Now, I'm willing to put up with a lot in my heroes: alpha-bordering-on-asshole-ish behavior (all to "protect" the heroine, of course), jumping to conclusions, etc. HOWEVER, while I'm reading about these misquided actions and character flaws, I'm thinking two things:
- "I'd better be seeing to really great character growth in this guy."
- "I'd better be reading a great grovel scene at the end." The late, lamented Rip My Bodice blog had a great definition for grovel, which fortunately, I'd quoted over at Renee's Book Addiction, so I have it saved for posterity:
Grovel, The [Pronunciation Key: gruhv-uhl] -verb 1. situation whereby hard-headed hero who has greviously [ sic ] wronged the heroine through unforgivable actions (see also entry for Alpha Male, The) is made to prostrate himself before her in an attempt for forgiveness. The Hero will often resort to tears, impassioned pleas and grand gestures. Artfully perpetuated by certain authors (see also entry for Ms Judith McNaught), the potential for heart-wrenching drama and tearful emotion is enormous, especially if The Hero is normally taciturn and unfeeling . . .
I remember reading Anne Stuart's Ice Blue, and really liking the hero, Takashi O'Brien, though he was one of those bordering on asshole-ish. Throughout the book, I kept thinking, "Oh, his grovel's going to be goooood." Yet, when he finally meets up with Summer, the heroine, and the climactic reunion at the end, the grove never happened. I was SO pissed! I felt like I'd been cheated out of something after over 350 pgs. It made Takashi appear not to be a man who has seen the error of his ways (and is man enough to admit it), but just a guy who is kind of a jerk.
My stand out grovel scene comes at the end of the Adrien English series, in the last book The Dark Tide.
If you haven't read this and don't want any spoilers, skip to the end of the post. To read the scene, highlight the blank area, below:
Jake, who has admittedly put Adrien through hell over the course of the 5-book series, finally comes clean with Adrien. It's an emotional, soul-bearing scene:
He spoke so quietly I had to strain to hear, “You remember asking me if I'd ever begged?”. . .
“And you said you did beg once—and you got what you asked for.” I waited, wondering if I was going to like what I was about to hear.
Jake said, “When your heart stopped on that fucking boat.” The sudden fierce glitter in his eyes had to be a trick of the light. “I begged then.”
I couldn't think of a thing to say. It was the last thing I'd expected. Almost the opposite, in fact, of what I'd expected.
“I've never been that afraid. Not even close. I worked over you, and I called you every name in the book.” His face twisted. “I cried. And then I begged. You're damn right I begged. I promised—not that I had anything worth promising—but I was willing to give anything for you to be able to walk away from that.” His smile was the rare one, the wide and unguarded one. “And you did.”
I caught a ragged breath. Sat up so fast, we nearly head-slammed each other. “Jesus, Jake. If that's true, why the hell can't you say it?”
He looked confused.
“If you do feel that way, then why have you never said it? It would have helped. Because to not say it at this point feels like you have some reason for not saying it, that you're making some point by not saying it.”
He was shaking his head. “I don't know what you're talking about. Of course I—what do you think this is about?”
“Knowing and believing are two different things.”
He was looking at me like something had been lost in translation.
“Why can't you say it?” I hardened my voice. “Because I'm telling you, you never have. I'd have remembered.” He stared at me with disbelief. Then he lunged forward, pushing me flat in the pillows once more. He leaned over me, his mouth a brush of lips away from my own, his breath warm on my face.
“Love you? Of course I love you. Baby, I fucking worship you.”
So, what about you?
Do you like this kind of hero?
Do you need a grovel scene at the end to make things right with the world? If so, what is the best grovel scene that you can think of?
to come by and visit me at Renee's Book Addiction.