The best romance with a hot, tortured hero saved by love

Who am I?

I’ve always read and written Romance. But while my real life took center stage, I consigned my manuscripts to gather dust in my bottom desk drawer and went off to teach English and History and raise a family. When my real life got less hectic and the Indie Revolution started, I dragged my stories out, dusted them off, and started publishing them. Lo and behold, readers loved them as much as I did, and suddenly I had a whole new career. Teaching literature tends to make you critical, and I was super-critical of my ‘trashy’ romances. Now I’m proud I write stories women can read to relax and be entertained by. 

I wrote...

The Barbarian's Mistress

By Nhys Glover,

Book cover of The Barbarian's Mistress

What is my book about?

Vali, the Norse giant, became the sex slave of Roman patricians when he was captured as a young teen. Since then he has grown angrier and more violent with every passing year. When his violence leads to the punishment of the gladiatorial arena he is offered one way out. He can gain his freedom if he can get the innocent and beautiful Anniana to her prospective husband in Pompeii before her unscrupulous mother makes her the wife of the vile and decadent new emperor. But when Pompeii is destroyed and her mother sends assassins to track Anniana down, it becomes a chase across the breadth of the Roman Empire to keep her safe. Vali will need to shield the sweet girl from the many dangers of the journey, as well as the worst threat of all: himself.

The books I picked & why

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First Grave on the Right

By Darynda Jones,

Book cover of First Grave on the Right

Why this book?

You can’t get any hotter than the son of Satan. If you add eons spent suffering the tortures of hell, not to mention a childhood of serious abuse in this lifetime, you have the poster child for the hottest tortured hero, as well. 

But while Reyes is hot and the love scenes hotter, it’s actually the humor in this series that I love the most. The heroine (she who saves the hero) is a PI called Charlie Davidson, who moonlights as the grim reaper. Her zany ADHD personality and penchant for giving names to everything in her life, including furniture, not to mention the hysterical memes at the beginning of each chapter, make this and all the books a laugh a minute. I shed a few tears when this series ended.

Lover Awakened

By J.R.Ward,

Book cover of Lover Awakened

Why this book?

Anyone who reads steamy, gritty Romance has probably already found the Black Dagger Brotherhood, a bunch of vampires fighting their own brand of bad guys in Caldwell, New York. My favourite of all these very hot guys is Zsadist, who was kidnapped at an early age and turned into a blood and sex slave. His story starts in the earlier books, but it's in this one that he finally gets his love interest, the beautiful Bella, who helps him heal and saves him from himself.  

There is so much going on in these very long books, most of it violent and sexually explicit, but if you love tortured heroes, then you can’t go past Zsadist. Start at the beginning of the series, though, so you don’t miss any of the action.

Still Life with Murder

By P.B. Ryan,

Book cover of Still Life with Murder

Why this book?

This is the first in the Nell Sweeney Mystery series. And the slow-burn romance extends over the whole series. Set in 19th Century Boston, these little gems kept me on the edge of my seat, while immersing me in the historical period.

Normally, I don’t find drug addicts make for the best romantic heroes, but William Hewett is not your typical hero. Sure, he was a surgeon in the Civil War, where he was injured physically and emotionally and has become hooked on opium because of it, but he’s not a scorch-your-panties-off kind of hot. (It is the Victorian era, after all.) Yet he’s a compelling character and perfect for the heroine who helps to save him. I found I was rooting for this pair every step of the way. I wanted him to heal, kick his habit, and have his HEA with the unconventional Miss Sweeney.


By Colleen Helme,

Book cover of Carrots

Why this book?

I’m stepping out a little with this one because I just have to include Ramos, the motorbike-riding hitman, in my list of hot, tortured heroes. Why he’s an outlier in this list is because he’s actually not the hero but a secondary character. Soccer mom turned mind-reading PI, Shelby Nichols, is a squeaky-clean heroine with a loving lawyer for a hubby and two teenage kids. But sparks are always flying whenever Ramos is helping Shelby get out of trouble, and she gets in a lot of trouble as she solves her mysteries. It’s clear that Ramos, who is every woman’s Latin-lover fantasy, has fallen for our heroine, and she certainly helps him with his tortured past, but though they share some hot moments and a few kisses along the way, she remains a loyal wife. He respects that, never trying to tempt her away from her family. I just love waiting to see how Ramos will ride in to save the day in each book. This is definite PG.

Demon from the Dark: Volume 10

By Kresley Cole,

Book cover of Demon from the Dark: Volume 10

Why this book?

Malkom Slaine is the archetypal hot tortured hero, as long as you’re into horns. He may not be the son of Satan but a demon from a demon world isn’t far off. He’s another blood and sex slave, who was sold into slavery by his whore demoness mother and forced to kill his best friend. When he meets his one true mate Caro, a witch, he is being set up for betrayal, yet again. Caro has to trick him into coming to the human plane, to be imprisoned and tortured some more, to save her adopted daughter. He has a lot of healing to do and Cole takes the time to make the process realistic.

Yet again, this book is part of a bigger series, where the many storylines intermingle. There’s a lot of fight scenes and action, but little actual torture, thank goodness. This was a very exciting book and this seven-foot-tall, horned and fanged Vemon (vampire/demon) is my guilty pleasure.

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