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Topic: Damaged Hero's and Alpha Males

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Subject: Damaged Hero's and Alpha Males
Date Posted: 9/19/2009 4:30 PM ET
Member Since: 3/14/2009
Posts: 9,175
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Reading the  turn on's and off's thread got me wondering.  I have only in the last year  begun to read again for entertainment.( Long Story)

SO alot of authors are new to me,  Who writes the best tortured/damaged hero's?  I prefer historicals, and melt you into a puddle alpha males?

Date Posted: 9/19/2009 5:06 PM ET
Member Since: 12/21/2007
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One of the best damaged heroes book in my opinion is Beau Crusoe by Carla Kelly. It has a more unusual premise for our hero (he spent time stranded on a desert island) and now has been rescued and is back in Society.


Another great damaged hero book is England's Perfect Hero by Suzanne Enoch--the hero in that is also damaged by his experiences in war.

Date Posted: 9/19/2009 6:26 PM ET
Member Since: 8/23/2007
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Most of the damaged Alpha heroes I think of off hand are contemporary.

The hero in Worth Any Price by Lisa Kleypas was emotinally damaged and alpha.  Not uber-alpha but definately emotinally damaged.

Date Posted: 9/19/2009 7:01 PM ET
Member Since: 6/21/2008
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Try Elizabeth Hoyt's The Legend of the Four Soldiers series.  The males are alpha enough for me but I wouldn't say uber alpha.  Good books about soldiers damaged during England's war with the Colonies. 

I really loved Madeline Hunter's book The Seducer.  The Hero is alpha and the action is hot.  It is the first in a great series but the only one I really feel has a truly alpha Hero.

One contemporary worth checking out is Duncan's Bride.  Someone recommended it recently and I found it quite compelling.  The Hero is bad tempered and hot.  The Heroine is kind, smart and very strong.  Was a good one. 

Date Posted: 9/19/2009 7:35 PM ET
Member Since: 8/9/2007
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Ditto on Beau Crusoe.  It's great. The best one I've read this year - tortured hero-wise is Since the Surrender by Julie Anne Long. Book 3 in a series though, although you don't have to read the previous two, I would suggest reading the 1st one, The Perils of Pleasure.

Some others that are really good with tortured/scarred heroes:

Seduce Me At Sunrise by Lisa Kleypas

For My Lady's Heart & the sequel Shadow Heart by Laura Kinsale

The Devil Wears Tartan by Karen Ranney

My Beloved by Karen Ranney

Broken Wing by Judith James

Conor's Way by Laura Lee Guhrke (if you can find a copy)

The Duke of Shadows by Meredith Duran

The Madness of Lord Ian MacKenzie by Jennifer Ashley

To Beguile A Beast by Elizabeth Hoyt

All of them are highly recommended/on my keeper shelf.

Last Edited on: 9/19/09 7:36 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 9/19/2009 7:55 PM ET
Member Since: 6/20/2007
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Every hero is damaged in some way. The alphas frequently tend to be emotionally distant because of verbal abuse or betrayal when they were younger. Physically marred is not as common, though scars are a frequent character trait.

Mary Balogh's Simply Love (Regency) - Physically scarred by war, Sydnam Butler has chosen to live far away from his family''s pity. As steward of a remote estate in Wales, he sees very few people and allow very few to see him. Until the estate owner, the Duke of Bewcastle comes with his wife and her friends in tow. Enter unwed mother, Anne Jewell, and her young son. Rather than leaving him at an orphanage, she has chosen to suffer the condemnation of society, so avoids people also.

This is such a great story and it can stand alone. But once you read it, you'll want to read all the related stories:

The Bedwyns

  1. One Night for Love - He returns from the Napoleonic wars to plan his wedding, but on his wedding day, his wife shows up at the church)
  2. A Summer to Remember - She was left standing at the altar and the subject of gossip. So she agrees to pose as his fiancee to thwart his father's plans for an arranged marriage to the woman who jilted him in favor of his deceased brother.
  3. Slightly Married - He returns from war after making a promise to a dying soldier. To keep that promise, he marries the man's sister.
  4. Slightly Wicked - She's an impoverished vicar's daughter destined to become her aunt's companion. He's a duke's younger brother, but the heir to his grandmother's estate. After he rescues her from an overturned carriage, she wants one night of a life she'll never know.
  5. Slightly Scandalous - She's as wild as the brothers who raised her, but the love of her life has married someone else (her own fault for jilting him in favor of his titled brother who died before they were wed). He's a marquess with a bad reputation whose family is determined to see him married and settled.
  6. Slightly Tempted - Traveling to Brussels with friends to be near her brother, a diplomatic attache, she stays too long and is trapped in the war-beleaguered city. He knows she is the sister of his enemy, the catalyst for his exile to the continent. But he courts her and escorts her back to England, intent on ruining her for revenge.
  7. Slightly Sinful - In carrying a message to officers at the Battle of Waterloo, he is thrown from his horse and knocked unconscious. Stripped of his clothing by battlefield scavengers, he awakes in a brothel with amnesia.
  8. Slightly Dangerous (the Duke of Bewcastle's story) - Becoming duke and father to his 5 siblings at an early age, he is a responsible but cold man, determined to replace his recently deceased mistress of 10 years. She may be the only woman in London who will not have a duke.

Miss Martin's School for Girls in Bath - while a separate series, Miss Martin is the former governess of the heroine in Slightly Scandalous, so the 2 series are loosely related. The secondary characters in the Bedwyns series also appear or are the h/h's of this series.

  1. Simply Unforgettable - She is traveling to the school where she teaches music. He is a jaded and bitter viscount. They are stranded in a country inn during a snowstorm.
  2. Simply Love - Described above
  3. Simply Magic - He's a viscount determined to win her. She's a teacher with secrets she cannot entrust to a too handsome bon vivant.
  4. Simply Perfect - She's the headmistress of a school and he's a marquess who seduces her, subjecting her to scandal.

Balogh does an excellent job of providing enough back story so that each book can stand alone. But the secondary characters in each story are given enough dimension that you find yourself wanting to know their stories.

IF YOU PREFER AMERICAN WEST HISTORICALS, I highly recommend Linda Lael Miller's McKettricks, Stone Creek, and Creed series (again, three related series).

  1. High Country Bride
  2. Shotgun Bride
  3. Secondhand Bride
  4. McKettrick's Choice
  5. Sierra's Homecoming (first of related contemporary stories)
  6. McKettrick's Luck (contemporary)
  7. McKettrick's Pride (contemporary)
  8. McKettrick's Heart (contemporary)
  9. The McKettrick Way (contemporary)
  10. A McKettrick Christmas (contemporary)

Stone Creek series

  1. The Man from Stone Creek
  2. A Wanted Man
  3. The Rustler
  4. The Bridegroom
  5. A Stone Creek Christmas (contemporary)
  6. At Home in Stone Creek (contemporary)  (due out in November 2009)

Montana Creeds - Contemporary stories, these heroes are descendants of the McKettricks of Texas and Arizona

  1. Logan
  2. Dylan
  3. Tyler
  4. A Creed Country Christmas (historical - 1910) (due out in November 2009)

Coming next year, the McKettricks of Texas series...

Welcome to the fray, Jerelyn!

Last Edited on: 9/19/09 8:07 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 9/20/2009 10:41 AM ET
Member Since: 3/14/2009
Posts: 9,175
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Thanks, everyone for your suggestions.  It's a good start.

Kim,  I just finished "Seduce Me At Sunrise",  I like Lisa Kleypas very much.  I am expecting Tempted at Twilight and Wallflowers Christmas this week. 

Any other suggestions would be appreciated.

Date Posted: 9/20/2009 11:29 AM ET
Member Since: 7/31/2006
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aren't Mary  Jo Putnam's fallen angels damaged? I've only read 2 'thunder and roses' and 'river of fire'. Or maybe it's Putney? can't ever remember argghhh!

Last Edited on: 9/20/09 11:29 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 9/20/2009 3:09 PM ET
Member Since: 5/6/2009
Posts: 173
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I just wanted to add my two cents.......

The Velvet Series

Velvet Angel by Jude Deveraux

Highland Velvet by Jude Deveraux

Velvet Song by Jude Deveraux


Velvet Promise by Jude Deveraux

all have extremely alpha males in the storyline.  I fell madly in love with Rogan Montgomery from Velvet Promise (even named my dog after him).  A lot of Jude's earlier historicals are well written and have strong male leads who sometimes are emotionally scarred.

Date Posted: 9/20/2009 4:41 PM ET
Member Since: 3/14/2009
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Thanks Tara,  I am actually old enough to have read those when they were originally released. *gulps*  Good choice though.  Have you read "The Black Lion"?

Date Posted: 9/20/2009 4:59 PM ET
Member Since: 2/28/2008
Posts: 2,553
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A few that come to mind:

Redemption by Carolyn Davidson

Born in Sin: A MacAllisters Novel by Kinley MacGregor

Castle of the Wolf by Sandra Schwab

Ravished by Amanda Quick

Date Posted: 9/21/2009 2:40 PM ET
Member Since: 1/11/2007
Posts: 1,646
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I thought Penelope Williamson had some great damaged heros in Once in a Blue Moon, Heart of the West & the Outsider.

Also, Laura Kinsale, Flowers from the Storm, Galen Foley, Lord of Fire & of course Diana Gabaldon, Outlander. Robin Schone's The Lover & Gabriel's Woman also have very very damaged heros.  Don't forget Winter Garden by Adele Ashworth. 

Date Posted: 9/21/2009 9:19 PM ET
Member Since: 6/21/2008
Posts: 6,558
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Yes.   Broken Wing by Judith James is a great damaged hero book.  Interesting story.  Great characters.  The Heroine is one of my favorite females in a romance.  It is weird to say female......

Date Posted: 9/21/2009 11:18 PM ET
Member Since: 5/6/2009
Posts: 173
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I have read The Black Lyon; definitely an alpha male.  I've read all of her historical romance, well actually I've read almost all of her books (including Casa Grande)...have Lavender Morning on my shelf right now.  I prefer her historical romances from back then.  The Velvet Series, The Conquest duo, The Lady Series.  Loved em all.



Date Posted: 9/27/2009 1:28 AM ET
Member Since: 6/8/2007
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This is one of my favorite tortured hero books.  It's on my keeper shelf for life.  :)


Date Posted: 9/29/2009 1:34 PM ET
Member Since: 2/3/2009
Posts: 4,591
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You people are going to think I'm her publicist, the way I go on about her, but Shannon McKenna writes the best damaged alphas out there, IMO. And not only are they damaged, but they're borderline jerks. The possessive/aggressive personalities are almost over the top, but man, I still love 'em! 

Date Posted: 9/29/2009 3:43 PM ET
Member Since: 3/14/2009
Posts: 9,175
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I love you ladies I have ordered a ton of new books because of this thread,  thanks again for all the suggestions!

Date Posted: 9/29/2009 10:27 PM ET
Member Since: 6/21/2008
Posts: 6,558
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Gina,  Ditto what you said.   Pamela

Date Posted: 9/30/2009 11:20 AM ET
Member Since: 5/27/2009
Posts: 232
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One classic is Judith McNaught's Whitney My Love (Clayton Westmoreland).    He can be rather overbearing and the heroine is portrayed very naive/young/willful, so it doesn't suit all readers.

I second Duncan's Bride by Linda Howard - he's alpha but the heroine totally holds her own with him, so it's not imbalanced.  On my keeper shelf and I re-read it every year.

Loving Evangeline is another Linda Howard with a good alpha male (Robert Cameron?).  In fact almost all her older books include alpha males.  Maybe her recent books do as well, but I haven't kept up with her stuff. 

Why do I actually remember the heroes' names??!!  It must have been over dozen years since I first ready all these books!!