To Alpha or Not?
By Lisabet Sarai
Welcome to my blog tour for my new erotic romance The Ingredients of Bliss. Today I want to talk about heroes – alpha and not-so-alpha! (My new book actually features both.)
Since I joined the romanceauthors community, I’ve heard a lot about alpha heroes. It’s critically important, I’ve been led to believe, that the protagonist in an erotic romance be tall, beautiful and buff. Rugged but handsome features, broad shoulders, chiseled pectorals, powerful, muscular thighs that naturally invite musings about what lies sheltered between them – attributes like these apparently constitute the romance ideal. Our hero should also be physically strong, courageous, and generally the dominant type, though some sensitivity or a shameful secret will not be taken amiss.
Well, I don’t completely buy it. I mean, a nice bod and a pretty face are not to be sneezed at. But they’re not enough. Call me perverse (many people have), but I find intelligence to be the most essential aspect of a sexy hero. Furthermore, I’m willing to accept less than stellar physical qualities if my hero is a clever, imaginative, horny genius who can figure out how to get himself and his heroine out of sticky situations, and who’s smart enough to understand what will truly turn her on.
I admit it. I’ve got a thing for nerds. When “The Man from U.N.C.L.E.” was popular, I had the hots for skinny, intense Ilya Kuryakin, not the dashing alpha guy Napoleon Solo. I was hopelessly in love with Mr. Spock. (After all, think about making love while in the throes of a Vulcan mind-meld.) Near the top of my sexy, romantic movie list is “Earth Girls are Easy”, featuring gangly, geeky Jeff Goldblum as a brilliant alien. A more recent example of a romantic nerd is Clive Owen’s short, unshaven, and amazingly ingenious character in the bank robbery thriller “Inside Man”.
It’s fairly easy to understand why I feel this way. Growing up, I was the egghead, the bookworm, the too-smart girl whom everyone made fun of. The only guys who could deal with me were the ones who were at least as smart as I was. They weren’t on the football squad; they weren’t voted Best Looking or Most Popular. But they had that something that could start my motors. It was intoxicating, yes, even arousing, to have a conversation with some of these guys, especially when I got out of high school and into college. We understood each other. Furthermore, I began to discover that despite their definite nerdish qualities, they were enthusiastic and innovative when it came to sex.
One of the heroes of The Ingredients of Bliss – Etienne Duvalier – is more or less an alpha (or at least, so he seems). He’s got the chiseled jaw and the muscles, plus a butt to die for. He dresses in hand tailored suits and designer jeans, leather trousers and silk shirts. He’s sophisticated and a bit arrogant, not too mention rich and famous – always favorite characteristics of romance readers!
My other hero, though – Harry Sanborne – has definite nerdy qualities. He wears glasses, for one thing and can’t see much without them. He’s soft-spoken, mild-mannered, self-deprecating. His dress sense is appalling. Although he has a fine body, it’s not that obvious, given his baggy trousers and wrinkled shirts. His curly hair is frequently in his eyes and he always looks rumpled, as though he’s just come in from a wind storm.
However, Harry has a brilliant mind, a formidable libido and a truly wicked imagination. And although he doesn’t share this information with the heroine Emily right away, he’s an experienced dominant who likes nothing better than to tan a pretty girl’s bottom to a bright red.
I like Etienne a lot, especially when he reveals his shameful, hidden desires. But I’m totally in love with Harry.
If you were Emily, which one would you choose?
Blurb for The Ingredients of Bliss:
One sexy French chef. One kinky American TV producer. One ambitious Chinese gal who thinks she wants them both. The ingredients of bliss? Or a recipe for disaster?
Accomplished cook Mei Lee ‘Emily’ Wong knows exactly what she wants—her own show on the Tastes of France food channel. But life is full of complications. First, her deceptively nerdy producer, Harry Sanborne, initiates Emily into the delights of submission. Then her boss, legendary chef Etienne Duvalier, begs her to dominate him. Emily just can’t resist—especially when Harry orders her to explore her inner Mistress. Suave and sexy Etienne will do whatever she asks—in the bedroom if not in the kitchen. And Harry, her lovingly diabolical Dom, adores pushing Emily’s limits.
When the network sends the trio to France to shoot a series of cooking shows on location, Emily knows her career is on the upswing. Her plans fall apart in Marseille as a Hong Kong drug syndicate kidnaps both Etienne and Harry. The Iron Hammer Triad mistakes Etienne for notorious gangster Jean Le Requin, who has stolen their drug shipment, worth millions. Emily realizes she must find the real Le Requin, retrieve the purloined dope, and bargain it for Harry’s and Etienne’s lives. The secret she’s been keeping from Harry might prove useful. Still, what chance does one woman whose knife skills are limited to chopping vegetables, have against the ruthless cruelty of two criminal organisations?
Like the sound of The Ingredients of Bliss?
About Lisabet Sarai:
I started both writing and cooking at an early age, and I’ve continued to indulge both passions as I’ve matured. Usually I’m an improvisational cook; I’m not all that fond of following recipes, and when I do, I almost always introduce my own variations. My philosophy tends to be the more spice, the better.
You could say the same about my writing. Since the release of my debut novel Raw Silk in 1999, I’ve published lots of erotica and erotic romance in almost every sub-genre– more than fifty single author titles, plus dozens of short stories in various erotic anthologies, including the Lambda winner Where the Girls Are and the IPPIE Best Erotic Book of 2011, Carnal Machines. My gay scifi erotic romance Quarantine won a Rainbow Awards 2012 Honorable Mention.
I have more degrees than anyone would ever need, from prestigious educational institutions who would no doubt be deeply embarrassed by my chosen genre. Widely traveled but still with a long bucket list of places to go, I currently live in Southeast Asia with my indulgent husband and two exceptional felines, where I pursue an alternative career that is completely unrelated to my creative writing.
Goodreads page: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/83387.Lisabet_Sarai
Amazon page: https://www.amazon.com/author/lisabetsarai