Monday, March 19, 2012

Wounded Heroes


Wounded Heroes

Why do we love those tortured heart-breakers so much? They’re damaged physically and/or emotionally by life experience, scarred inside and out. Yet they often have an unshakable code of honor and loyalty that might be the same heroic quality that got them wounded in the first place. These men have been judged—by society, by someone they care about or respect, or even by themselves—and now bear a label that they often mistakenly think defines who they are. Some fight for redemption—others hide away from the world, reluctantly exposing themselves to stares and whispers, ridicule or fear, when called on to defend a person or cause. While there is much to admire about these heroes—these men are hard to love. They may feel undeserving of love, even. They may need to be taught how to love—or how to love again. These are the men who overcome extreme adversity. They battle unbeatable odds. And when they finally fall in love, they know only one way to do it—with everything in them.

The hero in my May 2012 Intrigue, John Murdock, is a wounded hero. This firefighter had his heart broken and went back into the Marine Corps to put distance between him and the woman he can’t have. But when the captain comes home from the war, his troubles are far from over. He might have a chestful of medals, but he’s been damaged inside and out. He understands fighting for his home and the people he cares about. But coming home, healing, opening up his heart again just might be the toughest battle he’s ever fought. So I knew he needed a very special heroine. KCPD desk sergeant Maggie Wheeler is a wounded warrior herself. With danger stalking her every thought and breath, can she trust the Marine next door to keep her and her son safe? And will they live long enough to heal each other’s wounded hearts?

In keeping with this theme, my local writers’ group, the Prairieland Romance Writers, just had a Roundtable discussion about our favorite wounded romance heroes. Representing a variety of genres and authors, here is PRW’s Top 20 list of wounded heroes. Actually, we came up with far more, but we limited ourselves to 20 ;)

Who are your favorite fictional wounded heroes? Tell us his name, and the book title and author if you know it. Share why he was so memorable for you if you like. I’ll give away a copy of THE MARINE NEXT DOOR to one lucky commenter.

Julie Miller

20 Stories Featuring PRW’s Favorite Wounded Heroes:

(in no particular order)

1. Beauty & the Beast

2. Land of Dreams by Cheryl St. John

3. Solitary Soldier by Debra Webb

4. Miss Emmaline and the Archangel by Rachel Lee

5. Broken Promise by Laura Landon

6. Jackson Rule by Dinah McCall (aka Sharon Sala)

7. Morning Glory by LaVyrle Spencer

8. To Beguile a Beast by Elizabeth Hoyt

9. Frisco’s Kid by Suzanne Brockmann

10. Flowers from the Storm by Laura Kinsale

11. Candle in the Window by Christina Dodd

12. This is All I Ask by Lynn Kurland

13. BIG Temptation by Robin L. Rotham

14. In the Blink of an Eye by Julie Miller

15. Accidental Bodyguard by Julie Miller

16. Immortal Heart by Julie Miller

17. Forbidden Captor by Julie Miller

18. Lord of Vengeance by Laura Landon

19. Woman in Charge by Sherry James

20. Fugitive Fiancée by Kristin Gabriel

30 comments:

  1. Brady Shepherd in SuperRomance author Beth Andrews' A Marine for Christmas. He shows up at his ex's wedding, gets drunk, ends up sleeping with the sister (who had a crush on him) and in 'that moment' he calls out the ex's name. Even by the end of the book he wasn't perfect, which made him even more real.

    From MarcieR

    ReplyDelete
  2. I love stories like that, Marcie. How interesting would a perfect hero be? Not very. I'm sure Brady's journey through his pain and drinking was an emotional one. I'll have to check it out.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I think my all time favorite wounded hero comes from the comics--Bruce Wayne (Batman)--since he spends his life overcoming the scar of witnessing his parents' murder.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If we're talking comics, I'd have to include Wolverine on my list. No memory. Pain every time he uses his adamantium claws. I loved reading the X-Men when I was middle-school age. (made big-time brownie points with my son when the X-Men movies came out and his mama knew all kinds of backstory and details to share ;)

      Delete
  4. (from Fake Frenchie)I wanted to say the best heros are heros with PTSD. I don't his name and I don't know the author's name, but the character I had in mind had flashbacks to the war in Afghanistan, and he managed to love the heroine anyway.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Hey Julie, nice to connect with you again! I love wounded heroes! They speak to all of us I think because of overcoming all odds and we all hope that we could do the same if we were in that situation! I love two on your list - Frico's Kid & Solitary Soldier. I'm sure there are many others I've read but they come to mind this morning! We love men women that are able to "break through the shell" of these men and help them see that they are lovable once again!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey, Valri--good to see you here, too!

      I adored Suz Brockmann's Tall, Dark & Dangerous series. Wes Skelly's story, NIGHT WATCH, is on my keeper shelf, too. Can we count being short as a wound he had to overcome? ;) I loved the odd couple of Taylor & Skelly, and was glad to see them get their stories.

      And Solitary Soldier is my all-time favorite Deb Webb book. And I love a lot of hers!

      Delete
  6. Rachel Lee has several wounded heros that I like. Gage Dalton being one, but also Billy Joe Yuma in Lost Warriors. Of course, Julie, you have some wounded heroes that are my favs too - In The Blink Of An Eye with Mac Taylor being a fav, but also like Kevin Grove in Beauty and the Badge. In fact, just re-read that one. I have read some books where the hero had PTSD from the wars, but I can't remember the name of them right now and when I look at my book shelf I can't pick them out either. I think wounded heroes make the best heroes in books, because you grow with them and change as you read the book, so you feel a part of it.

    Can't wait for the Marine Next Door. I'm sure that will be a fav too.

    Denise

    ReplyDelete
  7. Thanks, Denise! Kevin Grove holds a special place in my heart, too. Originally he was just a supporting character in my Brotherhood of the Badge miniseries. But he kept sneaking off the page and whispering to me to write his "Beauty & the Beast" story. Had a lot of fun with that one.

    Rachel Lee does a fabulous job with wounded heroes. You're right about Lost Warriors. Exile's End is another good one by her, too.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Julie, I saw the title and before I saw the author's name, I thought: that must be Julie's! You listed my favorites. I loved Immortal Heart (the second time I read it) and Beauty and the Beast!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I just got word, too, that FORBIDDEN CAPTOR (definitely a wounded hero/Beauty & the Beast tale) is going to be reissued in Harlequin's Bestselling Authors collection. It'll be part of a 2-in-1 with Debra Webb's STRIKING DISTANCE--another book I'd add to my favorite wounded hero list!

      I believe it is for their Direct-to-Consumer program, meaning it will be available to Harlequin subscribers (of any line) and at the Harlequin website. Not in other retail outlets.

      I'm excited!

      Delete
  9. Thanks, Connie! You're a peach. I do have a thing for wounded/beastly heroes, don't I. ;)

    ReplyDelete
  10. Hi Julie.

    I will say In the Blink of an Eye and Frisco's Kid. The only two books I have read on your list. Both were super great books

    ReplyDelete
  11. I have read quite a few books with wounded heroes... whether from broken hearts or actually being wounded... there is just something about seeing them open themselves up to love... seeing that they are worthy of being happy... some of my favs are Will Parker from LaVyrle Spencer's Morning Glory & Ian Sinclair from Gayle Wilson's Anne's Perfect Husband...

    ReplyDelete
  12. Thanks, Tammy, for stopping by. I definitely count Mac Taylor from IN THE BLINK OF AN EYE as one of my favorite heroes I've created. He had to lose his sight before he could really see the beautiful truth about the girl next door. ;)

    ReplyDelete
  13. Hey, Colleen--thanks for stopping by. Yes, Will Parker is an all-time favorite of mine, too. He had such a broken spirit--he needed someone to need him and accept him. And the heroine (I'm blanking on her name) did!

    I haven't read that particular Gayle Wilson book--I'll have to check it out. Thanks for the recommendation!

    ReplyDelete
  14. One of my favorite wounded/tortured heroes is Zach McBride from Pamela Clare's "Breaking Point."

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for the recommendation, Jane. I need to pick up a Pamela Clare book--several of my friends have recommended her, too.

      Delete
  15. Julie, I can't believe I forgot Mac Taylor in In The Blink of An Eye! He's one of my favorites too! I'm sure there are others - I'll probably think of one in the middle of the night - that's just how I am!

    ReplyDelete
  16. Laura AKA Loves 2 Read RomanceMarch 19, 2012 at 9:40 PM

    I can't think of any off the top of my head but I agree with Beauty and the Beast! I have always loved that movie. Probably since I can relate to Belle not fitting in since she loves to read. I always like the contrast between Gaston and Beast. Beast has been humbled by his transformantion and feels no one will love him because of how he now looks. Gaston feels everyone loves him because of his looks.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I LOVE that movie, Laura! Disney's Beauty & the Beast appeals to me on a lot of levels--and it has an awesome movie kiss! But the Disney folks did it just right with the art and music and storytelling, imo.

      Delete
  17. Very nice post. I like Ethan from If You Deceive.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ethan was physically scarred, which changed his appearance and demeanor, but after meeting the heroine, who doesn't even care about his scar, he gradually becomes a better person.

      Delete
    2. Sounds like a hero and story I'd really like, bn100! I'll have to check it out. Thanks!

      Delete
  18. I always think of your character Edward Kincaid from Kansas City Christmas, when you mention a wounded hero.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Aw, thanks, Gayle. Edward was a hero that I really took to a dark place, inside and out. It was an emotional roller coaster writing that story--but I loved it. I saw that ending scene in my mind when I was putting together the entire series.

      Delete
  19. And the winner is... Connie!

    Our dear dog, Maggie, nosed your name out of the pile of entries, and selected you as the winner.

    Just email me your snail mail address, and I'll get you an early copy of THE MARINE NEXT DOOR just as soon as my author copies arrive.

    Thank you to everyone for stopping by, and sharing your favorite wounded hero stories. I'm adding some titles to my TBR list!

    I'm on a bit of a blog tour the next few weeks, so check my website to find where I'll be blogging next (and giving away different books)!

    Happy Reading!
    Julie Miller

    ReplyDelete
  20. My all-time favorite hero, wounded or not, is Mac Taylor from "In the Blink of an Eye". He is the epitome of a hero to me.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Aw, shucks, Uma--thank you. Mac Taylor is one of my all-time favorite heroes that I've created. It's cool to see how much readers love him, too.

    Thanks!

    ReplyDelete