Tuesday, April 24, 2007

My favorite topic - heroes

I’m an avid Red Wings Hockey fan. I love watching the boys and especially now in the playoffs, it’s a real treat. I don’t care if they win or lose–as long as they give the game all they’ve got. As long as they don’t give up or sulk or try to blame the other team for their lack of performance, I’m happy.

That makes them heroes in my eyes. A real hero steps up to the plate to do his best. A real hero takes his licks and keeps on going. A real hero doesn’t blame anyone else for his faults or mistakes.

We could use a few more like that, couldn’t we?

I think that’s why women read romantic fiction. We have a craving, a real desire, to see a ‘hero’ in action.

To be fair, most men don’t get the opportunity to flex their muscles just to impress us gals. And, to be even more fair, we should appreciate the ‘kinder, gentler’ qualities of our everyday heroes – fidelity and responsibility come to mind but I’m sure there are many others – and I’m sure we do.

But just as men have their fantasies, so do women. They might dream of chesty blondes with come-hither eyes. We dream of tall, dark and handsome men with seductive smiles (these are just stereotypical examples by the way–your mileage might vary).

When we read, we become the heroine and live the adventure with her. We’re as much seduced and loved by the hero as she is. And we fall in love with the hero for the same reasons the heroine does. I think that was the first ‘lesson’ I ever got when I first started writing romance. The hero must be someone the author can love or the readers won’t love him.

That doesn’t mean, of course, that a hero must be perfect. Who is? But he has to have those qualities I’ve mentioned (and a few others I haven’t mentioned). As authors, we have to show the good and the bad of every hero we write about. We have to show the interaction between him and the heroine from the first awkward moments right to the final culmination of their love. I’ve selected a scene from Altered Destiny to show one of these awkward moments.

Set up: Devyn’s been forced to accept Liane, the stranger he found on the beach, as his wife or have her sent to be a Qui’arel slave. He doesn’t like it but....

The lass wasn’t on the sofa.

He scanned the room quickly then heard the sound of running water. And heard it stop. He closed the outer door behind him. Rubbing his face with both hands, he struggled to clear his mind of the fatigue and evening’s libation. One question floated to the top of the stew. How had the lass thrown off the effect of the drugged tea so quickly?

The personal’s door opened. The lass stepped out wearing his robe, his favorite blue robe, belt snugged tight around her waist and hem dragging the floor. Briskly, she rubbed a towel on her wet hair, not seeing him as she went to the galley. The length of the robe parted revealing a long, pale leg and the glimmer of a silver chain on a shapely ankle.

His breath stopped. His heart stopped. Sweet Mae, the world stopped while he feasted his eyes, fatigue forgotten. And his roger danced happily beneath his sporran.

He let his gaze do a slow slide upward, away from the slender ankle. Her waist was narrow, her bosom enticing under the soft rich fabric. Annie threw the towel over her shoulder and fluffed the damp curls around her head. She paused in the galley, from the sounds of it making tea or coffee.

Devyn moved, stealthily, to watch. She opened the cooler, bent to inspect the contents and the robe caressed her heart-shaped arse like a lover. His hands curved into fists as he fought the insane desire to stroke that lovely behind. After reaching for something, she stood, used her hip to bump the door closed and turned.
Her bonnie eyes widened in surprise as she caught sight of him. “I didn’t know you were back.”

At the sound of her voice, silken and low, his breath came short again. Bloody hell. He had to stop this or he’d be cavorting around the lass like a pup after a teat. And that image had his blood pooling hotter and heavier in his groin.
He ripped his gaze away. Reaching deep for the Bard’s smarmy grin, he strolled forward. “What is it about women and green food?”

Her gaze dropped to the ball of lettuce in her right hand. “I was hungry. Is that a problem?”

She now sounded peeved and that was better than sounding erotic as far as he was concerned. “Not at all. Make yourself to hame, by all means. I’ll ask Morag to fetch you some clothes on the morrow. Or do you prefer to wear mine?”

With an awkward shrug, Annie put the lettuce on the counter beside a wedge of cheese and a loaf of bread. “I don’t want to be a bother.”

“Then you should not have claimed to be my bride.”


Bernadette Gardner and Jennifer Colgan said...

Love the excerpt, Lynda!

Skylar Masey said...

Fabulous post Lynda! And I love that last line of the excerpt!

Thanks for giving me the rest from last week. It kinda settled my curiosity. :0)