Today Heroes and Heartbreakers is delighted to welcome author Shannon Stacey. Shannon's No Place to Hide, the fourth book of her Devlin Group series, is a thrilling romantic ride with the hero having to protect the heroine from an assassin while he struggles with how important she's become to him. Shannon knows heroes, having written many memorable ones in her various series, so she's here to talk about what makes those heroes larger than life. Thanks, Shannon!
No matter the subgenre, a romance hero is always a little larger than life. When I’m asked why readers love the heroes in my contemporary romance series, I often say it’s because they’re the kind of guys who could be real, and who you could meet at gas station. That’s not really true, though. The chances of running into a smoking hot guy who’s great in bed, has plenty of money, a nice truck, loves and respects his family, and can drink a beer without belching is pretty slim.
The hero of an action-adventure romance, though, takes larger than life to an entirely new level. He’s everything listed above, plus he’s dangerous. His confidence comes from knowing he can and will take on anything that comes his way, and it’s incredibly sexy.
“I told you, I’m not going to let him kill you.”
“Doesn’t sound like he gives people much of a choice.”
Jack leaned forward and gripped her hands. His palms and fingers felt hot, but maybe it was because her hands were freezing. It was cold in the room, and her entire body felt numb.
“Isabelle, look at me.” She lifted her gaze to meet his. “I walked, alone and unarmed, into the very large and very well-armed compound of one of the most vicious guerrilla leaders in modern history to save your life, and you think I can’t take one guy?” (No Place To Hide)
I think a hero who’s willing to sacrifice everything for his heroine—including his life—brings an emotional punch to a romance that’s hard to match. He’ll fight for her and bleed for her. There’s nothing he wouldn’t do to protect her. How is a woman supposed to resist that?
“We don't run from a fight. It's not what KGI is about. KGI is about family. It's about protecting what matters the most to us. It's about never letting anyone take what is ours. You and Shea are ours now, we'll protect you with our last breaths.” (Echoes At Dawn – Maya Banks)
One of my favorite things about action-adventure heroes is how totally unprepared they are to fall in love. They’re usually hardened men from rough backgrounds and they believe love will make them soft. They often don’t have the words to express how they feel, even if they wanted to, and it’s so much fun watching them come to the realization that, as tough as they are, they can’t live without their women.
“He wanted to wake up to her smile every day for the rest of his life, like some stupid coffee commercial on TV.” (Over The Edge – Suzanne Brockmann)
There’s just something about a man who tells you he’d die for you and means it. Literally.
“If you die, angel, it means I'm already dead.” (Breaking Point – Pamela Clare)
That one line sums up everything I feel about action-adventure romance heroes so well, just those nine words can trigger an entire novel’s worth of swooning for me. The intensity and the certainty a hero like this brings to the page seem to heighten every other emotion in the book until the entire story has that larger than life feel that makes you hold your breath and turn the pages as fast as you can read the words.
In closing, I’ll leave you with three lines of movie dialogue that also make me swoon, but I’m not going to say which movies they’re from because I bet you already know. And I’d love to know your favorite tough guy romance heroes!
“You stay alive, no matter what occurs. I will find you. No matter how long it takes, no matter how far, I will find you.”
“I would die for you.” (Okay, that one might be too vague. I’ll give you a hint: hearing him say this line is probably the only time I’ve ever swooned over Kevin Costner.)
And perhaps the most romantic line ever spoken by an action-adventure romance hero in the history of kissing books (and movies):
“Hear this now. I will always come for you.”
Who are your favorite larger-than-life action-adventure romance heroes?
Learn more or pre-order a copy of No Place to Hide by Shannon Stacey, out now:
New York Times and USA Today best-selling author Shannon Stacey is the author of over two dozen romance novels and novellas, including her popular Kowalski series. She has been nominated for an RT Book Reviews Reviewers’ Choice Award twice, and was named to a Publishers Weekly Top 10: Romance list in 2013. Shannon lives in New Hampshire with her husband and two sons.