Thank you for coming back to the blog for another round of What to Read Wednesday! Today we have author Codi Gary visiting 🙂 She’s talking heroes and sharing her release I NEED A HERO! The cover is gorgeous and I’m sure you’ll enjoy her excerpt as much as I did!
After you check out her guest post and her blurb, don’t forget to enter her giveaway 🙂
Take it away Codi…
Top Five Traits for the Perfect Hero
When writing romance (and reading it for that matter), the one thing that can make or break a story for me is the Hero. Sure, liking the heroine is important too, but not as much as him.
So what makes the perfect Hero? What makes you sit for hours reading when you should be doing laundry or dishes? Why do you fantasize about him long after the book is done or email the author to beg for a follow up story?
I can’t answer for everyone, but for me…
- A Perfect Hero should be complex.
He doesn’t need to be an alpha or a dominant, bossy billionaire to be perfect for me. However, I do like my heroes with layers. Lots of layers. A tortured past or a close knit family bond, I need something that gives him a thousand different personality traits that pull me deeper and deeper into his psyche. He can be as cool and aloof as Mr. Darcy or as funny and warm as Colin Bridgerton or even a sexy, nerd like Glen from The Walking Dead. Just give me something more than a cookie cutter character.
- A Perfect Hero should have a heart.
Sure, he may avoid the heroine or even say things that make you want to slap his face and call him a jerk. But underneath the steel wall is an ooey, gooey center that is brought to the surface during the course of the story. Maybe it’s when the hero rescues a litter of kittens and falls asleep snuggled with them on the couch. Could be when he is carrying his three year old daughter up the stairs to bed and he can’t resist reading her one more story. Or when the heroine is injured and you watch him crumble at the thought of losing her. Some kind of weakness that makes you melt is always a must have for me.
- A Perfect Hero should be HOT!
Let’s be honest, we don’t read romance so we can fantasize about “every day Joe.” (Although I do enjoy romances with realistic heroes because they can’t all be Navy Seals, right?) Here’s the thing though…hot is different to every woman. For instance, I happen to think Seth Green is insanely sexy. Sure he’s five inches shorter than me with red hair, but I still remember him as Oz from Buffy…and damn, when he stood there with his shirt off in a pair of cargo pants I had to seriously “take a walk around the block and cool my loins.” (Thank you Danny from The Mindy Project.) But I also drool like a mad woman over Stephen Amell and his 6 foot plus frame and steely blue eyes. Sexy is different to every woman, so when writing a hero, it doesn’t really matter what he looks like, he’s going to be irresistible to someone.
- A Perfect Hero should be true.
That means he should be loyal to his friends and family, but above all, he should be trustworthy with the heroine’s heart. He should never cheat, EVER! They can make it through misunderstandings, they can fight and hurt one another, but what occurs should never be something unforgivable. No domestic violence. No sexual assault. A hero is a man with a good heart. (Unless he’s on Sons of Anarchy and then for some reason he can get away with everything and he’s still adored.) But in a romance novel, I don’t go for that and I will not forgive him. I remember reading an old romance novel from the early eighties where the hero forced the heroine and even though it was a historical and they were married, it was supposed to be okay because she eventually fell in love with him. Ummm…no.
- A Perfect Hero conquers all.
Eventually, the resolution occurs and there is a happily ever after, but along the way, I want to see the hero grow. I want him to conquer his own demons and slay the heroine’s dragons. I want to squeal as he pours his heart out to her and begs her to be his. By the end of the book, I don’t want to have any doubts that he’s the one for our heroine, that he’s worth her giving up the cozy promotion in New York for or that he will spend the rest of his life making her happy. Sure they may fight, but I want to believe by the end of the story that no matter what happens, they’ll be getting their always and forever.
Again, this is only five item and it’s all based on my opinion. Someone else could think that the perfect hero needs to be funny, with a rapier wit, or have a magic carpet ride…so, what’s your idea of the perfect hero?
Oliver Martinez sat stiffly in the wobbly office chair, the room stifling despite the hum of the air conditioner above his head. He wasn’t usually the nervous type, being that military police didn’t allow time for panic, but facing off against General Reynolds, the man who pretty much held his career in the palm of his hand . . .
Well, he figured he had a right to sweat with the way the older man was staring him down.
“What do you have to say for yourself, Sergeant?” General Reynolds asked.
A thousand excuses ran through his mind, but none of them would appease the general, Oliver knew that. He hadn’t become an MP to be liked; even his family knew he wasn’t a people person. He was hardworking, sharp as a tack, and a mean son of a bitch when you got on his bad side—qualities that made him an excellent MP. And military police was exactly where Oliver belonged. He got to bust heads and keep order; it was structured, and there were rules. He was the good guy.
But this time, he had stepped in a big old pile of shit trying to play the hero.
“I did what I thought was right, sir,” Oliver said.
“You instigated a confrontation with a civilian that turned into an all-out bar brawl,” General Reynolds said. Although his tone and outward expression seemed calm, Oliver hadn’t missed the eye twitch on the left side of the general’s face. The man was beyond furious, and nothing Oliver did or said was going to make things better for him.
Why had he decided to go out with the guys on Friday? His buddies from group therapy, Dean Sparks and Tyler Best, had convinced him that he needed to get out and blow off some steam. He hadn’t expected to take down some rowdy kid or have the cops called on them. The civilian police had been cool, though, once he explained the situation, and as they hauled the kid off for drunk and disorderly, he’d thought that was the end of it.
Until he’d shown up for work this morning only to have Tate tell him he wasn’t on rotation and that the general wanted to see him. Oliver hadn’t had any idea what the meeting was about, but he’d never expected to get his ass chewed over something that wasn’t even his fault.
“It wasn’t a brawl, sir. I contained and subdued him too fast for that.”
Oliver regretted his words the moment they left his mouth. They sounded arrogant, and that wasn’t going to score him any points.
Especially since the civilian in question was the general’s son.
Despite knowing this, Oliver tried again to explain his side. “I just mean, and with all due respect, sir, that the civilian was drunk and harassing several women, and when I politely asked him to leave them alone, he threw the first punch.”
General Reynolds’s salt and pepper mustache twitched, and Oliver wondered for half a second if the general was messing with him and if he was secretly amused that his son had been taught a lesson in respect.
“I don’t care if he threw a hundred punches. You should not have engaged. You did not have to break his nose or sprain his wrist while you were restraining him.”
Okay, so he wasn’t amused. But no matter how angry the general might be, Oliver wasn’t going to apologize for roughing up the little punk. The kid had thrown a sucker punch that had lit fire to Oliver’s jaw, and it was still sore. And if the kid hadn’t fought him so damn hard, he wouldn’t have gotten hurt in the first place.
Would he have handled things differently if he’d known who the kid’s dad was? Maybe. But there was nothing Oliver could do about it now except take whatever punishment was meted out to him.
“It seems to me you could use a little time out of the field to learn how to channel your aggression . . . in other ways,” General Reynolds said.
Now the general was smiling, and unease swept over Oliver.
“Have you heard of the Alpha Dog Training Program?” General Reynolds asked.
“Yeah, I know a few of the guys running things,” Oliver said.
And neither Best nor Sparks had been happy about it at first. The Alpha Dog Training Program was the brainchild of some PR expert hoping to create a good public image for the military by training shelter dogs for specialty jobs like military, fire, police, search and rescue, and therapy. And if the animals-getting-a-second-chance angle didn’t just make you weepy, the dogs were being trained by troubled kids under the supervision of MPs.
It was meant as an alternative punishment for nonviolent juvenile offenders. Instead of being locked up in a detention center with months of community service tacked on top, they were sent to Alpha Dog. They shoveled shit, fed and cared for the dogs, and learned how to teach them basic obedience. The place was set up with barracks for up to twenty-five kids at a time. The goal was to give them a skill and refocus their energies. The program even helped them with job placement at several Sacramento veterinary hospitals and rescue organizations. It was a better deal than most kids in the system got.
“Well, I’m glad you’re familiar with it, because you’re going to help organize and promote their upcoming charity event,” General Reynolds said.
Oliver choked in surprise. “I don’t know anything about fundraising!”
The general’s eyes narrowed and glittered. “Well, this will give you a chance to develop a new skill.”
Oliver just sat there, weighing his options. If he pitched a fit and accused the general of abusing his power because Oliver had hurt his son’s delicate feelings, he’d be committing career suicide.
“How long will I be out of the field, sir?” he asked.
“Until I think you’re ready,” General Reynolds said.
Oliver nodded grimly. The only option open to him was to bite the bullet and do the job.
“You’ll report to the Alpha Dog Training Program today. The event coordinator will be there at eleven to give you instructions on what you’ll be doing. I do hope you take this time to learn some discipline, Sergeant Martinez.”
Taking a deep breath, Oliver stood up and saluted the general. As soon as he barked, “Dismissed,” Oliver was out the door, wishing he was headed home to beat the hell out of his punching bag. This whole morning had sucked donkey nuts, and the last thing Oliver wanted to do was be around a bunch of teenagers or his friends.
Not that Best and Sparks weren’t good people, but he knew that the minute they found out about his little time-out, they were going to laugh it up.
moments. When she’s not writing, she can be found reading her favorite authors, squealing over her must-watch shows, and playing with her children. She lives in Idaho with her family.