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It’s going to be hard for me to sugarcoat today’s topic but I’ll try my best to remain civil. But knowing me, I will fail miserably because today we’re talking about asshole heroes.

Yup, we’ve all encountered a few in our reading lifetime and just like in real life, those miserable bastards tend to stick with us long after they are gone. What can I say? Evil does leave a lasting impression. But the whole reason why I brought this up was because I recently read a book where the hero was a bit of a douche. The book opens up with him complaining about his life. He used to be a pro athlete but after experiencing a major injury, he was forced to retire. Now he is the coach to a high school football team, but he obviously doesn’t enjoy it. The next scene introduces the heroine who is the team’s physical therapist and as sweet as she is when she firsts meets him, the guy disregards her as quickly as she is introduced. He also interrupts her every time she speaks and even belittles her too. All this occurs in the first couple of chapters in the book and immediately, I’m turned off.

I don’t like heroes who think they are better than everyone else and it’s also very important to like how a hero treats, not only a potential love interest, but all the other women around him. Respect is important to me. I’m also not into heroes who dictate things and just expect others to follow through. And I hate it when a hero become too possessive and controlling to the point where they essentially become a guard dog around you, barking at everything and everyone that comes in your path.

Confidence is sexy but cockiness is a major turn off. There’s also a fine line when it comes to women vying for his attention and when the man actually gives women his attention. All eyes should actually be on his heroine! I mean, this is a Romance book for God’s sakes! Don’t go cheating or sleeping with other people in the book even if things aren’t official yet! That doesn’t win any points with me.

I know there are plenty more out there that likely peeve readers off but those are just some of mine. I would LOVE to know your thoughts and what characteristics or actions that you’ve seen heroes do in books that you absolutely hated.

Is there a hero you’ve read that you didn’t like? What made you dislike him? What do you hope authors ditch the next time they try to come up with the hottest new alpha hero for their books?




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Aislinn Kearns

I absolutely agree with you. This is a dealbreaker for me, too! I particularly like your point that it’s in the way he treats the other women around him, too. No point in him making an ‘exception’ for the heroine. He’d still be a jerk. Arrogance is not appealing.

And fidelity, too. That’s important.

Under the Covers Book Blog

I’m so glad we’re on the same page!

Kathleen Bylsma

I agree….and yes, to fidelity…no oopsies….respect and attention must be paid….

Under the Covers Book Blog

LOL! Yes, no oopsies!!!

Jean-ann Stump

I have read a few romances where the hero is a complete jerk and the justifications for his behavior are just not good enough. I don’t know if I am allowed to same the name a particular author so I will just say she is a popular and prolific author of historical romance. In a few of her books she has had the hero rape the heroin and then later the woman will for some reason forgive him. I do not understand this. In one particular book the reason the hero is a jerk is because a former fiance cheated… Read more »

Under the Covers Book Blog

Wow! That story doesn’t feel familiar to me, but I can’t imagine rape ever being acceptable to me. That’s a huge no-no!!!!


One of my pet peeves is the hero that assumes that he’s so irresistible that the heroine will just fall over him, even if he’s a total jerk to her. That’s just not attractive to me. Of course, I also dislike heroines that fall all over the hero, even when he acts like a total jerk.

Under the Covers Book Blog

That’s a good point! It’s not just the hero. Sometimes the heroine can be irritating as well. And if they both are terrible…well, that’s just not a good book lol


This is why I have such a hard time with Kristen Ashley’s books. It seems the men have all been burned by an ex, and they treat them like shit. They’re rude and belittling to the point of being unforgivable, and all I can think is what if the heroine pushes his buttons one day? Will he treat her like that too? It’s very unattractive.


Yes! I only read one of her books but it was a major turn off

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Good points, Angie. I’ve read and enjoyed a lot of KA books but I can totally see what you mean. Her heroes are very different from others that’s for sure and I know others who don’t enjoy them as well. There’s def a fine line and sometimes it’s easier for some authors to cross it than others.


I so agree with you Annie!

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I’m so glad I’m not the only one, Timitra!

Sophia Rose

I tend to be less patient and more critical with heroines, but yeah, there are some heroes that have been royal pains in the patoosh and I just wanted to thump them. I don’t care if the guy is alpha or gets protective, but I do care that there is respect. While my mind knows it’s technically not cheating, I don’t like it if the guy is attracted to or with someone else once the heroine and he made a connection. I definitely don’t go for cheating. I get annoyed by the commitophobes and the ones who are hot and… Read more »

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Hot and cold! That’s one that hasn’t been mentioned before! I hate this! PICK A SIDE, buddy!


OMG this is exactly how I felt reading meredith wild’s hacker series and jodi ellen malpas’s this man series…the male characters as well as the female characters

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Oh really? I haven’t read either of the series but thanks for the info. Now I know!

Amy R

I agree with you, I dislike douche bag heroes and heroines. There is definitely a fine line between an aggressive alpha and a cocky bastard.

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Thank you, and what’s terrible is that this seems so prevalent in so many books! Ugh!


Okay I was at the store when I read this on my phone so I hauled butt back to the house to get on the laptop in order to be able to type a better response. I so agree with you. Here’s the way I judge the heroes in romance: If this guy were real, would he be a man I could fall for? Cause let me tell you, a man who doesn’t see me as an equal, who thinks it’s okay to control me, boss me around like I was a naive child, or who is so insecure that… Read more »

Under the Covers Book Blog

LOL, Adria! This is the best comment so far! Not only have you made me laugh, but you’ve got be cheering as well. I’m SO with you!! And now that you’ve mentioned it, I think I’ll be writing a part two about things I hate in a heroine! Thanks so much for the suggestion! x


I will definitely keep a look out for that one because I’m curious to see if you and I share some of the same pet peeves. And if I’m at the store well then I’ll be hauling butt again to get to the laptop cause that itty bitty phone keyboard isn’t going to cut it.


Fantastic post!!! If the guy is a douche there needs to be a REALLY good reason and that reason needs to be introduced before any negative flaws. And again that reason better fit the level of doucheness or they’ve lost me. Life is too short.

Under the Covers Book Blog

Absolutely! I’ve read some books that try to redeem a hero for nearly the entire book and at the end, I sometimes don’t feel like its enough. I’m very interested to see what books/heroes have been douches in the past but readers have come to love. The first one that pops into my head is Jericho Barrons from KMM’s Fever series. I initially wanted to mention him in this post, but I kept going on and on about why I love him and ended up cutting it out. But he’s certainly a hero I enjoy reading about, douche or not.… Read more »

Nicola Smith

Yup, yup, and yup. This whole topic of what it REALLY means to be dominant and confident is such an interesting one because it’s quite a recent thing. You don’t have to go very far back in Romance lit history to find almost all the heroes were like this, but now I see a real sea change and fierce debates about what strong male and strong female characters mean, what a healthy relationship looks like, what dominance and submission really are and what they’re not. These are great debates to be having. We desperately need to be discussing what a… Read more »

Under the Covers Book Blog

I do too. It’s so important to enjoy things but still know that what you’re doing/what you’re reading is good for you. I want my books tohave healthy relationships, not troubled ones. I don’t care that they are fiction. Books need to stand for something too.

Dear Annie, Your discussion oh heroes is really interesting. I have had 8 stories published by Extasy, which, I feel, have sensitive, considerate heroes. I am happy to send details thereof