You Shook Me All Night Long.

How Barrons Rocked My (Little Pink) World

Barrons. That one name makes women (& some men I'm sure), who have read Karen Marie Moning's BRILLIANT Fever series, shiver with awareness and arousal, makes us instantly visualize a dark, handsome, intensely carnal male. So masculine that every cell in your body reacts to him, heated blood coursing through your veins, whether you want to or not, on a purely base, primitive level. Your mouth dries thinking of the things that sexual beast can do to you, your fingers itch to tug at that dark hair, and a whimper escapes your trembling lips before you can stop it when you even think of how he could "cure" the Pri-ya in you. You can almost feel silk sheets beneath you and a hard, male, sensual beast looming over you. All it would take is a snap of those (very skillful) fingers and you'd be good to go.

THAT is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Jericho Z Barrons. Just a little teaser for what the amazing Karen Marie Moning has unleashed on the world of UF/PNR. For many, myself included, he has now become THE standard. The stick against which all others are measured, and often come up short. I would never assume I knew all there was to Barrons, but let me share with you my journey into Barrons' Dublin, where the wild things are, where I was consumed by Barrons, and after which I am forever changed. The Wenches here adore Barrons. The intensity of Wench reactions may differ when Barrons is mentioned, but generally, you'd probably deal with some serious, hardcore fangirling once his name came up. We could talk about him for hours, and have. On numerous occasions. 

It's going to be hard trying to explain why the Wenches and I love Barrons. The topic is much like the man himself: vast, overwhelming, and difficult to put into something as limiting as words. 

I was very openly a book snob until I met my fellow Wenches, as I've mentioned before in the About Us section. My foray into the UF/PNR world was pretty much restricted to the Sookie Stackhouse books, at the most, although I might have had some curiosity about other Vampire-related romances in the genre (a guilty pleasure of mine in the past). But I listened to the Wenches and figured why the hell not? Let's give it a chance. I caught the Fever INSTANTLY. I was transported to that world. And I was immediately intrigued by Barrons. Was he good, bad, or all sorts of fucked up? All three? What was his role in this world? WHO was he? WHAT was he? And what did he want with Mac? The suspense was thrilling. The small, but strong, taste of Barrons in Darkfever did nothing but whet my appetite for more.

Here's the thing though, as you read these books, that you realize at once: Words don't mean shit. Like Barrons repeats ad nauseum. I know people thought Barrons was too harsh, too violent, too mean, abusive, etc. But look beyond his harsh words, read between the lines, look at his actions. It's all clear. Ms. Moning has accomplished something brilliant. Where the reader herself MUST see beyond the sound of the words spoken, to the meaning, the intent, the truth. Barrons had me almost from day one, I just didn't realize how completely he had possessed me till much later.

"I must not have looked at him very closely yesterday because he wasn't just masculine and sexual, he was carnal in a set-your-teeth-on-edge kind of way; he was almost frightening."


Barrons Books & Baubles. I was already halfway in love when Mac described the book store, and curious to meet the man who came up with the alliteration for the name of the place. I do love a creative mind. From Fiona's "Jericho" (said like a benediction might I add) and Mac's initial description of the man himself:

"Jericho Barrons," a rich, cultured male voice said behind me. "And you are?" Not an Irish accent. No idea what kind of accent it was, though. 
"Have you a surname, MacKayla?" He pressed my knuckles briefly to his lips and released my hand. My skin tingled where his mouth had been. 
Was it my imagination or was his gaze predatory? 
He studied me with his predator's gaze, assessing me from head to toe. I studied him back. He didn't just occupy space; he saturated it. The room had been full of books before, now it was full of him. About thirty, six foot two or three, he had dark hair, golden skin, and dark eyes. His features were strong, chiseled. I couldn't pinpoint his nationality any more than I could his accent; some kind of European crossed with Old World Mediterranean or maybe an ancestor with dark Gypsy blood. He wore an elegant, dark gray Italian suit, a crisp white shirt, and a muted patterned tie. He wasn't handsome. That was too calm a word. He was intensely masculine. He was sexual. He attracted. There was an omnipresent carnality about him, in his dark eyes, in his full mouth, in the way he stood. He was the kind of man I wouldn't flirt with in a million years.  
A smile curved his mouth. It looked no nicer than he did, and I wasn't deluded by it for a moment. 

"Jericho Barrons. And you are?"

I was intrigued. I was fascinated. I was bloody curious. And I gotta say, I was in lust. I mean, it's not every day you meet a man like Barrons. Hell, most women go through a lifetime without meeting a man anything like him. 

We don't get a small, diluted, romanticized taste of him in the beginning.  No.  If anything, we get the strong, harsh, unforgiving taste of Barrons forced on us (and Mac). You might not have swooned at the sound of his name in Darkfever, but I won't believe a word you say if you tell me you didn't feel that spike of adrenaline, awareness, and intrigue every time he was on page. For the first time, I saw a sliver of hope in Mac's dark, rainy world. Hope in the form of a man who would refuse to sugarcoat a thing for this desperate woman in pink seeking revenge. And that is exactly what she needed. Screw the Knight in Shining Armor. Give me a bearer of truth and tough lessons learned over that any damn day. It wasn't pretty, it wasn't easy, but what it was, was REAL. Real, raw, uncensored, unedited, and at times, hard to swallow and deal with. Like the man himself. 

But from the very beginning, we see a... dare I say it, more compassionate side to him. One that isn't necessarily written there in ink for you to read, but that leaps out of the page anyway. Yes. He needs Mac. As an OOP detector. Let's be realistic, he could chain her in his basement and Voice her to do his bidding. But he doesn't. He offers her a deal of sorts. Knowledge, which she desperately needs, and information, in exchange for her sidhe-seer skills. And more than that, he gives her a path to revenge. She was a lost, blind fool in the dangerous streets of Dublin, and he knowingly gives her sanctuary of sorts and a goal to aspire to.  He puts up with things I am damn sure he wouldn't have for anyone else in any other situation. He keeps in touch with her father for her when she goes missing with V'lane. He Voices her father to be okay with her staying in Dublin. He buys her clothes he thinks she would like. He lets her have the normalcy of holding a job and running the bookstore. I could go on, but I think you get the general idea.

Barrons has some moments in the first book that just have to be mentioned. They were the beginning of a beautiful (albeit one-sided) relationship between a lot of the Wenches and him. Some things might not have been plain to see on our first journey through Dublin, but after getting to know him five books and one graphic novel later, it is clear just how monumental those moments are. He is responsible for some of the most intense, erotic, sexy moments in any Urban Fantasy books I've read, and he and Mac barely TOUCH for three books! Now THAT is an Alpha I would LOVE to get my hands on. Is it any wonder the Wenches worship him? A man who makes us breathe harder JUST because he gives Mac the "most carnal look she had ever seen." 
I caught my breath and stared blankly at the top of his dark head. Barrons had just given me the most carnal, sexually charged, hungry look I'd ever seen in my life, and I was pretty sure he didn't even know he'd done it. My breasts felt hot and flushed and my mouth was suddenly uncomfortably dry. Jericho Barrons might be only seven or eight years older than me, and he might be what most women would consider extremely attractive in a dark, forbidding way, but he and I came from different worlds; we didn't see life the same way. Gazelles didn't lie down with lions, at least not unbloodied and alive. After a long, puzzled moment, I shook my head, thrust the inexplicable look from my mind—there was simply no room for it in my reality—and employed a swift change of subject.

Not only is he a seriously carnal being, he has his moments of thoughtfulness and consideration (for Mac), although he would beg to differ.When Mac is distraught over her first sighting of the Gray Man, and near hysterical, he LETS her lash out at him. Like Head Wench Barb said, "
She screams and wails on him.  And he *lets* her! The fourth time they meet. That is all." 

I opened the door, stepped out, walked right into Jericho Barrons' chest, and screamed. I couldn't help it. It was the scream I'd been holding down since I'd seen the hideous thing in the pub, and it had stayed inside me as long as it could. 
He grabbed me by my shoulders—I think to steady me—and I punched him. I have no idea why. Maybe I was hysterical. Or maybe I was just mad because I'd begun to understand that something was very wrong with me and I didn't want it to be. When insane things start to arrange themselves in sane patterns around you, you know you've got problems. It was his fault. He was the one who'd told me impossible things to begin with. I hammered him with my fists. He just stood and took it, his hands clamped on my shoulders, his dark eyes fixed on my face. Don't get me wrong, he didn't suffer graciously, he looked pissed off to no end. But he let me hit him. And he didn't hit me back. Which was, I suspected, a pretty major concession from Jericho Barrons.

And really, there isn't anything else that needs to be said. THAT is the kind of man he is. I think it means so much more coming from Barrons than it does for other leads. It's easy for an already nice guy to keep being nice to the girl he wants. It's what we read time and time again in every paperback romance we pick up at the grocery store: He is a gentleman, a kind, generous, noble guy... who is just misunderstood. Until the girl comes along. Blah, blah, blah...

Not so for Jericho Barrons. For someone like Barrons, who makes no exceptions for anyone, who lives by his own rules, takes no shit from anyone, and will never give you another chance, well...  it makes it that much more significant and noteworthy. Barrons is neither your misunderstood Byronic hero, nor is he an antihero, and you will find it impossible to put him neatly in a category. There are no others like him. Only him.

When he covers up the bodies at the mansion for Mac, he says (words, remember, easily said) that he's doing it just so she can concentrate. He knows she's going to feel the OOP whether or not she's concentrating. He does it so she doesn't have to deal with the horrific deaths, the same way he tells her NOT to look back at the Gray Man's victim, for HER sake. Nothing else.

 But Barrons caught my chin in his hand and forced me to look straight into his eyes. "Don't," he barked. "The dead ones stick in your memory. Just go kill the fuck that did it."

If, throughout Darkfever, you were still unconvinced that Barrons was deserving of Mac's time, I am sure this (one of the last scenes of the book) would change your mind. THIS was the scene that threw me over the edge, headfirst into the vastness that is Barrons, into an obsession I will never recover from.
He'd come after me. He'd saved my life. He'd patched me up and tucked me into bed and I knew he would watch over me until I was whole again.

Not only does he look after her, nurse her, and patch her up, she TRUSTS him to watch over her when she is completely vulnerable. And then, to top it all off, Barrons paints her nails for her. Because she can't. HE PAINTS HER NAILS FOR HER. The action speaks for itself.

Ain't No Rest For The Wicked

Between Mac walking into BB&B and the end of Shadowfever, a lot happens, things change, Mac evolves. But one thing that remains constant is Barrons. Even Mac acknowledges that by coining one of my favorite nicknames: Constant Jackass. What is there to be said really? Barrons is Barrons. You will find no sweet, gentle, romantic scenes in these books. Not a single one with Barrons. So if that's what you are looking for, look elsewhere. Or better yet, open your mind to the endless possibilities Barrons brings to your world. Who needs cliched romance when you can have fiery passion, intense carnality that actually makes your heart skip a beat, a raw honesty that is incomparable to romantic platitudes, and most of all love. Expressed not in words, but in precious actions. Actions that I dare anyone to say are not borne of genuine love.

Constant Jackass aside, one of the things that changes is the attraction between Mac & Barrons (which has been bubbling under the surface since day one) becomes impossible to ignore. I have to say, Barrons wanting Mac is something that very obviously pisses him off. Clearly. He can't believe he wants the walking disaster in pink. But the way he decides to eventually handle it is the way he handles everything. It is what it is. Go with it. How fucking refreshing. He completely redefined my view on the male lead in books. Especially as someone I WANTED the female lead to end up with. If you had told me before Fever that I would want this guy, who doesn't even tell the girl she's pretty, doesn't wax poetic about all the amazing things about her, and doesn't tell her he loves her or flirt with her endlessly, to get with the girl, I'd have laughed. Hard. 

But clearly, KMM and Barrons himself (He is as real as breathing to me...don't laugh!) completely changed my view on what I look for in a leading man. I didn't care that he doesn't go on about Mac's great beauty. Sure he checks out her boobs, but what man wouldn't? It didn't bother me that he doesn't playfully flirt with her every now and then. Barrons has his very own brand of "flirtation" if you ask me. Uncalled for references to Mac's mouth and oral sex, and letting her drive his sexy cars *wink wink nudge nudge* being just a few of the tricks up his sleeve. Here we have a leading man (I refuse to call him the "hero", he would detest that!) who truly puts his needs and wants on hold to help the heroine become all she can be. He recognizes his lust for her early on, his other feelings for her aren't far behind, but he doesn't burden her with that, in this world where she is barely coping and has way too much on her plate. Not to say he doesn't clue her in on his easily understandable lust for her every now and then, she just chooses to ignore it. Sometimes I find it hard to blame her for that. Barrons is overwhelming, all consuming. It can be hard to come to terms with. That you want the tall, dark stranger everyone else seems to be wary of and avoids. The one who has his own set of morals and principles.
I know part of what turns me on so hard, makes me so violent with lust, is that he’s dangerous. I fell for the bad guy. I’m crazy about the one who’s trouble. The alpha that doesn’t play well with others and doesn’t take orders from anyone.

He is all that, but so much more. Is it any wonder she falls for him? After all he did for her, to her. And after promising her the bookstore she has come to love IF she keeps herself safe (yes...he is such a selfish ass *sarcasm*). After she finds out the horrible truth about her sister's murderer, he helps her come to terms with it, tries to cheer her up.
“You’re trying to make me laugh.” My heart hurt. Thoughts of what to do about (.....) 
“And it’s not working,” he said, as we stepped into the alcove of Barrons Books
and Baubles. “How’s this?” He drew me back out into the street and cupped my
head with his hands. I thought he was going to kiss me, but he tipped my head
back so I was looking up.
“The sign.” 
The placard swaying on a polished brass pole read: MACKAYLA’S

You Can't Quit Me Baby

"I'm not good, Mac. Never have been."
With a heavy heart I head for the end of this particular journey down Fever memory lane. We all know the anguish and despair Shadowfever starts off with. If Mac is the heart of the series, it's almost like the soul is missing. But Shadowfever has some of the most memorable, irreplaceable, heart-stopping, brilliant moments in the entire series. Each and every one features Barrons. This is where we all realized we were beyond any help. There was no going back. Nor had we any interest in going back. Mac has obviously evolved into something epic. Barrons has always been epic. We finally SEE more of it now, and Mac finally recognizes it, and the depth of what she feels for him. It takes a while, but at the point where they finally stop playing games is one of the most sincere, heartfelt, beautiful, and unforgettable scenes I have ever read. 

I'm not exaggerating when I say I learned something from Barrons. I matured a little... along with Mac. I never realized just how easily words could be twisted and forged into something evil, how someone saying all the right things could be the worst player of them all. I never realized you could convey love.. in its purest form, untainted, as real as the sky... without actually saying the words out loud. Only when I understood the magnitude of  Barrons' fervently spoken words did I realize it. Those three little words mean nothing. The beauty of that scene is all in its simplicity. 

“You’re Mac,” he says. “And I’m Jericho. And nothing else matters. Never will. You exist in a place that is beyond all rules for me. Do you understand that?”  
I do. 
Jericho Barrons just told me he loves me.

No scene has ever affected me like this. Anyone who tells you this series WASN'T swoon-worthy did not read it right. I swooned. I sighed. I lamented the fact that I would never meet a man like Barrons, and I was lost in the magic of their relationship, so different from anything, because Barrons was different. You will never get ORDINARY with him. What a Muse it must have been to bring Barrons to KMM's wonderful mind. Incomparable Barrons. Unequaled Barrons. As far as I'm concerned, unrivaled in the UF/PNR world. He straddles the world between black and white with an ease I doubt I will ever see written this well.

Jericho Barrons was a man it wouldn’t be hard to romanticize. Fiona, the woman who’d run the bookstore before I’d come along, had been so blindly in love with him that she’d tried to kill me to get me out of her way. Barrons was powerful, broodingly good-looking, insanely wealthy, frighteningly intelligent, and had exquisite taste, not to mention a hard body that emitted some kind of constant low-level charge. 
Bottom line: He was the stuff of heroes. 
And psychotic killers. 
If there’s one thing I’ve learned in Dublin, it’s that there’s a very fine line
between the two.

I didn't need to romanticize Barrons, to dilute him so I could accept that I was near obsessed with him. He was thrust into my world, all snarls and fangs and barely concealed violence. But that doesn't change the fact that I came to love Barrons. In and out of his beast form. The beast that he keeps so tightly leashed and who stirs to the surface often when it comes to Mac. Is it natural, normal that we (Wenches for Barrons) swoon a little when he is trying to control his inner beast? WHO CARES!? If loving EVERY part of Barrons is wrong, I don't want to be right.

Barrons cannot die. Every other being in his world recognizes him for what he is, THE alpha. The powerful Fae cower before him, the dreaded Shades slink away from him. He takes care of his own. He is able to bring Mac back from Pri-ya, something that has never been done before. And while everyone, myself included, thought he wanted the Sinsar Dubh for some selfish, nefarious reason (and were totally okay with it), his actual reason says so much about him, about just how deeply he cares and how seriously he takes his responsibility. Despite his harsh words, his violence, and his contempt for most people, it's hard not to place Barrons on a pedestal. He is the biggest, baddest fuck. He is worthy of that worship. He is peerless. Second to none. You realize this as you keep on reading. By the end, you will be undone by him. You will beg for more. And you will keep coming back for just one more taste of this ultimate alpha.

"I wanted to write a story with a male center-stage character that defied labels, and wouldn't permit one. I wanted to make the reader choose to take him or leave him without the convenience of a pre-packaged tortured-hero caricature to slap over his outline, and no easy answers about whether he was good or bad........Barrons says, “Judge me by my actions” and makes the reader do the same. At the end of the series, I want the reader to answer the question: Who/what is Barrons? the same way Mac does: Who cares? He’s Barrons."

KMM accomplished what she set out to do, because in the end, I don't care WHAT Barrons is.. and how many authors can boast that feat? How many can say, "my readers don't really know what the fuck this guy is, but they are completely enamored of him." I'll tell you how many, none. All the alphas, all the heroes, are put in such distinct categories: Vampires, demons, shifters, weres, archangels, hybrids of some sort, humans with a thirst for revenge. They have their personal background that is integral to the story, to getting the sympathies of the readers and the heroine. They go through this change and are better men at the end (for the heroine) than they were at the start. Not so Barrons. The man (?) we get to know in Darkfever is still the man we know in Shadowfever. There is not a single thing I can say is out of character. Barrons is unabashedly Barrons throughout. Background history? What history? We get a few tidbits, but hardly enough to connect any important dots. He is raw, pure, unadulterated male. A worthy mentor.  An epic trainer, he prepares Mac for this world she came hurtling into and keeps her alive to fight her own battles. An unparalleled lover. He never gives up on Mac. He has faith in her she doesn't even have in herself. What more could a gal ask for really? I would take Barrons' silently and simply spoken vows over flowery speeches any damn day.
I’m the one who will always watch over you. Always be there to fuck you back to your senses when you need it, the one who will never let you die.”

By the time Mac finally admits some hard truths to herself, I was way ahead of her on the whole Barrons thing. Barrons isn't a hero, as he says himself. He cannot be conveniently romanticized and neatly put into a category that will make your conscience be alright with every single thing he does, but it does not matter. We want him anyway. 

“I’m not the hero, Mac. Never have been. Never will be. Let us be perfectly clear: I’m not the antihero, either, so quit waiting to discover my hidden potential. There’s nothing to redeem me.” 
I want him anyway.

I don't know about you, but to me, Barrons is the ultimate alpha. The hero to end all others. I hear Ryodan will give him a run for his money, and I believe KMM can do it, but to me, Barrons is the original. He broke the mold. If I am ever in a situation like Mac's I want Barrons on my side. Well, to be honest, I want Barrons in any and every single way possible. I'd take him as a mentor, trainer, teacher, partner, lover, loyal friend, anything. Who wouldn't? 

*all gifs from tumblr
**David Gandy pics from


  1. Agree with every word!!! You put my feelings for Barrons into words that I just couldn't express myself without being an incoherent mess, studdering, blabbering, sighing and swooning hehe :þ
    Great post Zee :*

    1. THANK you!!! <3 It was IMPOSSIBLY hard trying to put into words EVERYTHING we felt for him you know. And I didn't want to romanticize him. So it took work! But so glad you liked it!!

  2. What a FAWESOME post Zee!! And I agree with every word you said. Same bloody page, same bloody word! I bow down to you, I couldn't have said it better, hell, I couldn't have said it as well as you. But this is exactly how Barrons makes me feel.
    KMM is a genius, she created a brilliant world, characters and scenes. She deserves a big standing ovation... and so do you Zee.

  3. WOW Zee, This is an AMAZING ESSAY! loved it so much!

  4. Love this! You have done a great job of organizing my thoughts for me! I am going to make sure my friend who doesn't think the world revolves around Barrons (and yet we are still friends!) reads this! I've wanted to explain it to her, but the thought of putting all that into words was just too overwhelming.

    1. Thank you Kathi :) it means a lot that my fellow Wenches love this! Glad I could help! And it IS overwhelming tackling the subject that is Barrons.

  5. Good Lord, Zee! Just amazing! I have a hard time articulating to myself why I like Barrons so much, and you've just laid it out in black and white, er gray and pink. I know some people might read Barrons as controlling and say he has traits similar to abusive partners (trust me, in my field I'm an expert in this), so I've often been perplexed when I try to figure out why I'm drawn to him. But he is always clear about his intentions (whether Mac can see it or not). And he always gives Mac a choice. And it's not just a perceived choice, she truly has a choice about who she aligns with, who she trusts, and she always chooses Barrons. He's a BAMF who doesn't sugar-coat things in a time when one has to be blunt to survive. As an alpha female, I can't help but be drawn to alpha males who see alpha females as partners--rather than seek out females to protect. So that is why I love Barrons.

    1. Oh yeah! I never for a second thought he was abusive or controlling. An abusive asshole would not tell her to "Bloody hell, look inside yourself! Hate me! Fight! Fight any way you can!"

      He would try and win her blind trust, not so Barrons : "Good. You don’t trust him, do you?”
      “I don’t trust anybody. Not him. Not you. Nobody.”
      “Then you might just stay alive.

      And calling his treatment of her harsh and verbal abuse is trivializing the matter if you ask me, there is SO much going on in this world. Sigh.. I should stop. I could go on. Lol.

      But so glad you liked it Veronica!! I love it when my fellow Wenches like my posts! Yay :)

  6. Zee this post was amazing. You expressed Barrons in such a way that it cemented some of my thoughts. I could never express it so well. Barrons is the ultimate Alpha male and you have shown us why point by point.

    1. Thank you so much Angela!! You know it was hard not going on and on and on about Barrons, but I tried lol. Otherwise this might have been a tree part post.

  7. Zee, you captured everything and more that we love about JZB. Wonderful writing!

    Also, loved this: "Anyone who tells you this series WASN'T swoon-worthy did not read it right." <----------THAT

  8. I'm having serious Fever withdrawals. I finished my re-read yesterday and I don't know what to do. I just want to find anything Fever-related and read it until the itch/pain/draw goes away or I forget about it. Which of course is not helping at all. How can you keep your hands off drugs when you're constantly reading about how good they are and how they make you feel?!

    And this amazing, awesome, great(!) post made it worse. As if I didn't already know that KMM is a genius and that there will never, ever be created similar books. Well maybe the upcoming Fever World books. But not Fever. Nothing like Mac and Barrons. I love her side characters. Which are not that *side* at all, but my point was, nothing, but nothing like Mac. And sure as hell nothing like Barrons.

    I hate jealous men. I think there is something sick and wrong about them. When Barrons is barely keeping his beast at bay because he thinks Mac had sex with Darroc or V'lane, something clenches down there and I become aware of my ragged breath. How is that possible? Ask KMM and the "Monster" she's created when she wrote Barrons. Sometimes I even wonder if it's not Barrons who wrote K.M. Moning.

    Thank you Zee for not just making my itch and draw stronger, but for making me go change my panties and take a shower.

    1. OMG Olga!! Thank YOU! I am beyond happy that my post really got to you! :D Best feeling in the world!!

      And agreed. Jealousy turns me off FAST! But with Barrons... well.... A)I don't think it's regular,petty jealousy. Since he still doesn't do much when she's off with V'lane all those times except be snarky lol and B)His beast can TOTALLY get away with it, and is a good excuse for being hard to control.

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