By Brenda Novak
In my latest contemporary romance series, readers are introduced to a tightknit group of friends who grew up together in the small town of Whiskey Creek, a place in the Sierra Nevada Foothills of Northern California that was founded during the gold rush. Although Whiskey Creek is a fictional setting, it’s modeled on many of the real gold country towns near where I live. Western boardwalks still connect the buildings in the center of town. Among other businesses in Whiskey Creek, there are two Victorians that have been turned into Bed & Breakfasts, a diner called Just Like Mom’s that serves good old comfort food (you can order the most delicious cookies from Just Like Mom’s on my website), an old-fashioned ice cream parlor that caters to the tourists who come through during the summer, a saloon-style bar where the locals hang out, a hardware store that sells gold-panning equipment (yes, people still go to the foothills and search for gold) and Black Gold Coffee, where the gang gets together to catch up on Friday mornings. In some ways, Whiskey Creek feels like the town that time forgot—and yet the issues my characters face can be very modern, as shown in some of the previous books.
In Come Home to Me, book six in the Whiskey Creek series, Aaron Amos takes the lead as hero. He and his four brothers are rugged, sexy self-made men who have enough sharp edges to keep them interesting (and a constant challenge to the women who love them!). Years ago, the townspeople nicknamed these troublemakers the Fearsome Five but they’ve grown up a bit since then. Aaron isn’t part of the core group of friends on whom I’ve built the series so far, but after featuring his older brother Dylan in When Snow Falls, I was getting so much reader mail about him that I just had tell his story. The fact that I’m also getting mail asking for more about his brothers once again proves to me that there’s something very appealing about the bad boy hero. Maybe it’s the danger involved in loving someone who’s a little rough around the edges. Maybe it’s the desire to finally tame one of these men. Maybe it’s that no one tells them what to do, and a woman can admire a man who will take charge and stand his ground.
It could be a combination of all the above. Aaron is one of my most hard-to-get heroes, turning Come Home to Me into a bit of a “Beauty and the Beast” (or “Beauty Tames the Beast”) story―which is something else I find appealing. What’s your favorite kind of hero? Do you like bad boys? Or are they more fun to dream about than actually marry?