Today we’re thrilled to welcome author Elle Kennedy to Heroes and Heartbreakers. Next week, Elle will release Midnight Rescue, the first book in her new Killer Instincts series. With words like “desperate,” “sex,” “dangerous,” and “passion” in Midnight Rescue’s blurb, who better than Elle to offer her picks for the finest in kick-ass heroines? (See the end of the post to find out how to enter for a chance to win a copy of the book!)
I’m one of those readers who absolutely adores kick-ass heroines. To me, there’s nothing more satisfying than a woman who can hold her own against an alpha male, a woman who can save herself rather than rely on someone else to save her, a woman who instills honest-to-God fear in those she comes up against.
I know that most readers enjoy strong heroines, but when it comes to kicking butt, I’ve spoken to many readers who’ve admitted they prefer the hero to be the one doing the butt kicking. Which I understand. Powerful alpha heroes are sexy. Who doesn’t want a tough, capable man coming to your rescue and sweeping you off your feet?
In romance, particularly romantic suspense, you’re always going to have those strong alpha males, in the form of mercenaries, cops, government agents, assassins, military men, warriors. And sure, plenty of heroines have these jobs too, and can definitely kick some butt, but I’ve read far too many romances where the heroine, as strong-willed and witty and awesome as she may be, gets the man at the end of the book, but doesn’t get the I-saved-the-day glory.
This is why when I discover a book with a powerful heroine, a physical, mental and emotional warrior, I nearly pass out from happiness. So I thought I’d share a few of my all-time favorite badass heroines. Weirdly enough, they come from three different genres (though there is a suspense element in each book), which goes to show that no matter the sub-genre, romance heroines are absolutely capable of kicking some butt.
Heroine: Tamara Steele (Shannon McKenna’s Ultimate Weapon)
What Makes Her a Butt-kicker?
Um, what doesn’t? I don’t know if you’re familiar with McKenna’s series about the McCloud brothers—if not, go out and buy the books. You won’t be disappointed. The McClouds are super alpha and super hot, and I cannot get enough of them. Now, Tamara shows up in Behind Closed Doors, but you get to know her better in Standing in the Shadows. From the moment I met this character, I was hooked.
Career criminal, sharp tongue, designer of deadly jewelry used to kill people, absolutely no modesty or tact. This woman, simply put, is a huge bi-otch, and yet I still love her. So much, in fact, that I shrieked in delight when I found out she was getting her own book, and pre-ordered Ultimate Weapon the second it was available. Tamara is a total badass. She can kill without batting an eye, uses her sexuality without hesitation, speaks her mind, and doesn’t let anyone bulldoze her—and that’s why I love her.
Heroine: Catherine Ling (Iris Johansen’s What Doesn’t Kill You)
What Makes Her a Butt-kicker?
Um, everything. Grew up on the streets of Hong Kong, trained to survive at all costs, dealt in information, learned to kill in a hundred different ways under the guidance of an assassin and master poisoner. Now, Catherine works for the CIA and has a reputation for being a true warrior. She popped up in some earlier Eve Duncan novels, Johansen’s better known heroine, but now Catherine finally has her own book, and I am psyched for it.
What I love about this heroine is how cool under pressure she is. Catherine can be ruthless and dangerous and manipulative, but above all else, she’s smart. She thinks before she acts, and she’s able to see ten moves ahead, the big picture rather than short-term gain. I cannot wait to learn more about her background and see her in action again.
Heroine: Xhex (J.R. Ward’s Lover Mine)
What Makes Her a Butt-kicker?
Again, everything. A symphath assassin, Xhex is my vampire hero. Dresses in leathers, hair cut short, works as head of security at a club, and because she’s a vampire, she has extraordinary strength and lots of tricks up her sleeves. In all honesty, Xhex terrifies me. If I bumped into her on the street, I’d probably run—not walk, but run—in the other direction. Yet J.R. Ward does a fantastic job giving Xhex a softer side in Lover Mine.
We meet Xhex in earlier Black Dagger Brotherhood books (usually through John Matthew’s POV, in which he’s lusting after this badass female) but it isn’t until Lover Mine that you get to experience a more feminine side to her. However, this is not to say that she still isn’t the deadliest, strongest, most stubbornly determined warrior I’ve ever read about. Like I said, she terrifies me. In a good way.
Those are just three of my favourite female butt-kickers. They are the number-one reasons I adored these books (well, that and the hot heroes, of course!) and whenever I discover heroines like this, it makes me want to high-five all of womankind and say, see, we CAN be the heroes of our own stories!
So…what about everyone else? Do you like warrior heroines or do you prefer the damsel in distress? Who are your favourites?
To enter for a chance to win one of two copies of Elle Kennedy’s Midnight Rescue, make sure you’re a registered member of the site, and then simply leave a comment about the post below. NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. A purchase does not improve your chances of winning. Sweepstakes open to legal residents of fifty (50) United States and the District of Columbia, who are 18 or older. To enter, fill out entry at http://www.heroesandheartbreakers.com/blogs/2012/04/author-elle-kennedy-on-kick-ass-heroines beginning at 12:00 p.m. Eastern Time (ET) April 25, 2012. Sweepstakes ends at 11:59 a.m. ET on May 3, 2012 (the “Promotion Period”). Void outside of the 50 US and DC and where prohibited by law. Please see full details and official rules at http://www.heroesandheartbreakers.com/page/official-rules-midnight-rescue-comment-sweepstakes. Sponsor: Macmillan, 175 Fifth Ave., New York, NY 10010.
Elle Kennedy currently publishes with Signet Eclipse, Harlequin Romantic Suspense, and Samhain Publishing. She loves strong heroines and sexy alpha heroes, and just enough heat and danger to keep things interesting! Her latest release, Midnight Rescue, is the first book in a new romantic suspense series Killer Instincts, featuring a team of male mercenaries and female assassins—and yes, there is a kick-ass heroine. MIDNIGHT RESCUE releases on May 1 and is available for pre-order now! Check out Elle’s website www.ellekennedy.com, like her on Facebook or follow her on Twitter.