Maya Banks Picks Romance's Best Jealous Lovers
Maya Banks' "Breathless" trilogy focuses on three wealthy, powerful men who can have any women they want--women who drive them to all-encompassing obsession and the need to keep them all to themselves. With "Burn," the newly released final novel in this erotic trilogy, Banks identifies what makes a romantic hero so single-mindedly jealous--and why this character is a much-needed archetype in the genre.
When asked to write a piece about the "jealous" lover and after giving it some thought, I realized that in most cases--not all, certainly, but in most--the "possessive" lover and the "jealous" lover seem to go hand in hand. That's not to say that all possessive heroes are jealous, but in a lot of cases, both qualities seem to be present.
Automatically, jealousy can carry a negative connotation, but in romance, a possessive, jealous hero just… works. In the hands of a skilled romance writer, this hero is sexy, desirable. He gives us the shivers and the warm fuzzies. An alpha male who is absolutely protective of his heroine? Who is possessive and jealous of any man who looks his woman's way? Yeah, I like it. Love to read about it. Maybe in real life it's not all it's cracked up to be, but I read to escape. I read to go to places I can't in everyday life. It's why I write!
In my recent novel "Fever," the hero, Jace, is very possessive and--yes, at times--jealous. This emotion sometimes manifests itself in unpleasant ways, and Jace doesn’t always think before he reacts. It's a flaw. I love flawed characters--because perfection? Well, it's boring! I like real characters. Heroes (and heroines) who act… normal. Who react realistically even if the tale I'm spinning relies on escapism. Because who doesn't enjoy a fairy tale? Who doesn't love an over-the-top, dramatic, angsty romance? Certainly not me! I adore them! And as I've always said, I write what I love to read. No apologies.
Christine Feehan incorporates the jealous and possessive hero in a lot of her books. Just look at the "Dark" series! Especially those first ones: Broody. Possessive. Jealous. Absolutely over the top alphalicious. I eat them up with a spoon! The fiercely possessive/jealous hero trope fits within paranormal romances, but, as Kristen Ashley proves with her "Rock Chick" series, it works just as well in contemporary romance without a shape shifter, vampire or werewolf in sight!
Similarly, Linda Howard makes the case for a jealous/possessive hero in a contemporary setting. Her older titles feature hardcore alpha males who, taken out of context, might appear to be complete a**es--but within the confines of the story? Totally works. In "Loving Evangeline," Robert is definitely a harder-edged hero, determined that he wants the heroine and he wants her his way. In the end, he tells her that he'll want her at his beck and call, always available to him, as many times a day as he wants her. Sounds overbearing, right? But it absolutely works for the story because it's also obvious how much he adores Evie and that she is the only woman in the world for him.
In "Dream Man," Dane will do anything necessary to apprehend a killer--even use the heroine in a way that makes her feel betrayed. However, Dane is also extremely possessive and jealous when it comes to Marlie. He won't allow anything to come between them, not even his own choices when it comes to capturing a serial killer.
Most Harlequin Presents novels feature jealous/possessive heroes. I'm not tarring the entire line with the same brush, but it's my favorite Harlequin line for a reason! You've got brooding alpha males who are extremely possessive and who make frequent displays of jealousy when it comes to their women. Some of my favorite Presents authors include Michelle Reid, Lucy Monroe and Jane Porter, who never disappoint when it comes to fashioning just the right blend of caring, possessiveness and jealousy when the heroines receive attention from other males.
In "The Sheikh's Chosen Wife" by Michelle Reid, the heroine's husband is fiercely possessive and jealous of her even though they are separated. He keeps close watch on her, monitoring her movements, not to mention with whom she spends her time. When it becomes apparent that he risks losing her to another man, he sweeps in, kidnaps the heroine and takes her aboard his yacht. This has long been one of my favorite Harlequin Presents titles ever. The emotion with which Reid renders this story is absolutely exquisite!
In thinking back over some of my own titles (besides "Fever") that inspired this piece, some of the stories that fit the bill of the jealous/possessive hero are "The Darkest Hour," "For Her Pleasure," "Brazen," "Be With Me" and "Wanted By Her Lost Love." In "The Darkest Hour," Ethan grapples with a lot of demons, jealousy being one of them. It was what drove him to make the biggest mistake of his life, and he lost the wife he loved… until the day he gets a miraculous second chance to do it all over again.
I love redemption stories--but that's a topic for another day!
Maya Banks is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of over 50 novels, including the New York Times bestselling "Breathless" trilogy and New York Times bestselling romantic suspense KGI/Kelly series. In addition to having 18 titles hit the New York Times bestseller list, Banks made publishing history with her Colters' Legacy series, becoming the first author ever with an e-book original release to hit the New York Times bestseller list. A wife and mother of three, she lives in Texas and loves to travel, hunt and fish with her family. Visit her website at www.mayabanks.com.