A hero is at the heart of every romance. Today Anna Bradley shares why she fell in love with hers.
There are so many things I loved about writing “A Season of Ruin,” but one thing that really stands out for me about this story is the way I fell in love with the hero, Robyn Sutherland.
Robyn is an alpha male like his brother Alec, the hero of the first book in the series, A Wicked Way to Win an Earl, but where Alec is serious and self-controlled, Robyn is sensuous and dissipated, restless, reckless and playful all at once.
He’s impossible to resist, which is of course what makes him so dangerous. At one point Lily tells him: “I’ve never known a more seductive man, or a more dangerous one . . . because you break your promises, and then you flash that irresistible grin, and it’s impossible not to forgive you. And once you’re forgiven, you break your promises again.”
Robyn does break promises, and despite his best intentions, he behaves selfishly at first. He’s careless with Lily’s feelings because he believes he’ll only disappoint her in the end. When Robyn discovers it will fall to him to help Lily repair her damaged reputation, he thinks: “It was ridiculous, to cast him as the heroic knight of London society. He was far more likely to drop Lily from the white horse than rescue her.”
Of course, in the tradition of great romance, Robyn and Lily rescue each other!
A charming scoundrel is irresistible for a time, but an unreformed rake is more often the villain of a romance than the hero. The wonderful thing about Robyn is that he’s both—he’ a rake, but he becomes the hero who risks everything for his heroine, including his life.
I think that’s the reason we fall so madly in love with him. We see the heart of a hero beating inside the rogue’s chest before Robyn does. We believe in him before he believes in himself. His love for Lily transforms him into the kind of man we dream of when we dream of our hero.
“Why did Lord Pelkey hit you?” Lily dipped her fingers into the salve and he felt her fingertips against the swollen skin under his eye.
Robyn sat as still as he could and tried not to pant. “He didn’t—he was—we were boxing. At Gentleman Jackson’s.”
Lily’s brow furrowed with distaste. “Boxing? I can’t understand why boxing appeals to gentlemen. It’s so uncivilized.”
“Men are uncivilized, even gentlemen. That’s the very reason it appeals.”
Her delicious pale pink lips settled into a tight, disapproving line, but instead of cooling his ardor, those severe lips made him want to kiss her.
“Speaking of savagery,” he said, though they hadn’t been. “What did Alec say when you told him about our scandal? I’m surprised he didn’t black my other eye.”
Her blue eyes met his for an instant before she went back to her ministrations. “I didn’t tell him. He doesn’t know anything about it.”
Ah. So she thought to appeal to his honorable side, did she?
Her mistake. He didn’t have one.
“I’m shocked at you, Lily. However will you make sure I behave myself and do the proper thing now?”
“Why don’t you just do the proper thing anyway, and leave Alec out of it?”
Robyn snorted. “What fun would that be?”
Her hand stilled at his mocking tone. “I don’t see why you’d draw the line at disappointing Alec. You don’t hesitate to disappoint your sisters. What’s the difference?”
Well, then. She knew him better than he thought.
In truth, there was no difference. He broke promises. He disappointed his sisters. He disappointed Alec. He disappointed his mother. God knew he’d done nothing but disappoint his father. “Alec holds my purse strings. I wish I could claim some more honorable reason, but there it is.”
“Yes, well, as you said, men are uncivilized.”
He grasped her wrist and jerked her hand away from his face. Her pulse leapt against his thumb, and he couldn’t stop himself from pressing his lips against the soft skin there, just for a moment, before he released her. “Ladies too, on occasion. After all, it was you who struck me last night, if you remember.”
Color surged into her face. “I remember you deserved it.”
Ah, he did love to tease her. He didn’t know any other woman who blushed so delightfully. “I remember it was worth it.”
She placed the stopper in the jar of salve and set it back in the cupboard, each movement calm and deliberate. “Perhaps it would be best if we forgot it entirely.”
She turned on her heel, but before she could make her grand exit, he stopped her with a low chuckle. “Oh, love. It’s far too late for that.”
About A Season of Ruin
Even the Best Laid Plans . . .
Lily Somerset has the perfect plan. A quick London season, a proper courtship, and marriage to a respectable gentleman. All she has to do is avoid scandal and the wicked London rogues, and she’ll be rewarded with a peaceful life as Lady Atherton.
That is, until one tiny misstep at a musical evening leaves Lily on the edge of social ruin, and she’s forced to depend on a wicked rogue to save her reputation. And Robyn Sutherland isn’t just any rogue—he’s the wickedest gentleman in London.
Have a Way of Going Awry . . .
Robyn doesn’t save reputations—he ruins them, and it’s best for everyone if no one expects much more of him. He has no interest in escorting dull, proper Lily to every tedious entertainment in London, but he’s trapped in the palm of her dainty hand, and there he’ll stay for as long as it takes to repair her tattered reputation.
When Desire Overwhelms Reason
What begins as a ruse to deceive London soon flames into an uncontrollable passion. Robyn calls to the fiery spirit under Lily’s prim exterior, and Lily awakens the hero’s heart that beats in Robyn’s chest. But can these unlikely lovers trust themselves enough to let desire overrule reason?
I’ve been an avid reader, writer and book fondler since childhood, when I pilfered my first romance novel and stole away to my bedroom to devour it. This insatiable love of the written word persisted throughout my childhood in Maine, where it led to a master’s degree in English Literature.
Before I became a writer, I worked with a rare books library featuring works by British women writers from the 1600s through the Regency period. Here I got to indulge in my love of stories, fondle smooth, leather-bound volumes to my heart’s content, and dream of becoming a writer.
I write steamy historical romance (think garters, fops and riding crops). I live with my husband and two children in Portland, OR, where people are delightfully weird and love to read.