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6 Sweet And Sexy Heroes from Old School Historical Romances

We’ve compiled a list of six sweet and sexy heroes from some amazing historical romances. These remarkable men will have you swooning with their devoted adoration for their women.

The Heroes

Stephen MontgomeryHighland Velvet by Jude Deveraux

highland velvet

We reviewed Jude Deveraux’ Highland Velvet a few months ago at Sweet Savage Flame. In this early Tudor-era romance, Stephen Montgomery is given Bronwyn MacArran’s hand in marriage. It’s his reward for his valiant deeds for King Henry VII. Instead of finding a willing bride, Bronwyn is bitter about the forced arrangement with a hated Englishman. She cares only for her Scottish clan and her lands. Stephen will do everything in his power to prove to Bronwyn that’s he’s the right man for her and her people. Stephen is kind, patient, and humorous in contrast to his sour wife. His sacrifices for her might make you sigh, either in delight or frustration because he does do much for Bronwyn! Stephen is a wonderful hero who will melt your heart.

Burke DrummondNight Fire by Catherine Coulter

Night Fire by Catherine Coulter stars one of her few truly nice guy heroes. Arielle and Burke Drummond met years ago when she was 15. Burke instantly fell in love with Arielle but was called to war against the French. In the interim, Arielle was forced into marriage with a cruel, elderly lecher. Burke returns to find Arielle a bitter widow, suffering post-traumatic stress from the abuse she endured. She wants nothing to do with men while Burke’s feelings for Arielle still run strong. Thus unfolds a tender, emotional love story where Burke patiently woos Arielle, although he is a randy rascal. Her recovery takes time, and Burke is there to give her genuine support and understanding. Meanwhile, a wicked villain has his eye on Arielle. Will Burke also be there to save her before it’s too late?

Noel BouchardWicked Stranger by Louisa Rawlings

Wicked Stranger

Another romance we’ve reviewed featuring a fantastic hero is Louisa Rawling’s Wicked Stranger. Noel Bouchard is a charming, devil-may-care Frenchman who’s seen the horrors of war. He wants nothing in life but to live it to the fullest, for he knows each day could be his last. In New York, Noel meets the dour heiress, Elizabeth Babcock, and somehow falls for her despite her sharp tongue and prickly exterior. He sees the vulnerable woman beneath and vows to bring joy to Bess’ life. Noel is a rogue in the most wonderful sense of the word, introducing Bess to romance and adventure. Noel’s contagious joie de vivre will surely make you fall for him as Elizabeth does.

AngelAngel by Johanna Lindsey

The eponymous Angel of Johanna Lindsey‘s 25th romance novel is a gunslinger whose background is shrouded in mystery. Abandoned by his family at a young age, he goes by the name his mother called him as a young boy. Angel is not a traditional romance hero. For one thing, he’s very short. Moreover, Angel wants nothing to do with the heroine, Cassie Stuart, a meddlesome young lady with a black panther. Somehow he finds himself trying to help Cassie out of a mess she’s gotten herself into. Cassie is more than capable of using a weapon, but she needs Angel’s help to save her ranch. The humor here is utterly delightful, and the chemistry between the two protagonists is sizzling. Angel is a hero to die for.

Alex Raiford Then Came You by Lisa Kleypas

then came you

Then Came You by Lisa Kleypas is another book we’ve reviewed here. “Lawless” Lily Lawson is intent on breaking her sister’s arranged betrothal to the priggish, stuffed-shirt Lord Alex Raiford, as her sister is in love with another man. When Lily arranges an elopement for the pair, Alex takes his revenge upon Lily in a most sensual manner. What makes Alex so appealing is beneath his staid exterior, he’s a vulnerable man. Alex is afraid to love again and be hurt after his fiancee died many years ago in a horse-riding accident. Despite his arrogance, it’s his kindness that wins Lily’s heart. His gentleness with children is completely endearing.

Rory PrescottDakota Destiny by Dana Ransom

Con-artist Norah Denby has arrived in town, and she’s on the move to make a score. She certainly has no interest in a wet-behind the ears cowboy like Rory Prescott. When Norah finds out Rory’s the youngest son of a wealthy Dakota ranch dynasty, her partner in crime sets his sights on swindling Rory out of some major cash. Can Norah go through with the con? Rory is like an overgrown puppy dog: adoring, trusting, and he wears his heart on his sleeve. He’s unrefined, rough around the edges, and a total contrast to Norah’s more sedate and cerebral nature. Rory’s love for his family and his horse named Rosebud are nothing compared to his passion for Norah. Dakota Destiny by Dana Ransom deserves a look for this sincerely sweet romance hero.

2 replies »

  1. Thanks, Jacqueline. I’ve noticed another theme running through these romances, at least based on your descriptions. And my partial reading of one of them, which I’ll describe later.

    The theme concerns the most of the heroines. They’re prickly, uncooperative, self-centered. They hate men, or at least one particular man who happens to be the one they’re paired up with, often by force or pressure.

    Typically they carry enough emotional baggage to fill a shipping container. They don’t want love, sex, or a romantic relationship.

    In short, they’re unlovable. And not capable of loving anyone.

    I’ve already gone on record on this blog about how important it is that I identify with the heroine of a romance. What does this require? She must be believable, likeable, interesting, sympathetic. She must have something going on in her life that I can relate to, literally or figuratively.

    And it helps if she’s a true romantic. Love really matters to her. It’s vitally important for her happiness. She’s open to it from the get-go. And will do anything to for it. Which makes up a large part of the plot.

    For examples of this type of heroine, see the books I’ve already reviewed favorably on this blog. By that I mean four stars or higher.

    So how many of the heroines on your list fit this description? I can’t be sure without reading the books. But it doesn’t sound like any of them do.

    Like you, I go for a sweet hero. But does that automatically require a sour heroine?

    Anyone want to discuss this? I’m open!

    BTW, I received an ARC of “Highland Velvet” back in 1982. At that time I was still exploring all kinds of romances, and hadn’t yet compiled my list of deal-breaker tropes. Plus I was so grateful to get a book for free that I felt I owed it to Jude Deveraux and her publisher to read the thing.

    Well, I got about one-third through it. I just couldn’t stand any more. The plot revolves around an arranged marriage AND the hero kidnapping the heroine, two tropes that would soon appear at the top of my list of deal-breakers. Even then I found them pretty distasteful. Nowadays I refuse to read any stories that romanticize them.

    As if that weren’t bad enough, the heroine of “Highland Velvet” is downright repulsive. A real love-hater, sex-hater, man-hater. All she cares about is her clan and her territory. She has to be forced into intimacy on any level. As is the rule with heroines of this type. And in romances of this type.

    Needless to say, they’re not my type! 😝

  2. Well, Mary Anne, your insight is as keen as your eyesight! 🙂 I think you’ve made a rather valid assessment of my nice guy heroes which I wasn’t even aware of. Since I read quite a few Harlequin Presents and bodice rippers, it’s easy enough to create a list of cruel heroes–downright evil or psychotic, really–with heroines that run the gamut in Romancelandia, from naïve school girls to urban sophisticates and everything else. In compiling a list of genuinely decent heroes, it seems I’m drawn to them more when they’re paired off with “prickly pear” or wounded heroines. Goodness, what my therapist would say about that!

    Highland Velvet is the opposite of the books I label “be happy the heroine is happy,” when a superb heroine is lumped with an undeserving hero. You’re very right about Bronwyn (I think we talked before about how out of place her very Welsh name is with her Scottish heritage) being unlikeable and irrationally stubborn almost until the end. It says a lot about Stephen that he can elevate this story to one I adore. What can I say? I’m a sucker for blond heroes!

    The rough romances involving forced marriages and kidnapping can get into dark territory, and I tend to cleanse my reading palette with a kinder, more tender romance, afterwards. So I understand your distaste when it comes to those types of books. Despite my peculiar fondness for extreme tropes, I do appreciate the variety of characters found within all romance. Warm heroines open to love? Yes, please! Just give her a romance with a little zing to it. I like plenty of pepper on my plate, so to speak.

    I like how our perspectives differ and you bring up a few issues that cause me to take a minute to reassess my view. I come to the same conclusions, although sometimes from a different place of reasoning, if that makes any sense.

    Thank you for providing me with some things to think about!

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