I’ve written two superhero adventure novels so far starring Chloe, a young woman who discovers she has previously unsuspected superpowers. Readers are fine with that part. What they don’t like is my heroine’s taste in men.
She broke up with a perfectly nice boyfriend, a computer nerd, comics geek, and good partner in goofy adventures. She threw herself into a fling with a ruthless executive type who never tells her the same thing twice, tends to go behind her back and not inform her what he’s up to, and who also is great in bed.
I’m not writing romance as such, but my readers still get all upset over Eric. The beta readers who see the stories before they’re published actually write notes to Chloe saying things like “Don’t do it! Don’t believe his lies!”
I made this guy up. He’s not real. He’s not even a superhero. But he’s hot in that Mad Men or bad billionaire way: He has power, he likes power, and he uses it for his own ends. Maybe sometimes he’s on the same side as the heroine. Maybe sometimes he’s not. Men like this DO get women to fall for them. Maybe they don’t keep them. Maybe they don’t even want to keep them. Or maybe they do, but the men themselves always come first in their calculations, not the women they’re sleeping with.
I’m tickled that I have created a man who is this true to life, but I’m a little sorry readers don’t seem to appreciate the fantasy thrill of a fictional relationship with Mr. Wrong. No harm comes to the heroine in my stories. She does get upset over Eric, but she’s a superheroine. She figures it out. Maybe that’s the underlying issue. Do readers worry that my heroine—or they themselves?—won’t be strong enough to resist the charms of a Mr. Wrong?
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Crisis at Comicon (Temporary Superheroine Book 2) is available at a discounted pre-order price at Amazon: http://amzn.to/1FCz0id
EXCERPT FROM TEMPORARY SUPERHEROINE:
“Chloe.” Eric determinedly came close to me so our breaths began to mingle. He eyed me with warmth and put a large hand on my shoulder, leaning in as if to kiss my cheek in greeting. I shrugged off both. I hadn’t forgotten he had snubbed me this morning. A lifetime ago.
“Chloe,” he repeated insistently, and leaned down and kissed my lips lightly, before I could fend him off again.
At the touch of his lips, secret parts of me started to melt. I feared they weren’t secret from him. I steeled myself and stated my mission. “I came for my amulet, which you stole.”
“I knew you would.” Eric smiled his predatory smile.
Ignoring his effect on me wasn’t working. I melted even more.
“I even told Bodacious Barb to make sure to tell you I had it,” he said.
“Why?” I was mystified. Eric was always a step or two ahead of me. In addition to all his worldly advantages, he simply was an ace manipulator.
“To bring you back to me,” he said. “I wanted to apologize for my cold shoulder this morning.”
“When you dropped me like a used tissue.” Since he’d given me the opening to talk about his behavior, I didn’t see any reason to sugarcoat it.
He had the grace to wince. “Is that how I came off? Sorry. I recognized the amulet last night while we were—ah…” He paused, obviously seeking a polite way of saying we were having sex.
“While our clothes were off,” I said flatly. “Continue.”
His expression was charmingly rueful. “I wanted to. So I didn’t question you about the amulet then. You wore me out, girl, then disappeared too fast.” He gave me a frank look. “I always thought women liked to cuddle afterwards, but when I woke, you were gone.”
My face had turned hot as he reminded me of the details of our time in his bedroom. Which had been too wonderful and had scared the hell out of me. Could my vanishing act have bothered him? My experience with men told me he was giving me a line of bull. When they’re done, they want you gone. At least the guys like Eric who can have any woman, because they are physically attractive and have money and power. He radiated virility. He could regularly sample a variety of women. I didn’t flatter myself that he cared about me.
“So?” I asked, refusing to soften at his confession. I wanted to hold onto my anger at him. Then he wouldn’t be able to play me. Again.
“This morning, I didn’t know what to think, and I backed off.”
“Oh, cut the crap, Eric.” I glared at him.
Award-winning author Irene Vartanoff has combined her love of romances and comic books by working for Marvel Comics and DC Comics as well as Harlequin, Bantam, Berkley, and My RomanceStory.com. Her first superhero adventure novel, Temporary Superheroine, was quickly followed by her first sweet contemporary romance novel, Captive of the Cattle Baron. Irene is also the author of several romance graphic romance novellas including Breaking All the Rules and The Egyptian’s Texas Spitfire. Under her comic book nom de plume, Poison Ivy, she contributes to the MyRomanceStory.com blog.
Writer & Editor