There are certain things that when you explain aloud sound awful. For example, think of explaining the plot of The Hunger Games to a friend: It’s an exhilarating read with a great message—oh and children are forced to fight to the death on reality TV. It sounds painful to experience (and maybe it is a little), but the book is phenomenal.
I bring this up because I know how it’s going to sound when I admit this, but having a bad guy murdered by the hero in a book? Hot. Having him commit said act of slayage on the heroine’s behalf? Hotter.
My husband and I recently became addicted to the show Sons of Anarchy. Really, we stayed in on Christmas and streamed it from Netflix. (Biker gang shenanigans for the holidays!) And it brought up an interesting discussion.
In the first season—the show just finished season four, but spoiler warning if you haven’t watched at all—the show’s protagonist Jax kills a man to save the woman he loves. Here comes the spoiler-y part. Tara is being stalked by her ex-boyfriend. She’s at home and the ex has broken in and is attempting to rape her. She manages to shoot him in the stomach, and then phones Jax. He comes over looking fine as only Charlie Hunnam can, and comes in to see the bleeding would-be rapist on the floor nursing his wound. Would-be rapist is calling Tara terrible names and threatening her. Jax shoots him in the head. As the blood pools around the dying man, Jax and Tara hit the bed for some seriously hot sex.
And both my husband and I agreed: Yes, that’s exactly what would happen. If he were to kill someone in my defense, instant lay. (Not that I’m suggesting my husband should murder anyone. We’re not even gun people, despite living in Texas.) But as far as hypotheticals go, saving the day in a primal way ignites something.
It’s not just on TV. Think about some of your favorite romances (especially historicals and paranormals with shifters). How often have you seen a hero step up to protect the heroine? Did it make you swoon?
At times, it can even be a way of determining which love interest is the “right” one. For example, in Richelle Mead’s Thorn Queen, [MORE SPOILERS!] Eugenie has been raped. Repeatedly. By a power-hungry asshole who thinks getting her knocked up will be the key to everything. When Dorian and Kiyo—her love interests—arrive to save her, her boyfriend at the time Kiyo refuses to harm the man who’s been keeping her captive and raping her. He’s worried about political implications. Dorian has no such qualms, and impales the jerk with his sword. And the moment he did that, everything was clear. Readers knew Dorian would put Eugenie above all else. People who hurt her should be hurt, according to him. Despite not wanting to force my lover into being a killer, I couldn’t have been more hurt or disappointed by Kiyo’s lack of vengeance.
Bloodshed shouldn’t be sexy, but just like firemen covered in soot the act causes stomachs to go a fluttering.
Share your favorite killing for love scenes in the comments and, really, if you know why we want to have our heroes get bloodthirsty on our behalves, please mention that, too!
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.)