Not Quite an Alpha — Barbara Monajem

It’s release day of To Kiss a Rake. Which makes me very happy, but…have I brought an unacceptable alpha into the world?

To Kiss a Rake 600x900

At some point during the process of writing To Kiss a Rake (which was revised a ridiculous number of times; never again), someone commented that the hero, Miles, wasn’t alpha enough.

Hmm. Obviously this is a matter of opinion, so I’m not saying she was wrong. In fact, to some extent I agreed, but it started me wondering what exactly an alpha hero is and what kinds of flaws and weaknesses a hero can have and still be alpha enough.

(Well, for sure he’s not like the supposed alpha wolf – dominating the entire pack and commandeering all the females for himself. Apparently this isn’t what wolves are really like, but I’m not getting into that here.)

So anyway, I looked for a definition on line, and found, to my astonishment, that there exist sites that tell men how to become alpha males! Whoa!

Hmm. I guess it’s not much different from women wanting to be irresistibly sexy (duh, that’s easy; just become a vampire).

Some of the sites had really good definitions going, such as what an alpha should be (cool, confident, comfortable with himself, takes on challenges, fearless when necessary, respectful, willing to admit he’s wrong, has a sense of humor) and shouldn’t be (a gossip, a liar, a bully, a suck-up, a whiner or belittler, and so on).

But that doesn’t mean he has no flaws, weaknesses or fears. To me, it’s not enough if the heroine is his only weakness—although his relationship with her may be the catalyst he needs in order to overcome a weakness or a flaw. I think that’s what happens in To Kiss a Rake.

Which quality or qualities do you think are absolutely necessary in an alpha hero? I’ll give one of my e-books (winner’s choice) to a lucky commenter.

(And that’s not all – I have a rafflecopter going on this week for a $10 or $25 gift certificate. If you’d like to enter, it’s below. Far below.)

And now, without further ado, I give you To Kiss a Rake!


Melinda Starling doesn’t let ladylike behavior get in the way of true love. She’s secretly helping with an elopement, when she’s tossed into the waiting coach and driven away by a notorious rake.


Miles Warren, Lord Garrison, comes from a family of libertines, and he’s the worst of them all—or so society believes. When Miles helps a friend to run away with an heiress, it’s an entertaining way to revenge himself on one of the gossips who slandered him.

Except that he drives off with the wrong woman…and as if that wasn’t scandalous enough, he can’t resist stealing a kiss.

It’s available now at various Amazon sites, and here are the links.


To Kiss a Rake is the first in a series called Scandalous Kisses. I’m working on the sequel now. The hero just did something dreadful that makes his alpha-ness awfully precarious. Oh dearie me — is there another not-quite-an-alpha in the works?

In case you’d forgotten, here’s the rafflecopter–and don’t forget to comment here as well.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Follow Barbara Monajem:

Barbara Monajem started writing at eight years old. She has wandered from children’s fantasy through mystery to paranormal and historical romance. She lives near Atlanta, Georgia with an ever-shifting population of relatives, friends, and feline strays.

60 Responses

  1. Maggi Andersen

    Sounds like a really good story, Barbara. I wish you great success!

    • Barbara Monajem

      Thanks, Maggi. I had a lot of fun writing it.

    • Barbara Monajem

      Thanks, Holly. Release blitz today, party tomorrow, and then I can get back to work on the sequel. 🙂

  2. Michelle Gallegos

    I love the cover and the blurb for this book! Alpha men are interesting characters but a man with flaws and weaknesses can be more interesting. The story is in how he deals with issues and reading about how he grows and changes as he interacts with others.

    • Barbara Monajem

      Thanks for the encouraging words, Michelle. I’m about to write a scene in the sequel where the hero has to redeem himself with the heroine. He put himself in an almost unforgivable position a chapter or so earlier — should be fun fixing that!! 🙂

  3. Alyssa Alexander

    Happy Release Day! And, I find alpha men a bit of a conundrum in books. Sometimes the alpha-ness can go too far, and sometimes I like heroes a bit more on the beta side. That said, a good, flawed alpha always gets me turning pages!

    • Barbara Monajem

      Hi, Alyssa. Yup, there’s the problem. There’s something compelling about an alpha, but he has to be flawed or he can be just plain annoying.

  4. Debbie Haston

    I have read this book and Loved it! I can’t wait for the next one. Thanks for the chance!

  5. Phyllis Laatsch

    That’s the comment I got from my publisher. Hero just want alpha enough. Of course, he was more alpha than most of my heroes, but he was the calm center of every storm. I had to emphasize how everyone would stop and look to him for answers. But why does every hero need to be alpha anyway?

    • Barbara Monajem

      I don’t know, Phyllis! One of my favorites of Georgette Heyer’s heroes is the Duke of Sale, who is gentle and unassuming. He proves himself in the course of the story — can take charge when he needs to — but he remains the same unassuming man at heart.

  6. Barbara Bettis

    I prefer a man with a little Beta in him–as a friend of mine calls them, Balphas. 🙂 Your hero sounds delightful, Barbara, and I can’t wait to read the book. Best of luck with it.

  7. Ally Broadfield

    The editor of my first book made a comment that my hero was very alpha even when he was pretending not to be, and it took me a while to figure that out. There’s some sort of elusive quality there that it’s difficult to define, but I’ve always thought it has something to do with him knowing what he wants and not being afraid to go after it.

    Happy Release Day! Wishing you many sales.

  8. Amanda Chidester

    Sounds like a book I would thoroughly enjoy 🙂 I look forward to adding it to my library. Congratulations😊

  9. bevieann61

    I think taking charge of the situation and being fearless dominant and having to control everything is what makes an alpha I thought Miles was semi alpha he controlled the situation and had to exert his alpha traits to the nasy grandmother who was totally the bad guy in this story!!

    • Barbara Monajem

      LOL, Bev. Yeah, the grandmother sure was a meanie, and I thought Miles handled her pretty well. 🙂

  10. Barbara Monajem

    That’s a great definition, Ally. I’ll have to try applying it to my heroes and see if if fits.

  11. Michele H.

    Congratulations on your new book! Looking forward to reading it.
    My definition of Alphas that I like to read are heroes that are strong and capable, but don’t use their Alpha qualities in selfish or bullying ways (on weaker or more vulnerable people).

    • Barbara Monajem

      Thanks, Michele. Maybe I’ll make a checklist of qualities to check my heroes against! Even if they have their selfish moments, they have to realize it and change their ways quickly.

  12. Violetta Rand

    Happiest release Barbara–a wonderful story!

  13. annecleasby

    IT sounds great – I love an imperfect hero – I’ll definitely look for it on amazon. Have a great release day

    • Barbara Monajem

      Hi, Anne. Thank you!! Hurray for imperfection. 😉

    • Barbara Monajem

      Thanks, Caroline. I guess I should look up beta heroes now, too — just for the fun of it, because I think my heroes are going to be whatever they choose anyway. 😉

  14. JanD

    I think confidence is necessary for an alpha hero.

    • Barbara Monajem

      Hi, Jan. I agree that an alpha needs confidence — although it’s good if some aspect of his confidence is shaken in the course of story.

    • Barbara Monajem

      Thanks, Layne. That cover gets lots of compliments. Kudos to the artist! 🙂

  15. Glenda

    Congratulations! It was on my Kindle this morning! 😀
    Oh and an alpha has to be strong physically and mentally, be confident, be loyal and honest, and have a sense of humor!

    • Barbara Monajem

      Hi, Glenda. I hope you enjoy it. I do love a hero with a sense of humor. 🙂

  16. Glenda S. Hefty

    Congratulations on the release, Barbara! The book sounds great! Thanks for sharing and the chance to win. I love the cover. As far as what makes an alpha…everyone seems to have that covered as I agree with most of what everyone has said. Humor is important as far as I’m concerned and no bullying type behavior either.

    • Barbara Monajem

      Hi, Glenda. 🙂 Yup, totally no bullying. The hero can be rough and harsh when necessary, but only when his opponent deserves it.

  17. Lane McFarland

    Congratulations, Barbara! The cover of TO KISS A RAKE is simply beautiful. I love alpha males. They definitely should be confident, fearless when necessary, and willing to admit he’s wrong. NO conceit whatsoever!!! AND a wee bit of a sense of humor is nice too. But…most important, he must treat his lady with utmost respect. 🙂

    • Barbara Monajem

      Thanks, Lane. I was lucky to get such a great cover artist!!

  18. jennifer drake

    Hi 🙂 Cover looks great!

    and thanks for the chance to win a goodie to buy more good reads

    • Barbara Monajem

      Hi, Jennifer. Thanks. I’ve had so many compliments on the cover that I hope the same artist will do the cover for the sequel. 🙂

  19. Crystal S

    excited to read your new book. i enjoyed your release day party 🙂

    • Barbara Monajem

      Hi, Crystal! The party was a blast, wasn’t it? Can’t wait to do the next one.

  20. Barbara Monajem

    And the winner is…. Crystal! Crystal, I have emailed you about claiming your prize. 🙂