Jo here. Last time around I was thinking about historicals and forbidden fantasies, and when it comes down to it, we were talking about heroes, yes? Romance readers are mostly women, so it’s not surprising that many of our darker fantasies are about the opposite sex. But is it a bit strange that we don’t seem to have dark fantasies about what women could do if the rules were thrown aside?
Or do you think that happens in romances, historical or otherwise? Examples?
Maybe I see one way this happens – heroines are often a lot more willing to get in-your-face with dangerous males than most of us. Probably in real life most of us avoid the leather-clad biker, or the stubble-chinned guy leaning on a wall, eying the world with hard-eyed cynicism, not to mention the drunken sports fan, rolling out of the bar in the early hours looking for a fight.
So why is it that we find these guys thrilling between the pages of a book, and enjoy watching the much-braver-than-we heroine going nose-to-nose with him? Probably part of it is that they rarely get the sort of results they might in real life. Instead, the dangerous guy is melted, thawed, tamed. Or at least befuddled.
And let’s substitute a mercenary knight on dark horse for that Hell’s Angel on the Harley. Or a cynical earl standing aloof at a ball for the wall-leaner. (Or perhaps even Mr. Darcy, eying the provincial assembly with disdain.) And that drunken sports fan? A rake rolling out of a gaming hell, looking for trouble – but finding our heroine instead.
I’m not talking here about the sort of heroes who do real harm the heroine, but the ones we know could. Sometimes ones who can and do harm others. This could be in a noble context such as a soldier or cop, or not so noble, as with a man from the dark side of life who’s needed to be hard to survive.
I was thinking about this after my last blog, but it came even more to mind after I put up a couple of excerpts from Lady Beware.
Darien fits most closely the “man from the dark side of life who’s needed to be hard to survive,” and we see some of that during the encounter. Most of my readers find it thrilling, but a few are disturbed. You can read them here.
So why do these scary heroes make for thrilling stories? Or don’t you agree about the thrill?
Where’s the line for you between thrillingly dangerous and truly scary? Is some of it context?
Does motivation matter?
Your ever enquiring Jo