Do romance heroes always have to be obviously macho? I don’t think so. Personally, I sometimes enjoy reading and writing about a man who is kind of, well, an average Jo. That doesn’t mean he isn’t strong. On the contrary, he should exhibit quiet strength that doesn’t overpower.

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When I wrote the first three books in my Romancing the Guardians series I went with typical alpha heroes. Two are ex-special forces fire fighters. The third is a rebel leader battling a hated Colombian drug lord. But when starting the forth book, Touching Charlotte, I chose to give the hero an unusual occupation that doesn’t make him appear macho – at first glance.

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Tristan Jameson is a celebrity pastry chef and author with ties to upper crust New York society. The story opens with him attending a Park Avenue Christmas party where he meets the heroine, Charlotte Dixon, an empathic Guardian. Tristan turns out to be a former NYC cop (okay, I cheated here because he needs to know how to handle a gun later in the book) but basically he’s a kind man who mourns a lost love, taking comfort from his talent for baking. But don’t mistake that for weakness; he will fight to protect Charlotte from her enemies.

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Book five, Profiling Nathan, stars an ex-con tattoo artist in his forties, not the usual makings for a romance hero, but once again don’t be deceived. Nathan Maguire may keep a low profile, just doing a job he learned in prison and minding his own business, yet within his outward, rather gruff persona beats the heart of a romantic hero. He will reveal a secret, deadly power in order to save the woman who barged into his life, bringing unexpected love.

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Opening in Paris, France, book six features a Native American hero in his fifties. Leon Tseda is a secondary character in the earlier books, a Navajo man who offers sanctuary to the Guardians in his home within Canyon de Chelly – heart of the Navajo Nation in Arizona. I went against type by making him the hero of Beguiling Delilah, not because of his lineage but because of his age. Most romance heroes are younger. However, I like Leon and wanted to give him his own story, plus he is the perfect opposite of Delilah, a sophisticated French financial advisor. I had such fun playing them off against each other, leading them to love.

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Once again in book seven, Tempting Adam, the hero is not a soldier, a cop or any such macho character. He’s an agronomist working for an aid organization in Africa, teaching Kenyan farmers better growing methods. Yes, he’s a Guardian, but his psychic gift is vastly different from the others. He possesses a proverbial green thumb, the power to make plants grow almost instantly, a useful ability but not necessarily the stuff to make a woman’s heart race. Or so you might think before becoming acquainted with Adam and his ladylove Ellie.

The point is romance heroes don’t always need to be Mr. Macho. They can be average individuals who step up in times of danger. Just like real life heroes. Read how my unusual romance heroes unite to save their loved ones in A Mighty Chieftain, book eight.

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