Ella grew up in the Deep South, where books provided adventures, friends, and her first taste of romance. Now she writes her own romantic adventures, with plenty of hot alpha men and the women who love and challenge them. With a day job, a husband, two active teenagers, and two not so active cats, Ella is always busy, but getting the voices in her head down on paper is a top priority.
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Tough Hero Love
Stop in at your local bookstore and pick up any ten random romance novels, and what will you find? Heroes who all have one thing in common: power. Either they have social or financial power (the CEO, the king or prince, the billionaire), sexual power (the Dominant), or physical power.
Those are the heroes I truly love.
The MMA fighter, the soldier, the cop, the bodyguard, firefighter, or private investigator. All of these heroes have physical power. Aside from the sheer drool-inducing beauty of all those muscles, why are we drawn to tough heroes? What is it about a man with physical strength that makes our heroines (and us) swoon?
Yes, our society has enough population that reproducing doesn’t have to be a couple’s most important goal, but that old biological imperative is still there to some degree. All those muscles and scruffy stubble and big bodies equal one thing: plenty of testosterone. Not to mention what it says about stamina and performance in other, more intimate situations. (Yes, I had to go there.) This might also be why so many romance novels end with a baby on the way — or begin with one — because these heroes just can’t help how potent they are. It’s biology! *wink*
In Lora Leigh’s Breed series, there is a biological imperative. Breeds have no choice; their biology chooses their mate, and that biology pushes them to reproduce, to further their species in a world where they are the minority. Every Breed is physically powerful, but in my favorite Breed book, Coyote’s Mate, Del-Rey Delgado is the most powerful, the toughest coyote to survive and lead his people. And though biology declares that his heroine, Anya, is bound to him, their road is not easy. Biology can draw us together, but it doesn’t solve anything, at least not anything outside the bedroom.
These physically demanding professions reinforce what all those muscles say — that not only does this hero have the physical ability to protect his woman, but that he also has the skill. What woman doesn’t want to feel safe with her man, with those powerful arms wrapped around her, protecting her from the outside world? He doesn’t have to rescue her, but having the physical ability and know-how to do so definitely makes us weak in the knees.
I’m a Linda Howard fan from way back. One of the things I love about her books is that her heroes are incredibly tough, and almost never politically correct (cavemen all the way). One particular hero, Cahill in Dying To Please, is a big, tough cop. His heroine, Sarah, is one tough cookie herself, tough enough that she can go toe-to-toe with him on a wrestling mat, but Cahill is the one she leans on, the one she needs. He has the skill to help her, and though in the end she defends herself, having Cahill in her life provides a double measure of safety in a world seemingly gone mad.
Bad-Boy Wish Fulfillment
Admit it, ladies! We love a delicious bad boy, right? That’s why motorcycles are such a turn-on. (Of course, there’s also the symbolism of all that power between a man’s strong thighs, but I digress…) The point is, we want the bad-boy persona without the “boy” actually being bad—we want tough on the outside, and the opposite on the inside. With tough heroes, we get the best of both worlds. How can we go wrong there?
My latest release, Teach Me, features a hero who is all Bad Boy with a capital B, right down to the motorcycle and military background. Conlan is tough, physically and emotionally, but when we are in his point of view and can see how he feels about his heroine, Jess? Oh, how tender it is! His hardcore outside makes him sexy, but that fierce love on the inside makes him off-the-charts hot. The best of both worlds!
Paranormal. Contemporary. Romantic suspense. Even historical. No matter the genre, there’s one thing I know for certain: when they say power is an aphrodisiac, they aren’t just talking about money or influence; the power of the body is just as seductive, if not more so, as the power of the mind.
A woman determined to heal…
Shy researcher Jess Kingston spent the last eight weeks recovering from her ex-boyfriend’s brutal attack. Body healed, she’s ready to put her life back together—except her ex isn’t ready to let go. She won’t cower in a corner while Brit tortures her, but she’s powerless to fight back.
A man determined to resist…
Ex-military security specialist Conlan James avoids commitment like the plague. His job, his Harley, and the occasional one-night stand are all he needs, until the day he rescues Jess from a tense situation and realizes he can’t get her off his mind. He can teach her to protect herself, but protecting his heart is another matter.
A madman determined to win…
As the deadly game of cat-and-mouse with Brit heats up, so does the hunger between Con and Jess. Safety might be found in numbers, but in bed, all bets are off—and the wrong move could lead to heartbreak. Or death.
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- 1 eBook copy of Dirty Little Secret and Naughty Little Christmas
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