The Wounded Hero
by N.J. Walters
What is it about the wounded hero that sucks us in as both readers and writers?
The first step to understanding this question is to ask another one. What exactly is a wounded hero?
The wounded hero is a man who’s been hurt, emotionally and/or physically. Maybe a trusted comrade has betrayed him. Or perhaps it is someone he loves who has offered him the greatest betrayal. He’s a man who had endured great pain and suffering. He can be rough and tough, or hide his hurt behind a suave exterior. But deep inside, the heart of the wounded warrior beats strong. And you can be certain he’s never forgotten the betrayals he’s suffered or his enemies.
The wounded hero has another aspect to him. He has a sense of honor. It might not match the norms of society, but it is his and he lives by it. At times he will appear cruel and heartless, but in truth, he is protecting himself or someone else by acting that way. He might come across as simple to understand, but you quickly discover he has more layers than an onion.
That’s what drew me to Zane York, the wounded hero of Eternal Brothers. He’s a man who’s endured the horror of watching his parents descend into madness. Alone in the world, he works as a cop to help keep the streets safe. Tortured by his past, he now faces his biggest challenge yet—the Dalakis vampires. In the midst of his investigation, he stumbles across Sophia Daring, who had been pulled into the twisted web of a murderous serial killer. Zane must keep her safe while uncovering the truth about the Dalakis brothers, and facing his past once and for all.
How could you not love a guy like this?
I know I can’t help myself. I think it’s the innate sense of honor beneath the cold armor that draws me in. The hint of hope struggling for life beneath the layers of despair. The story of the wounded hero is a story of redemption and hope.
All he needs is the right woman to help uncover who he really is. After all, this is romance I’m talking about and a happily ever after is a given. The wounded hero will step up to any challenges that arise and help the heroine in spite of himself. In doing so, he learns more about himself and who he really is. In doing so, he can break or transcend the pain of the past.
The heroine will have her own challenges to deal with, but that is a subject for another day.
Do you have a favorite wounded hero?
I know that the Black Dagger Brotherhood by J.R. Ward is at the top of my list!
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A Legal Affair—Samhain Publishing—July 15th
Jackson’s Jewel—Ellora’s Cave—July 25th