Several months ago, I read Meant to Be, Terri Osburn's debut novel. As with nearly all the romance novels that make up my keepers, I fell in love with the characters, major and minor. One of the minor characters whom I really hope to see more of in future books is Randy Navarro. Osburn describes Randy as a “gentle giant” with night-dark, curly hair and a “massive breadth of chest and shoulders.” When he later proves to be a protective type with a sense of humor, I knew he deserved to be the hero of his own story. Thinking about this Osburn character made me remember other big heroes whose stories I love. Among them are some of the most memorable heroes in the genre.
First, there was Hugo, or the unknown Ajax as he is christened in Georgette Heyer’s novel by that title. The Unknown Ajax (1959) is one of Heyer’s funniest books with a cast of wonderfully drawn characters from a pair of feuding valets to an aristocratic matron whose hauteur and self-possession are inimitable (though many have tried), but the star of the book is Major Hugh “Hugo” Darracott, the product of a misalliance between the second son of an arrogant peer and a weaver’s daughter. When the lord’s eldest son and his heir drown, Hugo, to the great dismay of his grandfather and most of the Darracott family, becomes the heir. When Hugo arrives at the family estate to meet his paternal relatives for the first time, he realizes they think he is an uneducated bumpkin with little wit and less social poise. Since Hugo’s besetting sin is his “levity,” he cannot resist giving his family what they expect. He speaks in a broad Yorkshire accent that leaves them cringing and assumes the role of a naïve bumbling giant of a man, graceless and limited in intellect.
[Sexy beasts indeed...]