Monday, September 16, 2013

Where is Philip? I want to marry him.


Congratulations to "Kristen R", the winner of Heather's giveaway. Thank you to all who participated.

I hear this question frequently. Philip is the hero in Forgive & Forget, the first book in my “Love in the Fleet” series. Philip is a Navy Lieutenant, but he is not a Navy SEAL. He is an engineer, an officer, and most definitely a gentleman. Not that Navy SEALs aren’t gentlemen, but Philip is a beta hero. A nice guy. The kind of guy who, after he meets the heroine, does the following:


He lay awake thinking about what his mom had told him for years, “Just be yourself, Philip. Be your sweet, wonderful self.” She didn’t get that guys didn’t want to be thought of as sweet or wonderful. They wanted to be men. But when he watched his buddies in action, he realized that his mom might be right, because apparently he hadn’t acquired the asshole gene. “Don’t worry,” she’d say. “When the time comes to settle down, the smart women will be looking for a man like you. The kind they can count on.”

Maybe I have a Clark Kent thing going, but I’ve always had a thing for hot nice guys. I find dependable men who behave like gentlemen to be extremely sexy and that is certainly what I’d be looking for were I in the marriage market. Back in my Navy days, my female shipmates and I had two categories for men: Nice guys and bad boys. We dated plenty of bad boys and had lots of fun, but deep down I always knew that when the time came to settle down, I would be looking for a nice guy to spend the rest of my life with. A man like my hero, Philip. Someone I could count on. 

This is why I chose to put a hot nice guy in my first romance, since most heroines are looking for a happily ever after. I receive two types of letters concerning Philip. The first are from married women who write and tell me they adore Philip because he reminds them of their husbands. They swoon over the tender things that Philip does for Hallie, although when pushed to his limits, he is not a pushover and can even uncharacteristically kick butt when necessary.

The other group of readers are the single women who are looking for a stable, responsible, tender, gentle-yet-strong man to share their lives with. They are thrilled to find a romance novel that features this kind of hero. And then they ask the question: Where is Philip? I want to marry him. 

To which, I’m sorry, I have to answer: “I already married him.”

Join Philip and Hallie below as they end their first date. (Hallie had jumped at the chance to go sailing with him and had failed to mention she was an enlisted sailor from his aircraft carrier, since it is against regulations for officers and enlisted personnel to fraternize.)


The didn’t talk in the car on the way home from the river. Just held hands and listened to classic jazz. Philip’s mouth tipped up at the corner, as if he had a secret tucked away. Probably the same one she had, with her heart thrumming like it was. Every glide of his thumb on her wrist sent shock waves through her.
Hallie liked that he was a good driver. So many guys tried to prove their manhood behind the wheel of a car; speeding, taking chances, letting the world know they were in charge. He did things like use his turn signal to change lanes, even when there was no one around. When she mentioned it to him, he shrugged and said, “Laws are there for a reason, Hallie.” 
Just her luck to fall for a rule follower.
All the way home, she worried about what she’d do when he invited her to his apartment. After those kisses during the storm and the way she’d responded, she didn’t know a guy who wouldn’t push for more. Deep down Hallie wanted to go up to his place, but no way was she going to. For starters she barely knew him and more importantly, she simply could not get any more involved. She’d use schoolwork as an excuse. 
But he never invited her up. He walked her to her door, took off his sunglasses, put his hand against the wall, and leaned close. He gave her a slow, sexy smile and said, “Thanks for going today. It was…” He paused, his eyes shining as he searched for the word. 
“Magical,” she said finishing his thought.
He leaned down and kissed her quickly and sweetly on the lips, then his eyes narrowed with confusion. Putting his finger under her chin, he tipped it into the light. “Did I do that? I’m sorry if I hurt you.” 
He rubbed his stubble. Then he freaking planted a kiss on her chin and said goodnight. The kiss on the chin was even more of a turn-on than the kisses in the rain. 
Oh, she was in deep. Philip was a perfect gentleman. 
And an officer.
From her ship.

Thanks so much for inviting me today, Maureen! I’d like to leave this question with your readers: Do you have a favorite Beta hero in fiction – or real life? What makes him special? 

Giveaway:
A free copy of Forgive & Forget will go to one lucky reader who comments. Anchors Aweigh! 

Readers can contact me at HeatherAshby.com.

Giveaway ends 11:59pm EST Sep. 16th. Please supply your email in the post. You may use spaces or full text for security. (ex. jsmith at gmail dot com) If you do not wish to supply your email, or have trouble posting, please email maureen@JustParanormalRomance.com with a subject title of JPR GIVEAWAY to be entered in the current giveaway.

32 comments:

  1. If I met a guy like Philip, I would marry him. He is more of a man that I would meet at a party or somewhere public. My life would never be exciting as most action-pack romance. It would never be a dark, tall, and mysteriously handsome that I would met at the wrong places, at the wrong time. My reality is I would met a beta male than an alpha. My life is not that exciting.

    kmccandle(at)yahoo(dot)com

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  2. I'm one of those readers who wrote Heather to tell her Philip reminds me of my husband. He's definitely my favorite beta hero of all time. And that scene from the excerpt where he kisses Hallie's chin made me fall in love with him. LOVED this book, Heather, and I can't wait for the next one!

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  3. Hi, Kai, I'm not saying that nice guys can't be exciting, but they're often not DASHING. When I look around, I see beaucoup women in happy long-term relationships with nice guys, yet the majority of romance novels feature dashing heroes. I'd love to see more nice guys featured. All I know is, If I had to choose again, I would definitely take dependable over dashing any day. To me, Prince Charming pays the bills, keeps me safe and loved, encourages me to do my thing, and walks the floors with sick children in the night. I wish you your perfect Prince Charming. As to excitement, remember that we have the power to make our own excitement. Thanks so much for stopping by, Kai.

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  4. Hi, LynDee, thanks so much for appreciating Philip in Forget Me Not. Actually, it was your comment that got me to choose this excerpt to share today. It's pretty symbolic of the kind of man Philip is. SO glad you found your Prince Charming and thanks for writing to tell me about him.

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  5. What a great excerpt, Heather! I think the alpha male is part of the fantasy - who doesn't dream about the bad boy? Philip sounds like a great guy - just like my own beta hero husband.

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    1. Hi, Abigail. Yes, the more I listen to women in successful relationships, the more I hear about awesome beta hero boyfriends and husbands. It is fun to enjoy the fantasy of dashing heroes in romance novels, but what message does it send to women who are looking for a solid, long-term, realistic relationship? Just thinking out loud and reminding authors to remember those beta males out there when they're looking for characters for their novels. Thanks for stopping by and be sure to give that beta hero of yours a hug

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  6. I've been a beta hero lover for many years, and have been defending them for just as long. No character is as simple as one descriptor, and that is even more true for betas. They are nice guys, but they're also charming, witty, intelligent, and step up when necessary. Even when I wrote a hero that is roughly the size of a barge, he turned out beta. That's just the way I roll. LOL!

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    1. You are so right, Terri, no character IS as simple as one descriptor. I do love "charming, witty, intelligent, and step up when necessary." I saw all of this in your hero, Joe, in MEANT TO BE. (Love "roughly the size of a barge: :-) Looking forward to ALL your books because you DO appreciate this kind of guy. I like the "way you roll."

      Thanks for rolling by. And thanks for enjoying Philip - and thinking he's Hooooooooot!

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  7. Forgot to say, Phillip is also hooooooooooooooooooooot.

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  8. Hi Heather,

    I think in this day and age, most women want a man who is emotionally intelligent, whatever other attributes he has up his sleeve, or indeed, elsewhere. The instinctive knowledge when to come on, when not to, when to back off and when not to, to be truly interested in a woman without thinking about the bedroom ... very rare in real life. Thereafter, if they're built like Terri's barge or a more of a sleek power boat, well, I'm all for variety. Philip sounds scrumptuous and I'm looking forward to getting to know him better. xxx Natalie Meg Evans

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    1. Thanks, Natalie. I agree re Emotionally Intelligent. Love this: "The instinctive knowledge when to come on, when not to, when to back off and when not to, to be truly interested in a woman without thinking about the bedroom ... very rare in real life."

      If your books are as well-written as your comments, I can't wait to read your books!! Thanks so much for stopping by.

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  9. Hi Heather!
    I'm totally in with this wonderful group of beta-lovers. I, too, have written two beta heroes in my first two books. And, like Terri, I can't create an alpha for love nor money. I don't really fantasize even about tough, swaggering, need-to-be tamed heroes. Give me the sensitive geek or the all-around good guy with complex emotions. My heroes are always heroes of the heart! And, I have written bad boys, but they are always using the "bad" to cover up a wound or a heart they feel is too vulnerable.

    I definitely married a Phillip, too, and here's the key to my adoration: he lives to make my life easier -- so he says. And he does. And, yes, I'm terribly spoiled because of it. Now there's a fantasy!

    Thanks for the awesome post!

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    1. And thanks for that awesome comment, Liz! Thanks so much for the perfect description for my husband: "He lives to make my life easier." Cuz I swear that's what he does!!! (I usually say, "He's not perfect, but he's perfect for me.") I'm off to buy your books cuz I love "heroes of the heart." Great term! And yes, to the bad boys who use their tough exterior to cover up their pain. Thanks for stopping by and thanks for writing about beta heroes - because nice guys don't always finish last. (Oooh, that sounds like a stellar brand!)

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  10. Great post, Heather! I love Phillip, the true gentleman. My late husband's bad boy streak was contained in fast cars, fast horses and fast skiing. What made him so sexy (besides his hot looks) was his sensitive, artistic nature. He asked me to marry him by knocking on my door and holding something behind his back. I asked what he had and he said, "I brought you flowers." Then he produced an oil painting he'd done for me of a bouquet of flowers on a lovely table. He said, "I thought you'd like the more permanent variety." That painting hangs in my entry. I see it every day and feel the love that he poured into it and into me.

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    1. Kathleen, this story brings tears to my eyes! This is the most beautiful proposal story I've ever heard. You were so blessed to have your husband in your life! And how lovely that you have the painting to remind you of his love every day!

      Thanks for the idea of "his bad boy streak was contained in fast cars, fast horses and fast skiing."

      When you look at those flowers, be reminded that he is watching over you. Hugs.

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  11. Interesting post! And i love the comments. For the longterm, Beta's win hands down. When you're not feeling well, pregnant, lacking in sleep, kids are sick, or exhausted from work, the Beta will be there for you. Tha Alpha? Eh, he'll most likely be out in his super fast car, playing racquetball or having drinks with the boys, or working the midnight oil. If I give love another chance I'll beat the bushes for a Beta. ; )

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    1. Hi, Robena. I think this would make an excellent book title: "I'll Beat the Bushes for a Beta." I couldn't agree more about being sick, pregnant, sick kids, etc. Feel free to add: caring for elderly parents, kids in trouble at school, pink slip from work, and colonoscopies as well! Thanks for stopping by and for appreciating nice guys.

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  12. Awesome excerpts, Heather! I love Phillip and am so happy for your success! I married a beta, too, but he was disguised as a bit of a bad boy when I first met him. I settled him down right quick;)
    Larissa

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    1. Oooooh, my favorite, the BAD BOY BETA :-) or rather, the TAMED Bad Boy Beta :-) . Good thing I got to share Philip today, cuz his bad boy sidekick will be making the ARC rounds starting tomorrow! But, trust me, Sky will be "settled down right quick." :-)

      Thanks for all your good wishes, Larissa, and thanks for stopping by!

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  13. I found a Phillip...but in this case he goes by "Studley." Love beta heroes!

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    1. Funny how a beta nicknamed "Studley" has found his way into my books??? Go figure. Of course it's not YOUR Studley, since no one could compare :-) SOOO happy for you that you have an awesome beta hero in your life, Maria!

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  14. Just checking that this post is still taking comments. Someone sent me an email that her comments would not post. This is a test. This is only a test. I always wanted to say that :-)

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  15. I haven't read Forgive and Forget, but will certainly put it on my TBR pile.. I love nice guys, and any kind of officer :)
    krisrich85 at gmail dot com

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    1. Hi, Kristen, I hope you enjoy FORGIVE & FORGET. Always great to find readers who appreciate nice guys - and any kind of officer. Thanks for stopping by!

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  16. Great post Heather...My Beta Hero...BAD,BOLD,BRIGHT,and Beautiful. Well that was in my earlier years. Now that I've aged, gracefully mind you, my Beta Hero has evolved to a man with conviction, duty, loyalty and most of all a good sense of humor...thanks for sharing Phillip with your readers.

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    1. Yes, beta males tend to age well too! They don't have that need to hang on to their youth and prove that they are still He-Men. They grow old gracefully - like us. :-) And yes, that sense of humor is SOOO important. Glad that you're enjoying these middle and later years with your Prince Charming. Thanks for enjoying Philip :-)

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  17. Great blog, Heather! There are definitely not enough romantic stories out there with beta heroes, and in reality a nice guy is what makes the 'EA' in 'HEA' possible. Thanks for sharing your story and showing nice guys don't always finish last :-)

    Catherine, Australia

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    1. Thanks for appreciating nice guys, Catherine. I like the part about "nice guy is what makes the "EA" in "HEA." We do love our beta heroes!

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  18. Great blog, Heather! There are definitely not enough romantic stories out there with beta heroes, and in reality a nice guy is what makes the 'EA' in 'HEA' possible. Thanks for sharing your story and showing nice guys don't always finish last :-)

    Catherine, Australia

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  19. Thanks, Maureen, for having me on the Just Contemporary Blog today! I enjoyed sharing about Hot Nice Guys in romance novels and also hearing from readers who feel the same! And according to these readers who have awesome beta heroes in their lives, it appears that nice guys do not always finish last :-)

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  20. Thanks for stopping by, Ella! And thanks for the Tweet. Write On!

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