This is a guest post by romance authors Laurelin Paige and Kayti McGee about men we love to hate.
A few words from the ladies before their chat: In our co-written contemporary romantic comedy, our hero, Blake Donovan, is an egotistical, self-centered, chauvinist who we can’t help but love. Which got us thinking about the many other bad boys in books that we have fallen helplessly for despite—and sometimes even because of—their awfulness.
KAYTI MCGEE: Definitely a first to come to mind is Naz from JM Darhower’s Monster in His Eyes. I mean, he kills people for a living. And also has the best seats in the house for fancy Italian dinners, which is basically all I ever want out of life. But he has a soft side, too. The not-quite reformed bad boy is possibly my favorite kind.
LAURELIN PAIGE: He kills, but it's with and out of passion. The way he uses those skills to be a lover as well as a murderer...well, that's talent.
Another egocentric jerk that we book bonded over, Kayti, is Matt Sky from M. Pierce’s Night Owl trilogy. Not unlike our own Blake, Matt's outside arrogance is just a mask for what he doesn't want to show the world. In Matt's case, it's a very complicated, deep and tortured soul that you want to nurture as much as you want him to do bad things to you in the bedroom.
KAYTI: That's exactly it. You want to slap him and hug him all at once. Someone else I want to slap, but would never have the audacity to hug: Søren from Tiffany Reisz's Original Sinners series. He's so incredibly arrogant and demanding! But the way he loves his companion Nora, and his best friend Kingsley is amazing. And he plays piano, and rescues depressed teenagers.
Kingsley, though, from the same series- now there's a guy whose soft side is well-hidden. He's a former fighter in the French Foreign Legion who loves to proposition strangers in the back of his Rolls Royce. It takes a couple books to see that all of that is the defense he's built around a broken heart.
LAURELIN: Yes! Love Soren and Kingsley.
I don't know about you, but my love for these types of characters goes way back. I am a huge fan of the brooding and mysterious Mr. Rochester in Jane Eyre and Maxim De Winters from Rebecca. The storylines in those romances might have been less graphic, but underneath the proper language and the estates, they are very much the same horrid men that I love today. And whether it’s spelled out or not, both Mr. Rochester and Mr. De Winters exude the same intense sexuality.
KAYTI: Intense and mysterious! I love mysterious. And if we're talking Original Book Boyfriends, I know we both loved S.E. Hinton’s The Outsiders. I think we loved different characters, though, I remember being utterly entranced with Dally. He was such a tough guy but I just knew I could save him with my teenage love.
LAURELIN: YES! Actually, I had the biggest crush on Dally. But also Johnny because he was a good kid in the wrong life, you know? One more before we close out, Kayti. I say we have to mention one who is not a romance hero—we are both very taken with Severus Snape from Harry Potter. Am I right?
KAYTI: You are so right. We believed in his innocence from the start—not a popular opinion. But it turned out his brutal attitude problem hid one of literature's saddest unrequited loves.
LAURELIN: I thought when we finished this list that we might have a common thread for what it is that attracts us to a bad boy, but we really don’t.
KAYTI: Yeah, we do. The common thread is that even if we know they’re bad for us, we still love them.
Who are the bad boys in books that you love? Pick up an old favorite or grab one of ours today.