Red flags started to fly the moment I started reading the book. It opened with the hero seeing a picture of his ex-mistress and he proceeds to expound on how she not only cheated on him, but stole from him as well. But damn if the sight of her didn’t make his libido skyrocket. So he begins to devise a plot that gives her two choices: get back in his bed or lose everything.
Leery, I kept going. I knew it was going to be all about misunderstandings and anticipated a hella good grovelling scene after he realized his mistake. But when that moment came he blamed the heroine for being framed in the first place when he was the one who fell for another character’s manipulations and jumped to all sorts of conclusions. By this point the story was beyond redemption for me because everything that went down could have been sorted out with a conversation or two but because of the hero’s attitude it was impossible. The heroine, of course, takes it in stride even though his arrogance left her near destitute with twin demon toddlers (whose temperament she delightedly describes as being ‘just like their father’). In the end he takes responsibility of the kids and openly admits he loves the heroine. She happily accepts even though she has a few doubts and they live happily ever after. While I was left cold.
What the hell? A story that had tropes that I responded well to in the past left me angry and totally unfulfilled.
At first I thought maybe I was being a bit tetchy but after a visit to Goodreads to see what others were saying about the book I found I wasn’t alone.
There are things that are to be expected when there’s an alpha male hero in a story. The heroine will be drawn to him, just like every female in the vicinity. He’s commanding, wealthy, handsome. He’s self-assured and with that comes an air of entitlement and even a little arrogance. He knows what he wants and he takes it. He is the guy every guy wants to be and the guy every girl wants to be beneath. And in the end it’s the love of the heroine that tempers him.
It’s a fantasy that I’ve enjoyed many times. Who wouldn’t want to daydream about someone with the money to grant nearly every one of your wishes and who will take charge so you don’t have to?
But some heroes take it to another level. Where protective becomes controlling. Dominant becomes domineering. And all of a sudden this character becomes completely infuriating.
So where’s the line between Alpha and Asshat?