(And It's Not Why You Think)
by Kate Carlisle
I'm thrilled to welcome my friend, bestselling author Susan Mallery to the lair today! Susan's latest series, Fool's Gold romances, launched recently with the release of Chasing Perfect. As always she managed to make me laugh throughout the book while delivering a story with a real emotional punch.
Admit it. You saw the title of this post – Why Athletes Make Such Yummy Heroes – and your mind immediately went to the muscles. Then, of course, you lingered. Because seriously, who wouldn’t want to linger a while on an athlete’s muscles? The long, lean muscles of an Olympic swimmer, the shadowed hills and valleys of a football player’s arms...Sigh.
But I honestly don’t believe that muscles are the most important reason why we love our athlete heroes so much. It goes deeper than that. The contemporary athlete hero archetype has a lot in common with knights and warriors of days gone by. These are leaders of men, conquerors.Here are just a few of the traits I find so appealing.
When a man excels at something, his confidence soars in all areas of his life, and a confident man is a good man to have around. There’s something very appealing about a little swagger. He’s not afraid to try new things. No, our athlete relishes the opportunity to conquer new challenges, to learn new skills. Confidence puts a sparkle in a man’s eye. When he flirts, no woman can resist his charms.
A professional athlete rises to the top of his profession after a lifetime of practice and hard work. Lucky is the woman who is on the receiving end that focus and dedication! An athlete hero is a terrific lover – he won’t quit, by God, until he gets the job done!
The athlete hero we admire is a true gentleman, in sport and in life. He won’t do anything to win – he draws the line at breaking the rules. He wants to win, but honorably.
This sense of honor extends to other areas of his life. Or at least, it does in my books. In real life, we sometimes hear about not-so-honorable athletes. I read an article in which Tiger Woods says that he is doing the very best that he can. I don’t want to beat Tiger up any more than he has been, but that statement just strikes me as odd. How can you try not to sleep with women who are not your wife, then fail? Major disconnect there!When an athlete hero makes a commitment, he keeps it. He doesn’t cheat. He doesn’t lie. And if a woman happens to best him in verbal battle, he accepts defeat with a sense of humor… and renewed determination to take her down next time they spar.
Our hero has been part of a team since he was a small child starting out in organized sports. So when he falls in love, he immediately accepts that he and his woman are a team. He has her back. They work together, and he will gladly carry his share of the load. He looks out for her. When she looks overworked or tired, he’ll make sure she takes a time-out. He will do anything to protect his love (and their children, when the time comes.) The sense of security that comes with knowing a man will do anything to protect you is lovely.
And okay, yes, the muscles
I will confess, the muscles are a very nice bonus! The hero of Chasing Perfect, the first Fool’s Gold romance, is a champion cyclist in the vein of Lance Armstrong. Josh Golden won two yellow shirts in the Tour de France. He made a good living as a cyclist, but he became rich through endorsement contracts. Advertisers know the selling power of a cyclist’s muscular, uh… legs.
Poor Charity Jones can’t escape Josh no matter where she goes – the women of Fool’s Gold have posters of him all over town. Charity’s assistant even has a Josh Golden screensaver. I’ll let you read the book to discover exactly what the screensaver shows… and why it makes Charity blush.
Visit the Fool’s Gold website, www.foolsgoldca.com, to learn more about Josh, Charity, and the rest of the gang in The Land of Happy Endings. While you’re there, send a free epostcard to a friend!
Who are some of your favorite athlete heroes? Why do you like them so much? Which athletes in real life do you think would make good romance novel heroes? Why?