Aug 30 2011 1:00pm

5 Favorite Romance Heroes (or, All Men Should Be Desperately in Love)

Tempt Me at Twilight by Lisa KleypasI’m a historical reader. Have been ever since I read my first Jude Deveraux historical romance back when I was…11? 12? Don’t tell my family. ;) Sure, I’ve read a few contemporary romances (Kristan Higgans, Nora Roberts, anyone?), but my first love will always be historicals. That is why this post only features historical heroes and heroines, not because I don’t think characters in other sub-genres are worthy.

5) (We’re doing a countdown, people. Anticipation is good for the heart.) Some romance readers don’t like a man who can be manipulative. In Lisa Kleypas’s Tempt Me at Twilight, we definitely have a hero who can be cold and demanding and yes, manipulative. But to me, this makes Harry Rutledge even sexier when he uses these traits in order to woo the heroine because he has to have her. Yes, he learns some lessons about what’s acceptable and what’s not. But a man who keeps such rigid control over himself and everything around him, only to then have that control slip with the woman he desires above all others is one of the most gratifying and satisfying heroes for me as a romance reader.

Private Arrangements by Sherry Thomas4) Not only did Sherry Thomas’s debut Private Arrangements blow me away, but Camden Saybrook, Lord Tremaine, was one of the sexiest heroes I’ve ever read. By sexy, I don’t necessarily mean you should fantasize about him (although there is that). I mean that everything he says or does in the book comes across to me as incredibly sexy. If a man could be born with a sexy gene, then it would be Camden. Other things that have put him on this list: his inherent kindness and compassion, as well as his obsession and desperation for the heroine (yes, desperation for the heroine seems to be my thing).

When He was Wicked by Julia Quinn3) Michael Stirling. Just writing his name does a number on my pulse. Michael is the hero in Julia Quinn’s When He Was Wicked, and he’s probably the reason why that book is my favorite of all of JQ’s. He is the perfect portrait of a self-sacrificing man who is desperately in love but can’t have the woman he wants (at the beginning of the book the heroine is married to his cousin). Though he is completely enamored of Francesca and as such is a tormented soul, he is also sexy, fun to be around, and has a great sense of humor. And the way he woos Francesca toward the end of the book…(fans self)…let’s just say there’s more than one reason why this book is titled When He Was Wicked.

Yours Until Dawn by Teresa Medeiros2) Gabriel Fairchild from Teresa MedeirosYours Until Dawn. If you haven’t read this book and you like historical romance, go out and buy it NOW. Heck, even if you don’t like historical romance, you should still buy it. This is definitely a keeper book and may even be my favorite romance of all time. Gabriel goes off to war for the woman he loves (you’ll have to read the book to understand the full context—what? You haven’t ordered this yet? Do it now!). As a result, not only does he suffer an injury that makes him go blind, but the woman he loves never comes to him when he returns home. Angry, broken, and despairing, he goes to the country to recuperate and basically live the life of a hermit. Yet although our wonderful hero can be a bit gruff at times, he can also be very charming and considerate. The suspicious and skeptical exterior hides a heart of gold that would make it extremely difficult for ANY woman to resist this man.

Three Nights of Sin by Anne Mallory1) At the top of this fine, droolworthy list is Gabriel Noble from Anne Mallory’s Three Nights of Sin. I remember when this book first came out that a lot of people loved the concept, but for me it was all about the hero. As you can see from the previous heroes I’ve listed, I love heroes that are desperately in love with the heroine. But most of all, I love a hero who is all of those things and interesting. Gabriel Noble is by far the most interesting hero and probably the most heroic hero I’ve ever read. I can’t give too many details without spoiling the book, but I will say that I’ve never been more envious of a heroine than I was reading about Gabriel Noble in Three Nights of Sin. And now I have to reread the book to get my fix. 

There you have it: my top fave romance heroes. As you’ve seen, I love men who love their heroines desperately, passionately, without reserve. These are men who will go to war to impress their ladies. Men who will abandon everything they have to win their heroines’ hearts. I wasn’t aware of my preference for this type of hero before writing this list, but now that I see it, it makes sense; most of the heroes that I write tend to be the same way.

Although the authors I named are popular among the romance community, I hope I’ve recommended a hero and a book that you haven’t yet read. If you have read them, I’d love to know if any of these heroes made your top list as well.

One random commenter will be chosen to win a copy of Ashley’s newest book, Romancing the Countess (open internationally)! Also, find out how to win the Grand Romancing the Countess Book Tour Prize of 40+ romance novels by visiting www.ashleymarch.com!

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Heather Waters
1. HeatherWaters
I do love Harry Rutledge. Can't believe it, but I don't think I've read the others's stories! Will have to remedy that ASAP.
Sue K
2. Sue K
Michael Stirling. OMG! When He Was Wicked is my all time favorite of JQ's books I thought Michael was sexy and romantic and my heart broke for him at the beginning. I actually cried reading this book.
Haven't read any of the other books, but I will have to give them all a try.
Sue K
3. Marnee Bailey
I love love love Michael Stirling. And I just discovered Sherry Thomas this past weekend during the hurricane (NOT QUITE A HUSBAND) and I'm desperate to read the rest of her books.

But, I love the point you make about heroes who love the heroine madly, that they'd do anything to have her. Completely made me realize I was missing a connection with the hero in WIP. Thank you for your inspiration here!! :)
Sue K
4. Carrot143
Thanks Ashley, 5 more books to add to the must-read pile. Which already has 2 Teresa Medeiros' books in it! LOL.
Sue K
5. Louise Partain
Thanks, Ashley. All are in my stacks and all are favorites. I would add here The Serpent Prince, by Elizabeth Hoyt, where the hero is so desperately in love with the heroine that when . . . oh, dear, no spoilers. Cam Rohan and Kev Merripen two more of Kleypas' heroes fall into this category. And OF COURSE, you'd have to add author Connie Brockway's Harry Braxton of As You Desire and Sir Eliot March of The Bridal Season to the madly loving men.
Sue K
6. Jen G.
Fortunately, I've read Tempt Me at Twilight, and just purchased Private Arrangements. Which means I only have three books to buy, not five.
Sue K
7. Annabel Joseph
Ooh, two of those are already sitting in my bedside TBR pile! Me and my friend have been on a Kleypas kick...

Thanks for the great list.
Shani Bell
8. bzbell75
I also love, love, love Historical Romance, and am definitely in agrement with Harry Rutledge, Cam Rohan, and Kev Merripen. I must add Sarah MacLean's rake, Gabriel St. John; Elizabeth Hoyt's hero of Notorious Pleasure, Griffin Remington; Gaelen Foley's Lord of Fire, Lucien Knight; Jennifer Ashley's Lord Cameron Mackenzie (just to name some of my top faves)! They all have what I call the "mmmm" factor... They exude sex appeal, as well as protect, claim and adore their women! Thank you for your suggestions! I must definitely add them, as I have only read one!
Ashley March
9. AshleyMarch34
Hi Everyone! I'm a little late because I was out with my daughters all day, but I'm here now, and will be responding to comments soon. =) Thanks for visiting with me and my favorite heroes today!
Ashley March
10. AshleyMarch34
Hi redline! Harry Rutledge--yum. I think that's all that needs to be said about him. Just plain YUM. =)
Ashley March
11. AshleyMarch34
Sue K--I think I may have cried, too. =) And I'm so glad I finally found someone else who agrees with me about WHEN HE WAS WICKED. Colin Bridgerton might be great, but I am a total Michael Stirling fangirl all the way.
Ashley March
12. AshleyMarch34
Marnee! I'm so glad I could help you with your WIP. =) And if you just discovered Sherry Thomas, then are definitely in for a treat with the rest of her books! Please tell me you've already read Julie Anne Long and Meredith Duran. =)
Ashley March
13. AshleyMarch34
Hi Carrot143. =) What can I say? I help adding to fellow romance readers' TBR piles. ;) Hope you enjoy them all!
Ashley March
14. AshleyMarch34
Hi Louise! Now I'm the one who has to add books to my TBR pile. =) Besides the Lisa Kleypas ones, I haven't read any of these. Thanks for the recs!
Ashley March
16. AshleyMarch34
Hi Annabel Joseph! It would be hard to argue that there's anything better than a Lisa Kleypas book. =) Hope you enjoy!
Ashley March
17. AshleyMarch34
Hi bzbell75! Thanks so much for your recs! I've read a few of them, but will have to get my hands on the others. =)
Sue K
18. CindyS
I have yet to read Sherry Thomas or Anne Mallory but you have given me excellent reasons to fix that situation pronto!
Sue K
19. May
Hi, Ashley. I haven't read Anne Mallory or Sherry Thomas yet. Thank you for the recommendations. :) I do like Harry and Michael a lot though.
Sue K
20. Johanna J
I loved Tempt me at Twilight and Yours untill Dawn. Lisa Kleypas and Teresa Medeiros are among my favorite all time authors! Actually Teresa Mederios Once an Angel and Heather and Velvet are in my top five favs. Thanks for sharing your favs with us. I will be adding to my to buy list!!!!
21. Ranurgis
Wow! I think I have to get to my backlog of books. I've been missing some hot heroes. I already have a couple of the books. I just have to find them in my boxes in storage.
Sue K
22. LSUReader
I thought I was in a small camp of Michael Stirling admirers. It's nice to see he is fully appreciated. (Have y'all read JQ's second epilogue for When He Was Wicked? *sigh*) He is definitely among my favorite romance heroes. I also like Ashley's Sherry Thomas and Theresa Medeiros choices.

How about Lord Ian Mackenzie, by author Jennifer Ashley? He is a bit unconventional, but he is quite desperately in love with his Beth.

Another favorite of mine is Alexander Moncrieffe, Duke of Falconbridge, in Julie Anne Long's What I Did for a Duke. He falls hard and the sacrifices he makes will bring tears to your eyes.
Sue K
23. Janga
There must be something about heroes named Harry. I totally agree with you about Harry Rutledge, and Harry Braxton from Connie Brockway's As You Desire and Harry Morant from Anne Gracie's His Captive Lady are also among my favorite historical heroes.

I also second LSUReader's inclusion of JAL's Alexander Moncrieffe, Duke of Falconbridge. Garrett, Earl of Mayne from Eloisa James's Pleasure for Pleasure, Sir Ross Cannon from Lisa Kleypas's Lady Sophia's Lover, Lord Robert Andreville (Robin) from Mary Jo Putney's Angel Rogue, Bey Malloren, the Marquess of Rothgar from Jo Beverley's Devilish, and Sebastian Ballister, Marquess of Dain, from Lord of Scoundrels by Loretta Chase are also on my list. That's more than five. I might as well go for ten and add Charles Harcourt from Judith Ivory's Beast.
Donna Cummings
24. Donna Cummings
So many wonderful additions to my TBR list. :) Now I just have to pick which one to start with!
Sue K
25. librarypat
Sad to say I haven't read any of the books on your list. They go on my Wish List today. I will have to check my shelves and boxes to see if I already have any of them waiting for me. Teresa Medeiros is a favorite. If I don't have YOURS UNTIL DAWN, I will very soon. Thanks for the suggestions.

librarypat AT comcast DOT net
Sue K
26. elainec
I haved loved all five of these books. Reading this commentary makes me want to read them all over again. Sherry Thomas and Anne Mallory are excellent in writing heroes that show a lot of emotion and are desperately in love with the heroines. Sigh...
Sue K
27. Monica C.
The only one of these five books that I have read is When He Was Wicked by Julia Quinn, and of course I *loved* it. It's one of my very favorites of JQ's books!

I am excited to add the other four to my list. If the heroes are anything like Micheal Stirling, I will love them.
Teresa Hudnall
28. thudnall
This was a great list! I have read about Harry and Gabriel! The other three heroes I plan on reading about very soon as I love the authors' books already! Thank you for compiling this list. I have a few sexy heroes that are my favorites that I could make a list out of also. One of these days I will gather the names and books together and send it to you to look over for comment. Have a wonderful day!
Lori Dibert
29. Sonata917
I have Tempt Me at Twilight and this morning I ordered the other 4 on this list. Thank you for the great recommendations! I am looking forward to reading them.
Sue K
30. KimC
The only book I've read from that list is "When he was Wicked", and I absolutely loved that book, as well as the rest of the series.

Thanks for the list, I have already downloaded 2 of those, and plan to put the others on my wish list.
Sue K
31. Chelsea B.
I have not read any of these books, but I DO have When He Was Wicked in my TBR pile and will DEFINITELY be picking it up soon! I was in the bookstore browsing and it just called to me. Glad to know it was for a reason! :-)
Sue K
32. vernesa
of all books listed i have only read "tempt me at twilight"
its a amazing love story between harry and poppy
there are romanticing parts and the way they bond and everything .
i should definitely go check out th other books ! :D
Sue K
33. Linda T.
I've only read 2 out of the 5 books listed.... Well that just means I now hv 3 new books to add to my wishlist. Thanks Ashley! If they are anything like your 1st book I'm sure I will enjoy them. I too love it when the hero is desperately in love with the heroine but she needs to be worth it! Can't abide a selfish, immature heroine.
nicole bowling
34. nicolebwl
Thank for the wonderful list of books I will have to read. Thanks Ashely.
Sue K
35. SandyC.
I've only read two books on this list, but both of them were my introduction to the respective authors (Teresa Medeiros and Lisa Kleypas), and then I began buying their backlists! :) Obviously, I love the "must have the heroine at all costs" heroes, too!

I'll have to look into those other books as well. Hmm... Thanks for the list!
Sue K
36. Pipit
Please read 'the price of pleasure' by Kresley Cole. u'll be falling in love so deeply with Grand Sutherland...i guarantee
Nikki Hilton
37. nikkiphilton
I don't read historical romance as often as I used to, but When He Was Wicked is one of my favorites. I remember crying (sobbing, really) while reading it, and trying to explain it all to my non-romance-reading BFF. And there never was a Kleypas hero I didn't like, but my favorites are Grant Morgan from Someone To Watch Over Me and Kev Merripen from Seduce Me At Sunrise. I feel a reread coming on.
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