As romance readers we talk about our “book boyfriends”. These tend to be Alpha Heroes: ruthless, implacable, protective, possessive men who attract with their charisma and buffed-out good looks, who keep us yearning with their potency and skill. I readily admit that my favorite book boyfriend would quite possibly be the very worst actual boyfriend ever. He is Lord Odo Wraxall, the heroic villain of Lord Wraxall’s Fancy, an erotic romance (heavy on the erotic, light on the romance) first issued by the old Black Lace imprint circa 1996. With Odo, the sexy fun and adventure never stop.
We romance readers swoon for our Alpha Hero book boyfriends. Yet, these men are compelling for the very same reasons they can be repelling. Ruthless possessiveness can border on stalkerism. Too much charisma can be creepy or, if spread too thin, impersonal. This is probably why, as a famous romance author once said (please, please someone tell me in the Comments who said this!), while we desire the Alpha, in reality we marry the Beta.
Well, at least, that’s what I did. Eighteen years ago. Today is the anniversary of my wedding to my very own Beta Hero.
My husband is perceptive, understanding, feminist, aesthetically astute, and quite clever, using brains before brawn to tackle a problem. I love all of that about him. It’s what made me fall in love with him and what keeps me in love with him.
And I want all of my heroines to fall in love with someone just like him! A considerate, caring listener with a spark of creativity and intellect and just a bit befuddled that a cute gal likes him—a lot. So I write the Beta Hero.
Of course I also write the Alpha Hero. In fact, my beefy, dominating Roman knight in Delilah Devlin’s upcoming anthology Hot Highlanders and Wild Warriors is pure Alpha! But usually I give my Alphas some Beta tendencies, even if just a touch. In my latest historical erotic romance, Disobedience by Design, I have three heroes: Joseph, a brawny former stevedore, is the most Alpha of the three; Arthur, a gallant earl, has just a touch of Alpha; and Geoffrey, the lanky solicitor, is pure Beta. I love them all! I hope readers will too and will want to claim them as book boyfriends.
Who is your book boyfriend? Is he an Alpha?
A Beta? A bit of both?
Regina Kammer is a best-selling, multi-published writer of erotica and historical erotic romance. She has been published by Cleis Press, Go Deeper Press, Ellora’s Cave, House of Erotica, and her own imprint, Viridium Press. She began writing historical fiction with romantic elements during National Novel Writing Month 2006, switching to erotica when all her characters suddenly demanded to have sex.
Her latest release, Disobedience By Design, a Victorian-set erotic romance published by Ellora’s Cave, is Book 2 of her Harwell Heirs series.
In 1860, the railways of Victorian England transport American stevedore Joseph Phillips to the lush countryside of Lincolnshire…and into the arms of Lady Sophia Harwell. But Sophia is betrothed to a violent villain who wants only two things: her virginity and her dowry. Can Joseph save his beloved without scandalizing upper-class British society?
Joseph looked up, his concentration on the aim of the cue broken by a melodic, breathy sound at the door. A spark of surprise shot through him at the sight of an angelic vision in white, a spectacularly beautiful young woman who slowly entered the room as he pulled himself up from his bent position over the billiard table. Her auburn hair framed a perfect face, radiating a glow of youthful innocence only slightly marred—or perhaps enhanced—by an obvious inquisitiveness bordering on deviousness reflected in her mossy eyes.
She seemed stunned into silence by his presence so he broke the spell.
“Hullo.” He took a puff of his cigar to calm his body’s growing interest in the girl.
“Are you Arthur’s American?”
God , her accent was utterly charming.
He chuckled. “I suppose I am. You look like you were just at that shindig.”
“I beg your pardon?”
“Party,” he explained, giving her the once-over. “I guess it was a formal affair.”
The bodice of her ball gown fit perfectly on her shapely form, a row of pale-pink silk roses demarcating the low-cut neckline from the ivory flesh of her steadily heaving bosom. A damn distracting sight. He ripped his gaze away unwillingly.
She walked farther into the room. “Yes I was at that ‘shindig’,” she said, pronouncing the word with an exaggerated and clumsy American accent.
She drew her finger along the polished edge of the billiard table, awakening his brain to fantasies of her finger stroking a part of him in need of attention at that very moment.
“I found it rather boring,” she added.
“Boring?” A room full of women as beautiful as she couldn’t possibly be boring. “How so?”
“For one, there were not very many attractive men.” She bit her lip, her apparent abashment profoundly provocative.
Aha! So he had a chance. Sort of. She was clearly far above his laboring-class background. Still, a man should always try his luck where women were concerned. “How might the presence of attractive men have made the party more interesting?”
She cocked her head. “I would have had far more distractions.” She drew out the last word as if implying something indecent.
His unruly prick stirred. “And how would you like a man to distract you?”