When I think of what makes a hero even hotter, I think that he needs to have friends (preferably hot friends). When he has an inner circle, even reluctantly, it says to me that there is something about him that inspires loyalty, respect, and trust. This is even better when all of his outward appearance says that he neither wants or needs buddies and the transformation to a full-on romance hero includes his appreciation of what a group of buds adds to his life.
But, male friendship is multi-faceted – and they say WE are complicated? – and chock full of all kinds of potential to show all the different sides of a hero. As, I write book 2 of 4 of “The Boys are Back in Town”series – the sequel to ‘A Night of Southern Comfort” – I am excited to explore the lifelong friendship between Jack, Lucky, Teague and Beck. All different. All from the same place. All back in town for a different reason. Lots of good stuff going on there.
But, I am also fascinated exploring how they physically react to one another. They are just a likely to give a quick back pat/hug in congratulations, to lay a hand on a shoulder in support, or to knock each other up side the head when they are acting like an ass.
In ANoSC, Jack and Lucky get into a physical altercation at a particularly low point in the story for Jack. (Okay, he needs a butt-whooping) Lucky is mad at him, Jack is mad at himself and they both need to work it out or they will explode:
“Don’t start with me,” Jack marched across the room.
Lucky stood, his body edging up against Jack until they were nose to nose. His bulk shifted Jack back a couple of inches. The obvious challenge shot his temperature through the roof. Good. He’d wanted to hit something for hours now and Lucky was clearly signing up for the job.
“Back off Jack. I don’t want to have to hurt you.” Lucky shoved against his chest for emphasis.
Jack swung, but Lucky was ready for him and swerved just before contact. They grappled for a moment. Lucky tried, but couldn’t stop Jack from landing a couple of blows to his torso. Lucky stumbled, but recovered enough to punch Jack in the stomach before slamming Jack into the wall and placing his forearm against his throat.
Jack stilled at the look into his friend’s face. No anger. No violence. Disappointment.
“What the hell is your problem? You want to fuck up another thing today?” Lucky pressed a finger into his chest. “I told you this would happen.”
“Get off me!” Jack shoved hard and Lucky backed up, hands ready for another swing if necessary. His own were balled into fists with the tension coursing through his body. “I didn’t have a choice.”
“Bullshit. You had a choice and you made it.”
“And you wouldn’t have done the same thing?”
“No. I don’t want to spend my life crawling back into that cesspool you call a job.” Lucky swiped a hand through his close-cropped hair in one long frustrated motion. “But if you do, then take that letter and go so far undercover you’ll never see yourself again. Don’t waste my time being pissy about losing Michaela.”
Just a week ago Jack had known what he wanted, but now it wasn’t so clear. Being undercover meant he didn’t have to think too much about his life and where it was going. Or not going. He didn’t exist—he was whatever identity they gave him and the end of his assignment was as far ahead as he planned. But now…now he wondered what living his own life might feel like. And when he had added Kayla to that picture, it all became a little clearer.
After today, that was out of the question.
Now, they make up in true guy fashion with a couple of grunts and a fist bump (not really, but they do make up) but it was so much fun to explore this aspect of the male dynamic.
What part of the mystique of male friendship do you like to see explored in a romance novel?