This week my MIL and I watched Lifetime’s version of Nora’s High Noon. In general, I haven’t been as upset this go round with the liberties the movie people took with the books. But that’s not what I want to talk about. I’ve been thinking about Duncan Swift, the hero of that particular book. He’s a total charmer, this cabbie turned millionaire. You can’t help but like him. But for me, it’s liking him in a “I’d date him in real life” kind of way. He’s not at all the kind of hero I usually read for, and I have to admit that I was a bit disappointed in this book compared to my usual level of satisfaction with a Nora read. Some of that was because there was no way to guess who the bad guy was because he wasn’t someone we knew through the story. I like being able to go back and find the clues seeded through the book. But that’s a digression at this point.
The thing that disappointed me about Duncan was that while he was a caretaker, who provided much needed emotional support to Phoebe, who was an admittedly kick ass heroine (hostage negotiator–I mean, come on, she’s cool), he didn’t feel…I guess the word I’m looking for is strong. I have no problem with kick ass heroines, but I like kick ass heroes that go along with them. Either alpha or gamma heroes are what I read for. I adore beta heroes in certain contexts–chick lit and TV (like Chuck) but not in romantic suspense. I read a post somewhere this last month where someone was wondering if the new trend toward self-sufficient kick ass heroines is somehow making kick ass heroes less (I believe the poster said something about how in the last several books she’d read, the heroine saved herself). I have no problem with a heroine who saves herself (like Danielle in Ever After), but dude, at least give the hero a chance to TRY and be on his way when the heroine makes it out herself. Don’t make him just stand on the sidelines and watch.
There is, quite simply, something I find incredibly sexy about having a powerful man, who is perfectly capable of beating the shit out of someone to defend your life and honor. I said that in a class once (don’t remember what the class was, but it was germaine to the discussion), and I remember everyone looked at me like I’d grown a second head. Clearly it wasn’t a class full of romance readers. My husband is an 8th degree black belt. He is physically capable of killing someone with his bare hands in a bunch of different ways. I find that really hot. This is probably why I so often gravitate to paranormal romance and romantic suspense featuring heroes in law enforcement–kick ass heroes required.
So what about y’all? Are you okay with the sidelines charmer or do you require a more active hero?