As some of you may know, I write romantic suspense, which like paranormal romance, is a genre that often has alpha heroes. Today, I’d like to talk about what makes a man an alpha, and why they are sometimes perceived as being asses.
What Makes a Man an Alpha?
|Rémi Whitedeer, Deadly Addiction|
There is a tendency for authors to idealize their heroes. This isn’t surprising, of course, since as women we write men the way we think we want them to be. We make them say the things we want to hear. What happens? We write heroes (and sometimes villains) who sound and act like women. We make them ultra PC, with no faults at all. The result is a man whose reactions, thoughts, language, and feelings are toned down. A man who is too perfect to be true.
An alpha is, first and foremost, a leader. He is a person who makes the decisions that no one else will make. He cannot second-guess himself because doing so might mean that someone dies. He makes mistakes, but he is brave enough to own up to them. Rémi Whitedeer, the hero of my Deadly Addiction, the second book in my Deadly Vices series, is a perfect example of this. He is a leader in his community, and he is forced to make difficult choices for himself and his people.
The alpha hero must be a match for the villain. His edges might be rough; he might be arrogant; he might be cruel; his thoughts might be extreme or black and white. He might be willing to do things that others find reprehensible in certain situations. He might be a warrior rather than a protector. He might be on the offensive rather than the defensive. Again, Rémi is definitely a match for the antagonist in Deadly Addiction. And in the end, he must act like the warrior he is and do the thing he hates the most to save those he loves.
Alphas and Ethics
Particularly in romantic suspense, the hero and heroine (who can also be an alpha) will need to deal with people (villains) who compel them to act in ways they normally wouldn’t They may need to push the boundaries of what’s ethical to succeed.
Heroes, especially military or law-enforcement type, are often trained killers. Ethics becomes a big issue for them. How far will they go in their quest to succeed in the mission or vanquish the villain? Will they kill? If so, does it have to be justified? They don’t always get to kill in self-defense. They may have to make a choice, a split-second decision. To win, they often need to embrace their darker side, even if they don’t want to.
Alphas and their Mouths
Language and cursing is another tricky issue. Many women don’t like cursing, some even abhor it. As writers, we strive to achieve a balance between being true to the character and not offending (the mostly female) readers. I don’t buy an operative in deep cover with South American drug lords who never swears. I don’t buy a gang leader villain who never swears. That’s not to say all heroes or villains need to swear, but one who doesn’t is a stand-out. Not swearing is a character trait specific to him. Not every hero or villain an author writes can have this same unusual trait.
Alphas and Sex
|Nic Lamoureux, Deadly Obsession|
Just as I don’t buy alphas who never swear, I don’t buy alphas who only ever have ultra-romantic, it’s-all-about-you-baby, missionary sex. Alphas have strong emotions and even stronger desires. Every once in a while, they need to get it their way: hard and fast, up against a wall, in the car, in an alley, in a changing room at the mall. Sometimes your alpha needs it and he needs it right now.
Men, especially alphas, are visual creatures and their vocabulary with regards to sex and sexual body parts is much more graphic than womens’. No alpha will refer to a woman’s pubic area as her mound. He’ll call it a p*ssy, as will most men. I must admit that I was hesitant to use this word in my writing, because I know many women don’t like it. Still, in my sex scenes from the hero’s point of view, I try to use more direct words and avoid flowery euphemisms.
Nic Lamoureux, aka Nic The Lover, the hero of Deadly Obsession is no exception to this. Like most sexy, virile Hollywood stars, he has his choice of women, and he knows what to do with them. There’s very little he hasn’t tried in bed, and he doesn’t hesitate to call a spade a spade.
When an Oscar-winning movie star meets a department-store photographer…
Movie star Nic Lamoureux appears to have a playboy’s perfect life. But it’s a part he plays, an act designed to conceal a dark secret he carries on his shoulders. His empty days and nights are a meaningless blur until he meets the woman who fulfills all his dreams. She and her son are the family he’s always wanted—if she can forgive a horrible mistake from his past.
A Hollywood dream…
Lauren James, a widowed single mother, earns barely enough money to support herself and her son. When she wins a photography contest and meets Nic, the man who stars in all her fantasies, her dreams, both professional and personal, are on the verge of becoming real. The attraction between Lauren and Nic is instant—and mutual. Their chemistry burns out of control during a photo shoot that could put Lauren on the fast track to a lucrative career.
Becomes a Hollywood nightmare
But an ill-advised kiss makes front-page news, and the lurid headlines threaten everything Nic and Lauren have hoped for. Before they know what’s happening, their relationship is further rocked by an obsessed and cunning stalker who’ll stop at nothing—not even murder—to have Nic to herself. When Nic falls for Lauren, the stalker zeroes in on her as the competition.
And the competition must be eliminated.
A proud people. A nation divided.
Rémi Whitedeer, police officer turned substance-abuse counselor, dreams of restoring order to his tribe. Violence and crime are rampant throughout the unpoliced Iroquois reserve, and a civil war is brewing between the Guardians, a militant traditionalist group, and other tribal factions. As the mixed-race cousin of the Guardians’ leader, Rémi is caught in a no-man’s land—several groups lay claim to him, but all want him to deny his white blood.
A maverick cop on an anti-drug crusade.
When she infiltrated the Vipers to take down the leader of the outlaw biker gang responsible for her brother’s death, police sergeant Alyssa Morgan got her man. But her superiors think she went too far. Her disregard for protocol and her ends-justify-the-means ethics have branded her an unreliable maverick. To salvage her career, she accepts an assignment to set up a squad of native provincial officers on a reserve.
A radical sovereigntist bent on freeing a nation.
Decades of government oppression threaten the existence of the Iroquois Nation. But one man, Chaz Whitedeer, is determined to save his people no matter what the price, even if it means delving into the shadowy world of organized crime.
When Rémi and Alyssa uncover the Guardians’ drug-fueled scheme to fund their fight for true autonomy—a scheme involving the Vipers—Rémi must choose between loyalty to family and tribe or his growing love for Alyssa.
Can Rémi and Alyssa leave everything behind—even their very identities—for a future together?
Questions for You
As a reader, what are your expectations regarding an alpha hero? Do you like heroes who aren’t very nice? Who aren’t quite tameable? How do you feel about heroes who curse, who have rough sex? Do you like them tough and dangerous, even if you’d never want a man like that in real life?
Or do you like your heroes more sweet, more toned down? More like the men we deal with in our normal lives?
I think your answers might vary depending on the genre of book you prefer, so please include that in your responses.
Blog Hop Grand Prizes
We’ve got some great giveaways for this blog hop.
To enter: post a comment answering the question above, and include your email address. Any comments not including an email address will be discarded. Prizes are international except for the Swag Pack which is US-only due to shipping costs.
My Blog Giveaways
Don’t leave yet! Thanks to some of my fellow authors, I’ve got some great alpha heroes to giveaway. *grins* Fill out the rafflecopter for a chance to win one of these great books. Make sure give me your email address in a comment or I may not be able to locate you if you win.
2 e-copies My Familiar Stranger by Victoria Danann
Minutes ahead of inevitable assassination, Elora Laiken is forcibly transported to an alternate dimension similar, but not identical, to her own. She is stranded. Alone. Far from home. A stranger in a “strangish” land.
Of course a girl could suffer worse problems than having gorgeous suitors. Perhaps more importantly, in the midst of an epidemic of vampire related abductions, can she stay alive long enough to choose between an honor debt, true love, or the breathlessness of single-minded passion?
2 e-copies The Witch’s Dream by Victoria Danann
He was left behind when Elora Laiken made her choice. Now he’s had it with love, but a transplanted witch who happens to be the world’s best tracker hopes she can change his mind.
The Witch’s Dream begins with B Team on temporary assignment to Black Swan headquarters in Edinburgh where they are supposed to fill in for stretched-thin resources and assist with a werewolf issue. They’ve been given permission to stop in Ireland for a few days and help celebrate a handfasting at the palace in Derry.
When they reach Edinburgh, the afterglow of an elftale wedding quickly turns all business. A missing person report turns into a demon abduction. A simple werewolf sanction becomes a diplomatic issue requiring the one thing Elora is no longer willing to give – finesse. Amazon: http://amzn.com/B009LXOKQW
1 e-copy Redemption in Blood by Tara Wood
Murder is serious business among vampires. If you kill, so do they. They are the Penitent – a military order among vampire society charged with one task only. Execute the condemned.
Vesper Hyde is a model Penitent. Solitary. Skilled. Deadly. Only once has she ever lost a target, even though it almost cost her life. Now the one that got away is back with a vengeance, and this time he’s determined to finish the job. She needs to overcome the whispers of doubt and let her instinct and training take over to redeem her failure. But on this second time around, she doesn’t expect a sidekick. A very sexy, stubborn, human sidekick.
Homicide Detective Decker Price has seen it all, including the murder of his wife at the hands of a twisted serial killer. When another murder pitches him headfirst into a world of vampires, witches, and sorcery, he is given a chance to mend shattered parts of his soul. But Vesper’s world is as dark and alluring as the Penitent herself and he will come face to face with echoes of his past in order to help her keep a vicious enemy at bay.
If they are to succeed, they will need to push aside both their failings and work together to ensure the balance of their worlds remains unchanged. Redemption comes at a cost – is their love worth the price? Amazon: http://amzn.com/B007NZWK0S
1 e-copy of Save My Soul by K. S. Haigwood
Kendra Larkin had everything going in the right direction. Her life was seemingly perfect, and she wouldn’t have changed a thing about it. Unfortunately, the course of her life was about to be forever altered. A tragic rappelling accident lands her on Dr. Adam Chamberlain’s operating table.
She agrees to a deal proposed by a guardian angel to help save the soul of the man who is both her doctor and soulmate. If she is successful, she gets to keep her life. However, she later learns that it isn’t just her life that’s in jeopardy, but her soul as well.
Even with the help of her handsome guardian angel, Rhyan, it seems there is no happy ending in sight. Torn between her newly discovered love of Rhyan, and the undeniable attraction she has for Adam, Kendra finds herself at a crossroad. With Adam’s steadfast rejection of God, and his guardian demon conspiring against her, she fears her soul may already be lost.
Will she find a way to overcome the evil her life is suddenly burdened with? Or will Adam’s guardian demon win both their souls and make Kendra his own personal puppet in Hell?
1 e-copy of Forbidden Touch by K. S. Haigwood
Ciera has to break the ultimate vampire law to save Mitch, her mortal soulmate, from a terrible fate. Dane, the vampire who would do anything to win her affection, is responsible for Mitch being framed for murder. A fast chain of events is set in motion, which leads to the soulmates being torn apart and Ciera to lose her heart to the one person she has always despised, Dane. She finds herself completely in love with both men. But a rogue vampire puts them all in grave danger. Can she keep them both? Or will she have to accept one lover’s sacrifice, to save the other?
Click on the links below to visit other sites participating in the Alpha Male Blog Hop. At each site, you can enter for the grand prizes again, and you can win the individual blog prizes as well. Hop on, friends!
Thank you all so much for visiting my blog hop stop, today.