Author Guest Post: Allison Pearl (Frittered Moments)

Posted April 29, 2024 by Jen in Author Guest Post Tags: ,

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Not All Heroes Wear Tight T-shirts

by Allison Pearl

Protective, masculine, brooding, tall, muscular, strong, and—let’s be honest—kind of bossy with a dash of obsessive. All these things a Romantic Suspense Hero doth make. 

…most of the time anyway.

Predictable? Maybe, but I’m not complaining. I’ve had many a book boyfriend fit into that mold, complete with their form fitting shirts snug against their shredded biceps. And I’d be a big fat liar, if I said I’ve never fantasized about the macho hero who fights off my enemies and throws me over his shoulder caveman-style when I get mouthy. The same archetypes from my grandma’s monthly subscription of romantic suspense paperbacks still show up in books today. 

Why? Because it works. And if it ain’t broke…

But all that being said, as a writer, it’s fun to explore all the other ways your hero can be lovable, endearing, and, yes, sexy. In my latest book Frittered Moments, I had fun using those tried-and-true hero traits but also pulling forth some maybe not so traditional masculine qualities in my hero, Perry Cole, and I think other authors do and should too.

One way I tried to switch things up with Perry was to tie his physical traits to deeper strengths equally attractive in a book boyfriend.

‘That soft shade of rusty red hair and freckled, ivory skin paired with the thick muscles pressing snugly against his dress shirt gave the marshal a hound-like appearance. Sort of like a Ruby Labrador Retriever appearing calm and smooth. Its ease and demeanor belying the certain strength of its body (p. 21).’

My goal in this section was to highlight the fun and eye-catching characteristics like muscles and fitted dress shirts as a jumping off point to allude to Perry’s strong and sexy personality. Whether I accomplished my goal is up to each reader, but I hope the other writers out there take the tip and weave physical hotness with the hotness of a strong character and go on to write it even better.

book cover of Frittered Moments by Allison PearlThe other way I attempted to amplify Perry’s appeal to, Erin, his assertive-sassy-all-cop-no-nonsense love interest, was to take advantage of the boundaries of their professional relationship to spotlight some more modern aspects of masculinity. In “Frittered Moments,” Perry is not Erin’s knight-in- shining armor, bodyguard, or savior; he is her coworker. Finding ways to let him be attractive in that role was super fun. For instance, when Perry and Erin are drawn into an attic by a suspicious noise, Perry doesn’t stop Erin from doing her job or jeopardize their collective objective, but he still manages to show his instinct to keep Erin safe.

‘The noise had to be coming from the attic. She pushed herself off the wall and turned for the small door at the end of the hall, but a hand wrapped around her arm, tugging her back. Over her shoulder, she found Perry’s expression calm but stern. 

“I want to go first,” he whispered. With his free hand, he pushed the lapel of his jacket out of the way to reveal a shoulder holster. He pulled out his service pistol by the grip. 

“You’re not carrying. I’d rather you stay behind me until I know it’s safe.” 

She nodded down the hall. “Federals first then, marshal.” 

She hid her grin until he was moving in front of her. Erin was hardly a woman who needed protecting, but she found the gesture and the way he requested rather than ordered her to step back—which as a federal marshal he could’ve done—kind of sweet (p. 36-37).’

Perry’s approach to their temporary partnership was yet another opportunity to showcase his swoon worthiness. Never, does Perry pull any of those all-too-common subtle power plays like putting his hand on Erin’s back to usher her or taking up more physical space than he needs to just to assert a bit of dominance over a female worker. Perry respects and admires Erin’s ability and autonomy while still doing what he can to both defend and protect her. 

Ultimately though, I didn’t have much choice but to write Perry in a way a little different than some of the heroes I’ve written in the past because, if I hadn’t, Erin would never have gone for him. Some macho alpha wannabe would’ve turned her off, and if I had tried to force a character like that on her, no reader would’ve bought it.

Bottom line, the ways to make your hero appealing, both skin-deep and beyond, are infinite. If in the middle of a work-in-progress, brainstorm ways to draw out things that aren’t your go to, and most importantly, that your heroine will be into. A hero doesn’t have to be dark, dreamy, and ripped to save the day and get the girl while looking hot doing it. 

About the Book:

Frittered Moments by Allison Pearl
Series: Love and Danger in St. Claire
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Age Category: Adult

Deputy US Marshal Perry Cole is back in the small town of St. Claire, and he didn’t come alone. Joined by the FBI and a witness who could crack his case wide open, Perry hopes to finally track down one of the most elusive criminals he’s ever targeted. But just as the hunt begins, a murder derails his plans. Now he must partner with the cute-but-snarky Deputy Sheriff Erin Kaminski to find the killer. Perry quickly finds himself getting distracted by the feelings Erin stirs up in him, and if he doesn’t get his head back in the game, one of them may end up at the top of the murderer’s hit list.

The locals wanted someone else for the Deputy Sheriff position, but Erin Kaminski knows in her heart that St. Claire is where she’s meant to be. And finally, just as she becomes a familiar face to the locals, the FBI and US Marshals show up, making trouble. She wants them to do their job and leave, and so she becomes their local liaison. But when someone turns up dead, she wants to be the one calling the investigative shots. Instead, she’s partnered with the admittedly charming, but overly skeptical, marshal who thinks her faith is nothing but fantasy. With Perry’s constant questions and distracting lure, she needs to keep her head clear enough to see the danger creeping her way—or she’ll end up losing everything.

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About the Author:

Author headshot of Allison PearlChristian Suspense author of the ‘Love and Danger in St. Claire’ series.

A country girl at heart, but she’s lived just about everywhere. Nose constantly stuck in a book (unless she’s working on one of her own).

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Twitter/X: @AllisonPearl5
Instagram and Threads: @allisonnicolepearl
TikTok: @allisonpearl