Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Best of the Archives: Holy, Hot Heroes, Batman!

This post by Ruth Logan Herne first appeared in Seekerville on April 8, 2010 and ranks number three on the stats counter! We're sharing it today as part of our Best of the Archives series and wish you a blessed Christmas Eve.

The essence of heat in a hero has little to do with actual looks. I mean, even with a detailed description, there are only so many square-jawed, well-muscled, six-foot-plus guys on the planet with piercing eyes.

Puuuuhhhhhlease. Watch any of the morning news shows with live shots of Manhattan in the backdrop windows and count how many guys meet that description. Uh, huh. EXACTLY MY POINT. So we fantasize a little. A little taller. A little leaner. A little broader. And great eyes and teeth are a must, despite Shrek’s popularity. But what is the essence of a hot hero? What draws us in, makes us dreamy-eyed?

Silas shut that yapping mouth right up with his lips. He swung the door shut and broke off the kiss just enough to speak. “Did I mention that I want more children with you than you’ve given to the other husbands?” He made sure to kiss her so deeply she couldn’t respond to that. (The Husband Tree, Barbour Publishing, Mary Connealy, author)

Silas. Strong. Decisive. A touch embittered. Cautious. Courageous. Careful. Dedicated. Humorous. If you asked me to describe Silas, I have no response. I don’t have a clue how Mary described him physically. What jumped off the page was his devoted virility, his take-charge attitude, the perfect way he complemented Belle’s tough and sassy image.

LaVyrle Spencer created a wonderful beta hero (Small Town Girl) in Kenny Kronek, the easy-going, helpful nerd-of-a-neighbor who wins the heart of Tess McPhail, the hottest “Reba-type” country singer in the land, home to help her sick mother, and she did it by making his gentle class act behavior outrageously desirable to a woman who is always surrounded by false love and idolatry in the entertainment business. His uniqueness balanced Tess because it was so different from what she experienced in her daily life. A man of honor, of simple devotion, a church-goer who stayed true to his faith, his time, his home, and then her.

And what about our tortured heroes? Matt Damon as Jason Bourne… Oh Mylanta, the mix of choir-boy Irish good looks, gentle eyes, a killer’s aim, and tricked into being something he’s not, a created killing commodity, pushed into vigilantism by the powers that be. A sympathetic assassin. Now that’s a trick!

He gave her a half-lidded look that made her mouth go dry, then leaned in and nestled his lips along her throat. The blood pumped in her veins. She felt the shadow of his late-day beard, and the realization of what was happening prompted a chuckle of joy from her throat. She shivered. ” I love you, Mitch Dennehy, so much that even prayer couldn’t get you out of my heart. Sweet saints above, I can’t wait to marry you!” Her gaze narrowed. “You are asking, aren’t you?”

He grinned. “Oh, I’m asking all right. And you won’t have to wait. I don’t intend to.” (A Passion Denied, Revell Publishing, Julie Lessman, author)

So far Mitch Dennehy is my favorite Lessman hero. I like his maturity, his stance, his devotion, his hard-won respect. In Mitch Julie Lessman has created an every-woman’s hero, but one particularly well-suited to Charity O’Connor, who is not one of my favorite heroines. Shoot, I kept shouting at Mitch to dump her and find someone more worthy, but being a man in love with a hot babe, he didn’t listen. And knowing Charity like we do, he’s probably come out on the good end of the trade. After all, it takes more than good fried chicken to keep a man smiling year in, year out.

In Sweet Home Alabama we have two heroes. Two great guys. We have the before and after hero, because in the midst of the timeline we’re examining, the heroine has undergone a transformation. Great plot twist that allows deeper conflict, both external and internal. And while my boys were not big fans of Reese Witherspoon’s character during the first half of the movie, we women understood her urge to move beyond who she was to who she could be, and then losing a bit of herself in the making.

So: what a quandary…


Josh Lucas????

Or Patrick Dempsey????

Stop wracking your brains, there is no wrong answer to that question. I mean, come on…. Talk about a win/win. ;)

Developing the hero to match and complement your heroine becomes the crux of the matter. His salt to her pepper. His calm to her heat.

Mr. Darcy examples every possible reason to not love a hero, yet we do. Why? Despite his arrogance, he stands by his convictions. He is true to family and friends. To a fault, we discover, but we appreciate the scarceness of such a trait. He’s kind to his help. He takes care of his home and understands familial pride. And he’s willing to own his mistakes and try hard to rectify them, coaxing Elizabeth’s feelings to meet his. And she does, just before he decides to pack it in, give it up. He fights the good fight and humbles himself to win the girl. Once again it matters not what he looks like, but the attitude he bears. Although Colin Firth is no slouch in the looks department. I think we'd all join hands and agree on that, but it isn't the looks that draw us in, that captivate, it's the manner or the reformation, the journey he must travel to get the girl.

“You’re no kind of man I’ve run into before.”

Ben's right arm snaked out and around her waist and he pulled her up against him. She had a sense of him, the shape of him and his smells, and then he kissed her. His mouth was warm, soft, and then hard. A short, jarring kiss. He let her go and she heard herself gasp.

“I’ve been wanting to do that for a while.”

Hannah adjusted her headscarf. “You said you had no interest in me.” Trying for dignified, and sounding instead like a girl in a snit.

He glanced at her, surprised. “I never said that.”

“You did. On the stairs.”

"I said I knew you had no interest in me. I’m hoping maybe you’ve changed your mind.”

“And if I haven’t?”

Cool appraisal, calculating, knowing. Hannah looked away. When she looked back again, he was smiling.

(Queen of Swords, Bantam Books, Sara Donati, author)

Donati's historical heroes go beyond the ken of mere mortal men. She's not afraid to give them quiet wisdom (Nathaniel Bonner, Jean-Benoit Savard "Ben")an inner core of strength that lines a rough-looking exterior, yet the hearts of the men beat true in all things, making them trustworthy husbands in difficult times. They kill as needed and love completely.

Wow. ;)

We all love Gibbs from NCIS, and Mark Harmon's current character is a far cry from his St. Elsewhere character from way back. Then he was a playboy doctor. Now he's a tortured soul, a man who's loved and loved well but can't move beyond the guilt at what he's lost. We all want to FIX HIM... Help him. Be THE WOMAN that sets his heart stirring again. The hope. The promise. Will God ever send him someone to fulfil that longing, that destiny? And will Gibbs forgive himself in time to see things clearly?


“I’m your landlord, remember?” Sparks of ivory lightened his gray eyes, crinkled in amusement.

“You won’t let me forget.”


She laughed and poked him in the chest. “That means when the heat’s off or the electric blows a circuit breaker, I call you.”

“Please do.”

Her heart chugged to a stop, watching him, hearing those words, feeling their depth, their meaning. He studied her, his expression warm, caring, a hint of humor softening the craggy planes of a chiseled face.

She moved a half-step forward without meaning to. “I will.”

The kiss was unexpected and totally wonderful, the gentle press of Brooks’ mouth on hers, the solidity of him, his breadth, his warmth, the sheer strength of him swirling around her, engulfing her in what-if’s.

Sweet. So sweet.

When he paused the kiss she stayed right there, not moving, eyes closed, smiling just a little, knowing she couldn’t and shouldn’t do this, but old enough and experienced enough to know she thoroughly enjoyed that kiss.

And the kisser.

And when he kissed her again, she liked that one just as much. 


 (Made to Order Family, Love Inspired, Ruth Logan Herne, author)

Leave a comment for a chance to win an ecopy of either: The Husband TreeA Passion Redeemed, or Made to Order Family OR one of these Seeker Holiday books of your choice:

 Winner announced in the Weekend Edition!

Merry Christmas, Seekerville.


  1. *whistles* What a line-up! I've spotted a couple heroes I haven't read yet, and now I must find their books. :) Thanks for showing us these amazing hero examples and detailing what makes them so irresistible!

    I'm writing a beta hero right now, and after my first novel with an alpha, I thought I might get bored with this one. *snort* Bored? With an honor-bound, head-over-heels, "I'm kind of shy, but I'm more than kind of in love with you and want you to know it" kind of hero? I don't think so. :) It's turning out to be quite a ride, especially with a sassy, gun-shy heroine.

    Love this post from the archives! No wonder it's so popular. Thank you Ruthy!

    Merry Christmas Eve, Seekerville!!!

  2. Ruth Redux:

    My favorite Seeker hero, as a real man, is Mark Ryker, from Missy’s “A House Full of Hope” because he steps in and provides a home for a poor struggling widow and her four children. He makes the world right for five people and thus also for himself by doing what I believe makes a man most a man and a hero most a hero.

    I’d like a chance to win “Wedding Bell Brides” or “Defenders”. I think I have all the other books.

    Merry Christmas!

  3. Would like to wish you all a blessed Christmas. Its Christmas eve night here and I am listening to the carols in candlelight from Melbourne. (till I get to tired).
    I would love to win one of the LI books in the collection. I have the 12 brides of Christmas books (read and loved), the Hope for the Holidays sets. I have read most of the Historical and now reading the Contemporary ones. I am loving reading the novellas. (although Mary's in the Contemporary series has a baddy with my surname. not all Blakes are bad!)

  4. Ho. Ho. and egg nog too. Wishing you a Merry Christmas Eve.

    I love Beta heroes, Natalie. They are my favorite. Although, for the very first time I have an Alpha hero in my next book. June 2015. Safe in the Fireman's Arms. That was actually fun to write.

  5. Let's serve up some holiday bagels and cream cheese from Panera. (I can dream, can't I?)

    Asiago cheese...cinnamon raisen, onion, Everything and poppy seed.

    Coffee and tea and hot chocolate, ready too.

  6. Merry Christmas, Jenny!

    Waving at Vince. Say Merry Christmas to Linda for me.

  7. I'm totally in on food! I'm heading to Sam's Club to grab some last minute stuff, but DAVE made a double batch of cream puffs last night, his first time, and they're awesome!!! Let me know if you want one (or two!) with custard pudding or whipped cream...

    NATALIE!!!! I love beta heroes, too! Ian Bedloe in Anne Tyler's "Saint Maybe" is my favorite movie beta hero.

    I make sure I watch the movie version once a year because rarely do I see that kind of perfect balance.

    Of course the story is ANGST-RIDDEN! Perfect Ruthy story!!!! Grief and sacrifice and humor.


    Tina is shaking her head right now!!!

  8. Vince, you're adorable!

    I totally understand what you're saying, Missy's hero is an honorable man who'd made mistakes.

    I do tend to like my heroes at one extreme or the other. They're either alpha military or police heroes or they're sweet veterinarians or home-builders or farmers. I LOVE FARMERS!!!

  9. I love this post. I see why this is a fave. Always good to really know why our personal "hunk" is our personal handsome hero.

    I'd love a shot at a Ruthy book please. I have most of the other books shown.

    Blessed Merry Christmas to all the Seekers. I wish I had a Christmas card for you all, but time has not been my friend this year *sigh* so I must merely express my abundant appreciation through mere words and not graphics (which is somewhat galling for an artist like me...)

  10. Morning Ruthy, Always fun to start the day with hunks. smile.

    Always good to revisit craft reminders.

    Thanks and merry Christmas.

  11. VINCE, Missy's House Full of Hope is one of my favorite Seeker books also. I loved that book.

    If anyone hasn't read it, they should go find it.

  12. Merry Christmas everyone!

    Please enter me in the drawing for Glynna's High Country Holiday.

    Thank you Seekerville for bringing a lot of fun and reading enjoyment to 2014!

  13. Wishing everyone a very merry Christmas. I am enjoying a wonderful visit with my parents.

  14. Happy Christmas Eve, Seekerville! 40% chance of a white Christmas in the Arizona mountains...! I wish you all a beautifully meaningful day...with quiet moments to step out of the holiday rush to thank God for His amazing gift of Jesus!

  15. FUN post, Ruthy -- of course, talk heroes and you're talking my language. Sigh.

    EXCELLENT look at various hero types, my friend, and you nailed each one. Seriously, I could read blogs like this ALL DAY LONG!!

    Unfortunately, I have presents to wrap and things to cook, so I best get along here.



  16. OOooohhhh, yes please to the cream puffs. Great breakfast idea!!!!!

    And I can see why this is a fave post. What a great line of heroes to drool over. Blissful sigh. I'm reading Belle Calhoun's Heart of a Soldier right now and am loving the honest mix of compassion and fear that makes up hero Dylan Hart. He's definitely swoonworthy!

  17. Merry Christmas to all! Snow in the Arizzona mountains I can believe, it's cold out there this morning! Great post! I love me a good hero! Great comments, too! I still have not read or have the hope series, so I'd love to win them!

  18. Oh my, oh me!!! That was fun to read!:-))


  19. Love this post! Makes me stop and think why I like certain heroes more than others. What is it they have that the others don't? I'll think about that while I watch the Hallmark Christmas movies today. Thanks for the post and the giveaway! Would love to win Her Holiday Family. Merry Christmas!

  20. Ruthy, I'll have two of Dave's cream puffs.....thanks!
    I still don't have the Hope for the Holidays series so please count me in ...contemporary.

    Thanks to Seekerville for a wonderful year of posts, prizes and fun. Merry Christmas to all!!!

  21. Deb darling, you're in!!!! And Merry Christmas right back at you! And graphics are an everyday thing these days... your heartfelt love and prayers are the most precious gift we could ask for. God bless you, hubby and Guppy!

  22. Here's a live link to Missy's "A House Full of Hope"!

    A House Full of Hope by Missy Tippens

    Let's see if I did this right!!!

  23. Tracey, you're in! I've got Glynna's on my post-Christmas TBR pile!!! Can't wait to get to it, but I don't want to rush Christmas away...

    Breathing and smiling, today is a baking day! I love that!

  24. Wilani, God bless you and Mom and Dad!!!

    Thanks for stopping by, tucking your name into the VERY CLEAN cat dish!

  25. Kav!!!! I haven't read that one yet!!! Isn't Sandra/Belle marvelous???? Love her work!.

    Glynna, enjoy the 40% chance. We're having a mud and green Christmas this year, but I don't even care a little because I get most of my family gathered around this weekend. We won't even notice the weather!!!!

    God bless you and Merry Christmas, my friend!

  26. JULIE!!! LOL! I'm cooking today too, last minute grocery store stuff is done, I'm about to dive into pie creation in the oven and chicken fajita creation on top of the stove.

    Aprons at the ready!!!! Present Spatulas!!!! Forward: MARCH!!!

    :) Laughing and loving life!

  27. Marianne, your name's in for a Hope for the Holiday series!!!!

    And Mary Hicks, Merry Christmas, beautiful lady! Thanks for stopping by today, girls, and be sure to try the cream puffs... and oh, wait, MARY CONNEALY stopped by with eggnog!!!!


  28. Sally, you're in, darling! Hey, did you guys see "The Christmas Shepherd" on Hallmark this year????

    LOVED IT!!!!

    A great dog, cute kid, a widow and a widower....

    Ruthy's favorite story elements: Second chances, dogs and kids!!!!

    How can that ever be bad???

  29. Jackie, you will love the cream puffs. Uber excellent!!!! Dave did himself proud!

  30. Heros, sigh, you listed some good ones! In movie form, I love replaying some of the looks that the hero gives the heroine.

  31. Merry Christmas Seekers and Seekervillagers

    I hope this gets in without duplicating or something. Still having a time with blogger.

    All of my heros are different, alphas & betas and in-between, and I love them all.

    Now I'm going to take off to celebrate the birth of the ultimate hero of all time.

    Everyone stay safe and well.

  32. ELAINE, I love that quote!

    " to celebrate the birth of the ultimate hero of all time".

    Awesome, Jesus truly is our ultimate hero!

    Soaking that in today!

  33. Hello, Becky!!! Merry Christmas, darling!!!



    I get it.

    Sigh and swoon!!!!!

  34. Elaine, that is the perfect quote! Better than Superman and Aquaman and He-Man combined.

    "The Ultimate Hero".

    Kudos from Seekerville!!!!

  35. Ah, heroes--gotta love 'em! (Well, that's the point, right?)

    I tend to write a lot more beta heroes than alphas. There's something about the quiet, bookish type whose heroism is less about muscles and mayhem and more about honor, devotion, integrity, and kindness. He's just as strong on the inside as the alpha male is on the outside.

    And now I MUST get back to my current beta hero and see what he'll do next to win the heart of his lady love! (Interestingly, it's Christmas Eve in my story timeline, too!)

  36. Loved this the first time and love it again now! Great post, Ruthy. And what great examples. Very inspiring for me in my characters/heroes.

    Merry Christmas to all of you wonderful people!!

  37. Vince, thank you! I loved Mark Ryker. Poor guy was trying so hard to make amends, but no one wanted to let him. :)

  38. Natalie, I've written more beta heroes than alpha. Maybe because most of the men in my life are betas.

  39. I've done more alphas than betas.

    But part of that is I've had more beta heroes rejected and my alpha heroes accepted.

    So does that mean my beta heroes aren't cool enough???????



    I like an A/B blend. A guy who's strong enough to stand up for himself and his love and his country, even if he's the town doctor or the head of the highway department (Book 2 of Wedding Blessings!!!!) or a farmer trying to make ends meet.

    So Hero 1 of Wedding Blessings trilogy is alpha.... 2 and 3 are beta....

    BUT with alpha tendencies.

    I like that mix.

  40. I will have to read this later. Must get busy wrapping presents and making fudge. And family time this afternoon to take the dog out and finally get my Christmas card photo of my son and the dog!

    But I did want to say to enter me please in the drawing for a Seekerville holiday book!

  41. I can see why this is a favorite! We love the "how to create a swoon-worthy hero" posts. :) I'll have to pin this one!

    Merry Christmas Eve, everyone!

  42. Loved the post with the hero scenes, Ruthy. Much I can learn from this one about writing a desirable alpha male. The only alpha male in a story was a rejected suitor and he's definitely not a good guy. I like to write stories with a beta hero who is gentle and has a great sense of humor, but can laugh at himself also.
    A blessed Christmas to Seekers and their followers and friends. Thanks for being here with so many helpful teaching posts, the fun times and especially for your encouragement.

  43. A fantastic post! Of course my favorite part was about Gibbs! Love NCIS!!!!! Love Ruthy's posts too so I can see why this is a favorite one!

    Merry Christmas to everyone!


  44. What a lovely review of why we love our heros!! Excellent re-post to bolster the holiday spirit, LOL! Who needs sugar plums when you can have visions of Gibbs and Darcy dancing in your head!!

    Merry Christmas Eve, everyone! Blessings to all!!

  45. Sandy, SOS.

    That means Send Fudge to Seekerville.

    In Seeker-speak.

    Merry Christmas and have fun with your festivities!

    I've been annoying the dogs and probably humans too, practicing the music for Mass late tonight... At least the dogs haven't howled... YET... so that's a bonus!!!

  46. Jennifer, pin away!!!

    Merry Christmas back at you!!!!!

  47. Pat Jeanne, I love beta heroes, too!

    I think I just love, love, love good men.

    This might be a diagnosable illness.


  48. Valri, thank you!

    Merry Christmas, sweet thing!

  49. Audra, I'm with you. :)

    Merry Christmas my friends!

  50. What a fun post. Thanks for sharing, and Merry Christmas everybody!

  51. Fabulous pictures of heroes! Every one looks like a great guy.

    Merry Christmas!

  52. Mmm yeah! I'm all for the tall guy with piercing eyes, don't get me wrong, but I do love those sweet, funny, smart heroes the best. :-) Maybe that's why my celeb crushes are all skinny British lads LOL!

    I hope everyone at Seekerville has a very Merry Christmas! xo

  53. My goodness, Ruthy! Those hero pictures and descriptions chased the chill right out of my weather.

    Merry Christmas!!

    Nancy C

  54. NO entry in the weekend contest for this comment. I just wanted to say. Merry Christmas Seekerville!!!

  55. WALT!!!! Merry Christmas right back at you, my friend!!! God bless you!

    (scratches Walt off the list...)

    Nancy, right????????????????

    :) BIG RUTHY GRIN!!!!

  56. Renee, I like the variety, too. The piercing eyes are kind of 80's, aren't they??????

    I tend to like a guy whose eyes crinkle in amusement, especially when he's around the heroine...

    And that's because she makes him happy before he even knows her.


  57. Merry Christmas, Jackie! Love that picture!

  58. .
    Heroes You Can Live With

    On reflection, I believe the ideal hero is a beta male who will always perform as an alpha male when any emergency arises but who otherwise is mild, attentive, appreciative, understanding, loveable, faithful, supportive, forgiving, and eminently manageable the rest of the time.

  59. .
    On further reflection, I think I just described a well trained German Shepherd. : >

  60. Great list of heroes.. Gibbs is a favorite of mine too... please enter me in the bowl :)
    dkstevensne AT outlook DOtCoM

  61. I haven't gotten to see the Christmas Shepherd yet. I've seen previews, but it's never shown when I'm watching. Definite perfect mix because Jesus is all about second chances as well. Forgiveness. A wonderful Christmas gift.