What Makes a Hero Hot?
UPDATE: We have a Grand Prize winner in the Hot Summer Heroes Blog Hop. Congratulations to Dawna N. from romancingthereader.com‘s blog who won the
grand prize of the gift card of $100 to Amazon or Barnes & Noble (her
choice). Yes, the hop is over, but if you are new here, read on for an excerpt from my hot summer novel, freefall, and reader’s comments as to what they think makes a hero hot. Thanks for stopping by. Please follow my blog for more opportunities to enter future blog hops and other insights into the writing life.
So what makes a hero hot? Is it his sexy smile, the knowing look in his eyes, or his hunky physique? For me, it’s not just his looks, but his actions. It’s the hero who holds back, gives a girl time to get used to him, respects her “space” even if she isn’t necessarily sure she wants it respected–especially when she’s already getting a diabetic-coma dose of eye candy just by looking at him.
Yes, a hot hero is the guy who knows when to take charge, but also knows when to take a step back, which only makes things even hotter the next time around.
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EXCERPT: freefall, by Susan Rae
…Everett gave her outstretched hand a considered look. “Don’t tempt me,” he said, somewhat out of breath.
Kate noted the dangerous gleam in his eye. “Just give me the buoy,” she warned.
Evidently deciding that pulling her in with him wasn’t worth spending one more moment in the icy water, he handed up the buoy and then climbed the ladder. His leather shoes squished noisily on the deck boards as he stepped into the boat. Kate could tell by the hard set of his jaw that he was far from happy, but despite his look, she found herself smiling. All of Everett Larsen’s suave panache had vanished with his unceremonious dip into the frigid waters of Port des Morts. His sandy hair lay down now across his forehead in a somewhat bedraggled Tom Cruise look.
“When you’re done enjoying yourself at my expense, perhaps you wouldn’t mind getting me something to dry off with before I turn into a Popsicle?”
Her smile disappeared. “You’re right. Oh, God! I’m sorry. You must be frozen!” Although the sun still shone brightly, the breeze coupled with his wet clothing had to be adding to his already frozen state. That fact was evident in the slight tremor in his jaw, not matter that he was trying valiantly to hide it. She ducked into the cabin and searched for something with which to dry him, but other than the cushions on the bench and the emergency kit strapped to the wall, the cabin was empty. She ripped the kit off the wall and flipped it open. Rummaging through its contents, she found a small bag which held a plastic thermal blanket and raced back up with it onto the deck. The blanket wouldn’t dry him, but it might keep him warm.
“Take off your shirt,” she ordered as she reached into the side compartment where she had stowed her sweater earlier. “You can dry yourself with this and then wrap yourself in the blanket. I’ll take us in to port. There’s a small diner there where we can get you a cup of hot soup.”
He was already peeling off his sopped shirt, but when she handed him the navy sweater, he looked at it skeptically. “I can’t use this.”
She shook her head, dismissing his objection. “Don’t worry, it’ll dry.”
When he still hesitated, she snatched the sweater from his hands and began rubbing his shoulders with it—first one finely chiseled bicep and then the other—trying to return the circulation to them as well as dry them. But when her hand moved down along his chest, her movements slowed. She spotted the scar that ran just below his ribcage, felt his muscles tense as she glided the nubby fabric of the sweater across the scar and then up over the curling hairs that glistened on his upper chest. As the cloth brushed against his nipples, already rock hard from the cold, she heard his quick intake of breath.
He grabbed her hand and stilled it. Warm liquid flowed through her. His heartbeat, strong and fierce, pounded beneath her hand. Tilting her head, she met his gaze, and her insides started to quiver. It was as if she was the one standing there freezing—but it was far from cold that she felt.
“I’m so sorry,” she whispered. “This was all my fault. I should have warned you.”
“It was just as much my fault as yours,” he said between clenched teeth. “I’m not a total idiot. I should have guessed what you were doing.”
“Yes, but I’m the captain,” she protested, “and your teacher for the day. I’m afraid I failed miserably at both.”
He touched her chin with his free hand, lifted it higher in order to hold her gaze more steadily. “If it makes you feel any better,” he said, his voice husky, “it was almost worth taking that dip to be able to hold you like this—to see your concern for me in those pretty blue eyes.”
She swallowed deeply. His breath teased her lips. If she leaned forward, just the slightest bit, their lips would touch. Suddenly, she had the overwhelming desire to taste that tiny scar at the corner of his lip, run the tip of her tongue along its edge. Yes, his lips were close…so close…and—they were blue! Despite his words, she realized the immense effort he was making to keep his teeth from chattering.
“I…I think the sooner we get that soup into you, the better,” she stammered.
“Whatever you say.” But instead of releasing her, he brought his lips down to capture hers.
* * * *
…Kate tore her lips from his, long before he was ready to give her up. Gasping for air, she brought her forehead down against his naked chest.
“Oh…my…” she breathed, her voice ragged.
Everett groaned in response. He held her tightly, aware of the violent beating of his heart. He felt as if he was falling—freefalling through fifteen thousand feet—without a parachute. It was exciting, thrilling—and deadly. He’d brought Kate up here to protect her, to keep her out of trouble. He’d told himself he owed that much to Keith. Now all he wanted to do was take her down into the cabin and ravage her till dawn.
“I think we better get that soup,” Kate murmured.
She started to push away, but he held her a few moments longer. She looked up briefly. Fear, torment, a hundred different emotions swirled in those vivid blue eyes of hers.
“I can’t,” she said, her voice more determined now.
He nodded and let her go, thankful, in that instant, that she was a stronger person than he was. She knelt and retrieved her sweater from where it had fallen between them, handed it to him, and then staggered back to the tiller. Feeling far from cold now, he spread the sweater across the seat to dry, ignored the blanket still folded in its plastic cover, and gazed out along the bay as he tried to get his bearings. Contemplating the light chop of the waves, he thought, miserably, that another icy dip might do him good.
Copyright © 2012 by Susan Rae
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