But that's why I read so many different authors.
Do you crave a rescue? Read Linda Howard. A man who can laugh in the face of danger--or embarrassment, or anything? Try Loretta Chase. A complicated, gorgeous guy who has needs of his own? Madeline Hunter provides guys who love brainy, resourceful, talented women. Do you long for a contemporary hero or antihero who, above all, makes you smile? Read Jennifer Crusie. I can't guarantee that the real guy will walk up to you in the flesh, but at least we can read about him. Truly, for every mood I have a different go-to author.
For instance, Loretta Chase chronicles wildly different tales, but all the protagonists are humorous and gorgeous. Some of them are responsible, or bored, or itching for a fight, or intellectual. All of them have that ability to smile. That is always my kind of man--the kind I married, in fact. Darius and Mr. Carsington and James Cordier...not only cute, but interesting. And unafraid of experienced women with brains, talent, and humor of their own. Chase's heroines include women we can identify with, root for--painters, widows, even a courtesan.
In contrast is the Linda Howard butt-kicking guy. He can save her from mobsters, serial killers, even her own unearthly visions. He may not be humorous, but his, er, ardor, never diminishes. The only thing that throws me about Howard's men is that intangible something that attracts them to the girl. There is usually some deep reflexive protective instinct that becomes an obsession. I can see where that might last a week in real life; no longer, unless they parlay it into a relationship.
Shane in Agnes and the Hitman by Jennifer Crusie is somewhat this hunky male figure. However, Agnes proves the wit and laughter that Shane craves, the warmth and home cooking. Crusie's heroes come in many flavors. I appreciate that the females in her tales are the guardians of home and family, the many-faceted women who keep up their end no matter what.
I like it when a reasonable rationale for the chemistry imbues the script. I'm not buying that suddenly, he looks into her eyes and can't resist her rosy lips. And please, no more stories where of course he loves her because she is young and inexperienced and beautiful, and he wants to introduce her to sensuality. That's practically child molesting. Yuck!
Heroines who are as likely be the rescuer get my attention. In The Sinner, Fleur bails her future husband out of jail and boldy proposes marriage. Of course, he had accidentally shot her and had her sewn up, but she brings the finances to the union. She offers him partnership and he frees her from a phobia. Madeline Hunter pens marvelous stories where she rescues him as frequently as vice-versa.
One of my favorite writers recently wrote a story that bores\d me witless. I won't name her. It's gotta be hard to write a good, all-original book, and I've enjoyed a dozen of hers. However, it seems everyone else who commented on Amazon loves it. Am I crazy? It seems like a rerun of everything else she's written. I'm running my brand new copy to the resell shop this week.
For a truly tense and original read, try Mistress in the Art Of Death. That's a wild trip and a harrowing story with unexpected romance. Two other promising authors are Deanna Raybourne (Silent on the Moor, In the Sanctuary, In the Grave) and Joanna Bourne (Spymaster's Lady, My Lord and Spymaster.) It's too early to tell whether their tales will always answer my romance fix. I'm certainly willing to give them a read anytime they pen something new.