My first and still number one hero is my father, James George Baily. I love him to pieces with all my heart even though he’s gone where I can’t hug him anymore. I still talk to him and think of him daily. He was an Englishman, born and raised in the Cockney east end of London, and evacuated to the countryside during WW II.
During the German blitz of London, my dad, in his true spirited fashion, made the most of his new situation in a country manor, enjoying picking fresh fruit and running around on the grass. At only age 10, he made sure to take care of his little brother, Vicky, who was about 6 or 7; while they were evacuated and away from any parental supervision, my dad worked as a paper boy and a choir boy to give his brother pocket money for the bakery and sweet shop.
This is the East end of London where my dad and his four brothers and four sisters grew up. There were only four of them during the war, and this little fellow, with his sisters, is about the same age as my father was.
Attribution: By Sue Wallace at en.wikipedia (Transferred from en.wikipedia) [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], from Wikimedia Commons
Here’s a more central part of London during the German blitz.
Attribution: This work is in the public domain in the United States because it is a work prepared by an officer or employee of the United States Government as part of that person’s official duties under the terms of Title 17, Chapter 1, Section 105 of the US Code
Drawn from rainy London to sunny southern California, my father ended up living most of his adult life there, playing tennis, still enjoying fresh fruit, skiing in the Sierra Nevada mountains, and being a wonderful father to my sister and me. He is a hard act to follow, but I think all of my fictional heroes have some of my father’s finer qualities, as well as his more adventurous traits in them. And as he was always a gentleman, I make sure that my heroes treat women well.
My favorite of my own fictional heroes is Reed Malloy from An Improper Situation, Book 1 of the Defiant Hearts series. Not as flamboyantly daring as Thaddeus (Book 3) or as blatantly sexy as Riley (Book 2), Reed is intelligent, sweet, loves kids, is great in bed, is passionate, protective, and possessive, humorous, authoritative, sure of himself but not arrogant, and has intense blue eyes and dark hair. And he can cook! Usually, he is emotionally and physically controlled. That is, until he meets the heroine of his story, Charlotte Sanborn.
He is both besotted and repelled by her. He is attracted by her intellect, innocence, and beauty, yet he can’t understand her unwillingness to become a surrogate mother to her orphan cousins. As the story progresses, however, he’s surprised to find himself so overcome with physical desire for Charlotte that he’s not his usual careful and controlled self. His heart knows better than his brain, of course, and before he realizes what’s happening to him, he’s head over heels in love.
I enjoy heroes who show their vulnerabilities as well as their strengths. Alpha males are sexy and compelling to women, but if one combines the alpha traits with a sweetness and openness and, yes, even a little weakness that the heroine can help him with, then you have an irresistible male hero.
Besides a weakness for Charlotte who makes Reed do things he normally wouldn’t do in Boston’s high society, such as climb a trellis or break down a door, Reed’s vulnerability lies in his inability to commit. Not because he wants to play the field of beauties who surround him in the drawing rooms of Beacon Hill, but because one particular beauty captured his heart when he was younger, betrayed him with another man, and nearly ruined his life and his career with her lies. He has what we now call “baggage,” and it’s up to Charlotte to make him realize he’s unknowingly closed his heart.
Of course, she has her own issues that only Reed can help her face and overcome. And he does so patiently and gently. But he’s not namby-pamby. As Charlotte discovers when Reed’s jealousy is aroused, this sophisticated city lawyer can become a seething caveman who’s ready to fight for his woman and show her that she belongs to him. Remember, it’s the 1880s, and my heroes can still have that mentality and get away with it. And Reed does so quite charmingly.
I hope you enjoyed a peek into two of the heroes in my life, one real and one fictional. For all of you Snarkology readers, I want to offer a digital copy of the series prequel, An Intriguing Proposition, which introduces you to some family members in the Defiant Hearts series, including Reed Malloy from An Improper Situation. Please leave a comment telling me about a heroic male in your life to enter to win.
Title: An Improper Situation
Publisher: ePublishing Works
Date Published: June 2013
Genre: Historical Romance
Word Count: 100,000 words
With her chestnut hair and striking green eyes, Charlotte should be the catch of Spring City, Colorado. But she wears her independence like an impenetrable suit of armor and cloaks her identity behind her famed writing nom de plume of Charles Sanborn. She’s a 24-year-old confirmed spinster who won’t risk heartbreak, until a handsome stranger awakens her yearning both for companionship and for indulgent pleasure.
Boston lawyer Reed Malloy has a solemn mission–to deliver two orphaned children to their Colorado cousin. He’s not prepared for Charlotte being utterly innocent and yet irresistibly beguiling, or for her brewing resentment and flat-out refusal to raise her kin. It will take some firsthand persuasion if he is to complete his legal duty and, perhaps, resolve more tantalizing issues.
When Charlotte forsakes everything familiar–and two thousand miles of America’s heartland no longer separate her from Reed–unforeseen influences conspire to keep them apart. The high society of the Boston Brahmins welcomes her . . . while concealed malice abounds. With the intrusion of sinister forces and scorned women–and with passions ablaze–Reed and Charlotte find themselves in a very Improper Situation
The Kindle and Nook editions of An Improper Situation are currently on sale for 99 cents, 80% off its regular price of $4.99. Click here to pick up your copy: Amazon or Barnes and Noble.
Reed shrugged. "You are talking in riddles. It is always back to Helen, no matter how many times I tell you that she means nothing to me. I have not had the same assurance from you regarding Farnsworth. I know he has kissed you."
"Yes, that's the exact look that told me so. Was he familiar with you yesterday in his carriage?"
Her mind went immediately to Jason's hand across her ankles. Her eyes widened.
"Damnation, Charlotte," Reed swore. "I am not a man to give up, but I am being sorely tested."
He walked past her, not looking at her again. Not even saying goodbye. She watched his tall figure moving rigidly away, and she felt physically sick. Disregarding the other people strolling the path, she called out to him.
"Reed Malloy, don't you walk away from me." Please.
He stopped in his tracks but didn't turn around. Perhaps he was weighing his options, she thought. Was it worth it to turn and face her? Was she worth the trouble?
He had offered her his hand in marriage, Charlotte reminded herself. She could certainly take the first step. She took one, then another.
"Reed," she said again, more steadily.
He turned, but his face was still forbidding. She walked closer until she was only an arm's length away. She looked up earnestly into his blue gaze.
"Jason did not kiss me in his carriage yesterday. He took me by surprise one evening, perhaps he was a bit in his cups." She hesitated, remembering the feeling of repulsion. "I didn't like it, and I would never let him do that again."
"Does he know that?" Reed asked, his voice quiet, his tone flat.
"I... I think so," Charlotte returned. What exactly had she said to Jason?
Sydney Jane Baily completed her first novel at the tender age of 17. Thankfully, that manuscript resides in an undisclosed, secure location. After completing degrees in English literature and history, she spent years as a book editor and a website developer, both of which she still does. However, Sydney is most content when crafting her own stories of a bygone era, having recently completed a fifth book in the Defiant Hearts series, set in 1880s America.
Born and raised in California, she currently lives in New England with her family—human, feline, and canine.
Website & Blog: http://www.SydneyJaneBaily.com
Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Sydney-Jane-Baily/e/B009LAIOM6
Twitter: https://twitter.com/SydneyJaneBaily, @sydneyjanebaily
My favorite charity is Best Friends Animal Society, a 501(c)(3) registered nonprofit organization that operates the nation's largest sanctuary for homeless animals and provides adoption, spay/neuter and educational programs.
Their goal: Save them all!
Their mission: To bring about a time when there are No More Homeless Pets. The problem is a big one, no question...but they believe (as do I) that it’s possible to make this senseless killing a thing of the past.