Heroes and their Tools (and by Tools, I Mean Guns)
Melissa Cutler here, and lately I’ve been thinking about what makes a man a Real Man. I know, as opposed to what…an Old Navy mannequin? The thing is, when you live and breathe romance novels, you spend a lot of time pondering rippling abs, cocky confidence, and that low-down rumbling laugh that turns me melty. You know what else a real man needs, at least a hero in my books? Tools.
And by tools, I mean guns.
You can count on my heroes to be packing heat, whether they carry a shotgun under the driver’s seat of their truck or a pistol in a shoulder holster. To be clear, I’m not trying to get political. Guns in the real world are scary and deadly and not at all necessary for a man to prove his manliness, but in my fantasy world of romance novels, I like firepower. Lots and lots of firepower.
What you need to know about me…
When I was twenty, what first impressed me about by the man who’d become my husband was that at the sporting goods store we both worked at he was the one with the keys to the gun case. That’s right, ladies—forget team sports or footwear! I wanted the man who managed the hunting, fishing, and outdoor department. One night after the store closed, he unlocked the case and let me handle the guns. (pun intended <grin>) It was the first time I’d touched anything more powerful than an ancient hunting rifle. Needless to say, all that brushed chrome and hard, smooth steel got my blood pumping. Then he let me hold a Desert Eagle .44 magnum semi-automatic…and I was a gonner.
I don’t think I’m alone in this fascination about men with guns, judging by the box office success of action films like the Bourne Trilogy or James Bond movies. There’s something inherently sexy about a man with a gun in his hand or strapped to his body. But it’s more than the look that gets me going. Gun-handling skills indicate a deeper sex appeal of a man who holds his own in the world with the kind of self-sufficiency money can’t buy. A man with a commanding physical presence who defends himself, his family, and his beliefs with his hands, his skills, and a heaping dose of confidence.
You know what kind of men that sounds like? Soldiers
And that has a lot to do with why I love writing them. I want to spend my page time with men who can take care of themselves and their women no matter what life throws their way. In TEMPTED INTO DANGER, my latest Harlequin Romantic Suspense, the hero is an alpha brute of a soldier who’s not that great with the ladies but, holy smokes, is he is good with his guns. I think you’ll agree…
Though his olive complexion and dark eyes spoke to Latino roots, she’d known he was American before he’d said a single word in that New Jersey accent she became so familiar with during college. It was evident in the way he held himself, the cock-sure set of his shoulders and the way his lips moved when he scowled. Even the crooked angle of his nose, most likely the result of a bad break, looked American somehow.
“I take it you’re not arresting me?”
“Like I said, I’m just the chauffeur.”
She studied what she could see of him from where she crouched on the floor. Beneath the wound that had gnarled his flesh, he had muscles that started in his neck and extended through his shoulders as thick and strong as the roots of a tree. The biceps of the arm on the steering wheel, the arm that had carried her effortlessly, strained against the fabric of his shirt.
Unexpected attraction pulsed through her. She could practically smell the testosterone rolling off his body. His massive bruiser of a physique took up all the air in the car, pressing into her awareness, calling forth an ancient, wholly feminine part of her that hadn’t surfaced since she used to steal glances at her father’s football players after practice, sweaty and brutish as they lumbered to the locker room.
This man was no athlete. His skills, guns and tough Jersey accent told a different story. He said he worked for the government, so there was only one possible explanation. She poked her head higher to look at the side of his face. “It’s been a while since I’ve lived stateside, but when did they start calling American soldiers chauffeurs? That some kind of new code word?”
He glanced at her through the rearview mirror. Though all she could see were his eyes and the side of his cheek, she knew he was smiling. “That’s just me playing it close to the vest, like I’m trying to teach you.”
“You’re going with stick with the chauffeur story? You must be super top secret. Wait—are you part of SEAL Team Six?”
He strummed his fingers on the steering wheel. “You know how you can tell I’m not part of SEAL Team Six? Because you’ve heard of SEAL Team Six. What I am, you don’t need to worry about.”
From the back cover:
When a simple mission to deliver the beautiful and brilliant Vanessa Crosby to a safe house goes horribly wrong, ICE agent Diego Santero’s life gets complicated. Keeping the anti-crime analyst safe from the notorious mercenaries after her program will put everything he’s worked for at risk. Relentlessly hunted and not knowing whom to trust, Diego takes Vanessa on the run, deep into the heart of the deadly Panamanian rainforest. Vanessa reminds herself that she’s just another asset to the ruggedly handsome black ops agent…until their intense situation leads to a release of passion neither expected. But even if they make it out alive, how can they ever have a future together?
Giveaway: I’m giving away a copy (print or digital) of my backlist title, SEDUCTION UNDER FIRE, to one commenter, so tell me: who’s your favorite action-adventure hero of a book, TV show, or movie? *Giveaway open until 6/20/13 at 11:59 pm EST. Open internationally! Print for US/Canada and e-copy for international*
What’s worse? Being held hostage by a Mexican drug cartel or being held hostage by that cartel with the one man you passionately hate? Camille Fisher, a brainy, tough-as-they-come cop, can’t believe she’s daring to escape with her too-hot nemesis, Aaron Montgomery. But once she outsmarts their brutal captors, the danger’s just beginning.
Racing across the Mexican desert, Camille begins to glimpse the surprisingly decent man behind the boorish cad. With cartel hit men closing in, she tries hard to ignore her needful heart-and harder to resist the temptation threatening to do them both in…
My thanks to Ramblings From a Chaotic Mind for hosting me today. I love hearing from readers and am really easy to find at www.melissacutler.net, on Facebook (www.facebook.com/MelissaCutlerBooks ), and Twitter (@m_cutler). And you can always email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or sign up for my newsletter (http://www.melissacutler.net/newsletter/ ) to find out about my latest books and upcoming events.
Melissa Cutler is a flip-flop wearing Southern California native living with her husband, two rambunctious kids, and two suspicious cats in beautiful San Diego. Three things you should probably know about her are: she believes Judith from Julie Garwood’s The Secret is the most perfect heroine in all of literature (sorry, Elizabeth Bennett), she’s traveled to more countries in the world than states in the U.S., and she’s certain that there are actually only two types of food in existence—those that taste better with hot sauce and those that taste better with whipped cream.