Women are speaking up in the #Me,Too movement like never before and the world is taking notice. At last, women’s stories are being listened to and taken seriously. This is truly an extraordinary time. So how does Romance become part of the #Me,Too movement? While some critics claim Romance novels reinforce negative stereotypes, I disagree. No other genre has empowered women, made them front and center in every story, and given them a voice… a voice our readers listen to and respect. In some ways, Romance has been ahead of the #Me,Too movement because women are the heroes in our stories, they are treated with respect and won’t settle for a man who’s unworthy of her love.
Even Alpha male heroes, who are admittedly cocky, commanding and fiercely protective, would never force a woman against her will. They adore the women they love, and God help anyone who disrespects her, something he would never do himself. And should he cross the line, get a bit too high-handed, our strong romance heroines are quick to push back and put down their feet, drawing a line in the sand that even Alpha heroes know not to cross.
To illustrate, here’s an excerpt from my January release, FALLING FOR A COWBOY, (Rocky Mountain Cowboys, Book Two). In this novel, Amberley James, a legally blind former professional barrel-racer, wants to hide from the world after learning of her rare genetic condition. Her best friend, cocky, confident too-handsome-for-his-own good rancher/pro football player, Jared Cade, however, refuses to let her quit. Yes, he pushes her, he coaxes her, he even refuses to let her sell her barrel-racing horse since he owns a fifty percent stake in it. Yet, he never forces her… and eventually, when she decides to give his plan to get her back in the ring again at try, it’s on her terms. When their friendship takes a romantic turn, however, they’re caught by surprise. As you’ll see in this excerpt, despite Jared being a bit of an Alpha, and Amberley’s blindness perhaps making her appear more vulnerable, a damsel in distress, Amberley doesn’t see it that way. She puts Jared in his place and demands a romance on her terms… exactly what Romance novels have always done, especially in this historic, #Me,Too moment.
“Amberley, please,” Jared pleaded, his voice as raw as a bruise. “I’ve got two left feet and a swollen tongue around you lately. Nothing I say or do comes out right. I don’t know if we’re coming or going, but I know I want to find out. Give me a chance.”
He framed her face with his hands then leaned over and kissed her. Thoroughly, sweetly, wonderfully. For a moment, everything stilled: her breath, movement, her heart. The world, possibly.
“No!” She shoved his chest.
“No?” His eyelashes blinked rapidly, brushing against her temple.
“It’s not that easy.” Her breathing slowly returned to normal, though her heart still pumped overtime. “You don’t get to decide when and where and how.”
“But I thought…”
“If you want me, you’re going to have to work for me.” She ducked under his arm and strode forward with her arms reaching for the tree she glimpsed in front of her. She mustn’t stumble or fall. Time to declare her independence. Stand tall. When she reached the tree, she rested her boots on its protruding roots and raised her chin.
Jared advanced. “We care about each other, why make this complicated?”
“Because I deserve to be wooed. Chased. Convinced. And you don’t get to know if you’ll win in the end.”
Well. So be it.
She would have laughed at his utter bewilderment if not for the emotion jittering inside. Did Jared even know how to woo a woman? They usually chased him. It’d be interesting to see him try. For the first time since her vision loss, she felt like her old self…no, better than that. She’d been tested by adversity and respected herself now more than she did after winning any of her world championships. Jared, on the other hand, had never had to struggle for a thing in his life and it showed.
“I deserve it,” she continued, “just like any woman.” Her lack of vision didn’t make her less than others.
A tense silence descended and beads of perspiration rose on her forehead as she waited for him to speak. Maybe she’d scared him away…and maybe that wouldn’t be a bad thing, no matter what her aching heart told her. She didn’t need a man who wouldn’t move mountains to win her heart.
“You deserve everything,” he breathed, sliding his fingers down the length of her arm.
“Then show me.”
Do you believe Romance novels empower women or reinforce negative stereotypes? What books have your read that back up your opinion? Please share your thoughts in the comments section to enter to win an autographed print copy of CHRISTMAS AT CADE RANCH (Rocky Mountain Cowboys, Book One, available now) or a copy of BAD BOY RANCHER (Rocky Mountain Cowboys, Book Three- available in Feb)
Thanks so much for stopping by to visit with me on Writerspace today! I hope you’ll check out FALLING FOR A COWBOY (rated an average of 4.8 stars on Goodreads)- on sale now in print and in digital on all major online retailers. Visit my website for more details, at http://www.karenrock.com or click on the buttons below to grab your copy of a novel critics call, “Phenomenally romantic, fascinating and inspiring storytelling.”