I've got my own list of must-haves, but I'm really curious about yours.
I still remember the first time I heard Bonnie Tyler sing out her list of must-haves for the alpha male romance hero she'd hold out for indefinitely.
I thought, 'Yeah... that's a good start.'
Holding out for a Hero (Lyrics)
Where have all the good men gone And where are all the gods? Where's the streetwise Hercules To fight the rising odds?
Isn't there a white knight upon a fiery steed Late at night, I toss and I turn And I dream of what I need
I need a hero I'm holding out for a hero 'til the end of the night He's gotta be strong, and he's gotta be fast And he's gotta be fresh from the fight
I need a hero I'm holding out for a hero 'til the morning light He's gotta be sure, and it's gotta be soon And he's gotta be larger than life Larger than life
I've been writing alpha male heroes for Bonnie Tyler ever since...
Immediately, that song sparked something in my young writer's imagination. Bonnie was on to something (although, if you notice the song was written by two men). Still, every alpha male character I've written since then has tried to live up to those expectations.
A few of the heroes in my Billionaire Spy billionaire alpha male romance books and alpha male military romance book series would make Bonnie's toes curl.
But I have refined the alpha male must-have list a bit.
To me, power is sexy and power exchange is so very, very hot, but so is tenderness.
There has to be some sweet kernel in the heart of my alpha male heroes, some believable, compelling reason why my leading ladies would fall head-over-heels for them..eventually. Even if the heroes are jerks sometimes, some of my alpha male heroes are light and others are dark, but they're all tender..eventually.
My strong and feisty leading ladies wouldn't settle for a bully alpha male romance hero, unless there is something redeemable down deep inside.
I have a new alpha male curvy girl romance book coming out this month—Temping for the Jerk, Jerks of Miami Book 3—which a prime example of a bully alpha male (Patrick "Conan" Black, an exceptionally grumpy boss) who can be redeemed with the right persuasion.
Playfulness is also essential, in my opinion. I like when my alpha males tickle a bit. Funny alpha men are also very sexy and I can't seem to keep some humor from coming out, even my darkest books. That's just something in my nature. I sometimes laugh when I'm nervous and I've been known to laugh uncontrollably when feeling vulnerable or sad. Humor (even gallows humor) is as natural to me as breathing, so that's bound to show up in all my writing. (In my 'day-job' I've been known to make dry news funny).
True confession...dark turns me on.
I'm less of a Superman girl and more of a Batman girl, and I mean specifically Batman Dark Knight. That's just my fancy. I kinda like it if my alpha male romance heroes get a little mean, even a little scary sometimes. Like Bonnie, I want my heroes fresh from the fight. Some of them are even bloody.
I just don't personally like it when villains win. Villains need to exist, for the purpose of drama, but I don't put them in the leading role of a romance book if they will never change. I just don't like irredeemable characters. In fact, I don't like when any character gets to the end of one of my stories unchanged. To me, that just defies the whole purpose of a story—to show growth and change through trials and tribulations. It really makes any sort of HEA unbelievable and unacceptable.
So, here are my hard-limits on dark...
(I might write edgy stuff that will unsettle some, but I do believe in hard-limits.) :
mafia alpha male romance books (nom-nom, yes! Check out Sinning with the Jerk)
mean alpha male romance books (My inner brat defines mean in many ways so all of my heroes can be mean from time to time—while doling out some discipline. But none of them are merely cruel and vicious for cruelty's-sake, and none of them are abusive alpha-holes. If you think you've stumbled into one in my books, give the guy a minute. He'll surprise you!)
jealous possessive alpha male romance books (Oh, my, yes please! If a hero isn't possessive there's something wrong in my book. Actually, the exception is Rick Curtis in my alpha male military menage The Watch who is a wonderful man and just an absolutely delectable hard Dom, who likes to share, but...no spoilers!)
OTT alpha male romance books (All my guys are OTT and also OTK. Definitely larger than life, just as Bonnie Tyler would have it.)
dark supernatural alpha male romance books and dark paranormal alpha male romance books (Yes, please. More of that. Check out my new series of alpha male shifter romance books!)
dominant alpha male romance books (obviously!) and dangerous alpha male romance books (again, sí claro) broken alpha male romance books (Hello, Charlie! I love you, my dear.) and broody alpha male romance books (Hi Will! My eternal love, my heart.)
BUT abusive, cruel, vicious, irredeemable Dicks will only feature as villains and may not survive the plot!
You will find some very shocking things and some very uncomfortable scenes in some of my books—I don't hold back in the dark, and angst, so much angst. But the reward for all that suffering is that somehow the light shines through. At the end of the day, it's what I believe. Things can be ugly and downright nasty sometimes, but no night is eternal. The sun always shines.
If that's what you're into, then welcome to my fictional worlds you're going to love it here!