The Unwritten Rules for Romance Heroes

This article originally appeared as the November Warner Forever Author’s Corner.

Gentle Reader,

I have noticed over the years that there seem to be unwritten rules for the Romance Hero. Rules that all romance heroes appear to know and follow unconsciously. All romance heroes, that is, save my own, Edward de Raaf, the Earl of Swartingham and the hero of The Raven Prince. Sadly, Edward apparently never received the Romance Hero Rule Book, possibly due to the uncertainty of the postal system in Georgian England. Below, I have listed a few of the rules and, ahem, Edward’s own response.

1. Heroes are always handsome.
Edward: (snort) Well, that one is just plain ludicrous. Who wants to read about pretty boys and macaronis, I ask you? A scar here and there lends a certain gravitas to a gentleman’s countenance.

2. Heroes never fall off their horses.
Edward: Libel, sirrah! I have never, ever fallen off my horse and I will meet in the field of honor anyone who dares say so. It is true that, upon occasion, I have been unseated, but that could happen to any gentleman and is an entirely different matter.

3. And if they do fall off their horse, they do not swear.
Edward: I was not swearing. I merely called the beast a revolting lump of maggot-eaten hide, and–follow my reasoning closely here–the horse did not know what I was saying.

4. Heroes do not start brawls in brothels.
Edward: I did not actually start the brawl. Besides, what would you have me do when attacked by four men? Note: I did end the brawl.

5. Heroes do not have trouble keeping their secretaries.
Edward: I am not sure what you are getting at . . .

6. Heroes always keep their temper.
Edward: I do not have a temper and anyone who says so–(censored)

7. Heroes do not fantasize about the breasts of their female secretaries.
Edward: What kind of namby-pamby novels are we talking about here? I should think–

8. Heroes are romantic.
Edward: Ha! HA! I have you there! I will have you know that Anna found absolutely no fault with my lovemaking. In fact–

9. Heroes do not confuse romance with lovemaking.
Edward: (censored)

10. Heroes are transported by true love.
Edward: With that I have no argument.

Yours Most Sincerely, Elizabeth