Aug 8 2014 10:00am

Alpha-holes vs. Alpha-gents

Recently, I tackled the subject of TSTL heroines vs. kick-ass heroines, and it yielded a lively debate on what readers consider stupid, what readers consider badass, and the span between. Alpha-holes are an interesting breed. They have über-alpha traits that make a lot of readers cringe, wince, or gasp in outrage. Why do they do the things they do? Sometimes an author gives a compelling backstory to sway readers into understanding him. However, sometimes an alpha-hole is just an alpha-hole and can have some of these traits:

1. He’s a bad communicator.


Much like his TSTL counterpart, an alpha-hole will say and do whatever he wants, including not saying anything at all. He gets an idea in his mind, and that’s that.The heroine and the reader are left wondering why he says/does what he does; we also wonder why the heroine goes back for more.

2. He’s an aggressive and very talented lover.


This is true of any alpha, but at least this explains why the heroine puts up with Number 1. He’s probably the most efficient and exciting lover she has ever had, and blows right by her boundaries. Ironically, he probably has plenty of kinky boundaries of his own, e.g. “don’t touch me there,” “we only do it doggy style,” or “we don’t talk about this in public.”

3. He’s cocky.


An alpha-hole lives life on his terms; he surpasses confident and conceited by a mile. Quite often he isn’t challenged by his peers or family, and he expects his heroine to fall in line. See Number 2 if the directive “Be ready at 7 wearing those panties I like” isn’t followed. While somthing like this can be sexy, an alpha-hole will double down and belittle his heroine, taking the sexy right out of that game if she doesn’t play along.

4. He’s a chauvinist.


Dinner at a fancy restaurant? Without asking what she wants, he’s ordering her wine for her...and her dinner. He’s trying to micromanage her life, and the difference between an alpha-hole and an alpha-gent is that the gent will listen to reason...eventually.

5. He’s selfish.


It never occurs to an alpha-hole that his heroine may ditch him for his bad behavior. He is consumed with his needs, wants, and objectives. It seems like the heroine is the means to an end to complete his ideal of life in general, as opposed to his ideal of life in love. He’s power hungry or obsessive with a dash of grim.

There are alpha-holes that I really dislike, but there are some alpha heroes that many consider alpha-holes that are close to my heart:

1. Gideon (Sylvia Day’s Crossfire series)

Gideon walked right up to Eva and crudely propositioned her. Once she put him in his place, he fell in love forever. Gideon is rich and over the top, but his love for Eva redeems him in my eyes. (Seriously...he replicated her bedroom at his apartment. It’s creepy, but kinda hot.)

2. Knight (Kristen Ashley’s Unfinished Hero series)

Kristen Ashley can write an alpha-hole in her sleep and Knight was the first of her uber alpha males that I read. Knight doesn’t even bother to say whole sentences and can sometimes communicate in monosyllabic grunts, but he has an all-consuming passion for Anya.

3. Deuce (Madeline Sheehan’s Undeniable series)

There is no doubt about the fact that Deuce is an alpha-hole. He’s actually not even a good person, and for most of his relationship with Eva, he wasn’t good to her. However...Deuce is special. He knows he is screwed up, and finally, way down the line, he does the right thing by Eva. He had a long road to take but some alphas are more stubborn than others. (Also, he has a million quotable one-liners.)

Who are your favorite (or least favorite) alpha-holes and alpha-gents?


Nicole Leapheart's alter ego is Miss Boxy Frown, and she posts book reviews and TV recaps at She reads and watches everything from romance to sci-fi, but enjoys it even more if some smut is involved. And tattoos.

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Kim Rozzell Miller
1. Kim Rozzell Miller
What a fantastic post made even better by the inclusion of Archer--the ultimate alpha-hole...or is he an alpha-gent? It's debateable. It's fascinating how fine the line is between dark charm and darkly disturbing when it comes to alpha men and their behavior.
Nicole Leapheart
2. BoxyFrown
Thanks Kim! I thought Archer would be perfect for this post :D
Elizabeth Halliday
3. Ibbitts
But what can you do?
The guy will give his life to keep you safe.....
4. Rizos4312
Knight was my first KA book and I fell in love with him. I didn't want to, I really didn't but I just couldn't help myself. For about half the book I was telling Anya to run like hell and never look back but that last scene with them on the balcony... Sigh.
Nicole Leapheart
5. BoxyFrown
@Ibbits I know, right?

@Rizos I love that balcony scene!
Kim Rozzell Miller
7. Abra
Some alpha-holes I didn't like:
-Gabe DeLuca in Kissing Under the Mistletoe by Marina Adair. He's relentlessly cruel to the heroine, falls in love with her and then sells her out to his family. There is an HEA, but he is not a nice person.
-Jack Tanner in From the Moment We Met by Marina Adair. He's dumped her twice with no explanation when a simple call or conversation would have solved the whole problem.
-Bones in the Night Huntress series. He consistenly leaves Cat out of his various plans and hurts her time after time. His need for whatever is more important to him than her feelings or opinions as she just exists in relation to him (basically the plot of Destined for an Early Grave). Cat is a doormat.

Alpha-holes who somehow were great:
-Jason from Playing for Keeps (A Neighbor from Hell) by R.L. Mathewson
-Trevor from Perfection (A Neighbor from Hell) by R.L. Mathewson
-Jared from Here Be Sexist Vampires (The Deep in Your Veins) series by Suzanne Wright
-Possibly Vlad from the Night Prince series. The last book is coming out soon and from what's been released about it so far, it doesn't look good for him.
Nicole Leapheart
8. BoxyFrown
I know a lot of people cant stand Bones but I love him! He and Cat have done their fair share of screwing each other overon purpose and on accident. I can't stand Raphael in Nalini Singh's Guild Hunter series. Give me one of the dangerous alphas in her Psy-Changeling series any day!
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