I love a man with a tortured soul. At least a romance hero. Why?
Well that's a complicated question. My guess is that this adds another layer of depth to the character. I feel that it also lets me be more accepting if the hero behaves badly in a book, at least until he acknowledges that he is madly in love with the heroine and wants to turn over a new leaf.
What defines a tortured hero to me? Well, he has had some signficant event in his life, past or present, that has made him deeply unhappy, or troubled. This causes him to be moody or withdrawn from life. He is often misunderstood because others are afraid of him because of his surly manner, or rumors that are circulating around him. He pushes everyone away in general. If he has relationships with women they are very shallow, even if sexual, and deeply unfulfilling. He may even be quite morally flexible. Perhaps in his mind, he is already banned from heaven, so nothing can make things worse for him in that sense.
This probably seems sadistic on my part. I just know that when he gets his happy ending it's all the more sweeter for the adversity he has faced in his life. In that sense, it proves that love does conquer all, and all things work for the good of those that love God, and all that.
I don't think there is a major potion to make such a scarred character happy. No, it is a journey and an evolution, and it takes a skilled writer to pull this off. I have read some books with tortured heroes that did not touch me, because the writer was not successful in either making the character real and believable, fully-fleshed, or because the change to happy, well-adjusted husband, and possibly father was too unbelievable. Here's to the authors that know the psyche of the tortured hero, and what makes him so beloved to their readers.
Who are some of my favorite tortured heroes?
1.Sebastian Ballister, Marquess of Dain from Lord of Scoundrels by Loretta Chase
2.Zsadist, from Lover Revealed by JR Ward
3.Zarek of Moeisia, from Dance With the Devil by Sherrilyn Kenyon
4.Sin MacCallister, from Born in Sin by Kinley MacGregor
5.Samuel Gerard, from The Shadow and the Star by Laura Kinsale
6.Sheridan Drake, from Seize the Fire by Laura Kinsale
7.ST Maitland, from Prince of Midnight by Laura Kinsale
8.Derek Craven, from Dreaming of You by Lisa Kleypas
9.Simon Navarre, from Lord of Danger by Anne Stuart
10.Nicholas Blackthorne, from A Rose at Midnight by Anne Stuart
11.James Killoran, from To Love a Dark Lord by Anne Stuart
12.Jack Seward, from All Through the Night by Connie Brockway
13.Harrison Bainbridge, from Never Love a Cowboy by Lorraine Heath
14.Trevor Sheridan, from Lions and Lace by Meagan McKinney
15.Julian of Macedon, from Fantasy Lover by Sherrilyn Kenyon
16.Kyrian of Thrace, from Night Pleasures by Sherrilyn Kenyon
17.Duke of Kylemore, from Claiming the Courtesan by Anna Campbell
18.Ian Cameron, from Veils of Silk by Mary Jo Putney
19.Reginald Daveport, from The Rakey by Mary Jo Putney
20.Wolf Mackenzie, from Mackenzie's Mountain by Linda Howard
That includes some of my long-standing and newer favorites, but I will always add more!
I challenge you to read some of these, and you find yourself strangely attracted and addicted to tortured heroes, just like I am.