Thursday, February 22, 2007

Love & Lies

Manipulative men – in real life, any man who would use or play games with me would find himself in the hospital getting my foot surgically removed from their rear end. In romance, however, the men who manipulate, while often walking the fine line between good and bad (but not evil), are often so darn sexy that I just don’t care. True, their heroines often give these men their comeuppance, but what is it about these romance bad boys that send shivers down my spine?

Case and point: I just finished reading Lora Leigh’s Harmony’s Way (which is a fantastic book, by the way) and one of the main secondary characters, Jonas Wyatt, completely captured my attention. For those not familiar with Leigh’s Breed series, in a nutshell Jonas is a Lion Breed (scientifically created humans with animal DNA spliced in – a very oversimplified definition) who can and will lie, scheme, and manipulate anyone and everyone in order to ensure the safety of his race. He, like all the other Breeds, has a very tortured past which we don’t know much about. In the books he has been in (Kiss of Heat, The Breed Next Door, Megan’s Mark, and Harmony’s Way), Jonas doesn’t hesitate to use others to get his way. Despite all this, I couldn’t help but absolutely fall for him and he’s become my favorite of Leigh’s Breeds, second only to the delicious Bengal Breed Cabal.

Another of those sexy manipulators is Rehvenge from J.R. Ward’s Black Dagger Brotherhood series. Rehv is part vampire, part sympath and has the ability to manipulate the emotions of those around him, which if you’ve read Lover Awakened, you know he will do in order to get what information he wants. While Rehv has just a touch of evil in him, his absolute love for his mother and sister, and his kindness towards another vampire, Marissa, made my heart melt for him when I might have otherwise wanted to kick him.

What about heroes who manipulate their one true love? In Kresley Cole’s A Hunger Like No Other, Lachlain, a werewolf, doesn’t hesitate to bully and manipulate his heroine, Emmaline (who’s half valkyrie, half vampire), to get her to stay with him. But his schemes are tempered by his growing love for Emma and the fact that he’d spent well over a century being tortured by the king of the vampires. If you’re a fan of historicals, Chirstina Dodd’s latest, The Prince Kidnaps a Bride, has a hero, Rainger, who deceives and manipulates his heroine, Sorcha, to get what he wants. Again, Rainger had spent years being tortured by his enemies, and his goal is to save his kingdom from the hands of an evil usurper.

So I leave you lovely readers with these questions:
Do manipulative men in romance novels make you swoon or make you sick?
Does there have to be a reason behind their actions (ex: in my case most of them have tortured pasts or are trying to protect their people)?
Who are your favorite manipulative men?


Anonymous said...

hi Kat,

It depends on whether the manipulative man has captured my heart.
There are extenuating circumstances to letting a man be domineering. I can understand Jonas's motivations for the safety and protection of his race, but I could not condone that he did not trully trust his sister and her capability of managing her emotions. Isn't she just as invested in saving her race.

I hope LL gives Jonas a really hard time so I can forgive him.

Alpha Men will try to control a relationship (testosterone does that). You need a kick arse heroine to balance it out. That old yig yang thing.


Anonymous said...

I love machiavellian men. I dont think there is enough of em in romances.

Great blog topic.

I love the way Adam scared away all the heroine's would-be lovers in Hern's IN THE THRILL OF THE NIGHT. "The Rod" is such a classic.

Also, one of my favorite heroes of all time -- that darling bookworm Jack Langdon -- proved that he wasnt above a little con himself.

Anonymous said...

Hi Kat!
Have only read two of the books mentioned, and yeah I found myself making allowances for extenuating circumstances. Of course I tend to think the best of people in RL,and will usaully give someone (usually family member) a second chance(and 3rd,4th,5th,...)even when they've proven they can't be trusted. I know, I need help,LOL!

LD Ferris said...

We love 'em Kat because they are everything that we fantasize about, but the last thing that we'd want to live with everyday! Like you said, in our real lives someone like Jonas or Rhev would be in serious trouble if they did what they do in the books.

I love to read about them, dream about them, fantasize that they could be with me; but I don't think I could really handle them if they were with me everyday (physically - I mean all the romance novel men stay in my mind).

Anonymous said...

Anyone really manipulative is not a person I generally like. But I've never really thought about it in the context of a book. Either all the men have been non-manipulative or it hasn't bothered me if they were. I'll keep closer watch on my reading.