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Monday, June 21, 2010

Bad Boys, Bad Boys....

Who doesn’t love a bad boy?

Whether a hero or a scoundrel,
the classic ba
d boy is hard to resist. Some of my favorite heroes in literature and film are bad boys at heart. I can’t speak for all women, but bad boys make my pulse race just a bit faster. I’ve always had a thing for the bad boy. Even watching reruns of I Dream of Jeannie, I wanted Jeannie to dump Tony, the All-American good guy and choose his bad boy buddy, Roger. And then The Fonz came along, with his finger snap and toughness, followed by greaser Danny Zuko, and I was completely hooked on the bad boy. What makes a bad boy so darned appealing?

The classic bad boy is a sexual being. These men aren’t metrosexual. They aren’t betas. They’re alpha all the way. Gerard Butler is the epitome of the bad boy. Whether he’s playing Dracula (Dracula 2000- if he’s Dracula, I’ll never wear a turtleneck or a crucifix again), the Phantom of the Opera (honestly, the mask was not a deal breaker for me…a little kinky, but not over the top), a Spartan warrior (300), a mercenary with biceps of steel and a heart to match (Tomb Raider – The Cradle of Life),

a risqué TV personality advising women to toss their How to Get A Man to Love You guidebooks and get on a Stairmaster (The Ugly Truth), or an ex-cop with an attitude (The Bounty Hunter), no one could ever believe Gerard is a man who’ll spend his Saturday night dozing in a chair after watching an episode of Cops.

Bad boys can be suave and worldly, like Robert Downey, Jr.’s Iron Man, Tony Stark, or intellectual and socially awkward, such as the actor’s portrayal of Sherlock Holmes. Holmes is brilliant, analytical, bucks authority at every turn, and lacks social graces. Robert Downey, Jr. has created two distinctly different characters who are both bad boys at heart. I don’t imagine Sir Arthur Conan Doyle envisioned Sherlock as a rebel, but RDJ’s characterization is all rebel, all the way. Whether he’s dealing with the police or a brilliant villain, he’s not about to conform to their expectations. Perhaps the thing I like most about both Sherlock Holmes and Tony Stark is their attraction to smart, strong women. Bad boys aren’t intimidated by women who are their equals – they thrive on the challenge.

The classic outlaw is undoubtedly a bad boy. Jack Travis, the hero of my new release, Destiny, steals Emma Davenport, a high-powered senator’s daughter from the train carrying her to the scoundrel she’d planned to marry, imprisons her in a remote cabin in the heart of the Appalachian valley, and teaches her that seduction doesn’t always involve poetic words and courtly manners. As he falls hard for Emma, a woman whose sheltered existence has masked a strong will, keen intelligence, ingenuity, and guts, he’ll risk his neck and everything he’s ever cared about to protect her. His bad boy arrogance doesn’t change one fundamental fact – Jack is an alpha with a strong sense of his principles, a man who’ll fight and die for the woman he loves.

Bad boys don’t run from a fight. They might even pick the fight, if it suits their purpose. My soon-to-be released historical, Angel in My Arms, features Jack’s partner, a Union spy who starts a drunken brawl for a very deliberate reason. It lands him behind bars and he’s facing a noose the next day, but Captain Steve Dunham do it all again – if it gets him closer to his goal and the heroine.

Intellectuals can be bad boys, too. Indiana Jones (be still my heart – the image of Harrison Ford with that white shirt, unbuttoned just enough…) is a scholar, an archaeologist of all things. After watching Raiders of the Lost Ark, I never pictured archaeologists as dusty old men again.

Romance is filled with bad boys. One of my favorite bad boys is Captain Doom from Teresa Medeiros’ wonderful Thief of Hearts. I’ve read it so many times, my copy is ready to fall apart. Leo, the hero in Lisa Kleypas’ wonderful Married by Morning, is a rake through and through, but his vulnerability and responsibility for those he cares about make him irresistible. And who wouldn’t wish, just for a little while, to be abducted by Justin, the Duke of Kylemore, in Anna Campbell’s Claiming the Courtesan?

Who are some of your favorite bad boys from romance and film? What do you love most about them? I’ll choose a random commenter to win a pdf of Destiny.


Aislinn said...

Derek Craven, Derek Craven, Derek Craven with a heaping side of Sebastian St. Vincent. Both Kleypas heroes. Hmmm... Something tells me I ought to check out Married by Morning.

(Don't enter me in the draw. I've already got a copy of Destiny. Loved it.)

Christi Barth said...

A post on bad boys wouldn't be complete without mentioning Rhett Butler. Scarlett was an IDIOT to rebuff him! Also a big fan of Sebastian Vioget in Colleen Gleason's Gardella novels. Have to admit, I'm glad I took the opportunity to date a bad boy back in the day....and I equally glad I married a good guy!

Anonymous said...

Lisa Kleypas' men!!! Cam (I still think his book should have been called...A Man for All Seasons) Sebastian, Derek, McKenna, Gideon (and he was just a secondary character!), Westcliff, Simon, Zach, Leo, Kev, Matthew, etc!


Kathleen Bittner Roth said...

Seems like we all drool over Lisa Kleypas's bad boys! Gerard Butler is the first to come to mind, but I did love Brad Pitt in Thelma and Louise and Legends of the Fall. Russell Crowe gets my vote about anyday as well!

Emma said...

I agree on the Lisa Keypas comment. Any of her heros work for me.

My favorite is still Rick from Casablanca. I loved the way Humphrey Bogart played that character. The line that got me was him staring at her and telling her he remembered the Germans invading Paris. "I remember it well. The Germans wore gray. You wore blue." I still think that is one of the hottest lines I've ever heard.

Victoria Gray said...

I love Lisa Kleypas' heroes...bad boys with a hefty dose of humanity. Before you read Married by Morning, read Tempted at Twilight, which introduces the heroine and sets the stage for her relationship with Leo. They're both wonderful books.

Victoria Gray said...

Christi, I completely agree. Rhett Butler was a bad boy who, in my humble opinion, was worlds sexier than Ashley Wilkes.

Victoria Gray said...

I agree - Lisa Kleypas writes a hot bad boy hero so well. So does Teresa Medeiros. Her heroes melt my heart.

Victoria Gray said...

Russell Crowe is in a class by himself. His role as an outlaw in 3:10 to Yuma was incredibly sexy!

Victoria Gray said...

Humphrey Bogart had class and style...a true classic. I can totally understand why Lauren Bacall fell for him.

Paisley Kirkpatrick said...

You hit my bad boy - Gerry Butler all the way. What do I like about the bad boy - everything!!!

The other day I watched The African Queen and I was blown away once again at Humphrey Bogart. This was the only Oscar he got and he earned it as a bad boy.

Great post and thanks for putting Gerry up first....

Victoria Gray said...

Hi Paisley,
I felt like I could write an entire post on Gerard...hey, that's an idea...maybe we'll do that soon : ) He's played so many roles that there's no way to summarize them in one paragraph.
Bogie was hot, definitely. I loved him in Casablanca and the African Queen.
Speaking of classic actors, what about Marlon Brando? Talk about smouldering!

Margaret Tanner said...

Love the cover of Angle in My Arms. It is very evocative.
Ooh, the bad boys, love them, and the dark, tortured heroes, too.


Penny Rader said...

Wow, it looks like I missed quite few Gerard Butler movies. I'll have to correct that. :D I am huge Robert Downey Jr fan. Loved him in Iron Man.

JD Robb's Roarke and Janet Evanovich's Ranger are two of my fave heroes.


My favorite is Terrence Howard in The Best Man. He was so good at being bad but there was a hint of goodness every once in a while.


The Paperback Diva said...

I sure love those Bad Boys! The best part about them is how the right woman can bring them to their knees.

Victoria Gray said...

Hi Penny,
I loved RDJ in Iron Man, but he was spectacular in Sherlock Holmes. It really gave him a chance to show off his wit (and his newly buff bod!)
Thanks for stopping by :)

Victoria Gray said...

Thanks! I love the cover, too. Nicola Martinez designed it. She did the cover for Destiny, too :) The hero in Angel has more of an Owen Wilson vibe...much more of a rascal than Jack in Destiny.

Victoria Gray said...

Terrence Howard is wonderful. I can't understand why they recast his part in Iron Man 2...I thought he was perfect in Iron Man.

Victoria Gray said...

Hi Paperback Diva,
Love your comment! Think about Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt in Mr. and Mrs. Smith...she certainly brought him to his knees, in more ways than one ;)

The Paperback Diva said...

Just read over some of your favorites. A book I return to again and again is Shadowheart by Laura Kinsale. Talk about a tortured, bad boy hero. The man was a medieval assassin! He kidnapped the heroine and forced her to marry him by threatening to cut her aunt's throat. He trained children to be ruthless killers just like him. How could anyone love a man like that??? But I do...I do....

Tracey Devlyn said...

Hey Victoria!

Don't enter in your contest--I already have a beautiful hard copy of Destiny!!

I agree with Aislinn--Kleypas' Derek Craven is my all time favorite romance bad boy. Daniel Day Lewis in the Last of the Mohicans, John Connor in Terminator, Brad Pitt in Legends of the Fall...

Gerard Butler's character in The Ugly Truth was sexy and outrageous. More than once, I asked my husband, "Did he say what I think he said?" I watched the movie twice in a row just to make sure I heard him correctly.

Victoria Gray said...

Hi Paperback Diva,
I've never read Shadowheart...I definitely need to get my hands on a copy!

Victoria Gray said...

Hi Tracey,
I think my favorite Kleypas hero is Leo from the Hathaways series...over the course of the series, she's created such an endearing character.
I was a bit shocked at The Ugly Truth, but I have to admit I found him incredibly sexy.
Another bad boy I loved was Hugh Grant's character in Bridget Jones' Diary, Daniel Cleaver - wouldn't he be fun to reform?

Anonymous said...

Oooh, I adore C.S.Harris's Sebastian St Cyr - a real bad boy who does good things and is really sexy while he does it.
And Justin, Duke of Kylemore, Anna Campbell's first dark hero is still one of my favorites when he scoope up his courtesan and defies society to marry her -sigh!

Victoria Gray said...

Anna Campbell writes tortured heroes that are so sexy, they practically melt the page! Thanks for stopping by.

Autumn Jordon said...

I love bad boys. In literture, one that comesto mind, besides Rhett, is Gray Bondurant, Sandra Brown's ex-marine in Exclusive.

In films; Kirk Douglas always had a way about him. And Charlie Sheen-he was delivish in both Three Musketeers and Major league.

Gosh, the list could go on.

Victoria Gray said...

Hi Autumn,
I have to admit, I like Charlie Sheen, even in Two and a Half Men. He's such a rake.

Autumn Jordon said...

He certainly is. A likeable eye-candy rake.

Laura Kaye said...

The Brothers from the Black Dagger Brotherhood series. Come on! Wrath, Rhage, Zsadist for cripes' sake!!! Sawyer on Lost. Ooh, my, this is a fun topic!

Victoria Gray said...

Yeah, Sawyer on Lost definitely has that bad boy twinkle in the eye, among his other assets.

I'll have to checkout the Black Dagger Brotherhood...even the names sound yummy!

katsrus said...

I love Sherlock Holmes. My favorite bad boy is Sean Connery in the James bond movies.
You are a new author to me. And I have not read books like yours. They sound very interesting and good.
Sue B

Victoria Gray said...

Hi Katsrus,
Do you like the new James Bond, Daniel Craig? I was really impressed by him. He's not that good looking, but he's very intense.
Destiny's my first book...hope you enjoy it if you read it : )

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