So guess what? I dislike alpha-heroes! Men who dominate a woman, beating her to induce pleasure, forcing her to allow things to happen that she doesn't want, who tell the heroine they know best what she wants/needs, and only they can make her happy. Argh! Those kinds of books irritate me so much I drop-kick them across the room and never read past discovering the alpha-hole-ness of the hero. If he's the kind of man who bosses the heroine around, forget it. If he stalks her, gradually taking over her life until he runs it, no way. If he makes her change to suit his tastes, uh-uh. If he ever even raises a hand to spank her, I want her to jump up and kick him in the churlies (a Scottish term from my Dad) to let him know that's not an acceptable way to treat a woman. (Amusingly, when there are men like this in my books, they are the villains.)
And don't get me started on the muscle-bound guys with shiny sweat on their abs, who star on so many covers these days. They look like they spend more time and money on their appearances than I do, which I find unsettling. I don't mind tattoos...I've got a dozen of them myself. But guys whose arms are wider than my thighs? No thanks. Guys who look like Ah-nold in his body-building days? Yuck. Don't get me wrong, I do like guys who are taller than me, which isn't difficult since I'm short. I like long legs and a tight ass. I like wide shoulders that make me feel protected, and strong arms to hold me and make me feel safe. And I love to study men's hands because I read Xavier Hollander's The Happy Hooker when I was in high school, and in a chapter I memorized she explains how to estimate a man's "package" based on his fingers. I have my heroines routinely thinking about this while they are falling into lust with the heroes. I like scruffy faces with that barely-shaved-look or a beard, and a mustache. Hair color, eye color, skin color, nationality? All of those are negotiable.
But personality-wise, give me a beta hero any day! I want him to be smart and well-spoken. I want him to respect the heroine's intelligence by engaging her in conversations and actually listening to and responding to her opinions. I want him to love his mother and his sisters, and to value the honest relationships in his life. I want a man who is lusty, but not bossy. A man who's not particularly looking to fall in love because he's busy living his life, but who falls in lust with the heroine, then is pleasantly surprised to find he hasn't had his fill after one night. Erotic scenes ensue. When he falls in love, he falls hard. Then he spends time and energy thinking up ways to give the heroine so much pleasure (in all facets of her life, including, but not only the bedroom), that she falls in love with him also. Cue the happily-ever-after ending.
I guess my brother and his wife are right...I am hopelessly vanilla. But you know what? That's always been my favorite flavor of ice cream.
I'm alright with that.
For the next stop in this month's Round Robin, please head over to read what the next author has to say:
Geeta Kakade at http://geetakakade.blogspot.com/