Heroes: The Grumpy, the reluctant, the awesome

Last Monday I talked a bit about one of the traits I don’t like in a romance hero, so I thought this Monday I’d talk about a trait I do like. That’s the grumpy, reluctant hero.

I don’t just mean romantic hero in this sense, either. I mean a man who helps or saves people because he feels it’s his duty, but he’s not always super happy about it.

A great example of this is one of my favorite TV shows when I was in high school, Early Edition. A lot of people make fun of me for liking this show (although after Friday Night Lights my sister finally agreed with me that Kyle Chandler, YUM), and there were some silly elements to it, but I loved Gary. He didn’t want to get the newspaper a day in advance, he didn’t want to go around busting his ass to save people, but he did because it was the right thing to do.

I don’t know why I find that so attractive, I just do.

In one of my current WIPs, I have a hero who is a lot like this. He’s had a traumatic event in his past that keeps him pretty closed off from everybody, but there is this woman (of course) who has a similar trauma, and he can’t help  but help her, eve if he views himself as not worthy. Here’s a little snippet

“I think you’re my knight in shining armor.”

“That is the absolute last thing I am, Grace.” Just the thought of it had his stomach pitching. He’d barely saved himself, how could he be counted on to save anyone else?

Her smile softened into something sad. “I wish you’d give yourself more credit.”

He opened his mouth to argue, but she touched his shoulder. It shut up everything but the beating of his heart.

“I think I get the true north thing, now,” she said quietly, tracing the spot where his tattoo was under his shirt. “You always try to do the right thing, even when you don’t want to.” She brushed her lips against his, just as casual as you please, and then grinned. “That’s pretty damn attractive.


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