It’s no secret, if you’ve ever talked books to me or, you know, ever read one of my books, that I like virgins in my romance. It’s not got any moralistic reason, rather I’m drawn to the idea of first love. Of the hero (usually) being the ONLY one who can break down the heroine’s reserve. Of him inspiring her to step outside of her comfort zone and do release her hold on something she’s been clinging to all of her life.
I’d had the idea for a while that I wanted to write a virgin hero, and I had some vague ideas about how I would go about it, but it was a twitter conversation between the incomparable Caitlin Crews and the amazing Paula Graves that brought the idea fragments together.
Caitlin made a comment about how there are so many virgin widows, but then, no one wants to read about a virgin widower. And much like Barney Stinson I rose up and said “Challenge accepted!” A little brainstorming with Paula and I hit on how such a thing could be possible.
And thus, Makhail Nabatov, Russian billionaire, bodyguard, and virgin, came to be.
But then, of course, this begs the question: Can a virgin be a sexy alpha hero?
Well, I think the answer is yes. I also think the yes or no of it stems from his reasons for being a virgin.
In Mak’s case, it’s a matter of honor. It’s a sacrifice he
made in order to honor his vows, it’s about his possession of incredible control. And I find control and honor very, very sexy! I also think that iron control is at the core of every alpha hero.
Now, when the book opens, Mak is no longer obligated to remain
a virgin, but he hasn’t had the time or inclination to change his status.
Until the one woman he can never, ever have ends up in his life.
Evangelina Drakos is the scandalous princess of Kyonos, and Mak has been entrusted with her safety and reputation, until her father secures a royal engagement for her.
As I said, one of my favorite elements to the virginity in a romance novel is having the hero, or in Mak’s case, the heroine, be the very first person he absolutely can’t resist. That his honor has a limit, and that limit is Eva.
Pushing Mak to his breaking point is one of my very favorite things I’ve done. And here’s a little taste of what it takes to break a virgin alpha male:
He turned to face her again, his expression so hungry it was almost frightening. Almost. “Want is…want is something I’ve spent a very long time ignoring. Want is something I’ve spent a very long time pretending doesn’t matter. There has only been necessity. Only breathing.”
“I’ve never had a chance to let it matter. So now, maybe we can both have it. Even if it’s just for a while.” She choked on a sob. “Please don’t make me marry a man I don’t want, without ever knowing what it’s like to be with one I do want. And before you say anything, it’s you I want. Not just the experience. I could have had both of those men at the casino. A half a dozen others before them if I’d been motivated to pursue them. But I didn’t. But you, you’re worth me…putting myself out here like this. I’m risking a lot here. But it’s worth it.”
His fingers curled against her hips as he tightened his hands into fists, sill holding her near him. He closed his eyes and looked away, pain, need, etched into every line of his face. “I have done all that I could do to be an honorable man. To honor my wife. To stay true to my vows. And still, even since her death, I have not taken a lover. And you are the last woman that I should want. But God help me I want you.” It was prayer more than it was a curse. As though he was truly appealing for help from a higher power.
He took a sharp breath. “I desire you so much that my body shakes when I think of you. I have denied myself, denied my desires, for so long and you…you make me wish I didn’t care. That I didn’t have to choose between right and want.”
So what do you think? Can a virgin hero be sexy? Give me your answer in the comments and you’ll be entered to win a copy of A Royal World Apart!