Monday, January 28, 2013

What’s Not to Like?

Buy Almost Perfect HERE

By Jenna Jaxon
In romance, we always want to like the heroes and heroines we read about. We want to fall in love with the hero and we want to identify with the heroine. We especially want to empathize with them. And, for me, most of the time, this happens. I love the heroine and I want to “be” her vicariously.

But what happens when you don’t? When you dislike the heroine?

I’ve been fortunate to only dislike a couple of the heroines in books I’ve read. But they were memorable. One, unfortunately, came from one of my favorite authors. The heroine was plucky, headstrong, moral, decisive, and determined. Strong character traits that work 99% of the time. But she railed against the hero for 3/4s of the book, because he gambled and she disapproved of gambling, even after he’d rescued her from ruin several times. Halfway through the book I was thinking that she didn’t deserve the hero--and he certainly didn’t deserve her. Reading this particular book turned out to be a disappointment (I still can’t figure out what he sees in her, LOL).

I’ve been concerned, however, that one of my heroines, Pam in Almost Perfect, might not be so likable in the beginning of the story. I saw her all along as a headstrong woman, very focused on trivial things--like movies--to the detriment of her marriage. Her character arc has her going from being sarcastic, brash, rude, and hurtful to understanding that she’s lost a true gem of a hero solely due to her abrasive ways. Sort of “you don’t know what you’ve got ‘til its gone.”

Some reviews of Almost Perfect have said that they didn’t like Pam in the beginning, but did like the way she repented and tried to make amends. We all like someone who grows enough to be able to say, “I was wrong.” And I made Pam funny, almost as if she’s the screwball in one of the screwball comedies she loves to watch. You have to love someone who makes you laugh. Just ask Roger. J

Have you run across many unlikable heroines?

Blurb for Almost Perfect: 
Pamela Kimball’s birthday present, a 1Night Stand adventure, promises to jump-start her life, put a new man in her bed, and help her forget her past. Unfortunately, movie-buff Pam’s Pirates of the Caribbean fantasy takes an alarming wrong turn when she’s abandoned on a not quite deserted island—with ex-husband Roger Ware.

Forced by hunger to accept Roger’s offer of dinner, Pam realizes the geek she married has transformed into one of the most charming, sexiest men she’s ever met. His newfound confidence—and hot body—re-kindle old fires. A simple kiss leads Roger to challenge her to discover how much his lovemaking skills have improved, leaving Pam torn between self-preservation and burning desire.

With time running out before they’re rescued, Pam must decide if her heart can survive the consequences of becoming Roger’s “almost” perfect 1Night Stand.

Excerpt from Almost Perfect: 
She snared the bottle, shot him a look of triumph, only to realize it remained capped. To open it she’d have to use her other hand.
Furious, she shifted her gaze from the tantalizing object to his gleeful eyes. “Would you open this for me, please?”
“Suddenly lost all your strength, have you, hon?” His eyes took on a hunger she remembered. “It’s not as if I’ve never seen your breasts before.”
“Then you don’t need to see them again, do you?” Heat rose in her cheeks. “Come on, open it. You said it was a peace offering.”
“And these are part of the peace negotiations.” He stood, arms crossed over his muscled chest, better looking than she remembered. Not fair.
“I’m bored. My date still hasn’t turned up, so I thought I’d come harass you a while. I’ll tell you what.” He reached for the Perrier and unscrewed the cap, but didn’t offer it to her. “You show me yours, I’ll show you mine.”
“And why would I want to see yours again?” Her eyes remained on the bottle resting at his hips and watched the carbonated bubbles rising to the top.
“For old time’s sake?” His eyes flashed with mischief as he tipped the sparkling water up and started to drink. She stared, her parched lips opened in outrage. Glug, glug. He made that sound on purpose. Was he going to drink the whole damned thing?
After swallowing at least a third of the contents, he came up for air. “Ah! Hits the spot every time.” He grinned. “Still can’t take a joke? Too bad. Here.” He thrust it toward her. Grabbing with both hands, she shoved the end into her mouth so quick the glass clicked against her teeth. Greedily, she sucked in and almost choked. The exquisite, light lime-flavored water rushed into her body to hydrate the parched cells. Three more guzzles and she breathed deeply, satisfied for the moment.
She pulled the lip away and wiped her hand across her chin where she had dribbled some. Holding it out to him, she noticed his slack-jawed attention riveted straight on her chest. Which meant….
“You still look fine, Pam. Mighty fine.” Her ex-husband licked his lips, his grin reaching almost ear to ear. If there weren’t still some water left in the bottle, she’d brain him with it.
He reached down and slipped off his sandals, then untied his drawstring, all the while gawking at her breasts. With one swift movement, he shucked his pants to reveal a hard, tanned body, complete with a serious erection.
She hadn’t seen that coming. Her mouth dropped open as the Perrier hit the sand. She stared at his fully aroused cock, a shiver of pure desire sparking through her before she dragged her gaze back up to his face. A low chuckle rumbled deep in his chest. “A promise is a promise. You showed me yours.” He threw her one more impish grin before taking off for the water. “You coming?”
She stared as he splashed in and dove under. His pale, rounded butt flashed her before sliding under the waves. Her heart pounded and blood sang through her veins as it had not done in years. A deep ache bloomed between her thighs, pitifully familiar; it too had lain dormant until now. The problem was it had been so long since she’d had sex. She’d be twice as horny if that were her pirate out there. At least she fought to believe it.
Roger’s head broke the surface and he flipped his hair out of his face. “Come on in. The water’s great!” She didn’t move. “I promise not to bite.”
“But I might,” she muttered, starting for the water, afraid they had the makings of a real live Blue Lagoon.

Almost Perfect is available at:


  1. Not that I can think of off the top of my head. I can think of some I loved :-)

    1. Yeah, there's a lot of them I loved. And thank goodness there are only a few I didn't! Thanks for coming by, Sharon.

  2. Not really. Although, I've had some heroines I thought were two dimes short of a quarter..

    1. Yes, there have been those as well. TSTL. They irritate me to no end. And at least one of those I really didn't like. *sigh* Unfortunately she's part of a very long series, so I'll have to suffer. Because the hero of the series is fabulous. Thanks for dropping by, Neecy!

  3. I might start out wondering or questioning a heroine's choices and maybe not wanting to live vicariously through her, but as she grows with the story they are usually redeemed in my eyes. I do like the fact that a well written story can show that and by the end of the book you love the heroine almost as much as the hero :)

    1. I like those too, Christine. In fact, the book I'm querying now has one of those heroines in it. I love for the hero or heroine to have a nice character arc and show lots of growth. But there is the rare one that simply doesn't seem to change. So unfortunate. :) Thanks for stopping by!

  4. Nice post, Jenna. I have read a few that have annoyed me, but I don't think it's a deal breaker. A hero now that I didn't like? A definite stop reading. Can't be doing with that!

    1. How true! I haven't run across a hero I didn't like. :) But I'd certainly stop reading if so! Thanks for coming by, Cait!

  5. I have come across a few heroines that I didn't care for. Unfortunately, I couldn't finish reading those books.

    1. I think I read to the end of the one because the hero was really dreamy and I kept hoping she'd get better. The other one I have to keep reading, again because the hero is worth the pain of the heroine. I don't like her, but I'll tolerate her for him. :) Thanks for stopping in, Brenda!

  6. I've read some unlikable heroines, unfortunately I don't like many of this particular bestselling author's heroes either. I read her because she writes in my western genre until I found other authors that I like better. Pam didn't bother me. She was headstrong, but not unlikable, at least not to me.

  7. Thank you for the feedback, Sara. I liked her, thought she was funny because she was so headstrong she never got anything right, but she might not be everyone's cup of tea. Thanks so much for visiting today!

  8. I think it's fine if a reader doesn't like a heroine as long as you redeem them by the end of the book but not too miraculously - if you know what I mean! I don't mind not liking the hero either if the same is true. Character growth isn't always easy to show in short pieces of writing but I think it's something we all need to think about.

  9. Yes! Many. Especially if they whine throughout the entire book, constantly bicker with the hero (not banter, bicker!) or seem to be Too Stupid To Live. ("Let's see what's down here in this creepy, unlighted cellar. Hey, I know...lets do down there alone, without any weapons!")

  10. I can't stand virginal heroines. That's why I never read regencies...too much fussing around, dancing around the idea of having sex. I'm a more direct person. I write heroines that know what they want and go for it. I also dislike alpha-males with no redeeming qualities. I never liked being hit by my parents for misbehaving, I certainly don't want the man who supposedly respects me raising his hand against me...not if he expects to still have that arm five minutes from now!