Friday, December 11, 2015

Who Doesn't Love a Bad Boy? by Anna J Stewart

I know, I know. How bad can a bad boy be in sweet romance?  Trust me, bad enough to cause all sorts of...trouble.

Okay, maybe Luke Saxon, the hero in my recently released THE BAD BOY OF BUTTERFLY HARBOR (Harlequin Heartwarming), isn't the bad boy you might be imagining (or am I the only one with a motorcycle and leather in her head?). No, this bad reformed. Well, maybe not totally reformed; he's still got a definite edge to him.  Instead of a motorcycle, he drives a truck and instead of leather...well, maybe there's a bit of that. For me, there's such reward as a writer taking a hero from the darkest places in his past into the light because of a woman who sees him for what--and who--he truly is.

There's also something inherently attractive about a man who doesn't surrender to his circumstances. Luke could have easily taken the expected route in life given his upbringing.  The teenage drinking, the criminal activity, the "I don't care about the world" mentality was right there for the taking, but when the time came for him to make a choice, for him to take responsibility for his actions, he does the right thing. *cue sighs*

That doesn't mean those affected by his actions all those years before are going to let him off the hook when he returns to Butterfly Harbor more than a decade later. Enter Holly Campbell, a woman with every right to hate and distrust him, but then, that's what conflict (and romances) are all about, right? Finding your way through the darkness to the person who shows you the light? But Holly isn't the only one who learns to forgive. Luke does as well. He finds a way to forgive himself and finally move on with his life.

While I was writing this book, I knew Luke had one of the biggest hero hearts I'd ever written. He's not a pushover, not with Holly and not with those who expect him to fail. He stands up for himself and does what has to be done. But I also wanted to give him a foil in regards to those actions: Holly's 8-year old son Simon, who's made it his life's mission to make Luke miserable. It takes a lot to make a man a hero in a romance, but how he relates to children, IMO at least, is one of the most telling and endearing. Watching Luke take a fatherly role in the boy's life, when Luke himself had a horrible example of parental guidance, was almost cathartic to me as a writer.

By the end of the story, I have to ask myself if Luke is still a bad boy and you know what? I think there will always be a part of him that is; it's what made him the man he became, which is good news for me and hopefully for you as the reader.  I think a lot of us romance readers (and writers) love a bit of that bad boy edge in our heroes. Or maybe that's just me, LOL.

Chime in in the comments and give me your take on bad boys? Who are some of your favorites? I'd love to hear!

Happy reading, everyone!
~Anna J

THE BAD BOY OF BUTTERFLY HARBORCan people truly change?

Two things keep Holly Campbell grounded: her precocious son and preserving her forty-year-old family diner in the face of expansion and change. She doesn't need a blast from the past like Luke Saxon, who's back in Butterfly Harbor after more than a decade away. The hard-luck kid who nearly destroyed her family, leaving her to pick up the pieces, is taking over as sheriff. She can't trust him, even if Luke's ideas for the town's upcoming anniversary seem to show he's trying to give back to their community. Has Butterfly Harbor found its unlikely savior? And has the widowed single mother finally found a man she can believe in, rely on...and love?

iTunes * Harlequin (print or e)

USA Today and national bestselling author Anna J. Stewart can't remember a time she didn't have a book in her hands or a story in her head. Early obsessions with Star Wars, Star Trek and Wonder Woman set her on the path to creating fun, funny, and family-centric romances with happily ever afters for the independent heroines she writes for both Harlequin and Berkley. Anna lives in Northern California where she deals with a serious Supernatural & Sherlock addiction, surrounds herself with friends and family and tolerates an overly affectionate cat named Snickers (or perhaps it's Snickers who tolerates her). Visit her online at

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  1. Johnny from Dirty Dancing (I'm going old school)

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