by Maisey Yates, author of the Secret Heirs of Powerful Men series from Harlequin Presents
I love a bad boy hero. Don’t get me wrong, I love an honorable hero. Sometimes I can’t decide which sort of hero I like more.
My December Presents, A Royal World Apart had a hero who was nothing short of honorable. He guarded a princess for free just to make sure he kept his word…and he kept his vows to his wife even though she’d been severely injured on their wedding day. And, in the process, he kept his virginity. (Just sayin’.) Yep, Mak was an honorable hero.
But the heroes in my new series Secret Heirs of Powerful Men, are a little bit more morally ambiguous. First there’s Sayid who I call “Superbad Sheikh” on Twitter. He’s a warrior and, while he certainly has a moral code, it’s his duty to protect the people of his country–no matter the cost.
In Heir to a Desert Legacy, his brother the rightful ruler of Attar has died and that leaves Sayid in control until he discovers a surrogate gives birth to an actual heir to the throne, which suits him just fine because he was born to fight. Never to rule.
Poor Chloe the surrogate mother didn’t know what she was getting herself into when she agreed to go back to Attar with Sayid. Because Sayid’s not big on diplomacy. Or manners. Or…not being a jerk when he feels like it.
Then there’s the second hero in the series. In Heir to a Dark Inheritance Alik Vasin is a Russian ex-mercenary who’s not big on right-and-wrong, only survival and collecting a paycheck. Alik is the kind of guy who changes his allegiance as quickly as money changes hands. He’s known as the “Bad Boy Russian” to my Twitter followers. See? There’s a theme happening. A theme of badness.
That’s actually the turning point for both of these big, bad heroes. They end up with a baby in their care. And not only a baby but also a woman who’s not afraid to challenge them to become better men. Who makes them take a good hard look at themselves and realize they are bad, bad men who need to be punished… *cough* I got sidetracked there. (Though, Chloe MAY tie Sayid up. I’m just saying.)
This brings me to what I love about the ‘bad’ hero. The redemption. There’s nothing more gratifying than that moment when he realizes, not that he needs to be saved, because most of my bad heroes have written themselves off as unsalvageable, but that they can be saved. That love is worth any amount of pain. That love is worth risk. That it’s worth changing for.
And that they’re worthy of it.
Actually, this may be where the honorable hero and the dishonorable hero come full circle. The honorable hero, like Mak, has to believe that he’s worth more than simply being an ideal. While the dishonorable hero, like Alik, has to believe that the pieces of his tattered soul are worth piecing back together.
They ultimately both have to believe that they are worthy of more than they’ve been. That they’re worthy of love.
If you like bad boys, and you like to see them redeemed, check out Heir to a Desert Legacy, on shelves now, and Heir to a Dark Inheritance, coming to stores April 23rd and in ebook everywhere May 1st!