I’m a historical reader. Have been ever since I read my first Jude Deveraux historical romance back when I was…11? 12? Don’t tell my family. ;) Sure, I’ve read a few contemporary romances (Kristan Higgans, Nora Roberts, anyone?), but my first love will always be historicals. That is why this post only features historical heroes and heroines, not because I don’t think characters in other sub-genres are worthy.
5) (We’re doing a countdown, people. Anticipation is good for the heart.) Some romance readers don’t like a man who can be manipulative. In Lisa Kleypas’s Tempt Me at Twilight, we definitely have a hero who can be cold and demanding and yes, manipulative. But to me, this makes Harry Rutledge even sexier when he uses these traits in order to woo the heroine because he has to have her. Yes, he learns some lessons about what’s acceptable and what’s not. But a man who keeps such rigid control over himself and everything around him, only to then have that control slip with the woman he desires above all others is one of the most gratifying and satisfying heroes for me as a romance reader.
4) Not only did Sherry Thomas’s debut Private Arrangements blow me away, but Camden Saybrook, Lord Tremaine, was one of the sexiest heroes I’ve ever read. By sexy, I don’t necessarily mean you should fantasize about him (although there is that). I mean that everything he says or does in the book comes across to me as incredibly sexy. If a man could be born with a sexy gene, then it would be Camden. Other things that have put him on this list: his inherent kindness and compassion, as well as his obsession and desperation for the heroine (yes, desperation for the heroine seems to be my thing).
3) Michael Stirling. Just writing his name does a number on my pulse. Michael is the hero in Julia Quinn’s When He Was Wicked, and he’s probably the reason why that book is my favorite of all of JQ’s. He is the perfect portrait of a self-sacrificing man who is desperately in love but can’t have the woman he wants (at the beginning of the book the heroine is married to his cousin). Though he is completely enamored of Francesca and as such is a tormented soul, he is also sexy, fun to be around, and has a great sense of humor. And the way he woos Francesca toward the end of the book…(fans self)…let’s just say there’s more than one reason why this book is titled When He Was Wicked.
2) Gabriel Fairchild from Teresa Medeiros’s Yours Until Dawn. If you haven’t read this book and you like historical romance, go out and buy it NOW. Heck, even if you don’t like historical romance, you should still buy it. This is definitely a keeper book and may even be my favorite romance of all time. Gabriel goes off to war for the woman he loves (you’ll have to read the book to understand the full context—what? You haven’t ordered this yet? Do it now!). As a result, not only does he suffer an injury that makes him go blind, but the woman he loves never comes to him when he returns home. Angry, broken, and despairing, he goes to the country to recuperate and basically live the life of a hermit. Yet although our wonderful hero can be a bit gruff at times, he can also be very charming and considerate. The suspicious and skeptical exterior hides a heart of gold that would make it extremely difficult for ANY woman to resist this man.
1) At the top of this fine, droolworthy list is Gabriel Noble from Anne Mallory’s Three Nights of Sin. I remember when this book first came out that a lot of people loved the concept, but for me it was all about the hero. As you can see from the previous heroes I’ve listed, I love heroes that are desperately in love with the heroine. But most of all, I love a hero who is all of those things and interesting. Gabriel Noble is by far the most interesting hero and probably the most heroic hero I’ve ever read. I can’t give too many details without spoiling the book, but I will say that I’ve never been more envious of a heroine than I was reading about Gabriel Noble in Three Nights of Sin. And now I have to reread the book to get my fix.
There you have it: my top fave romance heroes. As you’ve seen, I love men who love their heroines desperately, passionately, without reserve. These are men who will go to war to impress their ladies. Men who will abandon everything they have to win their heroines’ hearts. I wasn’t aware of my preference for this type of hero before writing this list, but now that I see it, it makes sense; most of the heroes that I write tend to be the same way.
Although the authors I named are popular among the romance community, I hope I’ve recommended a hero and a book that you haven’t yet read. If you have read them, I’d love to know if any of these heroes made your top list as well.
One random commenter will be chosen to win a copy of Ashley’s newest book, Romancing the Countess (open internationally)! Also, find out how to win the Grand Romancing the Countess Book Tour Prize of 40+ romance novels by visiting www.ashleymarch.com!