Someone once told me never to buy it if a guy says he's "a better man" with me than without me. She said it excuses him from taking responsibility for improving himself or smoothing out rough edges.

I guess that shoots to hell the whole, "" thing.  

There's a curious little motif in romance in which a hero is driven to score an HEA with a sweet, biddable heroine because he's got an attribute or yen that concerns him, one he feels is too rough.  Yeah, I like it when it concerns his being totally aggressive in the sack, too, the kind of guy who's afraid he'll overwhelm a woman with his strength and power and big-in-all-ways virility.

Yet since authors tend to be a bit less puerile than I, often his monstrous sexual appetite is outstripped by darkness in his character that has him believing he needs to affect changes in his life to keep from traveling the path of least resistance toward psychic destruction.

That's how bad it can seem to a guy who wants to live life the right way, but has seen a little too much of its ugly underbelly - a man like Garrett Taylor, hero of RITA-award winner Helen Brenna's super new romantic suspense, "Next Comes Love ."  Taylor's a former Chicago cop who chooses a gig as a part-time police chief on a slow moving, picturesque resort island over the job that had him wondering whether he was getting as violent as the low-lifes he was supposed to scrub off the Chi-town streets.

Taylor's got "uncomplicated" down pat until trouble shows up on Wisconsin's Mirabelle Island, and Cap T Girl's sporting stiletto boots, mouth-watering décolletage and a...six-year old boy with bruises?  

Erica Corelli's back on Mirabelle Island, a place she visited once as a child during one of the happiest three days of a youth spent surviving her alcoholic mom's many lovers and few moments of responsible parenting.  Now, Erica's hiding her nephew from his abusive dad, a dishonorable Chicago cop who may have played foul with Erica's missing sister.

Once she settles into island life, Erica finds it hard to stay away from the chief of police who apparently wants her out of his town as much as he'd like her up against the wall.  And Garrett's trying to figure out why his plan to find a sweet, unassuming woman to sooth his wilder urges is taking a back seat to his need to serve and protect the brassy Italian chick who's just blown into Mirabelle and blown him away.

"Next Comes Love" is the second book in Brenna's An Island to Remember trilogy, the third of which, "Then Comes Baby," drops December 8. A talented storyteller, Brenna has a gift for writing category romance.  She understands how to create intimate, heart-touching stories with the kind of vigorous writing that makes a series romance a satisfying little peek into the lives and loves of unique people and families. If you don't know her work, "Next Comes Love" is a nice place to start, and a great read to kick off your weekend.

The "You complete me" theme between hero and heroine: Attraction of opposites? Or codependence?  Should a heroine make the hero "a better man?"  What are examples of the way this works in romance?

by Moderator dhaupt on ‎10-23-2009 02:56 PM

Well without a doubt the guy is better with the gal, she completes him because he's incomplete anyway, I mean duh he's male and from Mars.

Really though, I see no problem with the "you complete me" scenario. Take for example Roxanne St. Clair's two latest heros Dan and Con.

Dan, had a thing for Maggie way back when, kept the thing going in his mind for years. They re-connect and wham there it is again. You know she like fills this black hole inside him.

Con, he and LIzzie meet under less than ideal circumstances, but that doesn't stop the sparks from flying. Now he's always thought little of himself being downtrodden all his life and along comes this all together chick who says, yeah your all that and then some. So she makes him feel like he is worth something filling yet another kind of black hole.


by PrincessBumblebee on ‎10-23-2009 03:10 PM

LOL, dhaupt, you crack me up!

Well, the greatest example, and no one hit me for bringing her up again, is in Kresley Cole's "A Hunger Like No Other", Emma and Lachlain. Lachlain, who had been tortured for YEARS was, to say the least, a little enraged and not altogether stable, considering. Yet, Emma, his mate soothed him and, needless to say, "completed him". I definately have no problem with that! I think it's wonderful when the author does this and think it really adds somethign to the reading! Adn when, it's vice versa, as in Emma and Lachlain's case, a shared thing, especially, cause she soothes his anger and he helps her become a stronger person, less afraid, no longer Emma the Timid, hehe.

Ok, I know, I could go on and on, Hehe. But, I just love it!

by Author HelenBrenna on ‎10-23-2009 05:07 PM

Thanks, Michelle, for featuring my Mirabelle books!  They've been fun to write.  I just talked with my editor today and am hoping to write 3 more for 2011, in addition to the one coming out in 6/10!


It's an interesting question, one I've actually thought about a lot in my writing.  I *hope* I write characters who are pretty together all by themselves.  They're just missing that one person who would take happy to blissful!

by on ‎10-23-2009 06:35 PM

No offense but if the guy really is complete, what does he need you for?Totally unromantic and totally unrealistic.



by Moderator becke_davis on ‎10-23-2009 09:33 PM

I always seem to go for the "opposites attract" stories, and the guy who got away stories.

by Lizee on ‎10-23-2009 10:24 PM

It's wonderful to see Helen's series highlighted--Michelle you've chosen wonderfully... AGAIN!   I've loved the MIrabelle Island series start and can't wait to read them all as they come out!


I think the "complete me" theme goes back to the beginning of romance.  We may analyze whether the H/h should or should not be complete on his or her own, and the truth is, we all can and do survive just fine without another to "complete" us.  But our fantasy, our greatest hope as humans is to find that soul who makes us the very best of who we are -- who can fill in the holes caused by the "slings and arrows" of life.   If we didn't need that, we wouldn't need romance or romance novels!


Great post!  Great book Helen!


by on ‎10-23-2009 10:25 PM

If we didn't need that, we wouldn't need romance or romance novels!




by 1lovealways on ‎10-23-2009 10:40 PM

Hi Everyone!


Becke, I love those kinds of stories!  Also the ones where there's some kind of conflict between the hero & heroine.  Definitely no co-dependence there.  This is completeness and is hard fought to obtain by both parties.  They are so caught up in whatever it is that they have no idea their falling in love.  It's on them before they know it.  Love those!


Princess, I'd never hit you, because I love KC's h/heroines too!  She is so good at making such great pairings.   I agree, Emma & Lachlan definitely fit the profile for this article.  Hey, I might get hit too, because I love J.R. Ward's Lover Eternal and am always bragging on it.  I'd say Rhage & Mary are an example of co-dependence before completeness.  Mary needs him because she is emotionally and physically spent because of her cancer and his life is spinning out of control because he's realized he can't continue using sex to control his beast.  They find something in each other that they haven't found in anyone else.  This leads them to falling in love. 


I'd also say that Jamie & Claire from Diana Gabaldon's Outlander Series is a great example of completeness.  In and out of time, they share an unbreakable bond.   Going in and out of time is a big factor in this story, but doesn't seem to affect their relationship on bit.  The love perserveres!  :smileyhappy:



by amyskf on ‎10-24-2009 01:36 AM

Oooh, I love Helen Brenna's books. I can't wait to read "Next Comes Love," Michelle. I think the "complete me" thing might be a better fir in paranormals...just seems like that's what I'm hearing, since we're going beyond our normal boundaries to begin with, it's okay if the H/h need each other to "make" them a better person.


Lizee, yes! But I have to say, I don't find anything wrong with someone making you "want" to be a better person.





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