posted on July 15, 2020 by alicegaines

In Defense of the Nice Guy Hero

Romance readers love bad boy heroes, and I must admit I do, too.  The wicked smile, the wicked sense of humor, the wicked ability to figure out exactly what makes the heroine tick and to use it for his own bad boy ends.  His wickedness in bed.  These are all swoon worthy.  So, why can’t I write them?

A reviewer once remarked that my heroes were bad boy wannabes, and I had to agree with her.  Every time I’d write my men doing something evil, I’d have to go in and fix them.  I simply couldn’t tolerate them manipulating the heroine or tricking her into something she had doubts about.  Just not nice.

In life, I like good men.  I married one.  My brother is a good man.  My sister’s husband is a saint.  This sort of man cares about his partner’s feelings and goes out of his way to make his partner happy.  It doesn’t mean he’s a pushover.  It just means he treats his partner’s needs and desires like his own.  Doing that makes him happy.  And in the sexual arena, he takes the time and makes the effort to learn what will give his partner the greatest pleasure.  My husband took utter delight in being able to make me happy.  And that’s the last I’m going to say about that.

When you think about it, bad boy heroes in romance literature are often good people about important things.  My favorite hero of all time is Jane Eyre’s Mr. Rochester.  He does terrible things in the book.  His biggest crime is fooling Jane into an illegal marriage.  It’s especially bad because he’s aware of her rock-solid morality.  At another point in the book, he allows another woman to believe he’s going to marry her when, in fact, he’s only pursuing her to make Jane jealous.  His plan works so well that Jane is miserable, believing she’ll have to leave him and Thornfield once he’s married.

However, when danger threatens, he risks his life to save his psychotic wife from the fire she started.  He almost loses his own life in the process, and he does lose one hand and his sight.  And one can argue that he did the best he could for her in life.  True, she was locked in an attic room, but she was obviously a danger to herself and others.  He could have put her in an asylum and forgotten about her existence, but instead, he kept her at his home under the care of a servant specifically hired for the purpose.  At the time, there was little better treatment for psychosis.

My hero in The Player’s Game is a good guy, but he’s hung up on the male role of “provide and protect.”  He’s done it for his mother and sister with his earnings as an NFL quarterback.  He put his wife through law school for the same reason.  But the role also comes with a possessive streak.  Even a year after their divorce, he still thinks of Katy as his wife, with humorous consequences when he spots Katy in a hotel elevator obviously on the way to a sexual liaison with another man.

Grant and Katy are good people who never stopped loving each other.  Because of Grant’s protectiveness and Katy’s insecurity, they were unable to make their marriage work.  At the last fight, each said the worst thing they could possibly say to each other.  Now that they’re thrown together again, each vows not to fall in love again.  However, they’re unable to keep from falling into bed together, and emotion is a huge part of the bargain.

I hope you enjoy Grant and Katy’s story.  It’s the second in my Players’ Pact series from Entangled Indulgence.  The first book, The Revenge Game is on sale for the month of July, so you can get that at a bargain.  I’ll be giving a $10 gift certificate to the winner’s choice of retailer.


Alice Gaines

Alice Gaines

Award-winning author, Alice Gaines is the author of several full-length books and dozens of shorter works. She lives in Oakland, California with her pet corn snake, Casper. While Alice isn't writing or reading, you'll find her pottering in her garden or cooking something in her kitchen. She's passionate about her church and funky soul band, Tower of Power, not necessarily in that order. Alice loves to hear from readers. E-mail her at If you visit her website at and sign up for her newsletter you'll be entered to win her hand-knitted and crocheted projects.

5 thoughts on “In Defense of the Nice Guy Hero”

  1. Alice Gaines says:

    Thanks for hosting me today!

  2. bn100 says:

    looks interesting

  3. flchen1 says:

    Alice, I loved Grant and Katy’s story, and I love that your heroes are truly good guys at the core, even if they’ve got that bad-boy edge sometimes! And the emotions are the name of the game, especially in The Player’s Game!

  4. Jessica Whitacre says:

    Love that they are good people. Looks like it would be a good one!

  5. Vicki says:

    I agree, I like bad boys in books too, but it’s always nice to read a good guy – the kind of guy you want in real life. And I so love a hero with a possessive streak too. Thank you!

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