Vain By Jill Hughey

Tuesday, April 09, 2013

Promiscuous heroes – yes or no? Though I’m here to talk about my new release, Vain, I’ve also been thinking about the heroes I’ve created in my historical romance series. My men differ from those portrayed in the books I “borrowed” from my mom’s library at a much too tender age, and even from the archetype of today.

Decades ago, in the bodice-ripper days of historical romance, most heroes were what I would consider promiscuous or, at the very least, constantly sexually active. The hero's pattern is interrupted when the oh-so-virginal heroine arrives on the scene. He is suddenly repelled by the offerings of the barmaid he has tumbled regularly since he was sixteen. He must immediately dismiss his mistress - one in a long line of mistresses - by giving her a splendid diamond necklace.

Even though I enjoyed those books in their day and still revisit some of them, I do not particularly care for a slutty hero, first because he does not represent an ideal man to me, and second, I do not think a zebra can change his stripes that much.  Men who feel entitled to sex continue to feel entitled to it, marriage certificate or no.

Many romances penned today still feature heroes with abundant experience. If he is not currently bed-hopping, we see the hero resisting opportunities from all directions. We, as readers, are reassured that he is desirable and knowledgeable.

In my own historical romances, I tend toward the opposite direction. In fact, the sexual isolation or moderation of the hero is used to develop motivation and conflict in all three books in my Evolution Series.

My hero in Unbidden has had few sexual partners, none involving long-term relationships. David finds the idea of regular physical relations with the woman with whom he is falling in love a wonderful, increasingly frustrating enticement. A recent reviewer called him “delicious…tough as nails, but tender and patient.” Part of his allure is his recognition of the gift his marriage to Rochelle will be. His lust for her is finely tempered by his desire for a lifetime of her affection and the stability a life with her promises. (Unbidden is free April 9, 10 and 11 at Amazon! Go grab it!)

In book two, Redeemed, I go out on a bit of a limb with a hero who is the villain from the first book. Doeg has never had intercourse because of a physical disability that tripped him up the one time he tried during his adolescence. As an adult, he hides a self-esteem problem behind a façade of chilly withdrawal. His wife has to initiate him to sex because she wants a child. Luckily, she is a widow who knows enough about the business to get them started. Their mutual discovery of the intimacies of the marriage bed allows Doeg to trust her, and eventually, love her.

Now to my new release, Vain. The hero, Theo, is experienced but has never maintained a mistress and strictly avoids dallying with the women in his town. Amidst half-hearted plans to marry a society girl, he starts to realize that having a satisfying sexual relationship might be an important consideration in choosing a wife, especially as he finds his tailor’s daughter increasingly difficult to resist. On the surface, Theo is the most polished of my three heroes. Underneath, he is the least restrained.

What do you think, readers? Is a virgin hero hot or odd? Do you demand a hero who is a walking Kama Sutra, or do you like your fictional couples to discover a few moves together?

Buy link for Vain: http://www.amzn.com/B0067DDX1M

Don’t forget, Unbidden is free April 9, 10 and 11 at http://www.amzn.com/B0067DDX1M. If you’d like to keep tabs on Jill Hughey’s activities, she writes a blog, posts on Facebook, and tweets @jillhughey.

One lucky reader who comments on this blog will be randomly selected by RomCon to win an ebook of Vain. Good luck!