All things Footloose seem to be coming to roost at my house this year. The Kevin Bacon classic debuted in 1984. 12 years old at the time, I remember going to the opening day at a small theater, by myself, wearing white jeans and a multi-colored top. I wasn’t the only teen or pre-teen in the audience, and I wasn’t the only kid who got up to dance during a lot of the scenes.
Looking back on those days, three things stand out—the music, the freedom, and the rising tide of emotional nostalgia for when life was simply a battle between the desire to dance and the desire to keep kids safe. Yes, there’s a lot more to the argument, though admittedly the idea that dancing led to drinking and drugs was always a stretch for me.
Holding Out for a Hero
Let’s get back to the music, Bonnie Tyler’s Holding out for a Hero was a huge part of Footloose. Looking back, I have to wonder at the choice. The song served as the score for the showdown between Ren (Kevin Bacon) and Ariel’s (Lori Singer) abusive boyfriend, Chuck (Jim Youngs). So the song fits that aspect, but the showdown is played out as a glorified game of chicken on tractors.
My 12 year old self thought that was badass, but my 45 year old self looks back and says, “Tractors? Really?” So was the showdown badass because of the tractors or the song?
Of course, flash forward a couple of decades to Shrek 2 and suddenly we have a new version of Holding out for a Hero courtesy of Jennifer Saunders. The music did for Shrek exactly what it did for Footloose, conveyed heroism on our erstwhile heroes whether they fit the “common” conception or not.
The Song Remains the Same
I’m pretty sure what made both scenes badass was the song. And from that point forward, Bonnie Tyler’s song was ever-present in the back of my mind from my first viewing to the present. The song suggested heroism whether you’re talking superheroes, military men, shifters, and more. It can’t come as any surprise that the song would then become background music for every single book I’ve written including When Danger Bites which married military and shifter romance into one novel.
The story is right there in the lyrics:
Where have all the good men gone
And where are all the gods
Where’s the street-wise Hercules
To fight the rising odds
Isn’t there a white knight upon a fiery steed
Late at night toss and turn and dream of what I need
I need a hero
I’m holding out for a hero ’til the end of the night
He’s gotta be strong
And he’s gotta be fast
And he’s gotta be fresh from the fight
I need a hero
Are you singing it in your head? I know I am. I even cranked up both versions when I began writing this blog. So if you are holding out for a hero, who is strong and fast, and fresh from the fight? I present to you Captain Jax Raymond of Bravo Team WOLF.
Oh and the second Footloose connection? It’s the high school musical for Mini’s junior year. We’re going to be holding out for more than a hero, we’re going to be holding out for a part.
One lucky commentator will win a $10 GC from Amazon, so tell me, what about you? Are you holding out for a hero?
Bravo Team WOLF
WHEN DANGER BITES
Buttoned-up Corporal Kaitlyn Amador is dangerous on every level. As a human, she poses a threat to Marine Captain Jax Raymond’s special Force Recon unit. Though the team has a reputation among the other recon units, only their commanding officer knows their secret. As a woman, the danger posed is entirely different. Jax can survive the temptation for only so long before his wolf takes over and pursues what it wants.
Military intelligence specialist Corporal Kaitlyn Amador is the first woman in the Marines to be assigned to a recon team. And everyone’s watching her. Her mission? Not only prove herself worthy of her place in the group, but uncover the mystery of why Bravo Team is so successful. A mission that gets more difficult every time she’s near Jax…
About Heather Long
USA Today bestselling author, Heather Long, likes long walks in the park, science fiction, superheroes, Marines, and men who aren’t douche bags. Her books are filled with heroes and heroines tangled in romance as hot as Texas summertime.
From paranormal historical westerns to contemporary military romance, Heather might switch genres, but one thing is true in all of her stories—her characters drive the books. When she’s not wrangling her menagerie of animals, she devotes her time to family and friends she considers family.
She believes if you like your heroes so real you could lick the grit off their chest, and your heroines so likable, you’re sure you’ve been friends with women just like them, you’ll enjoy her worlds as much as she does.
Heather is best known for her 18-book paranormal romance series Wolves of Willow Bend, which begins:
Prequel: Wolf at Law
1: Wolf Bite
2: Caged Wolf
3: Wolf Claim
3.5: Wolf Next Door
4: Rogue Wolf
5: Bayou Wolf
6: Untamed Wolf
Heather’s other fantasy romance series include the paranormal westerns Fevered Hearts starting with Marshal of Hel Dorado, Black Hill Wolves which start with What a Wolf Wants, Witches of Mane Street, Mongrels, and the forthcoming Bravo Team WOLF series.
Her contemporary romance series include: Always a Marine, Going Royal, Elite Warriors, The Love Thieves, beginning with Catch Me and Lone Star Leathernecks, beginning with Semper Fi Cowboy.
Heather is well-represented in fantasy with her superhero series Boomers, a sci-fi western called Space Cowboy Survival Guide, an urban fantasy series called the Chance Monroe Adventures, and a stand-alone ghost novel titled Haunt Me.
Excerpt of When Danger Bites by Heather Long:
Captain Jasper “Jax” Raymond leaned his motorcycle into the turn. The wind ripping past him filled him with a sense of exhilaration, and the engine’s roar satisfied a more primal urge, the growl echoing that of his inner animal. His wolf.
Heading back to base after leave always felt a little like shedding his wild freedom for a leash. Not his favorite analogy. Fortunately, Jax liked the other wolves assigned to his squad.
Training and fighting together had forged them into a cohesive team—a team he ran. At home, he was just a wolf, a member of the pack, a strong dominant with only his family to protect and his alpha to follow. When his alpha had asked Jax to serve and protect the pack, Jax had risen to the occasion. Leading had never been his goal in life, but now on base he was the alpha, and he was responsible for all of them.
As he came out of the curve, he zipped past an SUV on the side of the road. It took his mind a few seconds to process why the car had halted there. The vehicle had a flat tire and sat almost drunkenly in the grass off the blacktopped edge. A woman in full dress uniform had the rear of the SUV open and was reaching inside, presumably for the jack.
Slowing the bike, he checked the road behind him. No oncoming vehicles. He turned the bike around and headed back. No way an officer in Class As should be changing their tire on the side of the road. The fact she was a woman might have played into his desire to render aid, but mainly, he was in jeans and a T-shirt. If anyone should be getting dirty, it was him.
Parking the bike in front of her SUV, he shut off the engine then dismounted. “Afternoon, ma’am.” He kept his tone polite. Uniform or not, he was a big guy, and politeness went a long way to setting strangers at ease.
The officer in question stepped out from behind her SUV and eyed him. His wolf went on point the moment their gazes collided. She was gorgeous. But more, her deep, whiskey-brown eyes had a fierceness to them. His wolf recognized that ferocity, and it filled the man with the need to respond. The point of Class As was to provide a severe, if uniform, look to all officers and enlisted. From her buttoned-up jacket to her formfitting skirt, she proved alluringly female. The dark tan of her skin reminded him of a bronzed statue, but a hell of a lot warmer. Her dark hair held the promise of red where the sun struck it, but she had it all confined into a serviceable bun.
The image of freeing all that hair and satisfying his curiosity about the color and the texture flashed across his mind’s eye. Wolves were tactile creatures, and she was so damn put together. Reminding himself her bun wasn’t a ball of yarn and he wasn’t a cat didn’t a do damn thing for the mental suggestion.
“I’m fine,” she said, her clipped tone perfectly polite. The chill in her voice jerked him out of his gawking. “Thank you for stopping.”
“I’m sure you are…Corporal.” He zeroed in on the bars on her uniform. “It would be a shame to get the uniform messed up, especially since I’m right here, and I’d be happy to change the tire for you.”
Her brows raised a fraction, and the corners of her lips tightened. They were full, pretty lips with only the barest hint of gloss. Maybe she’d licked them? He liked the lower lip; it was plump and completely kissable… Why the fuck am I leering at her like some dumbass?
Yeah, his wolf had rather basic standards.
“I appreciate you making the offer, but I really can handle it.” Dismissal hung in her tone as she returned to the rear of the SUV, but a quick grin softened the sting. “Really, I can…” Were those last three words for him? Or herself?
She paused then blew out a breath.
One part of him said to leave it alone. If she thought she could change the tire without fucking up her uniform, fine. She was a big girl. The rest of him vibrated with the need to overcome her objection and take care of it for her.
The wolf won; it usually did in moments like this. Human or not, she was a Marine. It didn’t matter that he served because his alpha had asked for volunteers, he’d been a Marine for five years, and he had two more years on his contract. He’d always been a wolf, and the wolf would always win.
For all intents and purposes, the Marines were his pack. He wouldn’t leave a packmate to change her own damn tire, would he? Not when he was right there. The big question hovering in the back of his mind as he cleared the rear of her vehicle was, did he make it an order since he outranked her, or did he go for charm?
“You have trouble listening?” she asked him as she pulled the jack out and set it to the side. She had on a pair of work gloves. He admired the choice, but they clashed completely with the uniform and were a hell of a long way out of dress code. If she had the misfortune of encountering a senior officer—like him—she could get in trouble.
“No trouble at all, ma’am.” Hoping a smile and a bit of a coaxing tone would charm her out of her reticence, he grinned. The temperature hovered somewhere in the mid-80s. Perfect for a ride on his bike, even better for hanging out to have a cool drink, but standing there in the sun while she changed the tire would have her sweating through the uniform. “If you’ll forgive me for not just leaving you here on the side of the road, I would be honored to render assistance. My mama would take my head off if I let you tell me no.”
Instead of being impressed, she gave him a sideways glance. “You’re not southern enough to pull off the mama, and I don’t think she would take your head off.”
Jax blinked. It was rare for anyone human to call him on one of his stories. The other wolves could smell a lie, but humans? They generally went with it. His mother had told him once he had a face made for sin and a mouth to go along with it—or at least to get him out of trouble.
Reclaiming the jack, she chuckled, and the sound teased along his spine like a caress. Following her, he wanted to growl when she squatted with care. She wore three-inch heels. Perfectly within regs, but the fact she could squat so gracefully in them did wonders for his libido. “Sorry, friend. You can’t bullshit a bullshitter.”
“Huh.” The wolf might want to pet her, but the man liked her. “Fair enough. My mother would kick my ass, though.” And then some. His mother had taught him to hunt—she could track circles around his father.
“Somehow, that, I believe.”