Linda Howard is the first author who comes to mind that writes the heroes I love. They are uber-alpha, supremely capable in every situation, and yet (often) completely befuddled by their attraction to and adoration of females who don’t necessarily make sense to their male minds.
I think my first Howard novel was Midnight Rainbow starring Grant Sullivan, secret operative extraordinaire, and a feisty rich woman. I don’t remember much about her, but I do remember that Sullivan was pretty darned swoon-worthy, especially considering I was a teenager when I read that book. But Sullivan’s not the only one. John Medina, who finally got his own woman in All the Queen’s Men after having cameo appearances in previous books, is another super spy who doesn’t break a sweat while the bullets are flying around him.
Howard’s heroes don’t have to be mercenaries or spies – though I’m certainly not complaining! – but they will be men who can maintain control of 99% of their environment. And they just might shoot the other 1%. Ben Lewis, the Amazon guide in Heart of Fire, and James Diaz from Cry No More, are two men who may occasionally take questionable moral stances in extenuating circumstances, yet they are 110% devoted to the safety and health of their women, even when they don’t understand what the women are planning or why.
She has also written two of my favorite cops (though I do adore Nelson deMille’s John Corey, but those aren’t romance, so we’ll save that for another day) in the hilarious Sam Donovan from Mr. Perfect and Dane Hollister in Dream Man. Honestly, how can you not love a man who ends up with sympathy labor pains?
And speaking of Danes, or Dains as it were, I have to add Sebastian Ballister, the Marquess of Dain, from Loretta Chase’s Lord of Scoundrels to my list. Not only is Dain another uber-alpha male completely confounded and besotted by Jessica Trent, LoS is simply one of the best romance novels ever written. Ever. Seriously. I’m pretty sure there are scientific papers quantifying that.
Who writes your favorite male characters, romance or not?