I thought I'd start of with Awyn Shandar, the first real manly hero I'd concocted. He's a man's man and a sword-weilder as well as a prince. So who inspired his physicality? See below.
Yep. That's right, the King of Romance Covers...Fabio. I will admit I was caught up in the Fabio fascination when I was younger. I had all his products and even went to meet him in person. Of course I also tried to get most of the books with him gracing the covers. My favorites are still the ones by Elaine Duillo such as the one on the left from SURRENDER, MY LOVE by Johanna Lindsey.
Now are you wondering what my current flavor in men runs too? In answer, I give you Samson--a prince who wronged an ancient witch and ended up living for 1000 years as a feline named Smudge. But when he meets Carey Maeve he transforms.
Admittedly, I didn't have an image of him in mind, but knew I needed to find one fast so the heroine could salivate at the sight of him. It just so happened that around that time I was friend-ed by a male model named Julian on MySpace. Turns out he was Julian Fantechi...and I thought he was fantastic at first glance. Especially when I saw this picture:
For me it epitomized the grace of a cat and the turn of Julian's head made me think this could be Samson right after transformation. Then of course there is the lean physique that could quantify with a feline who didn't have any extra meat.
Here's an excerpt from CRASH INTO YOU (and a peek at part of my entry to Harlequin's Secrets Contest):
I shoved the Women’s door open with my foot, not sure I wanted to use the knob. Who knew what bacteria lurked there?
Light from a lone weak bulb hit a person inside. I saw butt cleavage. But it wasn’t female.
The man turned to look back over his shoulder with a wince. Long dark bangs fell to cover one eye.
“You’re supposed to lock the door. And by the way, you’re in the wrong john.”
“Couldn’t…take…the…chance.” His words came out punctuated by shivers.
My gaze zipped to the mirror where his shaking hand held the front of his shirt lifted. I let out a low wolf whistle. “That’s a shiner.” I took a step closer, my eyes zeroing in on the injury that seemed recent by the aggravated redness.
He turned toward me, his face set in a cold mask, his chiseled jaw clenched hard. The lone sapphire eye still visible radiated pain and plenty of fear. Animal was the best way to describe his stance. Ready to pounce with about two hundred pounds of toned muscle made from running wild. But both hands weren’t at the ready to rip her to shreds. One had raised palm out to stave me off. The other still cradled his severely bruised abdomen.
And how far could he get with unbuttoned jeans? One slip of the zipper and they’d fall to the floor like a makeshift denim lariat around his ankles. If things got too touch and go, I could manage pulling that off.
But could I leave with the rest of him on show?
If you want to see the picture that inspired this scene, click here. I was afraid it might be too hot to post in the full. (Though these days some book covers on the shelves are hot, hot, hotter than this.) Call me modest. ;0) Though I do like to enjoy a six-pack (and no I'm not talking about beer) from time to time.
If you want to check out which character I snuggle up with at night click here. :0)