We love a sexy Alpha hero just as much as the next reader, but we wouldn’t kick a Beta hero to the curb, either. New Adult A.J. Pine feels the same way and has used her love of Betas as inspiration for Griffin, the sexy and vulnerable hero in her If Only series. To celebrate the release of the second book, What If, A.J. is here to share her top five reasons she loves writing Beta heroes. Take it away, A.J.!
Don’t get me wrong. I love a romance with a good Alpha. There’s a fierce sexiness that comes with a guy who likes to take charge, and some of my favorite romance heroes (Drew Evans from Emma Chase’s Tangled and Bennett Ryan from Christina Lauren’s Beautiful Bastard — just to name a couple) are sexy, self-centered, I-love-being-in-control types and I love them for it.
But when I put pen to paper — or rather, fingers to keyboard — the result is always the same — Beta. Griffin Reed is the hero from my recent release, What If. He’s sexy and confident but at the same time gives us unguarded glimpses into what lies beneath the surface — a guy who’s lost, who’s been burned by love before, but who hasn’t quite found happiness in staying unattached, in avoiding complication. He’s the kind of Beta I fall for every time, and I hope readers do too. So, with Griffin’s help, I give you the appeal of the Beta hero and why I love to write them.
5. Sweet Is Sexy: A hero who notices the heroine — understands what she needs and goes out of her way to give her that — it doesn’t get much sexier. Griffin’s the guy who will ignore taunting from his friends in order to get a few more minutes with Maggie, the heroine who makes it clear she can’t handle any attachments. He’ll bring her to a party where she knows no one and he knows everyone, and still make her feel like she’s the only one he sees.
4. Subtle Confidence = No Possessive Jealousy: A Beta hero doesn’t own the heroine — because he doesn’t have to. He has enough confidence to trust how she feels. Maggie’s best friend is Miles, an off-the-charts hot bisexual guy — her last sexual encounter before meeting Griffin. While there’s tension and uncertainty to spare between Griffin and Maggie, he trusts her that she and Miles are only friends. This kind of confidence is all sorts of swoonworthy.
3. It’s Not Always ME ME ME: How about a hero who adores not only his three sisters but also his eight-year-old niece — a guy who despite any emotional estrangement is always there when his family needs him. Some of my favorite scenes to read and write are those where the hero interacts with his family, showing us that even if he can’t reveal his vulnerability to the heroine just yet, it’s there, waiting for her to uncover it. A guy who can put his own issues on hold to be there for others? Hot.
2. But I Want To Read a Tortured Hero! Betas still have torture to spare — a fear of commitment after heartbreak; messing up instead of standing up for what he wants because that means adding complications to an otherwise uncomplicated life. Forget the outward assholery. The tortured Beta broods in silence, and who doesn’t love a brooder?
1. It’s All About the Journey: Like I said earlier, what I love about my Alphas is when their vulnerability shines through, but that vulnerability for them is always a destination on a distant horizon. With the Beta hero, we get glimpses of it throughout the story. For Griffin, he’s lost on so many levels. Griffin lacks direction, and Maggie doesn’t necessarily give it to him, but she makes him want to find his way, to sacrifice the easy road and be a better man — not just for her but for himself too.
I think I love the Beta because he could be someone I know. Maybe in real life it would be hard to find someone who fits the exact same mold as the guy on the page, but when it comes to a Beta, I bet we could get close. Hmmm … this sounds like a worthy experiment. I’m just going to step away for a few and do some field research on this …
— A.J. Pine
What If is now available digitally and ready for your reading pleasure! For more New Adult heroes, books and buzz, visit our Everything YA page!