Oh...the wonderful angst of a tortured hero.
Damaged, broody, morose heroes whose actions often offend us, while at the same time make us want to draw them to our bosoms (or manly hairy chests), in comfort are staples of the romance genre. We are willing to do almost anything to be with them because we know, deep in our hearts, that they are redeemable.
Regardless of whether they truly are or not.
Below are five tortured m/m heroes that will have you laughing, crying, and wanting to save:
1) Jake Riordan, from Josh Lanyon’s Adrien English series, is a closet homosexual homicide detective who is involved with both Adrien English, a bookstore owner, and with a fellow female police officer. Jake’s double life is slowly tearing him apart, and beginning to affect all those who surround him. Jake loves Adrien, but is unable to accept the fact he is gay. His relationship with Adrien is fragmented by love, but also with disgust,because he is disgusted by his own feelings towards a man. Jake decides to marry his female cop when she gets pregnant, and justifies his decision to Adrien by claiming he wants a family. Adrien knows the internal battle that Jake faces and tries to gracefully let him go, yet, for all his excuses and lies, Jake cannot seem to leave Adrien alone.
“He never lied to me. I just didn't ask the questions I didn't want to know the answers to.”
― Josh Lanyon, Death of a Pirate King
2) Zane Garrett, FBI special agent and damaged hero from Abigail Roux’s Cut & Run series, is the epitome of tortured. When his wife dies, Zane falls down a destructive path filled with alcohol, drugs and suicidal behavior. Meeting Ty Grady, also an FBI agent, further confuses him because for the first time since his wife died, he begins to feel something for someone else. Desire and lust...for a man. This sends Zane into a tailspin as he deals with his feelings for Ty, his feelings of betrayal towards his dead wife, and the ramifications of what will happen if anyone finds out.
“I didn't care about anybody, even myself. And when I did….” Zane’s jaw clenched, and he kept his eyes focused on the window. Anything but on the man sitting across from him. “I let him walk away.”
― Abigail Roux, Cut & Run
3) Miller Sutton, a tactile, by-the-book FBI agent in Brooke McKinley’s Shades of Gray, sees his life and work in black and white. There are no “shades of gray” for him. Meeting Danny Butler, drug runner turned federal witness, has him re-examining everything he has ever believed in. He has watched Danny for years, trying to find his way into bringing down the mob. Once he gets Danny into protective custody, he begins to question his life and values. Can he be the man he wants to be or will society and his own prejudices force him to remain the man he thinks he should be? He fights his feelings for Danny, because admitting to them would breach his defenses and send his life spinning out of control.
“Why,” he panted into Danny's neck, “why's it so goddamn good?” He was surprised at how full his voice sounded, so close to overflowing its steady banks.
Danny stroked his hair, his lips warm against Miller's cheek. “Because it's us, Miller,” he whispered. “Because it's us.”
― Brooke McKinley, Shades of Gray
4) NY vice detective Evan Cerelli has a great job, a beautiful wife, and four fantastic kids...until the moment his life is ripped from him when his wife is killed. Suddenly he is adrift in a sea of grief and confusion. When he meets former detective Mike Height, what starts as a much-needed friendship becomes more as both of them begin to experience feelings for one another. Evan has a hard time dealing with this turn of events. His wife was his first date, his first sexual experience, his first love. He has never had sexual feelings for a man before. He also has to deal with how society; how his family, friends, and colleagues, will deal with this knowledge. Evan’s wants, desires and fears are a tangible presence, especially when he decides to turn from the relationship and Matt.
“Words just confused things—when they held each other like this, it made so much more sense.”
― Tere Michaels, Faith & Fidelity
5) Mary Calmes has a way with tortured m/m heroes. In Change of Heart, we are introduced to Jin Rayne. Not only is he gay, but he’s a werepanther with a special gift. A special gift that has caused him much pain and suffering. His trust in anyone—especially alphas—is null. He and his best friend Crane, flee their pack and send their days avoiding other werepanthers. When he meets Logan Church, every defense mechanism Jin possesses springs into action. Logan is the alpha of alphas and he scares Jin to death. He sees only his past in Logan's face. Jin knows this man is his soulmate, but Jin denies he wants love and a family, even to himself. Jin wants, no NEEDS, to be loved for who he is...not what he is.
“It was surprising to hear it from his lips, my plain, ordinary name spoken as it never had been before, with awe, lite it was sacred, like treasure. Like I was treasure.”
― Mary Calmes, Change of Heart
Which tortured m/m characters are your favorites?