Scarred heroes in contemporary romance

This is cross-posted at The Season where Bev is giving away a copy of Deirdre Martin’s Icebreaker to one commenter.

The last week of December, I celebrated my final few days of holiday by dipping into the pile of books I’d bought myself for Christmas. Completely unintentionally, the two books I read were both contemporaries with scarred heroes.

Edge-of-Sight-coverThe first, Edge of Sight by Roxanne St. Claire, is a sexy, exciting romantic suspense with one of the hottest heroes I’ve read about. He and the heroine have a history together, but in their years apart he’s suffered horrifically and it’s kept him from contacting her. To say anything more would spoil parts of the plot, so instead I’ll quote the back cover copy, which describes Zach as “a Special Forces vet with the scars to prove he’s  both courageous and flawed.”

The second, Never Too Hot by Bella Andre, is a very steamy contemporary single title starring a wounded firefighter. The reader finds out about Connor MacKenzie’s scars in the first paragraph, so I don’t think it’d spoil anything to say his hands and arms were burned and he’s had skin grafts which continue causing him terrible pain and discomfort.

In Bella Andre’s book, the scars are a mark of heroism but also a sign that the hero’s future plans are damaged beyond repair. Connor is desperate to get back to firefighting because it’s all he’s ever imagined doing, but doing so would mean not having a future with his heroine.

In Roxanne St. Claire’s, the scars Zach carries are a constant reminder of a decision he made that cost the men who trusted him far more than it cost him. When he is asked to protect his heroine, he has good reason to doubt his abilities.

Scars are used for so many reasons in romance, but as I think back over my twenty years of reading romance it seems like characters—particularly men—suffer more and more.

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What hits your hot button?

(Note: the hot button I’m referring to isn’t related to our previous discussion on how to heat up the fictional bedroom. Sorry if you’re disappointed.)

Last week I randomly clicked on a link to a review for Judith James’ Libertine’s Kiss. (I can’t find that link now, so if this description of the review sounds familiar, please let me know.) The review was thoughtful and complimentary, and awarded the novel 4.5 stars out of 5.

At the end, the reviewer gave her reasons why she’ll never re-read Libertine’s Kiss, even though she thought the book was well-written. It features two subjects she doesn’t like reading about, even in fiction: sexual abuse and domestic violence.

Continue reading “What hits your hot button?”