Confession: Although I tell people that Beauty and the Beast was my favourite fairy tale/Disney film, the film I actually watched the most was probably The Jungle Book. Although it has been years since I have watched the Disney animation I still look back at it with warm nostalgia. It seemed like so much fun! Swinging through the jungle with my animal buddies, not having to worry about school or eating my carrots; bliss.
I am now older (and wiser?) and although my Disney days are behind me (kind of) I find that a lot of the books I enjoy can still be traced back to certain themes within those films. Today, I am looking at The Jungle Book. More specifically Mowgli. My childhood crush was the wild boy who kicked around the jungle with his singing animal buddies. As an adult, although you can probably cut out the singing animals, there’s still something about a man raised wild that gets my knickers in a twist.
You know the kind of hero I mean. He doesn’t quite understand social rules. He’s intense. Strangely innocent. He says what he’s thinking, no matter how appropriate. He finds his soulmate and pursues. My hearts all aflutter. I know I am not the only person who loves this wild type of hero, so I am going to recommend my favourites across the genres and hopefully you can give me some recommendations of your own.
The paranormal romance genre has plenty of untamed and wicked heroes to chose from. However, I am looking for a particular kind of untouched-by-humanity type of wild. When I was mentally scrolling through book in my head, there were a few heroes that stood out.
Firstly, we have Malkom Slaine from Demon from the Dark by Kresley Cole. When we meet Malkom he living rough in a cave and seems to have forgotten his past. He is fierce and primitive and his idea of courtship is gifting his mate with heads:
He’d swiftly collected those monsters’ heads, tying them together with a piece of the rope she’d hoped never to see again, then strung them over his shoulder. Periodically, he offered his catch to her.
“No, no, I have a pair just like them at home,” she’d said. “I would just regift them.”
But, beneath his caveman thinking he is strangely…sweet and clueless and so the Vemon swiftly made a place for himself in my book boyfriend shelf.
Next up we have Naasir from Archangel’s Enigma by Nalini Singh. Naasir may secretly be my favourite amongst my recommendations. Before his book we didn’t know very much about him, but by the end of the book I was completely in love. He was sleek and dangerous, but playful and once he’s decided your one of his people, he’s loyal to the end.
“Why would you say I shouldn’t wait for you?” It was a snarl. “If you’re mine, you’re mine. And I’m yours. Today, tomorrow, always.”
Finally we have William Wolf from Bayou Moon by Ilona Andrews, who is one of my favourite authors. William is a changeling and as such people both want to use him but are afraid of him. Being afraid of William is probably quite prudent, he doesn’t quite understand social conventions and killing is all he knows. However, when he meets someone who deals with her crazy and wild family every day, for the first time he finds somewhere he fits.
William looked away from her. “I don’t like it when you’re away. If I don’t see you, I can’t settle down. If I see you talking with another man, I want to claw his throat out. And none of the things you’re supposed to say fit.”
Oh, this had to be good. “What sort of things?”
He sighed. “The lines. Like, ‘You’re my everything,’ or ‘Did it hurt when you fell from heaven?”
Contemporary Romance and Historical Romance
Contemporary romance and historical romance don’t quite lend themselves to the wild man hero in the same way paranormal romance does. However, that doesn’t mean I don’t have a couple of recommendations for you.
To begin we have Lord Ian Mackenzie from The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie by Jennifer Ashley. Although Ian is a Lord, due to having Aspergers his father sent him to an asylum when he was young. As such, he not only has to contend with Aspergers in a society that has no understanding of it, he also had to suffer through a hellish childhood locked away and isolated. These have made Ian a unique character, direct and incapable of lying Ian very succinctly gets right to the heart of things.
“We don’t fit in, you and me,” he said. “We’re both oddities no one knows what to do with. But we fit together.” He took her hand, pressed her palm to his, then laced their fingers through each other’s. “We fit.”
This is the second time Kresley Cole features in these recommendations, this time it is for Dmitri Sevastyan from The Player. Dmitri has had a tough childhood riddled with abuse and lose. But, once he finds the woman he knows is his future, he is single minded and determined in his pursuit of her. His devotion, long and the way he keeps his heart wide open has made him one of my favourite heroes.
“Imagine a pitch-black room with a single candle lit in the center,” he said, his voice gone low. “The room is the world. You are the candle.”
Now on to one of my favourite genres…sci-fi romance. There were quite a few books that popped into my head when I was considering my recommendations. It’s the perfect genre for this type of hero; a fierce warrior alien hero who has no knowledge of human customs and conventions. But, I selected some of the books and series that seemed to fit best.
If you pick up any book or series by Ruby Dixon than it would fit right in. Want untamed dragons? Check out her Fireblood Dragon series. Want not-so-ruthless space pirates? Check out her Corsair series. However, the series that I am recommending is her Ice Planet Barbarians. And yes I said series. Ice Planet Barbarians is a whole series of blue behorned Mowglis. All have been living on a primitive ice planet when their lives get shaken up by the arrival of some human women. The devotion and love our heroes display for their heroines is heart warming, just what you need when you’re surround by ice!
So, I am cheating with my sci-fi romance recommendations, as my next book is also an entire series. It’s the New Species series by Laurann Dohner. Words can’t adequately express how much I adore this series. If Dohner only ever wrote in the New Species series I would be a very happy lady! The heroes in this series aren’t aliens, instead they are a species that have been engineered by amoral and evil scientists. They are a blend of human and animal and were used for horrible experiments. Until they were rescued and are now free. Living in captivity and constantly abused all their lives has made them wary, but their enthusiasm and appreciation of every new aspect of life makes them irresistible. And, when they find a mate all bets are off!
It’s another series! The Cyborg Sizzle series by Cynthia Sax. This is very similar in premise to New Species by Laurann Dohner. But instead of human/animal genetic engineering, we have cyborgs. Cyborgs the human race use as canon fodder in their wars and to perform cruel experiments on before they throw them away. But, after rebelling they start building a new life and that new life includes mate.
** Please note that Releasing Rage by Cynthia Sax, the first book in the Cyborg Sizzle series is, at the time of posting, free on Amazon. **
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Annnnnd I will stop myself there, before I start waxing lyrical about my love of historical romance and fantasy as well; no one needs to know about my elf fantasies. As you can tell, I adore and day dream about most romance genres, and my three big loves are 1) reading about romance 2) writing about romance and 3) talking about romance with my gals. Which, is why I love Under the Covers so much, I get all my bookish needs satisfied and don’t get judged when I talk about my favourite characters like they are real people. Which they are right?