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Tuesday, November 6, 2012

The Nerdy Hero by Tmonique Stephens

I need a hero!

Does anyone remember that Rock n Roll song by Bonnie Tyler from the eighties? I only remember belting out the chorus—badly— at the top of my lungs. The rest of the lyrics had no meaning because I had already decided what my hero would look like.

He’d be tall, handsome, and rich, all the prerequisites of a romance hero. Twenty plus years and hundreds of romance novels later, I’m rethinking my definition of hero.

We always tell our daughters, and ourselves, that looks aren’t everything. It’s what’s in the person’s heart and how he treats you. Yet, the lure of the hard-bodied, bad attitude, bad boy populates romantic literature and our real lives.

Be honest, how many times have you fallen for the bad boy, until heartache and wisdom showed the error of your ways. I, too, am a culprit and victim of this particular affliction.

Nearly every romance writer wants her hero oiled up with a six pack. But why aren’t there any smart, geeky types on the most wanted list? As a writer, I’ve pondered this. Not that I’ve considered having one as my main hero, but why haven’t I considered one? Is it taboo? Are you less likely to fall for him if, instead of muscles and height, he had a deck of cards and a rash? That may not be a good analogy, but you get my drift.

In real life, it’s not the classic portrait of a hero that saves the world. In real life, Superman is the doctor that saves your child’s life. Batman is the detective that solves a thirty year old mystery. And Wonder Woman is every working mother.

Let’s face it, where would the world be without Gates, Jobs, Spielberg, Edison, and Einstein. All are or were giants in their chosen fields. All have made significant contribution to humanity. All were nerds.

In this present day, as America grows fatter, and more slovenly, the studly example of male virility will be harder to find in everyday life. Should romance novel reflect real life? My answer is no. Romance novels are the best form of escapism. It’s legal voyeurism into another world, another life, another time.

But I can’t help casting a secret ballot for the nerd. Maybe, I’ll write one where the hero isn’t Jason Bourne, Jack Reacher, or James Bond. But Jeffrey, the slightly overweight, grubby t-shirt, converse sneaker wearing, techie who just happens to save the world and get the girl without closing his laptop.

Coming to an e-book soon.

Heroes should be measured in deeds.

by Tmonique Stephens

Cursed for 2000 years, Roman Nicolis has tracked his lovers’ soul through each reincarnation only to lose her horribly every time. Reclaiming their love is his only salvation. He’s been her friend, her father, her neighbor, but never again her lover . . . until now.

A late night walk home throws Stella Walker into the path of a killer. The last thing she remembers are the deep blue eyes of the man trying to kill her—and the first things she sees after a seven day coma are the same blue eyes in the handsome face of the man hired to protect her. Is he truly the owner of a security firm assigned to protect her or the man who wants to finish her off? Is it fears she feels when Roman touches her or the memory of something sweeter? She will have to push past her fears and reclaim a love that has lasted two millennia.

Past secrets haunt them. An angry demon stalks them.

Roman will do anything to recover what they had. Though Stella’s ruined childhood has made her close her heart and body to any man, he must get past the walls around her to gain her love and trust, for it will take their union to defeat an unexpected enemy sent from the Egyptian Gods. A man Romans respects, and Stella trusts. 


~~ Excerpt ~~

Damn, he woke her. After only a few hours of sleep, she was sitting up, her head tilted back to catch the whiffs of air generated from the ceiling fan. She pulled the collar of the robe from her damp neck.

He closed his laptop, retrieved a bottle of water from the kitchen and handed it to her. Perched on the edge of her coffee table, he waited while she rubbed the bottle across her sweaty brow and gave a throaty sigh before twisting the cap. Completely unaware of the sensual picture she presented, Stella tossed her head back, tipped the bottle to her lips and gulped until she drained it.

“How long have I been asleep?” She licked the moisture from her lips.

He ignored the lengthening poke of his cock. “A few hours. We need to talk.” Elbows on his knees, he leaned closer to her.

She paused, her eyes shifted around the room. “If not the most dreaded sentence in the world, it must be in the top five.” She took a deep fortifying breath and squared her shoulders. “Go ahead.”

She thinks I’m leaving her. He studied her until she squirmed uncomfortably under the glare. It galled to be lumped together with everyone else that hurt, left, and disappointed her.

“I believe you’re correct about the killings.”

Her eyebrows shot into her hairline. “You do?”

He nearly laughed. “Surprising, huh? Well you made a convincing argument and I’d be foolish to ignore the possibility.”

“So, you're leaving now,” she stated flatly.

Every muscle rigid, he sat back. “Do you have a death wish? “Cause if there’s someone targeting me, they’re using you to do it.”

Stella nodded solemnly while her fingers twisted in her robe. She chewed the corner of her mouth before she mumbled, “When do you leave?”

His thumb swept across her full bottom lip. When her cheek turned into his palm, his heart caved.

“I’m not leaving, Stella. I will never leave you. I said I would protect you. And I will.” He leaned closer. “With my last breath.”

Her unflinching stare met his. “I want to protect myself. Will you show me how?”

A simple request. “Yes,” he nodded. “I’ll teach you.”

She leaned in. “Thank you.”

Temptation ate at him, but he stood and walked to the other side of the room.

“Go back to sleep, Stella.” He turned off the lights, yanked his shirt over his head and stretched out on the creaking floor.

“Why are you on the floor?” Her voice wavered.

Graced with superior eyesight, he watched her struggling with the robe twisted around her body. “My back wouldn’t appreciate sleeping in that chair and its cooler down here.”

“I can’t see you.” Fear etched her voice.

The mattress squeaked and he heard the soft slap of her feet on the wooden floor.

“I’m right here.” He touched her smooth foot and circled her ankle.

She didn’t pull away, but waited until he removed his hand to climb back onto the futon. She punched her pillow and settled into a comfortable spot.

“Roman, isn’t the floor hard?”

She sounded like a child asking a question when she already knew the answer.

“I’ve slept on worse and in worse,” he muttered.

“Umm … the bed is big enough for both of us.”

Did she know she offered him exactly what he wanted and where he wanted to be? “You're asking me to sleep with you?”

“I’m offering to share the futon with you.” She corrected.

Standing next to the futon, he whispered, “Why?”

She jumped, her hand stretched out in front of her, searching for him. “Damn, how can you move that fast? I didn’t hear you.”

“Answer the question. Why?”

“I … can't let you sleep on the floor.” She scooted over and waited for him.

He should resist. The many reasons why ticked by, but the futon creaked as he lay beside her and stilled. Everything he wanted rested inches away.

“Can you see me?”

“No.” He lied, watching her bite her lip. Slowly, she relaxed, believing the darkness covered her. He sucked in a sharp breath when her hand brushed his bare chest.

“Sorry,” but a smile tweaked her lips.

Stella’s words darted through his brain. “No boyfriends,” she told McCabe. It was too ridiculous to be true. But … could she be a virgin?

“Roman.” She breathed his name and lust raced down his spine, igniting every nerve ending and wiping his brain clean of every thought, but one. He caught the belt of her robe and followed it up to the knot. A finger slipped in and loosened it.

“Yes.” His breath fanned her face. She tilted her chin up at the perfect angle for his lips to cover hers.

“I’ve never had a man in my home before.”

His finger stopped, and withdrew. What the hell am I doing? She drugged him with her words, frailty and covered body. He had to get out of her bed, her apartment, maybe the city, let one of his men protect her.

She touched him again, ran her palm over his stubbled jaw, then traced a finger over his eyebrows and down the bridge of his nose. She played with the shell of his ear until his chest rumbled with suppressed laughter. Then her fingers found his lips and the laughter stopped.

~~ About the Author ~~

Tmonique Stephens was born in St. Thomas USVI, but she grew up in The Bronx, New York one mile from Yankee Stadium. She loves the SyFy and History channels, and Asian cuisine. But her heart and stomach longs for anything from the Caribbean. Have any Caribbean recipes out there? Please share! Her mother died before she had a chance to teach Caribbean cooking secrets.

Currently, Tmonique is working on an Egyptian God series. Why the Egyptian Gods, you ask? She challenges that with, “Why not?” All the other gods have been extensively covered, except the Egyptians. Undiscovered territory has always appealed to her.

Her debut novel, Eternity, is available now from Soulmate publishing. You can also find Eternity on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Twitter: Tmoniquebooks


  1. I agree, we need to redefine our heroes to include the men who really do the heavy lifting.

    Great excerpt.

  2. Fascinating topic. We are supposed to be writing reality and fantasy at the same time. Every female finds the perfect hero. Somebody is always filthy rich so they can live happily every after. Yet - if a person wanted to write a geeky hero - they'd get told - no way.
    For a geeky hero - I offer up Leonard from Big Bang Theory - he's not ripped, doesn't even know how to shoot a gun, is super smart, totally devoted and has stood up and faced him enemies to the best of his abilities.
    But if we start writing these heros - what are all the cover models going to do for work??

    1. I completely agree, Daryl. And I love Leonard. He's so geeky that he's a hunk in camouflage.

  3. You're right, heroes should be measured in deeds, and the world needs geeky heroes. But let's face it, there's something about a well-oiled bad boy with a six pack that spikes the blood pressure.
    Great post.