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Why bad boys are so hot

By: Leah Hultenschmidt, Senior Editor

So what exactly do Eric Northman (True Blood), Tim Riggins (Friday Night Lights) and Don Draper (Mad Men) have in common? Besides being hot?

They're all bad boys.

We all know there's just something about that bad boy. The best heroes in romance novels all have a bit of bad-boy in them. Why the enduring appeal?

1. The element of danger. With a bad boy, you never quite know what you're going to get. He's unpredictable. There's a risk in placing your trust with him because you're not totally sure he's worthy of it. I mean, deep down you know he is...right? He doesn't conform to society and makes no apologies about it. He's exciting and adventurous and he ups the thrill for whoever he's with.

2. For the right woman, he is redeemable. Everyone else sees him as a rogue, a danger, someone to beware. But for just the right heroine who can see the good at heart, he is loyal and fiercely protective. Who doesn't want that bit of ego-trip to know they've achieved the unattainable?

3. He's the ultimate man. Sometimes it's because he's a fighter. Sometimes it's because there's some amazing charisma that charms women straight to his bed. Or maybe he's a total mogul. But this guy is full of testosterone, able to be tough when he needs to be, yet tender when it counts.

The trick to a bad boy is making sure he has just the right touch of good. Because that's a hero we can fall in love with.

And since we're on a theme of hot, it doesn't get hotter than bad-boy Joe Rafferty in the kitchen from Amanda Usen's upcoming SCRUMPTIOUS (January). I have an ARC to give away for one lucky commenter. Just tell me who's your favorite bad boy and why.

Joe Rafferty is just as mouthwatering as the food he cooks. But if he thinks he’s going to waltz in and take over her kitchen, he’s denser than a thick slice of chocolate-ripple cheesecake. Marly has invested too much of her life in Chameleon to hand off the restaurant to someone else—especially a cocky-as-all-get-out superstar chef. But there’s no denying the man knows how to light her fire. Question is: Can she have the sizzle without feeling the burn?

Contest closes Aug. 31.


  1. While dark and wounded heroes bring out the nurturer in a woman’s soul, I also think that they ignite the naughty spark in a woman’s spirit! There is something about them, even though you may try to remain proper, that makes you want to show your own naughty self : ) They certainly won’t reproach you for letting down your hair and giving in to temptation! Bad boys are just as delicious and delectable as that last piece of chocolate fudge cake that you devour in the dark on a midnight kitchen raid! Fallen Angels are also delicious bad boys, especially when they have a few surprises tucked beneath their wings : ) Even on the road to redemption, they manage to be nice and naughty! Whether earthly, unearthly, or somewhere in-between, Fallen Angels take romance reads to new heights : )

    There are so many wonderful and unique male celebrities who are fantastic hero material! Whether they star on the big screen, the stage, or TV, whether they are considered a leading man or a character actor, they each have something special that makes them irresistible. However, the one male star who currently has it all, and who will only get better with time, is Gerard Butler. Rough around the edges, sometimes raw, always very real. Not a pretty boy. A gorgeous man. A green-eyed Scottish devil with more charm and talent than one man needs. Working hard, staying at the top of the list, providing jobs and income for many people that he will never meet. Always in the public eye. Every shining moment and every shade of embarrassment there for all the world to see. Frustration at what it means to have it all, what it takes to keep it all. A complex man who is larger than life, loves his family, loves his dog, is close to his “Mum”, and finds he can no longer be just Gerry hanging out with his chums. Giving back when others are in need. Sharing his golden talent. Making mistakes and being wonderfully human and imperfect. THANK GOD!!! He is a HUNK–a hunk of man, and a hunk of humanity.

  2. Just tell me one thing: Does chocolate syrup get an acknowledgement somewhere in this book? Really, really good chocolate syrup?

    My favorite bad boy? Wrath, from JR Ward's first Black Dagger Brotherhood novel, "Dark Lover." He's cranky, weary, a reluctant king, and doesn't see very well--with his eyes. Turn out the lights, though...

  3. Oh, oh, bad boys! Love them, especially in cowboy boots, Stetson hat and scuffed up cowboy boots...Sam Elliott comes to mind with his deep drawl, but my new favorite is Raylen Givens (Timothy Oliphant) from Justified.
    Love the Scrumptious title and the cover! He surely does look like a bad boy in the flesh!

  4. Funny we're talking about chefs. I think one of my favorite real-life, barely-reformed bad boys is Anthony Bourdain, that snarky, foul-mouthed, lanky tinsel-haired devil. Having followed his work for about a decade, his hard living rough edges have been smoothed out a bit recently by remarriage and middle-aged fatherhood. Listening to him cuss out Ronald McDonald on his tiny daughter's nutritional behalf kinda melts my heart. ;-)

    Grace, good call on Wrath. Wowza.

  5. Virginia C - Mmm, I'm with you on the fallen angels. In fact, one of my next giveaways will likely be for a book featuring them, so do stay tuned...

  6. Grace - Oooh, I'd take any of those Black Dagger Brothers. Though I think my fave is Zsadist. The "I love you" in that one made me cry. Having that dichotomy between tough and tender is another one of those bad-boy traits.

  7. Leah, you are so right. Who doesn't love a boy heroes! Sandra Brown is my favorite for writing bad boy heroes.

  8. My favorite bad boys are Eric Northman & Damon Salvatore.


  9. What a fabulous post, Leah! There truly is something so alluring about a bad boy, and you articulated that certain sumthin-sumthin so well!

    My favorite bad boy is Richard Armitage as John Thornton in the BBC production of Elizabeth Gaskell's "North & South." He's feral, unmannered, and angry. He's a self-made man who is conscious of not being considered a 'real' gentleman by society. But under the harsh exterior, there's a big heart lurking there, waiting for the right lion-tamer. (I'm a fan of Richard Armitage who tends to get cast in bad boy roles. His Guy of Gisborne in "Robin Hood" made the thing worth watching--dressed in black leather, wielding a sword and sneering, what's not to love.)

    Thanks for making me think of hot bad boys today!

  10. Bad boy are pretty darn appealing. I have always been drawn to the dark, tormented ones who act bad but really have the biggest heart. All my favourite bad boys happen to be characters in stories and they include Zsadist from the Black Dagger Brotherhood series and Barrons from the Fever series. To be fair, these "men" (ahem...or paranormal beings in these cases) kill to protect so really their heart is in the right place. They may take matters in their own hands for the better of the world.

    Also, men who can cook are especially hot! A man who is handy in the kitchen is an everyday hero to me.

  11. Please for Christ sake help this poor boy from Haiti

  12. Scrumptious looks great! I do like bad boys in books, movies and TV and two of my faves have been mentioned (Eric Northman, Raylon Givens and Don Draper) but I also have a thing for Dr. Mark "McSteamy" Sloan from Greys Anatomy

  13. Excellent topic of discussion!

    My favorite book bad boy: Wrath from JR Ward's BDB series

    My favorite TV bad boy: Damon from Vampire Diaries

    The reasoning is the same for both. They are gorgeous hunks who love deeply. Very manly men!

  14. Hee-hee. The ultimate bad boy hasn't been mentioned yet; until now. That would be those regency incorrigible rakes. Those men we want to slap & kiss and don't know which to do first. Kiss-n-slap, or slap-n-kiss.
    Now if we're talking movies, I'll take James Bond.


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