Sep 12 2012 9:30am

Top 10 Reasons In Death’s Roarke is the Billionaire Who Dominates the Competition

David GandyOn August 7, H&H asked Which Romance Billionaire Dominates the Competition?  and the overwhelming response was J.D. Robb's Roarke (no first name—it's part of his mystique) from her In Death series.  Although I was not one of the people who posted a response to that question, Roarke was, without a doubt, the first billionaire to sprang to mind. And I'm here to tell you why.

First, some background:  The In Death series began in 1995 with Naked in Death, in which it is 2058 and we are introduced to Eve Dallas, New York City Police Lieutenant, whom we will get to know very well, and Roarke, New York City billionaire, whom Eve will get to know very well. This month,  Delusion in Death, the 35th book in the series, was released. This doesn't count the nine novellas included in anthologies. As you might have noticed, we still wait anxiously for the next in the series.

So, here we go.  The top ten reasons Roarke is the man:

1. He's a billionaire. I know, sort of obvious, isn't it? And it also applies to all the other contenders. But, you have to take this into consideration. There is something attractive about someone who has control of all that money and will bring you back a diamond the size of a baby's thumb from his business trip to Australia, even though you're not exactly sure you're in a relationship with the guy yet. (Glory in Death )

Glory in Death by J.D. Robb2. He's gorgeous. Yes. He's a romance hero and that gorgeousness goes with the territory. But, again, it's a factor. And Roarke has his own particular gorgeousness: tall, strong, black hair to his shoulders and blue eyes. In the first book, Robb describes him as “almost ridiculously handsome: the narrow, aesthetic face; the slash of cheekbones; and sculpted mouth. Yes, his hair was black, but the computer didn't say it was thick and full and swept back from a strong forehead to fall inches above broad shoulders. His eyes were blue, but the word was much too simple for the intensity of color or the power in them.” Robb frequently describes him as having the look of a fallen angel. And doesn't that just give you a vision?

3. He's Irish. Oh, that brogue! It's not heavy, but there's a whisper of it in his voice that just knocks Eve out. The brogue does become more pronounced (and Robb throws in a few “bollocks”  and other Irish colloquialisms) when Roarke is angry, not to mention the occasional use of Gaelic words of love.  Robb does not write dialect (thank God), but I can hear it myself when Roarke speaks and it knocks me out, too.

4. He's powerful. This goes with the billionaire thing, I suppose, but Roarke seems to add a little something extra to that. He understands what his money can do and is careful about it (particularly since meeting police lieutenant Eve Dallas). Sure, he uses it to make more money, but he knows what each one of his businesses is up to and appears to have time to have input into all of them. And if he wants to influence something (usually for the good, of course), by God, he can do it.

5. He's a geek. On top of all the other good stuff Roarke is and does, he's a technology wizard. He can do almost anything with a computer and, over the course of the series, has been informally inducted into NYPD's e-squad for the really hard cases. There is also nothing cuter than when Roarke starts to get really involved in some electronic sleuthing. You can tell he's getting serious when he sits at his keyboard and pulls his hair back, tying it with a leather thong. Yum!

6. He's ruthless. You don't go from being a Dublin street rat to one of the richest men in the world by being a nice guy. Roarke broke a lot of rules as he clawed his way out of the gutter and he is still not averse to  bending a few to reach his ends. Yes, falling in love with a cop has pretty much put a stop to the law-breaking part of his method of operation, but I think he likes the challenge of being ruthless while staying on the proper side of the line.

Imitation in Death by J.D. Robb7. He's resilient. In more ways than one. In addition to his ruthlessness, it took a great deal of resilience to bounce back from the many setbacks life handed him on his way to world domination (or at least, business-world domination). He has never backed down from a challenge, not the least of which is the wooing and winning of the prickly Eve Dallas. And… speaking of resilience, the man is a powerhouse in bed, and in the shower, and in the pool, on the floor, against the wall, and almost anywhere else he can get his hands on Eve. Oh my!

8. He's a guy. On top of all these alpha traits, Roarke is also your typical guy.  I love the books that show us this side of Roarke (and of Roarke and Eve's relationship). In Imitation in Death, Roarke decides he wants to barbeque. He buys himself the kind of honking grill you would expect of a billionaire with the urge to grill.  He sets in up on the patio for a trial run, during which he manages to undercook the potatoes and set fire to the steak. Eve thinks he “looked pretty cute…carrying the tray, crossing the sunny patio in his bare feet, with his hair tied back as he often did for serious work.”  He's turned on by Eve in a variety of circumstances (such a guy). In the same book as the grilling episode, he sees Eve in her uniform for the first time. After looking her over, he says, “Lieutenant, you've got to wear that home.”

Roarke also has that guy cluelessness when it comes to women other than his wife. The subplot of Innocent in Death,  involves a woman from Roarke's past who tries to rekindle their relationship. For most of the book, Roarke can't see it, although Eve and even Roarke's majordomo and long-time friend both warn him. This does give us the opportunity for a wonderful denouement where Eve decks both the former girlfriend and Roarke although she knows Roarke has finally realized what's going on. When he  asks her why. “'Mostly?' She turned, cocked a hip. 'Because you're' a man.'” Yes he is. And we're all glad of it despite the occasional misstep.

9. He understands Eve. Eve Dallas comes with a huge set of baggage, including a rocky past in which she was dreadfully abused by her father. Roarke gets her. He recognizes and accepts her pain and her quirks and very quickly understands how to win her and how to keep her. In Naked in Death, the first book in the series, he discovers that the way to her heart is through real coffee, a rare commodity in the 2050s of the books. As he has to access real coffee (billionaire, remember? He owns a plantation.), he's not above wooing her with the stuff.

Naked in Death by J.D. Robb10. He loves Eve unconditionally. How can you not adore a romance hero who falls in love with a prickly policewoman and loves her despite her issues (or maybe because of them)? Throughout the series, we have watched as Roarke and Eve learned about each other. There have been some major fights, but, in the end, there is caring. Roarke has given everything he has and, more importantly everything he is, to Eve. He has held her through her nightmares, showered her with gifts (which she doesn't really want),  embraced police work, picked out her clothes, had great sex, and learned to barbeque. He's our number one billionaire. If you haven't met him, pick up Naked in Death. You might fall in love, too.

Myretta is the co-founder and current manager of The Republic of Pemberley, a pretty big Jane Austen web site. She is also a writer of Historical Romance. You can find her at her website, and on Twitter as @Myretta.

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Grace S
1. Grace S
Reason 11 is one all readers of the series will understand.

Myretta Robens
2. Myretta
The button! I can't believe I forgot the button. Thanks, Grace.
Lege Artis
3. LegeArtis
I was lured with David Gandy pic (he is f**king gorgeus)...and I can totally see him as Roarke.
Grace S
4. EC Spurlock
I'm sorry, but I'm old enough that I can't read about Roarke without expecting him to be closely followed by a midget yelling "Boss! De plane!"

Totally wrecked these books for me.
Lana Baker
5. lanalucy
Mmm. Roarke. And how.

EC, When I read the first book, I was distracted by the name, too, but Eve's Roarke is so completely different from Mr. Roarke that it doesn't even cross my mind anymore.
Myretta Robens
6. Myretta
I agree, @lanalucy. I'm way old enough to remember Fantasy Island, but by the end of Naked in Death, there was only one Roarke for me. When I Googled "Roarke" to see what other people thought he looked like, I was actually surprised to see Ricardo Montalban in the results (of course, I always think of RM as Kahn)
Grace S
7. bookaday19
I'm 48 , and I lived for Fantasy Island every SA night (following Love Boat, before Carol Burnett - ah, the good ol' days!) but never once did I think of Herve Villechaize or hear "Da Plane, Da Plane!" Do whatever therapy you must to get past the name and embrace the only Roarke that matters!
Jonetta Allen
8. Jonetta/Ejaygirl
You had me at the picture of David Gandy, who has been my image of the amazing Roarke since I started the series. Also incredible is that you have completely captured the essence of the man in your top ten list, including that bone headed slip in Innocent in Death.

Thank you for this ten item reminder of why Roarke is my #1.
Grace S
9. Marian Lanouttte
He is the perfect man. Caring, ruthless, giving, smart, rich and dangerous
Myretta Robens
10. Myretta
@Ejaygirl. Until I started working on this post, I hadn't thought of giving Roarke a face other than the one I've made up in my head. But David Gandy definitely works for me (and apparently for a lot of other people).
Kate Schrader
11. kate818
I did a reread a few months ago of every Eve Dallas novel, novella and short story. It's something I have done several times since I first started reading the series in the late 90's. And I fall in love with Roarke (and Eve, and Peabody and McNab and...) all over again. It reminds me of little details I had forgotten, as well as how far each of the characters has come in their arcs. And the button. My heart sighs at each mention of it.
Jonetta Allen
12. Jonetta/Ejaygirl
@Myretta. What a coincidence! He's the face of Dolce & Gabbana and will stop you cold if you happen to walk by a display in any major department store's men's cologne section. The eyes are ice blue and deadly:)
Elizabeth Halliday
13. Ibbitts
The first photo I ever saw of David Gandy, I had an aha moment and said to myself: "That's Roarke!"
Darlene Marshall
14. DarleneMarshall
How could we let this discussion go along without mentioning the button? Thanks, Grace.

That pretty dude isn't the Roarke I see in my mind. I'm not sure I've ever seen who'd be the closest match, though Pierce Brosnan (from his Remington Steele days) comes closest for me.
Deborah Gebhardt
15. Gebhardt53
I don't know who else was in contention, but Rourke
definitely makes the grade as far as I'm concerned. And never once did "Fantasy Island" ever occur to me.
Grace S
16. willaful
I actually got my husband to read one or two of the In Death books, but Roarke bugged him -- too perfect. It's funny because I always think their relationship is the closest I've seen in romance to ours -- high maintanance woman with guy who adores her anyway.
Anna Nascimento
17. aknas22
This post makes me want to read the series from beginning to end, I'm almost ashamed I haven't read it yet. I will get right on correcting my mistake :).
Myretta Robens
18. Myretta
@aknas22, I heartily recommend that you start right this minute.
Grace S
20. Missy K
Well I totally agree with that. I just finished reading the 35th book and loved it as much as the first one. And Roarke, yes that man is special! : )
Grace S
21. Sharon Brooks
Yep, that just about sum's it up nicely.

But don't forget the he is also gallant and an occasional soft touch. Look at how well he treats Sommerset and Peabody and Jamie and Mavis etc. etc. etc. Yes, our Roarke is worth his weight in gold
Yvonne De La Cruz
22. ymdlc1
Strangely enough it was a blog on this very website regarding who is your favorite billionaire when I first heard of Roarke. I had never heard of this series before and was VERY intrigued since this Roarke character was in the lead according to the responses that came in.

My interest was piqued and I started my research. I couldn't believe how many books there were available already in this series. That did not deter me; I am reading in order and I am up to Kindred In Death. I absolutely LOVE this series! I LOVE this couple; how they love, how they live, who they are.

WITHOUT A DOUBT....Roarke is my ULTIMATE fantasy man! Not so much for his looks, for his money, or his power but for how he LOVES Eve beyond measure. For all his manly characteristics and that he gives as good as he gets when both he and Eve are well with each other as well as when they're at odds. He KILLS me, my heart is squeezed at every mention of the BUTTON he always carries. So sweet and romantic.

If I had ONE choice out of all the characters I've read, Roarke is the man I want. If you haven't read any of these books, I HIGHLY recommend this series! Thank you J.D. ROBB!!! xo xo xo
23. Pegoheart
From the start, Roarke was the character that intrigued me. He's a self-made man. That is illustrated by his finding a copy of Yates in a Dublin Alley when he was six and the rest is history. He has no formal education. But what a like most about him is how he cares for Eve. Puddle of goo time.
Grace S
24. LorraineMC
that's barely a kid he is no Roarke, yuk but I know Who Dallas is DetectiveBecket in series Castle for she has short brown hair and her eyes are kind of whisky-coloured she'd be perfect for lt Eve Dallas but Roarke, good luck , no way, no one, only you find the build make hair longer, Irish accent and never ever show his face....I've read this J.D. Robb' in death from the first and over and over again, Real Roarke would make every woman swoon and pass out
Grace S
25. Marsha @KeeperBookshelf
For me it's because Roarke "gets" Eve. He doesn't try to change her (well maybe eat more than pizza and endless coffee, but that's taking care of his cop) - he loves her as she is, as she can be. And he is the one person Eve lets see who she truly is. That ultimate trust gets me every time.

We should all be so lucky to find our own Roarke in our real lives.
Grace S
26. COOP
Where Roarke is concerned, there is NO competition!
Grace S
27. Deb C pa
I have been collecting these books since the first one came out! I love Roarke! He is just.....well, he's Roarke! His love for Eve is beyond compare and he pretty much owns the world and what he doesn't own he is working on buying!

He has been making me swoon for years and I hope there will be plenty to come!
Grace S
28. Etta G.
I've been casting these characters, in my mind, since I read the first one. Eve - Emily Blunt or Odette Annable / Roarke - Henry Cavill / Delia - Kat Dennings / Ian McNab - Matthew Gray Gubler / Capt. Feeney - William Macy / Mavis - Christina Aguilera / Leonardo - Antonio Te Meioha / Dr. Mira - Susan Sarandon / Nadine Furst - Anne Hathoway . ..... Emily Blunt is athletic, slender, and even has a dent in her chin. If you disagree with Henry Cavill, please google some pics of him with his hair long! Kat Dennings is PERFECT for Delia and the books descriptions of Feeney sound like they were describing William Macy, clear down to the hang-dog eyes, his big ears, and his reddish hair and freckles. ........... LOVE these books!
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