Question :: Can Alpha males have a soft squishy side?
Anna Cleary here to let you all know that recently the Modern Heat authors were posed with a tricky conundrum. It just happens to be the same little old question romance authors down the centuries have wrestled with every night, rending their pillows and confounding their amors.
Can the heroes of our fantasies show tender qualities? Or do we desire them more if they're confident autocrats, as flint-hard as their bronzed chests and chiselled jaws, as cool and focused as the ice-blue eyes on a gunslinger? (Possibly one who looks like Viggo Mortensen ;))
Is it a case of the harder the case, the greater the payoff when the heroine brings him to his knees? Or do readers sometimes like tosee a hero who gets confused, feels insecure, panics, falls about laughing, tears up, feels sorry for lost kittens --you know, soft and squishy? Well, here's what we think!
Ally Blake, whose THE MAGNATE'S INDECENT PROPOSAL is out this month in Australia and New Zealand, says...
Heck yeah! And here's why ;).
When I start writing a hero I don't tend to think in terms of Alpha or Beta or Gamma or Whoever, I am just writing about The Man. And in a line like Modern Heat the hero certainly needs to own thecapital M. My guys start out strong, successful, hard-headed, confident. They are the definition of the leader of the pack. But then along comes an Ally Blake heroine and somethingdefinitely starts to go awry.
Suddenly these captains of industry are applying band-aids toscraped knees, they find themselves washing dogs covered in upturned cake, they are turned to mush watching a woman wearing nothing but their discarded business shirt as she tucks into a chocolate croissant at three in the morning.
And isn't that half the fun? Watching as the epitome of the unrufflable man become ruffled?
Trish Wylie, whose CLAIMED BY THE BILLIONAIRE BAD BOY is also out now in Australia and New Zealand says...
Oh yes indeedy he can. But he'd rather chew off an arm than show it. To me an Alpha is that strong, protective type who will wear his self-control like a Harry Potter cloak of invisibility. He has the same wants and needs as any human being on the planet but it's not easy to see it past that cloak. Then along comes the one woman who can peel it off him in more ways than one ;) And he'll fight to keep his control, but he really doesn't stand a chance...
Gotta love that process in a Modern Heat?!
But then there's nothing quite like a strong man made weak by his need for that one woman, is there? Y-U-M!!!
Heidi Rice, whose THE TYCOON'S VERY PERSONAL ASSISTANT is out now in the UK says...
Can an alpha male have a soft, squishy side?
Can he be tender and nurturing as well as tough and taciturn?
Yes sirree, he certainly can, but he's going to keep those qualities well hidden, behind a wall of self-confidence and sex appeal and industrial-strength testosterone, behind an in-built desire to be in charge, to dominate and to always get what he wants — or, at least, what he thinks he wants.
So it's going to take a very special woman to bite through that hard outer shell, that cast-iron control and get to that dark and delicious chocolate truffle center.
To get to that part of him that needs things he doesn't want to need and wants things he doesn't think he should want. She'll have to have guts and grit and determination, because she'll have to stand up to him, and frustrate him, and drive him nuts.
She'll have to use every weapon in her arsenal (and yes, we could even be talking about lacy underwear here) and risk everything to make him see that soft and squishy can be good, that vulnerability isn't bad. And while she's doing it she'll go through the scariest, most heartbreaking moments of her life — and the sexiest, funniest and most exciting and exhilarating ones too (with or without the thong).
Hey, it's a tough job, but somebody's got to do it. Right?
And luckily for me as a Modern Heat author, somebody gets to write about it too.Kate Hardy, whose ONE NIGHT, ONE BABY is out in August in the US, says...
My editor decribes my heroes as "Kate Hardy's clever hero-with-a-heart" - in other words, my alphas have squishy sides. So I've had Leo in Mistress on Trial all protective and bossing Rose about while being thoughtful enough to buy his niece a stained-glass colouring book; Giovanni in Breakfast at Giovanni's, who puts his family before his own dreams (and was teased rotten by his sisters in his teenage years for what he does when he's under stress... you'll have to read the book to find out!); and you wait until you meet Alex in Hotly Bedded, Conveniently Wedded (UK September release) - though you'll need a box of tissues with that as it made my ed and my agent cry!
Now, as my colleagues are all using this as an excuse to post pictures of totty, I'm going to do the same. My own favourite Alpha hero is one who's not afraid to tell the world how much he loves his wife. He has a soft and squishy side, and yet he's more than happy to take the lead. (And how many men do you know who could do the voiceover for a cat and reduce women to a puddle? 'Shrek?' / 'For you, I could be.' Ohhhhh.) Take a bow, Mr Banderas. A definite Alpha with a squishy side.
Nicola Marsh says...
There's nothing sexier than a strong, capable guy showing a hint of vulnerability. A take-charge, super confident, alpha male in his prime with a heart of gold. The type of guy to sweep us off our feet...while not ashamed to massage them for us later!
Anne Oliver says...
Absolutely. Even if he only shows it to the heroine (and babies and small animals). In my opinion there's nothing more heroic than an otherwise powerful and/or ruthless man prepared toshow his gentler side. It's what makes him human...and irresistible.
And I say...
I have to admit I like them hard, on the outside at least. And on the inside to the degree that they're steel all the way through in matters of honour and integrity. As to tenderness-- Nothing is more likely to melt my knees than a tough guy treating someone (say...the heroine --i.e. moi!) gently. And I adore heroes who laugh.(And mock and tease us with their smiling eyes and bold, seductive grins), just like Tom Russell, that cocksure corporate cowboy in TAKEN BY THE MAVERICK MILLIONAIRE out in the UK right NOW!.
So what's our final verdict?
WE like 'em lean, but not mean. Tough, though never rough. WE like a man to be confident enough in his manliness to show us his sweet tender centre, and smart enough to know he can let down his guard to a strong, loving woman and keep his machismo intact.
Agree? Come on now, who doesn't adore dark chocolate truffles at bedtime?
wishing you love