We all love heroes, and readers of romance especially love heroes.
Every genre has its own type of hero, and while heroes will have a lot in common across genre, sweet romance has a special kind of hero.
Just the kind I love—and I hope you love too.
What makes a sweet Western hero different from other heroes you might find in, say, a suspense story or a mystery?
I’d say the biggest difference lies in the heart.
Heroes in other genres may share many qualities with our sweet Western hero. He may be brave, strong, handsome, smart, skilled, funny. In general, heroes are men who are willing to risk, stand up for what they believe, sacrifice.
But some heroes are tough and insensitive. They may be crass, egotistical, have short tempers. They may have to win at all costs. Think about some of the superheroes portrayed in today’s movies.
But a romantic hero has to have some special qualities that are often lacking in non-romantic stories.
He is sensitive, kind, moral, vulnerable. Sure, he needs to have all those strong characteristics too. But we love our sweet Western romance heroes because they struggle with their faults. They want to prove worthy of love, and they aren’t seeking their own pleasure and happiness first and foremost. Integrity is essential, as is honesty.
Our Western hero isn’t perfect, and he knows that. He wants to be a good man, maybe even a great man, even if he often fails in his attempts.
Lucas Rawlings, in Colorado Promise, embodies everything I love in a sweet Western hero. He’s kind, funny, gentle, smart, and he loves horses (so important!).
And what makes him so compelling, to me, is that he’s been greatly wounded, yet doesn’t wallow in self-pity. He carries his pain and loss every day in his heart—as we all would if we suffered the kind of tragedy he has—but he has faith and determination to help him move past the grief and find purpose in life.
Lucas wants to love again—someday. But he isn’t going to just settle for anyone in order to quell the loneliness he feels. He believes in love—he’s experienced that true love that is so hard to find. So when he meets Emma and gets to know her, he is wary and worried whether he should open up his heart to love again.
A great hero won’t compromise his standards. And these aren’t standards of beauty. They are moral standards, and they’re things of the heart. He isn’t going to allow himself to fall in love with a woman he knows isn’t right for him. But it’s not about him. He wants to give his heart to someone who will cherish it and who will love him for who he is, faults and all.
We look for that perfect match. That person who will complete us in every way. Who brings out the best in us. This makes me think of the line in the movie The Accidental Tourist: “It’s not how much you love someone; it’s who you are when you’re with them.”
We might love someone with all our heart, but when we’re with them, it seems all our bad qualities come out. We’re unhappy, we’re angry and frustrated. We’re just not who we want to be when we’re around that person.
So with Lucas, he sees what Emma brings out in him. He realizes how much he truly loves her because of who he becomes when he’s with her.
I hope you’ll spend time getting to know Lucas Rawlings. I’d like to hear what you think about him—if he’s the perfect sweet Western hero, to you.
If you haven’t purchased Colorado Promise yet, you can get your copy HERE!
What qualities do you love best about a sweet Western romance hero? Email me back and share some of your thoughts!