Tall, dark, and handsome ~ Sandra Owens

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Crazy For Her - Logan on bike


While Logan’s attention was elsewhere, Dani studied him. His dark brown hair—now cut close in the military style—suited him. In their SEAL days, he and her husband had worn their hair longer to help them blend in with the Afghan people. His black leather jacket stretched over broad shoulders; his jeans encased long legs she was certain rippled with muscles. 

Logan was still eye candy. That sure hadn’t changed. A little sigh escaped her lips. He must have heard because his dark brown eyes turned her way and he raised a questioning brow. Strangely, the arrogant gesture put her at ease. He was still the Logan she’d once known and liked. She walked down the steps. 

“Nice bike. What is it?” 

He moved next to her and eyed the motorcycle with a fond smile. “A Harley-Davidson V-Rod Muscle.” His gaze captured hers, and he grinned. “It’s very fast.” 

And dangerous. Like him. She remembered he’d always been like this. Intense and focused.


Crazy For Her - Logan 

This is the model I used for Logan, the epitome of tall, dark, and handsome. Talk about eye candy!


The above is an excerpt from CRAZY FOR HER, due out September 1st from Montlake Romance. My hero is tall, dark, and handsome, and as I thought about that, I wondered about the origin of the phrase. In researching it, there are several theories.


One of the earliest uses in print is from The New Monthly Magazine and Literary Journal, 1833, and it actually referred to a woman.

Hester now looked at her aunt, who was the very reverse of what she had imagined: she had always thought she would be like her father, and fancied a tall, dark, and handsome face. 

Although used in women’s fiction in the early 1900s to describe a romantic hero, the phrase really became popular because of the 1941 film, Tall, Dark, and Handsome, starring a swoon-worthy Cesar Romero as a Robin Hoodish gangster.

I don’t think the dark in tall, dark, and handsome refers to a man’s skin, or eyes, or hair. I think it’s a reference to a mysterious quality—something unexplainable that draws the eye to any man possessing that elusive something. 

For me, it’s a sense of humor, an innate kindness and yes, arrogance—not to the point that he’s a total jerk, but the kind of confidence that says he knows what he’s about and nothing will get in the way of what he wants. He’s the kind of hero I love write about.

I do love a good beta hero story, and someday I’d like to write a shy, sweet beta hero. Then there’s the gamma hero, a man somewhere between the beta and the alpha. That might well be the perfect man, but I’m still partial to my bad boys.

I have two favorite tall, dark, and handsome heroes (after mine, of course 🙂 ). First is Gabriel from Broken Wing by Judith James. Gabriel is a tortured soul, and will tug at your heart strings. But he has that elusive something.

My second favorite tall, dark, and handsome is Hunter from Liberating Lacey by Anne Calhoun. Oh, God, I love Hunter. He’s the strong, silent type and boy does he have that something.

Who is your favorite hero of all time, and is he an alpha or a beta? Or maybe he’s that in between one, a gamma hero.



Follow Victoria Vane:

Romance Novelist

VICTORIA VANE is an award-winning author of smart and sexy romance with works ranging from wild comedic romps to emotionally compelling erotic romance. Her books have received more than twenty awards and nominations to include the 2014 RONE Award for Treacherous Temptations and Library Journal Best E-Book romance of 2012 for The Devil DeVere series. She lives the beautiful upstate of South Carolina with her husband, two sons, a little black dog, and an Arabian horse.

22 Responses

  1. Victoria Vane

    Hi Sandra! Loved the post and the excerpt! As for my favorites, Jamie Fraser from Outlander is one of the very best heroes I have ever read. After that, I admit am exceedingly prejudiced toward my own Georgian bad boy, Ludovic “the Devil” DeVere.

    • Sandra Owens

      Believe it or not, Victoria, I’ve never read Outlander. I keep meaning to, and will. Maybe it will be my reward for getting these edits done. I love that your hero is one of your favorites. That’s how is should be!

  2. allybroadfield

    Fun post, Sandra! I never thought about where “tall, dark, and handsome” came from. For me, it’s a toss up between Mr. Darcy and Captain Wentworth.

    • Sandra Owens

      That one’s a tough call, Ally. I’m not sure I could pick between them either. Good choices though.

  3. ginaconkle2013

    Hi Sandy,
    My first ever tall, dark, and handsome was Wulf from Dream of Me (yes, a Viking). For me tall, dark, and handsome means the dark hair since you can have tall, blonde, and handsome. For that kind of hero, there was Wulfgar from The Wolf and the Dove. Wulfgar came before Wulf and I’m laughing because there’s a lot of “wolf-ness” going on here. I even have an upcoming hero with the moniker “Black Wolf” (not his real name). Love your biker heroes! And I can’t say no to hot military men, be they SEALs, former SEALs, marines, army…

    Thanks for the fun post-

    • Sandra Owens

      Love all your Wulfs/Wolfs Gina. 🙂 Although I’ve never heard it said before, I like tall, blond and handsome….I’ll have to use that sometime.

  4. B.J. Scott

    Great post and excerpt Sandra. Love my hero tall dark and handsome, but gotta say I prefer to see him on a horse brandishing a sword. Believe it or not I have never read the Outlander series yet either and I write Scottish historicals lol But will when I find a free minute. HA! that is not going to be anytime soon, but really do want to read the books. At least no one can accuse me of copying her ideas lol

    • Sandra Owens

      I’m rather fond myself of heroes on a horse brandishing a sword, B.J. Especially if he’s wearing a kilt. 😀

  5. NancyS.Goodman

    You think I can name only one? Well I’ll go for two. Damon de Wolfe in Danelle Harmon’s Wicked at Heart was my first true alpha love. But Lorraine Heath’s Lord Tristan Easton from Lord of Temptation is equally as swoon-worthy. anytime I want a hot man fix, I go to them, although having read both of your hero books, they sure do come close. You know I love my tortured men..

    • Sandra Owens

      Nancy, I do know you like your tortured men, and I also know you write some mighty fine ones!!! I need to read Danelle’s Lord of Temptation.

  6. kimmaccarron

    I loved your post. I agree about that “elusive something.” That’s the key. Any man can be good looking, but it’s more than that. It’s a self-assuredness mixed with sexiness, kindness and a touch of vulnerability. For me, I couldn’t really choose my favorite hero. One of my first heroes was Rhett Butler, so I’ll have to throw him into it. I adore (and lust over the idea of) Reyes Farrow in Darynda Jones’s FIRST GRAVE series. I also loved Clayton Westmoreland in Judith McNaught’s WHITNEY, MY LOVE. Loved him!!! Although I always loved all of her heroes (especially historical), he was one of my all-time favorites. And for another contemporary, Kristan Higgins’s Trevor Meade in JUST ONE OF THE GUYS is so sweet! I don’t consider him an alpha though. The other ones definitely are. I must have a thing for the alphas. Hmmmm. Never realized that. lol. Thanks for a great post! And your biker SEAL dude seems like a yummy character. Can’t wait to read that one. Curious whether Amazon will make that recommendation for you, like they did your other books. lol. 🙂

  7. Sandra Owens

    Hi Kim. Thanks so much for stopping by. It’s great to see a Lucky 13 here. I loved Westmoreland in WHITNEY, MY LOVE, too. In fact, now that you’ve reminded me of it and it’s been a while since I read it, I’m wanting to read it again. As for Amazon recommending CRAZY FOR HER, since I’m writing for Montlake Romance now, I’m thinking it’s a safe bet they will. Well, I hope so, anyway.

    • Sandra Owens

      That’s what Ally said, Wendy. 🙂 I thought he was pretty awesome, but Darcy even more so. 🙂

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