I love a good hero and a good heroine. Who doesn’t? Most readers also have specific character traits they love to hate, and I’m no exception. Today I’m talking about the sort of heroes and heroines that make me wish I should jump into the story and slap some sense right into them! If you read romance, you probably know exactly what I’m talking about. Feel free to use the comments section to tell me what sorts of heroes and heroines drive you crazy.
The offending heroes:
The Cheater: Maybe he’s a playboy, or maybe it’s a one-time thing. I don’t care either way – I can’t stand an unfaithful hero. Once he’s found his true love, he’d better not stray. I’m more than willing to close the book on a hero who can’t keep it in his pants when he’s with anyone other than his partner (or hey, maybe even partners if the story is like that).
The Macho-Bot 2000: This guy has no feelings north of his belt. When he’s not ogling the heroine’s boobs, he’s probably thinking up new ways to replace the blood in his veins with extra testosterone. His lack of emotion makes him a bore to read about.
The Clueless One: He’s not sure what he wants, other than instant gratification. He may be a commitment-phobe whose fear of settling down endangers his relationship with his partner. He’s the opposite of the sort of hero I really love – the guy who knows exactly what he wants, sticks by his partner and does anything necessary to make it work. The clueless one will probably come around eventually, but by then I usually think he’s an ass for being so reluctant to act on his true feelings.
The offending heroines:
The Ball-Buster: This girl never gives the hero a freakin’ break. She’s constantly busting his balls, giving him a hard time and generally making it clear that she hates him. Of course he’s really into her and she secretly has the hots for him, but God forbid she let the relationship take its natural course. These bitchy heroines are infuriating and tiresome to read about. I usually end up feeling sorry for the hero and wishing the heroine would just fall off a cliff so he could find someone more deserving of his affection.
The Boyfriend-Stealer: Fortunately I haven’t come across too many of these nasty heroines, but they are out there: the women who just can’t seem to resist finding a taken man and then proceeding to seduce him away from the partner he’s already got. They always justify it to themselves somehow, but they’ll have a hard time getting this reader on board. It’s not easy for me to like a character that goes around stealing somebody else’s man.
The Material Girl: She spends half the book buying things, namely to expand her designer wardrobe. A third world country could probably be fed off the amount she drops on clothing. I just can’t relate, and reading about it gets old quick.
What about you? What traits can’t you stand in a hero or heroine?
"A totally gripping, sexy thrillride...the perfect combination of adventure and eroticism." - Lucy Felthouse
Excerpt from Taken Hostage:
After exiting the Mustang himself, he walked around the front and opened Tiffany’s door for her. She was overcome by a sensation of déjà vu – she’d imagined him doing the same thing in her fantasy. Now, in their current situation, it seemed absurd.
She stood uselessly as he tossed the pillowcase full of cash into the Saturn’s trunk and covered it up with the blankets and emergency roadside kit that were already stashed there. The ordinariness of her captor’s car and the contents of its trunk were intriguing. Who was this man, who apparently robbed banks after smoking on their steps and flirting with their tellers for half an hour? It wasn’t as if he could expect any of the plentiful witnesses to forget his face – it was only slightly too rugged to look like it belonged on the cover of GQ, or on a billboard in the city.
What in the world was he planning to do next?
Tiffany eyed the nearby woods speculatively. They were in the middle of the New York wilderness, half an hour from town. She had nowhere to run, and there was probably no one to hear her scream if she tried and he caught her. She dared a glance at her captor, who’d tucked the gun into the front waistband of his jeans. The bulge of the barrel beneath the denim reminded her of the similar protuberance she’d felt there when he’d pinned her against the Mustang in the bank parking lot. She no longer felt horrified by the memory – a fact that sent heat flooding into her face.
Once he’d finished packing the Saturn he opened the passenger door. ‘Ladies first,’ he murmured in a tone she’d heard already in her fantasy.
She sank into the passenger seat gladly, for her knees had begun to feel as if they might give out. ‘Where are we going?’ she asked as he turned his own set of keys in the ignition.
‘Far away,’ was all the reply he gave her.
She couldn’t stop asking questions. Now that her fear was beginning to ebb, a strange curiosity seemed to be replacing it. ‘If this isn’t your house, why’d we come here?’
‘Because the owner leaves every morning for work at 7:15 and doesn’t come home until at least 5:45 in the evening. So it should be at least that long before they discover the abandoned Mustang and figure out that I’m driving something else. We’ll be long gone by then.’
Tiffany noted his use of the word ‘we’ with a sudden rush of half-amazed, half-frightened anticipation. ‘You had this all planned out?’
‘Of course.’ He pulled the Saturn back out onto the road. ‘What’d you think, that I’m just some idiot who decided to rob a bank on the spur of the moment?’ He grinned at her, and she had to fight the sudden urge to grin back.
She shrugged instead.
He reached down, pulled out a hat from the small compartment on the driver’s side door and pushed it down on top of his head, hiding his hair.
‘Shouldn’t you make me lay down in the back seat or something?’ Tiffany asked. That was how the bad guys always did it on the crime dramas she liked to watch on TV.
He looked away from the road for a moment, turning the full force of his gaze upon her. His eyes were intense, but one corner of his mouth was pulled up in an amused half-smile. ‘Do you really want me to?’ He spoke in the same husky voice that’d starred in her pre-abduction fantasy.
She dropped her gaze, too abashed to maintain eye contact. What she saw when she looked down only deepened her embarrassment – though her kidnapper had removed the gun from his waistband, the fabric of his jeans was just as strained quite near where it had been.
Copyright © Ranae Rose, 2011
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