, but they have no qualms taking down one of their own that’s gone off the lawful path. Justice is their single-minded pursuit, even after their love interest enters the picture. They’re just as protective as they are guarded, hardheaded and closed-mouthed, they usually struggle with letting their love interest into their lives.
The Military Hero
There are two types of military hero, but no matter which branch he’s from, he’s usually got some memory haunting him. The first type is the ever-loyal to his brother’s and sister’s in arms hero. He still believes in the cause, may even be a war hero of some kind, though probably suffers from survivor’s guilt. He might specialize in something, like flying medevac choppers or doing recon, but he’s a hero to just about everyone who knows him and when he finds his love interest, they’ll complete his life and give him the happiness and peace he needs to feel balanced.
The second type of military hero is the Black Ops or some other elite military security one that doesn’t necessarily play by anyone’s rules. He’s got ‘damaged goods’ written all over him. There are horrors he can’t scrub out of his mind, no matter how many bottles of Jack he goes through, or how many successful ops he runs that actually saves lives, nothing will erase the ghosts of his past. He’ll fight falling in love tooth and nail, because he doesn’t believe he deserves it and most of all, doesn’t want all of his sins tainting the perfection of his love interest. He usually takes out all of his pain and aggression on some poor sap in an underground UFC arena and can withstand any amount of torture, because he’s already been there, done that and feels dead inside. His love interest will save him from the murky abyss of his misery.
The Supernatural Hero
This hero can come from anywhere and from any mythos ever known to man. He can be a demon or an angel, a vampire or a werewolf, can shift into a dragon or control peoples minds telepathically. He’s a God or a demigod, an elemental spirit or the son of the boogieman. There is no limit to what the supernatural hero can be or do, but he is undoubtedly right in the midst of a battle between good and evil that could possibly destroy the world as we know it, when he stumbles upon his love interest, who by some mythical force of nature is either his ‘mate’ or harbors some dormant supernatural gene that will ensure they end up together for all eternity. If he’s a vampire, he’ll change his beloved, but only when their life is on the line, because he would never inflict someone he loves with his damned curse. There are far too many variations to the supernatural hero to list them all, but one thing is usually typical with these guys and that’s that they kick major booty, have supremely gorgeous features and physiques, and usually have to deal with the trauma of their love interest being introduced to a supernatural world their brains are trying to deny being possible.
The Billionaire Hero
One of the most popular heroes in the erotic romance genre these days, he’s suave, arrogant, business savvy, filthy farkin’ rich and always gets what he wants, because… duh, he can afford it. This hero has major trust issues, because everyone in his life is utterly shallow, so he’s emotionally closed off, but very active in his pursuit for pleasure. Everything is done on his terms and he tends to be an adrenaline junkie. He wants satisfaction frequently and quickly. His love interest will be far off his normal type, though he’ll pursue them with the same tenacity he would pursue a much desired business transaction. Usually, their heart will go to someone who comes from a completely different background and is able to give them something real, rather than more Botox-injected falseness, but it will take them awhile to trust any of it. They’ve been scorned before and refuse to be suckered again. On the other side, some billionaire heroes fall fast, but have no idea how to win their love interest over, because all of their typical tactics aren’t working. Nine times out of ten, their beloved can’t be persuaded by fancy baubles or expensive dinners, they not only don’t care about their hero’s riches, they’re intimidated by it and would rather it not even be such an enormous division between them.
The Alien Hero
Like their villain counterpart, this is fairly self-explanatory, and about as endlessly diverse as the supernatural hero. He comes from a planet not of our own and while humanoid in appearance – or even human by some science fiction explanation – he comes equipped with abilities and/or technology we measly Earthlings don’t have. And he’s hawt, cuz it just wouldn’t be a romance novel if he wasn’t.
The Dominant Hero
Mmm… one of my personal favorites. The Dom hero has nearly as many choices as the supernatural and alien heroes, because these guys tend to come from many different backgrounds and found themselves in the BDSM lifestyle for all different kinds of reasons. He may or may not carry the burden of some past scars, he may or may not be a billionaire, and he may or may not be a sadist. The “bedroom only” Dom likes to add a little bondage and spanking to spice up his lover’s pleasure, but is otherwise a fairly typical guy during the rest of the story.
The Ultimate Dominant hero is the epitome of self-controlled, highly confident, eerily intuitive and wickedly creative. He is in control of the situation at all times and lives by a strict list of rules and/or ethics he never breaks. Despite his outward appearance, he still has a sense of humor and loves to laugh, but he lives for introducing his beloved to the kinkier sides of pleasure and amps “possessive” up to a whole new, non-negotiable level. No matter how much they need to feel in control at all times, their heart usually goes to the one that makes them feel completely out of it. They also have an arsenal of naughty tricks up their sleeves that they waste no time using against their
prey ‘sub’ in order to ruin them for any future lovers. Their pleasure knows no bounds and they know exactly how to use it as a weapon, just as much as a tool to get what they want. But just any other hero, when they fall, it’s usually wrapped around their beloved’s heart and mind, more than their bodies.
And last, but not least:
The Villain Hero
Yes, the other side of the coin for the Hero Villain that I listed in my original post. The Villain Hero is a genuine lost cause. He has so many flaws, scars, emotional baggage, he is only one step lower than the second military hero described above, because he has done many, many horrible things that he’s either not proud of, or doesn’t care either way, because it was all part of his plot of vengeance for some greater crime committed against him or someone he loved. And love is definitely not an emotion he believes in. He knows he’s gonna go down swinging and he’s ready for it, but not until his plans have been completed. He is on a mission and will do everything in his power to ignore, sidestep or get rid of his love interest, so they can’t distract him from his path. His love interest will be one of two types: the one that is just as damaged as he is and they find some kind of solace in their missions together – or – the one that makes him uncomfortable with his own sins and offers him some kind of hope for redemption. One way or another, the Villain Hero will alter his Devil May Care attitude and eventually allow himself the possibility for love, but every time he tries to do something right, it ends up being wrong, either by his own misstep or some outside force. It’s a long, treacherous road ahead for this ragged hero.
Well, there it is folks, my take on the modern romance hero. I purposely left out the Historical Romance Hero, because I have no idea how those fellas have evolved over the decades, as I don’t typically read that genre, but anyone who’d like to leave their own description in the comments below are more than welcome! Also, I apologize if I left out your personal favorite type of hero, but feel free to add him to the list!
No matter what your favorite hero’s type is, there’s one thing for certain: getting over a book boyfriend is such as hard thing to do!
♥ Happy Throwback Thursday!