Baseball is celebrating its All Stars right now, and it made me think we should do the same with romance heroes. I’ll toss out the first pitch, with a few of my favorites that deserve to be on the team.
What makes them All Stars?
These are sexy men who demonstrate exemplary heroic traits, unending devotion to the heroine, and a little something extra that other heroes might consider emulating. I have read their stories so many times I could win a Trivial Pursuit championship without studying ahead of time. These are characters I think of as real human beings—and maybe once or twice I’ve even referred to them as my boyfriends. (Ha ha, not really.) (Okay, really.)
Here are some All-Star Heroes who will always have my vote:
1. Sam Starrett from Suzanne Brockmann’s Troubleshooter series—I love this Navy SEAL so much I constantly entertain thoughts of stealing him from his love, Alyssa. (I know I’m not the only one, which is why I don’t feel too guilty.) He’s flawed, but for reasons that bring out my inner nurturer. Some say he swears too much, yet somehow it sounds sexy whenever he lets loose a flurry of f-bombs. Before he and Alyssa worked out their multitude of issues, he had his heart broken, many times, partly because of his own bonehead actions. Yet every time it happened I wanted to be there to console him. I love how he wants to protect Alyssa, yet he also admires her because she’s strong and capable and doesn’t NEED him to protect her. I melt when he says to Alyssa, “You own me”. And every time he tells somebody he’s rescued, “I’m Lieutenant Sam Starrett and I’m here to take you home,” I can’t help but imagine he’s thinking of me.
2. Hardy Cates from Lisa Kleypas’s Sugar Daddy and Blue-Eyed Devil—While I’m still not convinced he ended up with the right heroine, I am positive he’s a hero who will come through in the midst of a crisis. He helped out the young Liberty Jones when she fell off her bike and scraped her knee, and he’s the one they asked to drive Liberty’s mama to the hospital in horrible weather when she was in labor. He also rescued his future bride, Haven, when she needed help escaping an abusive situation. Clearly, if you’re in trouble of any kind, this is the man you want on your team. Also, if you ever find yourself in a darkened wine cellar, in desperate need of earth-shattering kisses, this is the guy you need.
3. Malkolm from Kresley Cole’s Demon from the Dark—How can you not love a hero who brings the heads of demons he’s killed and drops them at the heroine’s feet to brag about what a good protector he is? Unfortunately Malkolm doesn’t speak the same language as Carrow, the heroine, so instead of her gazing at him with love and awe, she thinks he’s just throwing nasty stuff at her to be crude. Malkolm works really hard to figure out what she wants and needs, and I adore how he does this by intensely watching what she does and trying to extrapolate from what he’s observed. He’s also afraid of water, and doesn’t understand her love of it, but he’s willing to give it a try, because he knows it pleases her. Like a true All Star, he’s smart enough to realize his patience will be rewarded, and it is, with a huge home run.
4. Mick Brody from One Reckless Summer by Toni Blake—I fell hard for this guy from the first time he teases the heroine Jenny with the words, “Meow, pussycat." He’s a bad boy who wants more out of the crappy life he’s been given, but he’s also devoted to making sure his dying brother’s last days are lived in freedom, even though it means Mick may have to sacrifice any kind of future as a result. This is the hero you want if your air conditioner needs repairing. He’s also the reason you’ll need a working air conditioner, because his overabundance of sexiness makes even a cool summer night much too hot.
5. Richard Armitage—What? You know he belongs here. There are tons of writers—and readers—who imagine him as the hero in their books, so I’m adding him to my All Star team. He can play a romance hero like nobody’s business, so we’re lucky he provides us with such a wonderful visual as we read these stories.
Okay, I’ve left a few slots for those infamous “players to be named later.” Who would you suggest is a worthy addition to this stellar team?