Friday, October 02, 2015

Friday Fun - For the Love of the Inexperienced Hero

We're delighted to welcome Maisey Yates back to the Pink Heart Society as she talks about the things that can make a work/life balance impossible.

Since it’s Friday Fun here at PHS, I decided to talk about a topic I always find fun: Heroes!

I love a playboy hero. What’s not to love? They’re wicked and devilish, and the idea that a man who can (and has) had any woman on earth, but wants you, is an intoxicating one. 

Prince Pato in A Royal Without Rules by Caitlin Crews is a fantastic example of a fun playboy, as is Crews’s Lucas Wolfe in The Disgraced Playboy

My August release Bad News Cowboy has a shameless playboy hero, Jack Monaghan, and a tomboy virgin heroine, Kate Garrett, which made for a fun and fabulous contrast. 

But the rare unicorn of romance heroes is definitely the inexperienced hero. My hero Connor Garrett in Brokedown Cowboy, married young and hadn’t slept with anyone but his late wife, so the first woman after her was a big deal for him. 

But, even rarer still, though, is the virgin hero. I’ll be honest, I love a virgin hero. But I think often there can be a mental block about them because…well, it’s hard to fantasize about a guy who doesn’t know what he’s doing. But that, to me, isn’t the appeal of the virgin hero. 

To me, the appeal is much the same as the playboy hero. How so? Let me explain. It’s all about the heroine being different. The playboy could have anyone, yet chooses her. The virgin has had no one, yet chooses to change that pattern when he meets her. 

For my heroes, virginity is usually about control, not insecurity. In my Harlequin Presents A Royal World Apart, sexy bodyguard Mac is a virgin widower, who spent all of his marriage caring for his wife, and never forsaking his marriage vows. He was a virgin because of honor, which to me, was why it was sexy. 

Tarek, in Bound to the Warrior King is a virgin because he’s sworn to forsake earthly pleasures so that he can be the perfect weapon his country needs to protect them. So when Olivia awakens passion in him for the first time and breaks the control that defines him, it’s a pretty epic moment. 

I also like a damaged virgin hero. Hunter from Taking Him, by Jackie Ashenden has abuse in his past and resists being touched and avoids intimacy at all costs. But he’s tested by his best friend’s little sister, who is absolutely determined to fulfill her fantasy of…well, taking him. But the heroine Ellie doesn’t know that Hunter is a virgin, and after they have sex for the first time has to be my one of my favorite scenes of all time since Ashenden takes that common “WHAT? YOU’RE A VIRGIN?” scene and subverts it so that it’s the heroine who’s shocked to discover she’s just deflowered the gorgeous object of her fantasies.

One of my other favorite virgin heroes is Wes, from Nicole Helm’s upcoming release, All I Am. Wes has PTSD and serious anxiety issues, coupled with an injury sustained in Afghanistan. His heroine, Cara, is confident in her sexual appeal, while Wes really isn’t. (Though, he’s a hot, bearded man who rocks flannel, and he’s definitely sexy!) Watching him slowly come into his own and gain confidence is hot AND emotional. 

One of my favorite things about romance in general is the variety. I love that I can read a book centered around a motorcycle club, or a sweet small town, or a fated mates story about shifters. And I love the variety in heroes too. 

Basically, as long as I find him sexy, playboy or virgin, it’s all good for me. That’s what makes it fun. 

How about you?  Do you like inexperienced heroes?  And are you a fan of the variety of the heroes available to romance readers?  Join our debate in the comments!

Maisey's latest virgin hero, Tarek, can be found in Bound to the Warrior King, out now:

The warrior she tamed… 

 Wild and untamed, Tarek al-Khalij was never meant to rule Tahar. More familiar with a sword than a crown, this lethal warrior must now heal the suffering his brother's rule inflicted. To do it, he needs his most precious—and dangerous—weapon yet…a royal bride! 

The widow he conquered...

Elegant and poised, Queen Olivia will educate Tarek in the civilized art of political warfare. But in exchange, Tarek unleashes an unrestrained, primal passion she could never have guessed at possessing. Soon Olivia realizes that she has become inescapably bound…to the warrior king!

To find out more about Maisey Yates and her books, check out her website and blog, and follow her on Facebook and Twitter.