A fun benefit that comes out of reading and/or writing romance stories is The Book Boyfriend. He's the guy you've always dreamed of knowing – you know the one: that perfect male specimen who rides in on his white stallion to save the day at the most perfectly timed moment.
Depending upon your preferences, he's charming, he dedicated, he's wealthy, he's generous, he's obviously drop-dead handsome, and hopefully… he's a lot of fun to be around. There are all kinds of book boyfriends. Some are paranormal heroes, some live in the old west; there are billionaires, bikers, bad-boys, alpha males, sports stars, movie stars… the list goes on and on and so do the genres.
I have a lot of book boyfriends. For years my family has "known" Sonny like he was a living, breathing member of our household. I first met Sonny in the late 80s when I wrote Bend in the Circle. Sonny's a cynical cop who will take you down or prop you up depending upon which direction the wind is blowing. He'd be hard to live with on a daily basis because he sees the world in black and white – and your shades of grey aren't going to change his mind about anything. And don't even think about telling him a white lie – you will not get away with it. But the upside with Sonny – when his vulnerable side surfaces, watch out – he's a tender teddy-bear who will have your back no matter the personal cost.
Sonny was my best book boyfriend for decades – literally. My whole family accepted Sonny as the invisible man in our house. He was always there! But life can be fickle, and true to life, when I met Ian in Something to Remember in 2018… my heart was stolen and I quickly forgot about Sonny.
Ian is a dependable and capable attorney. He's a savvy survivor with a heart of stone, but if you're lucky enough to wiggle your way into his inner most circle you'll discover his heart is actually full of soft putty. Ian gets into my head. The other day I teasingly smarted off to my dog and said, "Try and behave yourself while I'm gone." And then I laughed because that was Ian mouthing off to the dog, not me. Ian's a cool cat. He's a bit too arrogant and way too overly confident, but I adore his smug self because his soft side is so loving, and he's very dedicated to his loved ones. You can count on Ian. Period. Ian knows how to survive life, and he can put it all in order for you… if you've carelessly allowed your life to fall apart. Ian's my go-to guy. He never leaves my head.
For a minute – long ago – Connor was my guy. I met him in Travesty of Justice in 1996 – after my affair with Sonny but before I fell in love with Ian. Connor guilted me into trying harder. He made me want to strive to do better. He's mercilessly judgmental and not very bendable when it comes to accepting opposing views. But he's delightful in his wit and insightful in his perspectives – I'm challenged by the things that he says! He makes me think, and being guilted into being better, isn't bad, is it? Connor is like a mentor. He calls it like he sees it, but he means no harm when he tosses you a contrary opinion. He's delightfully Irish and delightfully old fashioned. And he'll make you scream with frustration as often as you smile with optimism.
Kris was my first book boyfriend. I met him in In Cadence Love. He's the one who opened the door for all of my other book boyfriends. Kris is bigger than life. He's a rock star who climbed out of my typewriter in the early 80s and has been in my heart ever since. He's a horribly chauvinistic Vietnam veteran who challenges my military beliefs and inspires my creative leanings. Kris is a poet and a fighter. He's a musician and a lover. He knows who he is and he has a purpose in life. And honestly, his chauvinism is romantic – and he can be taught about equality and women's rights. Kris is a keeper. I like revisiting him.
I've had lots of book boyfriends. Sometimes I juggle more than one at a time. (You can do that with a book boyfriend without getting yourself in trouble!) But I'm not the only one in my family who enjoys my book boyfriends. I have a sister who is literally in love with Connor. She talks about Connor like he's part of our family – and as I said before, everyone knows Sonny. Even the family members who have never met him! They feel like they know him through the rest of us because he's become such a part of our lives for so long. In fact, just the other day he unexpectedly surfaced in a telephone conversation. My husband recently read Bend in the Circle for the first time, and when he called me yesterday after leaving for work, he teasingly ended the call with, "I love you darlin'." That made me laugh because my husband has never called me darlin'… ever… but Sonny would call me darlin' – and that's exactly what happened at the end of that call – because Sonny was in my husband's head.
Book boyfriends can lift you up and give you hope. Their mistakes become forgivable, their intentions noble, and their dependability unquestionable. My book boyfriends always have life struggles. They're flawed and imperfect, and they definitely make mistakes that can make you cringe. That makes them human. And yet… they're perfect boyfriends with all of their imperfections. I love my book boyfriends.
Who's your best book boyfriend, and why?