Or he's the brooding alpha werewolf or werecat who thinks he’s destined to live alone, always fighting to keep his spot—until he finds the woman who completes him.
Or the misunderstood demon who really isn’t evil at all—he just needs
Often, the heroines who become the emotional saviors of our paranormal heroes are humans. Women who are emotionally strong, courageous, straight-talking, and unimpressed by the hero’s posturing. As if imbued with emotional x-ray vision, they can look past his angst-riddled or downright grumpy outer shell and see the marshmallow heart behind those abs of iron.
And then there’s Jack Kellison, one of my recent hero characters. Kell has his work cut out for him.
Did I mention that Kell is human? He's the leader of a six-member counter-terrorism team specializing in domestic cases. Three of the team members are former Rangers. Two team members are brothers, black cougar-shifters. And one team member—the tracker for the unit—is a golden eagle shifter inappropriately named Robin. She weighs a hundred pounds soaking wet, can bench press way more than Kell, and has an aversion to clothing. This does not make Kell happy.
And then there’s the heroine of the story, Emory Chastaine. Mori has a lot of secrets of the not-quite-human variety.
Can a human hero still be alpha when the heroine might not be human at all? What can he bring to the table when he’s partnered—either professionally or romantically—with a shapeshifter or other paranormal critter?
First, he can bring experience. Kell’s got ten years of Ranger training and active duty under his belt. He is cool under pressure, is a good tactician, knows how to keep a team working together…and he’s handling pretty well the whole news that there are such things as shapeshifters, all things considered.
Second, he can bring a simple outlook and focus to everything he does. Face it—shapeshifters and other paranormals have all kinds of baggage. Pack structure, internal politics, pack or den rules, traditions, long lives, vendettas. I mean, if the dominant of the cougar-shifter den needs taking down, your human hero isn’t going to worry about who the beta might be. He’ll just do the job, or as Rangers say, “Rangers lead the way.”
Finally, in the romance department, the human hero might prove to be a breath of fresh air to a paranormal paramour—someone who doesn’t have an ulterior motive or a political agenda. And, hey, if he’s sexy, all the better!
So, raise a toast to the human hero in paranormal romance. Do you have a favorite? Leave a comment for a chance to win a $10 Amazon or B-and-N gift card or Book Depository book if you’re outside the US, plus a copy of my human-shapeshifter romantic thriller (as Susannah Sandlin) Storm Force. (Be sure to leave your email in your comment so I’ll know how to find you!)