Friday, April 25, 2008

Alpha-Bits, Pt.2: Swagger!


Confidence or arrogance? There’s a fine line between a bold belief in oneself and being a pompous ass. Alphas are often accused of being tools, but I say the true Alpha skates the right side of that line.

For those who love Alphas, that absolute self-assurance is a prime part of the attraction. I want a hero who won’t dither with should-I-shouldn’t-I when it’s time for action. He’ll take time to plan, of course, but when it’s time to git ‘er done he’ll go in with guns blazing.

It isn’t that Alphas have no introspection. On the contrary, Alphas are well aware of their own flaws, and it kills them to admit it. They are, therefore, usually to be found doing a job in which they excel. But if they are faced with a situation they don’t have a skill set for, pure perseverance will get them to the top. Even Alphas who have gone to brood in their castles don’t quit.

All this confident competence makes for a boring hero then, right? Not hardly. Consider this hero from my favorite rainy Saturday read, Amanda Quick’s historical Ravished:

“Well, then, Miss Harriet Pomeroy?” There was an unmistakable challenge in the words.

“Well, what, my lord?” Harriet managed breathlessly. It was true she had virtually no experience of this sort of thing, but all her womanly instincts were assuring her that Gideon had been as powerfully affected by that kiss as she had been. She did not understand why he had suddenly gone all cold and dangerous.

“You have a decision to make. You may either take off your gown and lie down on the stone floor of this cave so that we can finish what we have started or you may run back toward the beach and safety. I suggest you make your choice quickly, as my own mood is somewhat unpredictable at the moment.”

Now he has just given her the Swoop and Grab kiss, but he’s giving her a choice. And shocking her with the suggestion of sex to scare her off, because he knows his reputation alone will destroy hers, even if they haven’t done anything. For me, a big part of the fun is seeing the firm, self-assured, big strapping man fall apart when faced with his feelings toward our heroine. Later in the book:

He had not been at all kind to Harriet. He had virtually coerced her into marriage, exhibited her to the ton as if she were an exotic pet, and put her in jeopardy at the hands of Bryce Morland.

In return she had given him her love, helped him restore his reputation, and made it possible for him to mend the breach with his parents.

No, he had not been particularly kind to Harriet. All she had ever really wanted from him was his love, and he had told her he could not give it.
Six years ago I forgot everything I knew of love.

What an ass he had been.

He’s strong and confident and totally assured that he’s wrapped around her finger and delighted to admit it. That’s my Alpha.

5 comments:

Bernita said...

"I want a hero who won’t dither with should-I-shouldn’t-I when it’s time for action."
And that's a very good point.
Alphas who are soldiers, cops etc., ARE trained for action, to make instant assessment and response, to take charge.
To have them dither about is contrary to logic and type.

Kimber An said...

Oooh, the Duke! I did a term paper on him in college. Now, he was The Man.

Robyn said...

Alphas who are soldiers, cops etc., ARE trained for action, to make instant assessment and response, to take charge.

*nods* I think that's why so many Alpha heroes are in take-charge professions. It suits them.

Kimber, hubs and I adore the Duke. My kids are rare among their peers; they've seen nearly all of his movies, too!

StarvingWriteNow said...

Gideon was my first--and still my favorite--Amanda Quick hero. ~sigh~

And I love John Wayne. Reminds me of my dad.

Robyn said...

Isn't Gideon delicious? I could just sop him up with a biscuit.

And The Quiet Man remains one of my all-time favorite movies.