#rombklove Day 2: Betas


#rombklove Day 2: Betas - Alphas may rule the world but betas know the way to my heart!
What makes a character beta? Why are they so irresistible? Who are some of your favourite beta heroes in romance?  

I have a soft spot for romances with beta heroes and I'm always looking to read more of those since it seems they are still outnumbered by far by the alpha heroes. In this post I want to share what makes a beta hero irresistible for me and also to recommend some of my favourite romances with beta heroes as part of the #rombklove event on Twitter this May.

There was an interesting discussion a while back on Twitter re the terms alpha, beta, gamma heroes and their possible alternatives. Romance author Olivia Dade came up with the term cinnamon rolls for sweet, kind beta heroes and I really like it. She has compiled two pretty extensive lists of romances with cinnamon heroes on her website which I greatly recommend (List #1 and List #2). While I like the term 'cinnamon hero', I'm still using 'beta' in this post because I think it is a bit broader than 'cinnamon roll', at least, in my mind not every bet hero is a cinnamon roll.

It makes me happy to see beta heroes appearing in all subgenres of romance, not just contemporary. They are precious to me, the kind of people I want to have around me in real life. Sadly, I see many readers who don't appreciate beta heroes and seen them as weak, indecisive, not manly enough. This all is connected to the issue of what we as society see as suitable masculine behaviour - any men showing an emotional side, treating their partners with respect and admiration, experiencing self-doubt, lack of confidence in certain situation, being tender and fragile, needing and enjoying touches and cuddles and quiet intimacy - are very often scorned at, even by romance readers. 

As I counterpoint to this toxic view of masculinity, I very much want to see such heroes in romance. They feel most real, nuanced and easily relatable to me. They represent the kind of people I would enjoy having in my life, so I go around recommending romances with beta heroes all the time.

I want to start with a couple of sports romances where the heroes were successful sports stars and the same time, loving and caring beta heroes.

Saving Hearts by Rebecca Crowley - a goalkeeper en route to retirement, dealing with anxiety and mental health issues by gambling (rather doing complex football games scores predictions). It was the heroine who drove the romantic relationship forward - she proposed a no-strings sex arrangement, she was the more experienced, she pursued him while he wooed her by taking care of her, helping her with her own issues, supporting her. There was so much tenderness and fragility about him and I found that really moving. 

Irresistible You by Kate Meader - Remy is a retiring hockey player who wanted to start a family, was ready to be a stay-at-home dad while his wife pursued her professional career. I loved the way he cared for her, his attentiveness and his admiration for her as professional, his full support for her pursuing her career made me admire him. 

Beat heroes in m/m romance

An Unseen Attraction by KJ Charles - I'd say both Clem and Rowley are beta heroes in a way. Clem was socially anxious due to his dyspraxia but he was much more in control in his personal life. He was the one who initiated and led things in their romantic relationship. Rowley was gentle and kind, enjoying all the care and support Clem gave him. I appreciate that the author allowed him to be afraid and distressed when his life was in danger. 

I would also say that most of Alexis Hall's heroes fall in the category of non-alpha, Edwin in Waiting for the Flood in particular strikes me as a true beta - gentle, somewhat introverted, grieving the loss of love in his life, feeling lonely, melancholic, longing for a close, intimate connection with another person.

The next I want to move to historical romance and I just have to mention Malcolm from An Extraordinary Union by Alyssa Cole. He was competent at his job but also admitted how much better Elle was. He was not only not intimidated by how smart she was, he admired her for that, her intelligence and competence were a turn on for him. He was in awe of her and did his best to support her, stand by her without taking over her life/her mission. He did his best to prove he was worthy of her love and he openly admitted how little he knew of her life, how difficult, nearly impossible it wax for him to step in her shoes (because of all the privilege he had as a white man) but he was ready to listen, to learn and that made him irresistible in my mind.

Under Her Skin by Adriana Anders has a very interesting beta hero. He is a giant of a man with some anger management issues and violent outbursts in his past but he was also taking care of all the stray animals around and he was most tender and supporting of the heroine who was dealing with the aftermath of horrific abuse. Their relationship was a first for both them in many respects. being together they discovered new aspects of their personality and sexuality. He felt comfortable showing a gentler, softer side of him, one that he had always kept hidden because everyone expected/wanted him to be big and strong and rough, no one looked for gentleness and tenderness and surrender from him. It was a very moving, emotionally charged romance.

The last beta hero I want to mention is Ben from Beginner's Luck by Kate Clayborn. On top of being gentle and caring and supporting and admiring the heroine, he was also kind with his family and friends. I loved the way he cared about the important people in his life - his father, the troubled disabled teen he took under his wing, trying his best with his mother and step-father, being loyal to his friend.

I could continue with more beta heroes that I loved but I'm also looking to discover new ones and would appreciate any recommendations you want to share.  

You Might Also Like


Flickr Images