Tuesday, September 2, 2014

My Kind of Hero: What makes an Alpha hero? by Dara Young #paranormalromance #Giveaway #amreading

I like strong men in romance because I like equally strong women, and let's face it there is nothing unsexier than a man who lets a woman run him over. As a result, I write alpha heroes. I write men who know what they want--or at least they think they do--and go after it. Be that a goal, a prize, a woman, or solitude. Now, there is a fine line between confident and arrogant, and sometimes my type of hero tiptoes around that line. OK. They trample it at times, but that is part of their charm. Probably not. But it is part of their journey.

But how do heroes become alpha heroes vice any other type of hero?

Well, they start out with a strong sense of self. They know who they are (or think they do) and can make confident decisions rooted in an internal code or other base set of principles from which they operate. This code may be a little skewed, may cause difficulty in their lives if viewed in black and white with no shades of gray, and it may not always align with the heroine's own personal beliefs. (Yay for conflict!)

They are men of action. No, they don't all have to be special-ops military types to be men of action. A man of action is able to identify what needs to be done and then do it. Whether that means blowing a bridge to keep the enemy at bay or rewiring a house so the faulty wiring doesn't light the damn thing on fire. My heroes are capable.

They are compassionate--even when it's the last thing they want to be. Some alpha heroes embrace this compassion and use it as a driving force for their personal belief system. Others live in denial of their altruistic side. But the innate need to help those weaker than them, to sympathize with the suffering of others, to desire to do something about it is fundamental to who they are. They can embrace it or deny it, but it is there. (It's what makes anti-heroes redeemable.)

Large and in charge. My heroes are leaders. This is where you sift the wheat from the chafe. Leading anyone is both an art and a skill. Anyone can develop leadership skills, but there are those who have the natural ability to lead. It is an effortless part of who they are. They don't consciously choose to lead, but rather through force of personality, and the other traits listed above find themselves in leadership positions regularly. People gravitate toward them.

One of my favorite heroes ever is Rhett Butler. He makes a great anti-hero, meeting all of the criteria above on top of being a total bad-ass blockade runner. And, even knowing that Scarlett is a manipulative bitch, he chooses to go after her and have her. And, deep down in his soul he wants to help her find redemption. Too bad it's all for naught. But it doesn't make him any less awesome as a hero. 

So, as part of my post I want to offer up a digital copy of Boiling Point (Aegis, Book 1). Leave a comment telling me who your favorite hero (book, movie, tv, whatever) is and why.

A woman on the run…
Karen James is a woman with a plan. Running from her past and her ability to control water, aquakinesis, her goal is to live a normal life. In denial about who and what she is, she ignores a sexy fireman’s offer of help until a fatal mishap puts her in the path of the juggernaut she’s been running from.

A man focused on the present…
Dalton Moore, a pyrokinetic determined to teach Karen how to control her power, has his own past he’d prefer to leave behind. But as his effort to help one woman turns into a commitment to the supernatural community, less and less of the past is staying where it belongs.
A mad man on the loose…

Her past returns with a vengeance pitting her against the scientist she escaped and his pursuit for genetic perfection. Neither Karen nor Dalton expected to be caught in the middle of one man’s twisted scheme or to become the superheroes the world suddenly needed.
The best laid plans…

And falling in love while trying to stop a madman? Not part of the plan. But Fate has a plan of her own because superheroes need love, too.

Boiling Point is available at:

Dalton didn't like the look of the blaze at the Linden Motor Inn. For starters, there was no telling what started the fire, based on the clientele that frequented the Livonia Ave dump. When you catered to crack heads, crank users, and prostitutes there were a multitude of possibilities for how a fire might have started. None of them were good.
Sweat trickled down his back, whether from the weight of his gear or the heat from the blaze, it was hard to tell. Probably some combination of the two. Dalton shouted orders at his men.
"Brooks, Rocker, hustle that replacement hose down to engine nineteen."
The orchestrated dance to save the crappy building and any lives it contained probably appeared to be chaos to the average bystander. As Field Commander, he was responsible for their movements and getting them home alive. He took his job seriously, so when he found most of the motel residents milling around the parking lot, he was a lot less concerned about possible victims, and more focused on the source of the fire. But then he heard the shout from the crowd.
"Look! There's a woman still up there!"
Shit. Someone had to go after her. As he ran through a mental catalogue of his men, their current tasking, and who could get loose to go after the clearly deranged woman, he felt the tingle of awareness run through his body. Someone nearby drew on natural power. And damn, they were strong. Stronger than Streak, his best friend. Unexpectedly, the smell of rain hung heavy in the air. He could almost feel the moisture lying in a thin layer on his skin, and suddenly, the fire was out.
Dalton watched as the firemen up and down the motel stood looking at each other confused. One minute they were fighting the fire and the next it was out. That's not how fighting fires worked. It was a process. A battle. There was not a switch that someone flipped to turn it off. The radio chirped into his ear and reminded him he had a job to do.
"Everyone stand ready. I'm going to check on the woman and see if I can get a closer look." He closed his turnout up and buckled the strap on his helmet.
It was a slow climb up the stairs of the unburned end of the building. On the second floor, about halfway down the structure, stood a half-naked woman. Red hair streamed around her, brushing the middle of her back. A white t-shirt just covered what looked like a nicely shaped ass clad in matching white panties. Muscular and shapely, her long, lush legs stood solidly underneath her. Creamy skin glowed softly in the ambient light from the street. There was no sign of fire, so he sidled up next to the woman to see what she stared at so intently.
"Miss?" She took deep breaths, but did not respond. Wary of the unknown, he peeked in the door of the burnt out room they stood in front of. Holy shit! The walls looked like someone had punched through them with a sledgehammer and then took a big gnarly saw to the pipes. Water soaked the room from floor to ceiling. Puddles shimmered on every horizontal surface that hadn't absorbed the fluid. He returned his focus to the woman.
"Miss? Are you okay?" He reached out to gently touch her shoulder.
"What?" Big blue eyes looked at him dazed and unfocused, but it wasn't from drug use. She was the source of the power draw he felt earlier. He knew the look in her eyes and the confusion that came from an unexpected burst of power. An uncontrolled burst. An incog.
"Why don't we head down the stairs here? We can get you a blanket and maybe some pants." Yeah. She needed pants-like yesterday-before all his men got completely distracted. Before he got distracted.
"Oh, here. This is my room." She stepped through the entryway to his left before he could stop her and grabbed a bag. She pulled the door closed and then pulled a pair of shorts from the bag. She handed them to him.
"Um. They're for you. Can you put them on?"

Author Bio
I was born in Lafayette, Louisiana, one of two children and grew up in Florida and Alabama. I later graduated from Auburn University Montgomery with a BS in Political Science and a minor in History.

My mother once asked me what I would do with a poly sci degree. At that moment I happened to have a romance novel in my hand, the author of which was a poly sci major. I quickly held it up and said, “Well, I can write romance novels!” How prophetic!

I specialize in configuration management, and I pursue my love of writing romance in my spare time. I dream of one day commuting to my living room in my bathrobe for work.

I met my husband my first week living in New York City. While he does not share my love of books, he does support my writing wholeheartedly! We were married in November 2000, and now share a beautiful home in Southern California.


  1. Rhett Butler was an awesome hero! At one point there were three generations of women in my family swooning over him (of course, that may have had something to do with Clark Gable too).

    1. Yeah, he was pretty popular in my house, too. And Clark Gable is a large part of why Rhett works on the big screen. :-)

  2. Hi Dara,
    Welcome to the Snarkology! Thank you so much for participating in My Kind of Hero. My favorite kind of hero is always the guy who's a bad boy--Han Solo types. Great post!

    1. Thank you for having me Melissa. And yes, Han Solo is an awesome hero...I always liked him better than Luke. :-)

  3. I agree, strong, confident men are delightful! I love troubled, scarred heroes (who will, of course, find redemption with the right heroine.)Loved the post.

    1. Hi Barbara, thank you for stopping by. I totally agree, scarred can be very sexy.

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  5. My hero is Jamie Fraser of Diana Gabaldon's Outlander Series. He is tender, terrifying, weak sometimes, most times a rock, has his secrets and respects the secrets of others, and above all is loyal to his lady

    1. Gosh yes. I do love me some Jamie Fraser. That is one sexy red heid. :-)

  6. I love the Black Dagger Brothers or Breed or Lord of the Underworld type of heroes. Tortured, strong, arrogant but smart enough to pull it together for their female in the end.

    1. The Breed got me started reading PNR. Totally appealed to my anti-hero bone.

  7. I've just come off an NCIS marathon so I'd have to say Gibbs!!! Even though he is a bit older ;) thanks for sharing!

    1. If you want older...I love Sean Connery. That man is like a fine wine. Gibbs is a great example of an alpha hero who maybe isn't some super soldier but can still make shit happen.

  8. I watch Once Upon A Time, and I love Captain Hook in that show, played by Colin O'Donoghue. Great sparkling eyes, perfect amount of chest hair, sexy smile and Irish accent. He's piratical and a little wicked, obviously, but also sweet and caring, throwing himself into danger for the woman he loves. Great hero, though he fights against being heroic.

    1. I used to watch that show, maybe I still would be if they'd had Captain Hook. Sounds yummy. ;-)