Young adult paranormal romances line the shelves these days, and while the protagonists may be in their late teens, don’t think you can’t relate. Better yet, add a powerful, protective alpha hero into life-or-death drama and make that person a first love? The emotions spike and those steamy interactions, while less graphic, will have you biting your lip.
Here are five YA heroes who stand out as having all the alpha hero qualities sure to have adult paranormal romance readers swooning:
1. Dimitri Belikov
As one of the leading Guardians for the “good” vampire Moroi, he comes to St. Vladimir’s Academy and helps train Rose to fight and defend her people.
She’s 17. He’s 24.
They’re working closely together, and the chemistry is palpable. Their relationship ramps up over the course of the series, but even in the first book the element of forbidden love is hot and heavy. In Dimitri’s own words:
“… you and I will both be Lissa’s guardians someday. I need to protect her at all costs. If a pack of Strigoi comes, I need to throw my body between them and her.” [...] “No. If I let myself love you, I won’t throw myself in front of her. I’ll throw myself in front of you.”
2. Prince Ash
Julie Kagawa gives us the quintessential ’Hot Boy with Sword’ in the Iron Fey series with her Winter Prince. He’s the bad boy. He’s got an attitude. Plus, he has that whole tall, dark and handsome thing going on.
The youngest of the Unseelie Court princes, Ash still has centuries under his belt. All those years in the Winter faerie court have forced him to fight his emotions, to be cold and calculating.
And one girl can change all that. He makes it difficult, but when Meghan connects with him, it’s enough for him to ditch his crown, his family and his world if it keeps her safe. A warrior through and through, he’ll fight to the very ends of the world for a half-faerie girl. When he realizes it, his exact words are: “You made me feel alive again.” (Makes me think of Bella saving Zsadist in the Black Dagger Brotherhood series.)
Also, there’s a common agreement that he looks like Ben Barnes. How can that be bad?
(Read more about Prince Ash in Chelsea Mueller’s Fresh Meat piece on The Iron Knight!)
3. Jace Wayland
The Shadowhunter from Cassandra Clare’s The Mortal Instruments series is snarky, hot-tempered and seriously conflicted. Kind of a hot hero trifecta. He’s the type of hero you’d picture spending time with Acheron, Bones, et. al. (If he weren’t sworn to kill their kind, of course.)
He’s the troublesome golden-haired guy with tattoos – sure they’re functional marks, but I have a thing for tattooed hotties – and he definitely has the moves when it comes to time alone with Clary.
It may be YA, but Clare brings the heat. You can read this hot Jace point-of-view deleted scene from City of Glass to understand this boy’s sexual prowess. You want to make-out with him. There’s no shame in that. Really. (OK, another excerpt for a little more Jace convincing.)
4. Will Rutledge
Sophie Jordan gives us star-crossed lovers in Firelight, the first in her Draki series. Will hunts dragons. (Yep, dragons.) His whole family will head out to try and take down the elusive creatures. On the last round they were sure they’d cornered one. Will went into the cave and saw her. Beautiful. And he pretended not to have found her. That dragon was Jacinda.
Cue Jacinda and her family moving to the same desert city where Will and his family live. He doesn’t recognize her in human form at first, but she sure remembers him. And sparks fly. Will is up for doing what’s necessary for Jacinda. He’ll protect her from his family and he’ll fight the other dragon she’s promised to. Plus, his kisses ignite a literal fire in Jacinda.
Plus, Will’s a determined sort. And there’s something to be said for a guy who isn’t willing to give up.
“Why do you care? I’ve ignored you for days.”
His smile fades. He looks serious, mockingly so. “Yeah. You got to stop that.”
5. Sam Roth
There’s something appealing about a hero willing to fight his nature—need for blood, to fight, etc.—that’s always appealing. That’s the case with Sam from Maggie Stiefvater’s Wolves of Mercy Falls series. In the first book, Shiver, Sam meets Grace. Things get hot with one of the better YA sex scenes. These two are connected. The hitch here is Sam is a werewolf and he shifts to wolf in the cold weather. That means he’s only human in the summer. As fall sets in, he does whatever he can to avoid being in the cold to extend his time with Grace.
“I’d found heaven and grabbed it as tightly as I could, but it was unraveling, an insubstantial thread sliding between my fingers, too fine to hold.”
He finally has happiness and isn’t willing to let his nature stop him from maintaining it. Sam gives us both the strength we want and the emotional depth we need.
Have you read any YA romances? Are there any heroes who would top your book boyfriend lists? Prince Ash and Dimitri are right alongside Zsadist, Bones and Terrible for me.
While Chelsea Mueller runs Vampire Book Club, she won’t turn down a sexy werewolf, demon or faerie. (Her husband often reminds her that she’s taken.)