Thursday, August 7, 2014

Take My Breath Away Heroes

For me, romantic suspense is all about the take-my-breath-away moments. The best of the genre builds until two plotlines merge into one resounding crescendo of suspense, not only from the drama of the escalating danger, but also from the tension of the emerging romance. Yes, I believe there is an element of suspense in romance done right, building to the moment when the sexual and emotional tension between the hero and heroine can no longer be denied. When the moment arrives and the couple realizes they cannot live without one another, there is an undeniable feeling of rightness. That disaster has been averted. That all is right with the world. It sucks the breath right out of you. And when that moment arrives at the same time danger hits its peak, well, it doesn’t get any better than that.

What kind of hero has the ability to take his heroine’s breath? Does a romantic suspense hero have to be...perfect? Please, no. I think the perfect romantic suspense hero should be beautifully flawed. Where’s the tension-building conflict between the hero and heroine if the hero does everything right? No one is perfect and I don’t want to read about perfection. Give me the baggage, the quirks, the scars, and the inner turmoil. The more, the better. Just as long as there is something about the hero the heroine can’t live without. Not that she has to have him to survive, but that she wants to survive with him.

So who is this guy, the perfectly imperfect romantic suspense hero?

1. He has a strong sense of right and wrong. Even in his weakness, his character remains steadfast in what he believes is right. Sometimes he bends the rules because he believes there is no other way, but he never breaks the rules. He might lie to protect the woman he loves, but he’d never lie to protect himself.

2. He has a strong heart that is easily broken. Yeah, I know that sounds contradictory, but really it isn’t. You know the saying: The bigger they are, the harder they fall. He has a big heart that cracks in two when he’s hurt and no one can hurt him more than the heroine. It takes a special kind of woman to glue his broken heart back together.

3. He’s fearless, but that doesn’t mean he isn’t afraid. He’s wise enough to know that bravery isn’t the absence of fear but rather the ability to face his fears head on. Sometimes what he fears most is the woman in his life breaking his heart and he guards against the possibility until he can longer stand the tension between them.

4. He knows when to confront danger and when to back away. He never does anything impulsively, never puts himself in the way of danger...unless he can reasonably predict the outcome. He knows sometimes the best way to eliminate the threat is to call it out in the open. When it comes to his heroine, he’ll never say I love you until the odds are in his favor that he’s going to get the emotion returned to him.

5. He may not be Hollywood handsome, but he’s definitely attractive to the heroine. He might have a scar or two, maybe even one physical feature that’s not quite perfect, but his heroine finds him simply irresistible. 

So please, don’t give me a perfect hero. That’s plain vanilla. Give me the complex hero, passionate and stubborn, strong and sensitive, protective and vulnerable. Roll his imperfections up into one great big hunk of aggravating yet charming maleness and you’ve got my attention.

Crisis Of Serenity

Tess Copeland lives a quiet life in Gatlinburg, Tennessee. Thanks to the government’s witness protection program, she enjoys the freedom of never having to glance over her shoulder to see if someone is following her. Life has become safe, serene...and boring. Her heart longs for something more than just existing...until a ghost from her past shatters her serenity. 

Once upon a time, Tess was caught between the FBI and the men the feds were trying to take down. Jake Coleman is the U.S. Marshal who extracted her from the jam she was in with the FBI, a man she could have fallen for...hard...if she had let herself. It’s been a year since she last saw Jake, and in all the months that have passed, he’s never tried to find her. The longer he keeps his distance, the more she wonders why his absence hurts so much. 

When a stranger comes to town searching for her, all of Tess’ old fears are resurrected. Asking Jake for help with her current crisis might lure him into a dangerous trap involving murder, kidnapping, and revenge. When Jake and Tess come face-to-face with the past, they will have to use all their wits to survive. 


  1. Yep - you've outlined my perfect hero - thanks! I'm with you on this list!

  2. Looking for that man!!

  3. You've described what romantic suspense is all about...perfectly, Denise! That's why I love this genre so much. I love to read romances, but I like the "zing" from the addition of suspense. It's like adding spice to bland food to make it tastier. :-) Thanks so much for this post!

    1. Thanks for stopping by, Janice. You said it... It's all about the spice.


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