Embracing Romance is pleased to welcome USA Today best selling author of The Elusive Wife, Callie Hutton. Callie writes both Western Historical and Regency romance, with “historic elements and sensory details” (The Romance Reviews). She also pens an occasional contemporary or two. Callie lives in Oklahoma with several rescue dogs, two adult children, and daughter-in-law (thankfully all not in the same house), and her top cheerleader husband of thirty-eight years. She also recently welcomed twin grandsons to her ever expanding family. Callie loves to hear from readers, and would welcome you as a “friend” on Facebook. You can contact her through her website: www.calliehutton.com, or write her directly at firstname.lastname@example.org
What Makes A Hero?
By: Callie Hutton
Driving to the supermarket the other day, the song “I Need a Hero,” from the movie Shrek played on the radio. As I sang along—hoping no one could hear me—it got me thinking about what actually makes a hero?
Those of us who write romance can spout off hero qualities at the drop of a hat. (Boy would my editor slap my hand for that cliché.) We’ll tell you he is handsome, tall, muscular, honorable, a great lover, kind, gentle, strong . . . You get the picture.
These are the kinds of heroes we dream about. The hero who will arrive on his white horse, sweep us (literally and figuratively) off our feet as we ride into the sunset to our happily ever after.
But what about real life heroes? And I’m not even talking about the men you see on the news who rescue children from burning buildings, or save a woman from attack. Sure, they definitely fall into the category of heroes, but I’m thinking of a more subtle, will never make the front page of a newspaper hero. The ones we encounter in our everyday life. Maybe the one you face over the breakfast table each morning.
A friend of my family is a highly trained neo-natal physician. She also has two children. She and her husband didn’t want the stress of daycare and two professional parents. Her husband left his job to be a stay at home dad, so his wife could do the work she loved. Is he a hero? I’ll bet to his wife he is.
I often think of the man who gets up in the middle of the night to comfort a crying baby because his wife is exhausted. Or the man who hauls the children from activity to activity after a long day’s work so his wife can go to school at night to finish her degree.
Years ago my husband and I, like most young couples, were stretched for money. We worked different shifts, so he was home while I worked. I called him one day to moan about the fact that all my co-workers were going out to lunch, and I didn’t have the money to join them. He suggested I come home for lunch, which I did.
He greeted me at the front door with his best suit and tie on, a white linen napkin folded smartly over his arm. He escorted me to our kitchen table that he had covered with a sheet, and set with our best dishes. (All right, our only dishes). Two votive candles burned brightly and straggly flowers that he got from who knows where—I never asked–sat in an empty pickle jar in the center of the table. He bowed like a waiter in the finest restaurant and proceeded to serve me a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. We split the last Coke in the refrigerator.
Since then we’ve had numerous meals in fine restaurants, but that one always sticks in my mind. Hero? Yes, that day he certainly was.
Heroes drive buses, teach school, sell insurance, work on computers, paint houses, crunch numbers, and give worried families bad news on a loved one’s condition.
Don’t get me wrong. I love the heroes of our romance novels. And I love creating a new one each time I start another book. Joseph, in my new release, The Lady’s Disgrace is a hero. But not because he’s rich, handsome, muscular, and a great lover. Although he is all those things. He’s a hero for another reason.
And I guess you’ll have to read the book to figure out why Abigail sees him as her hero.
To save a lady’s reputation…
A lady is nothing without her reputation. Jilted and humiliated by her once-betrothed, Lady Abigail Lacey is the laughingstock of London. Worse still, the humiliation is now reflecting badly on her family. Now her brother, the Duke of Manchester, is desperate… until he finds a way to rescue his sister’s damaged reputation, and remove her from the glare of disapproving society.
He must marry her off. Quickly.
When Rector Joseph Fox drops by the Lacey household, he certainly didn’t expect to leave as a man engaged to a longtime family friend! Yet while he never could have aspired to have her, Lady Abigail always ignited a forbidden longing in him. But Abigail has one condition—their marriage is to be void of passion or physical pleasures, once she becomes with child. Faced with a platonic marriage of convenience, Joseph is determined to embark on a sensuous adventure with only one goal: to seduce his new wife…
She was sprawled all over her husband’s body in a most unladylike fashion. Her husband’s naked body! She scooted back, immediately feeling bereft at the loss of warmth. “Why are you undressed?”
“Because I sleep that way.”
“But you were dressed last night. All I did was remove your boots.”
“Yes, well I awoke a few hours ago and divested myself of my clothing.” He extended his hand. “Come here, Abigail.”
She shook her head, pulling the covers up to her chin. Joseph slid closer, tracing circles on her cheek with his finger. “So soft.” He cupped her face, rubbing his thumb along her lips.
Heat began to rise in her middle, spreading upward, causing tingles in her breasts. Was he preparing to do now what she’d denied him last night? Perhaps it would be best to get it over with, so she wouldn’t have to worry about it all day.
His warm fingers traced her jawline, moving down to her throat, where they circled, then lower to her chest, to the top of her breasts. Her breathing hitched, and she waited for what he would do next.
She licked her lips and dragged her gaze from the mesmerizing sight of his fingers to his face. His brown eyes had darkened to almost black, his eyelids heavy. He wrapped his palm around her neck, and tugged her toward him.
Abigail began to move forward, then jerked back and quickly rolled over, away from him, her feet landing squarely on the floor. “I need to clean my mouth.”
Trivia Question: What is the hero of THE LADY’S DISGRACE only goal? Enter your answer here