Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This)

My Top Three UF/PNR Male Leads

One of my first posts on this great blog was about my Top 3 UF/PNR heroines. It made me think of the men that woo & pursue them, and where they stand. Whether they deserve our Kick Ass heroines. And just where they belong on the Alpha totem pole. Our book boyfriends are a large part of the "general inappropriateness" and "fangirling" we talk about so much. The men who get our pulses racing, our hearts melting, our eyes tearing up, who can make us get angrier at them than the heroine is or forgive them faster than the heroine does. The men who are responsible for many sighs and swoons. The ones we WANT the women we adore to end up with. And the reason we invest so heavily in their HEAs. (Mainly because we can't have them... since life isn't fair.)

So I sat down and thought about it, and almost changed my mind about doing this post at all. I COULD NOT CHOOSE! It was like picking which toe I would willingly cut off. I wrote them down in a few different orders (except for number one, he's a constant). I deleted them all. I relisted them. And even as I post this, I am thinking about the unfairness of having to choose between the men I love. Don't laugh; if you haven't fallen in love while reading, you're missing a lot. And maybe not reading the books right. These ARE the men the creators of each book world WANT you to fall in love with, the men they have especially designed to steal the hearts of the heroine and the reader. So if you don't love them, you simply aren't doing the book justice, or reading them they way they were meant to be read, and clearly missing the whole point! (Yes.. I take my reading too seriously.)

Here are my picks, after MUCH deliberation. These are the ones who are always at the top of my list. I won't bother adding all the other men that I love to some degree or another, because you'd be reading this all day!

Prepare yourself, ladies!
Please proceed at your own risk. Some minor and major plot spoilers ahead!


“Always want you, Chessiebomb. Always.” *sigh*

#3 Terrible

Where to start with Terrible, from Stacia Kane's amazing Downside Ghosts series? You will NOT see him coming. When he is first introduced to you and described to you, he will barely be a blip on your radar. We, as readers, are so conditioned to the gorgeous, "modeling-career-worthy" heroes, and Terrible couldn't be further from that cliché. Chess initially describes him as "ugly" on numerous occasions. But things change.
But she never thought about the way Terrible looked, at least not that way. He hadn’t been ugly to her for months; he’d gone from just being a face she was familiar with to being a face she loved to look at, a face that made her….happy. Who gave a shit what anyone else saw when they looked at him, when they saw the crooked, many times broken nose, or the scars, or the jutting brow or thick jaw and heavy muttonchops? She knew what she saw, and that was all that mattered. Knew what was behind those hard dark eyes, and wanted it more than anything.

Slowly but surely, he will creep his way into your heart. The first time Chess sees him kissing another girl, and her perspective shifts, so does yours. When Chess realizes she no longer sees him as "ugly", you see it too — you actually see it before Chess herself admits it, truth be told. You find his smile sexy, his words a heady aphrodisiac that accompany his drugging kisses.
“Shit. You so fuckin pretty, Chessie. True thing. So … ain’t even can breathe sometimes.”
There is so much I can say about Terrible. That he is an unexpected surprise who sweeps you off your feet before you even know what's happening. That you will love him instantly, and deeply. That he will be THE most endearing male lead you have read in a while. And that your heart will melt and your knees will go weak when you read his heartfelt, simple, sincere words, uttered in his unaffected, artless Downside speech. I sighed so hard while reading some of the amazing, beautiful, sincere things he said. And my knees buckled a little when I read:
“I figure you really wanted me you'd say. Like now, maybe, if you dig. I'll fuckin carry you down your place on a run, you tell me aye, get you on your back afore the next word comes out your mouth. But you oughta have yourself certain, causen I ain't lookin for charity, an I ain't lettin you go after. Once...once ain't enough for me, dig?”
Oh Lord... *swooooooon*
I love his directness, his willingness to give Chess space when possible. When he lets her believe that he actually believes she doesn't remember her throwing herself at him when under the influence. Because he gets that she isn't ready to deal with it, and deep down, sweet Terrible thinks she wouldn't really have done it unless she were high. His vulnerability, his insecurity, his gentleness with Chess, and his devastating sexiness... all things that make Terrible so much more than the scary thug you are first introduced to. And you will catch on to it very quickly. He will get under your skin, faster than Chess's Cepts work. And the addiction will be just as intense, as vital and electrifying. You won't be able to wait for your next fix of Terrible. Or for the next scorching hot sex scene, courtesy of Terrible. Of hearing some of the sweet, earnest things he says. Words that melt your insides, and make you want to reach into the book and just grab a hold of Terrible and never let go.
“Give you whatany you want, Chessiebomb. Anything.”
Come here, Terrible.

#2 Ethan Sullivan / Eric Northman
 (It's tough picking between my two favorite Viking Vampires, so I cheated. I'm a sneaky Wench!)

I won't lie, I actually love Ethan a little more than Eric. But I blame Eric's lack of page time (even during the span of 13 freaking books) and Eric and Sookie's lack of communication skills (especially lately). Eric is my first UF/PNR book boyfriend though. And a constant. He made me laugh from the get go, and come on... Ethan wouldn't be caught dead (haha) in PINK LYCRA! But Eric would.. and, therefore, he belongs on my list!

Eric Northman

“Yield to me.” Done!
Eric Northman, Sheriff of Area 5, Shreveport. Tall, blond, sexy as all hell. And so much fun. That has always been my favorite thing about Eric. He is playful. He brings so much happiness and laughter and a much needed sense of fun into Sookie's life. I love who they are with each other. He accepts Sookie just as she is, and I love that. She is KICK ASS and he recognizes that. He had me at “Yield to me Sookie”, and by the time we got to the next quote I was willing to bet a fortune on team Eric:
“I hurt with you. I bled with you — not only because we're bonded but because of the love I have for you.”

What really got me firmly in his corner, though, is how he treats Sookie and how she responds to him. Like she instinctively knows, very early on, that she can trust him. He is the only vamp (or any person actually) she has relinquished her control to. And that makes him stand out from all the rest. 
“You trust me?” Eric sounded surprised. “That's . . . crazy, Sookie.” “I don't think so.” Where that surety had come from, I didn't know, but it was there.

“Let go,” he advised me, and I loosened my grip on his hands. "No, not of me," he said, smiling. “You can hold on to me as long as you want. Let go of the pain, Sookie. Let go. You need to drift away.” It was the first time I had relinquished my will to someone else. As I looked at him, it became easy, and I retreated from the suffering and uncertainty of this strange place.
But Eric is so much more than the playful vamp who teases Sookie til she succumbs. He has been alive for more than a thousand years. And wisdom earned through experience from every single year shows in each decision and move he makes. He isn't power hungry as Pam points out, just wants to live his own life as independently as possible. And I admire that, that he doesn't feel the need to attain power. Despite the fact that he is a vamp who can very easily be in a position to seize more power and influence. After all this time, he still wants to live a relatively normal, peaceful life, which is far from what his life becomes after it intertwines with Sookie's. (Ah life, thou art a hateful bitch.) But through it all, Eric displays a passion for life that matches Sookie's own. How wonderful it must be, to live so long and still appreciate every second of this life. How unique. How...Eric.
I'd always been leery of Eric, but I'd appreciated his mischief, his single-mindedness, and his flair. If you could say a vampire had joie de vivre, Eric had it in spades.
Yes, Eric is beautiful, sexy, funny and strategic in a way only the wise are. But let's not forget, the man is a warrior. Was one before everything else. Don't be fooled by his fangy (very sexy) smile and playful manner, this vamp is LETHAL. He adores a good fight, and I'd be lying through my teeth if I said I didn't have a few fantasies of him swinging a giant Viking sword (bowling with heads anyone?) and later ravaging me on a fur pelt. *rawr*

Eric is thoughtful, in a romantic yet practical way. He makes her bed when she's in the shower in Club Dead. (Yes, a thousand-year-old vampire made Sookie's bed, and he wasn't even sleeping with her.) She often observes how he gives her what she really needs. From the new gravel on her driveway, to the cranberry coat, to the toaster. (With red bows!) 
I knew, as sure as I knew my name, that tomorrow he would send me another coat, in a big fancy box, with a big bow on it. It would be the right size, it would be a top brand, and it would be warm.... It was cranberry red, with a removable liner, a detachable hood, and tortoiseshell buttons.
But more than that, Eric gives her respect, he doesn't treat her like she's handicapped, and he makes her feel wanted. I'd say more, but Sookie herself says it perfectly:
It was beautiful Eric, who desired me, who was hungry for me, in a world that often let me know it could do very well without me.
Now there are many in the Southern Vampire Mysteries fandom (especially since the TV series VERY loosely based on the books) who doubt Eric's love for Sookie, but Sookie herself knows better. And so does the reader, really. It is painfully obvious just how Eric feels about Sookie, and I have loved every second of it. From "not liking feelings" to "you are my wife in the only way that matters to me", he tries to show and tell her in the only way he knows how.. sometimes overbearing, a little aggressive, maybe not always upfront, but always sincere.
One of the most wonderful, and the most appalling, things about Eric loving me was that he didn't give a shit about anyone else.

Eric makes us *sigh*

Beautiful Eric, thoughtful Eric, loyal Eric, epic lover Eric ("Guinness Book of World Records" epic), with that sense of humor and playfulness, is it any wonder Sookie and I love him?

Ethan Sullivan

I bet Merit got Ethan those cookies.
Say what you had to about Ethan, but the boy filled a library very, very well. Okay—arguably, that wasn’t the only thing he filled out well, but let’s stay on track.
Need I say more? Really?

Ethan Sullivan, Master Vampire of Cadogan House, Viking vampire and force to be reckoned with. I am one of those readers who loved Ethan from the get go. The blond, gorgeous, "prettier than Beckham" vamp had me at hello (so to speak). He even passed our first fight with flying colors, getting Merit that signed baseball. And while I could not BELIEVE it when he dumped her for the "greater good", I understood it. This vampire has inspired so much respect and loyalty in his vampires. That is the testament to his greatness. That he takes his responsibility so seriously, that he puts others before his own selfish desires. The people who have placed their lives and loyalties in his capable hands. He will never trivialize them. Hard to swallow as a woman, but impossible not to admire. And then, the things he says, the way he tries to change to make Merit give him another chance. The heartfelt depth of his words moved me to tears, often.
“What’s this?” “An apology, of sorts.” I made a moue, but slipped the lid from the top . . . and then my breath left me. Inside the box sat a baseball, its well-worn white leather marked by the signatures of every Cubs player from the team. It was just like the one I’d had—just like the one I’d told him about the night we made love.

“But consider the possibility that I made a mistake I regret—and that I’ll continue to regret that mistake and try to convince you to give me another chance until the earth stops turning.” He leaned forward and pressed his lips to my forehead, my heart melting even as my more rational side harbored suspicions.

“It is an apology,” he said, “for not believing in you ... or in us. Yesterday, I thought I’d lost you, and then we fought together,” he said. “I pushed you away for fear of what our relationship would do, could do, to this House. And then we protected this House together. That is the true measure of what we could do.”
Seriously, Ethan is possibly THE most swoon-worthy male lead I've read. I do not know how any woman is supposed to resist him. His charm, his sexy silvered eyes, his eagerness to learn how to win Merit's heart, his library (100 points to Sullivan for that. Worked better than chocolate-dipped strawberries if you ask me), and most of all, his beautiful words.Heart-wrenching, sincere, beautiful words. That man has a way with expressing himself that makes my heart flutter dangerously. Every single time I have read the things he says to Merit (and I have read them many, MANY times) I feel butterflies in my stomach, sometimes tears in my eyes, and always... unfailingly, a sigh escapes my lips. My relationship with Ethan, as a reader, progressed at a surprisingly fast pace. From lust, to like, to love and admiration. With just a few bumps in the road. I threw myself, willingly and wholeheartedly, into Ethan's corner. There was no one else for me, or for Merit. And it was plain to see why.
“You undo me, Merit. Wholly and completely. You don't take me at my word. You challenge me at every opportunity. And that means when I'm with you, I am less than the head of this House...and I am more than the head of this House. I am a man.” He stroked my cheeks with his thumbs. “In my very, very long life, I need you more than I have ever needed anything.”
YOU undo me, Ethan.
I was absolutely destroyed by the plot twist in Hard Bitten. I was so in love with Ethan, I almost couldn't go on. Ask the rest of the Wenches. I actually had to put the books away. I couldn't imagine a world without Ethan in it. Without Ethan challenging Merit to be all she could be, without a smiling Ethan, an Ethan sparring with Merit and goading her on. Without the well-loved Liege who really cared for each and every member of his great House. But we got him back. And he was everything we loved and so much more. I cannot wait to read more about our beloved Ethan.

Swoon-worthy, gorgeous, smart, sexy, and a man who keeps his (very sexy) promises. Where on earth do I sign up? I will beg, borrow, steal, and/or kill my way there!

“You’ll be wearing nothing but your Cadogan medal and a smile, Sentinel.”

“Is that a prediction?”

“It’s a promise.”
“I'll have you in my bed again, Sentinel. And at my side. That is a promise.”

He was intensely masculine. He was sexual. He attracted.

The one and only, Barrons. Unrivaled Barrons. I have already gone on at length about my ultimate male lead in my post You shook me all night long, dedicated to him. There is so much that can be said about him, too much. This wild, untameable being, feral in nature and in barely leashed control. Intensely passionate, brutally honest, and so sexy it hurts.
Barrons has something the rest of us don't have. I don't know what it is, but I feel it all the time, especially when we're standing close. Beneath the expensive clothes, unplaceable accent, and cultured veneer, there's something that never crawled all the way out of the swamp. It didn't want to. It likes it there.
He redefined the male "lead" for me. He did something next to impossible, and changed this female's views on "love" and "romance" and all those little things that we, as women, have been conditioned into believing since we were little girls. The fairy tale cliché. A prince will come, he will be charming, he will dance with you, whisper sweet nothings into your ear, and you will be swept off your feet into white fluffy clouds, a beautiful castle, odes to your perfection and glittery and pretty things to match. But then Barrons came along, and all that went right out the window. I was in love with a creature who could not be further from that cliché. A man came, he was as charismatic as the devil himself; he would test me, challenge me, dare me, scandalize me with his barely concealed lust — not whispered, but uttered through clenched teeth. I was swept off my feet by a tsunami of intense carnality, a passion so violent it could leave you bruised, a basement where there was "purity", and love so undiluted and pure that I envied Mac... a fictional character. Is it any wonder Barrons practically shoved everyone else off the top spot to reign instead?
My world, I’d purr, and mean it. And I was afraid that, even now that I wasn’t Pri-ya, I’d be just as out of control in bed with him as I was then. I’d melt, I’d purr, I’d hand him my heart. And I would have no excuse, nothing to blame it on. And if he got up and walked away from me and never came back to my bed, I would never recover. I’d keep waiting for a man like him, and there were no other men like him. I’d have to die old and alone, with the greatest sex of my life a painful memory.

And I understand that. Barrons is beyond compare. There will never be another like him. Everyone else will always pale in comparison. This vital, ferocious, compelling, virile, deadly, almost omniscient creature cannot be put into a category with anyone else. And for me, he will always stand alone on that number one spot. Permanently. I dare any author to even try and change that. NOT.GOING.TO.HAPPEN.

I think for most readers, Pri-ya was the point of no return. Where Barrons actually dared to show just how deep and true his feelings for Mac ran. Honestly, there was no defense against him by that point. Our hearts melted, our bones turned to jelly, and we were quivering piles of goo by the time we were privy to his thoughts (thanks to a naughty Mac).

Keep hoping to see the light in her eyes. Even knowing it'll mean she's saying good-bye.

Is it hot in here? Or is it just me?
Since I've already gone on about Barrons until I've actually run out of words, I'm going to let the books do the rest of the talking.
He crossed his arms and his gaze dropped to my glossy Lip-Venom red lips. “Am I to understand there are called-for references to your mouth and oral sex with me, Ms. Lane? I'd like to hear them.”

“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.”

Physical proximity to Barrons was disturbing, like standing next to a highly charged magnetic field.

'Nuff fucking said.

What about you, Saucy Reader? Who are some of your favorite UF/PNR leads??

* all gifs from tumblr
** pics from www.davidjamesgandy.com, www.stade, fr.com, tumblr, and www.magicbulletmedia


  1. Loved this post Zee. But, of course, being the weirdo that I am, I would eliminate Ethan and Barrons. And put Bones at number 1.

    1. Thanks Anne!

      Lol I wouldn't eliminate Ethan or Barrons EVER! Even if you put a gun to my head! I wanted to add Vlad and Bones.. but in the end decided to make it harder for me and not add honorable mentions..

  2. This post was absolutely awesome. I agree with Eric, Ethan and Jericho Barrons (Swoon). Seriously, I was obsessed with him for months. I didn't know about Terrible but will be getting him on my Kindle tonight so thanks very much for the heads up.

    1. Glad you liked it Maggie!! And I really hope you enjoy Terrible! Lovely surprise!

  3. Awesome post Zee and I agree 100% with BEE!!!! Loved it.
    I still haven't read the DG series but those are on my top TBR list.

    1. Hehe yup BEE! And DG should definitely be on your TBR list Beta!

  4. What a great summary of why I love these guys! *bowing down*

    I haven't met Terrible yet and also look forward to that day. But in the meantime, I would have to add Jamie Fraser and Bones to the top of my list, along with Barrons. I can't be satisfied with just 4. :-)

    1. I'm getting to know Jamie Kathi!

      Lol! I could have gone on about more guys too! But I TRIED to limit myself!

  5. Kudos Zee,wonderful post!for me Jamie Fraser is the one and only but your threesome are very close behind.

    1. Thanks Merit! I'm getting to know Jamie! Very curious as to whether he will make it to me list!

  6. My top 3:

    1. Eric
    2. Terrible
    3. Ethan

  7. Great post Zee. Well I would eliminate out Ethan first off, as I didn't find him appealing at all. I really wanted to like him, as I had heard great things about CLV, but he was kind of just okay for me. Eric and Terrible I agree need to be on this list as I love them to bits. Curran from the Kate Daniels series would have been here too as he is just, mouth watering, and all alpha male down to his toes.

    I also really enjoyed Ryodan and Christian from Iced a lot as well. I was intrigued by them in the Fever books and loved how they were so front and centre in the Iced book.

    1. I really enjoyed Ryodan and Christian too! Especially Christian in Iced. But for now, don't know enough about them! Can't wait to find out though :D

    2. I can't wait to see if KMM is going to live up to her boast that Ryodan is going to eclipse Barrons. Color me skeptical. Barrons is a lot to live up to.

    3. I do hope so Veronica. I see definite potential in Ryodan and think it is more KMM's personal challenge don't you think? I was intrigued by Ryodan in the Fever series, so I think that is why I already had quite a soft spot for him when Iced came out.

    4. You know Veronica, I've been wondering the same thing. But I don't see it. I was a goner by the end of Darkfever for Barrons... As intrigued as I am by Ryodan, I just don't see how he will eclipse Barrons! And like one of the people commented on her statement "that's the thing about eclipses, they only last for a short period" (or something to that extent)

      At this point, after Iced, I like Ryo for Dani, but Christian turned out to be my fave (apart from Lor) by the end. Can't wait for the next one!

    5. Lor, now there is go Zee. I definitely have a soft spot for him now as well. I'm keen to see where his story goes. Christian definitely increased on my horizon mainly as I'm a sucker for a redemption arc and I can so see his story going there. Make someone traumatised and then a bit bad ass, doing freaky, seemingly unforgivable acts and then make him come back from that hooks me around the heart.

      I think Ryo will be affected regardless by the fact Barrons was first, plus he had five books, so he is more in our consciousness. Therefore Ryo will always be compared to him.

  8. Who am I to disagree???

    Well, I haven't read either series from #2, but I totally agree with your other choices.

    #1 - Barrons
    #2 - Terrible
    #3 - Possibly Bones because I can't think of anyone else right now. I just love how deeply he falls for Cat right from the beginning. I especially love his earth shattering examples of how much he loves Cat and how she is different from all the previous women in his life.

    1. Oh yeah Bones is pretty freaking awesome. I flove Vlad too. I REALLY wanted to give them honorable mentions, but I felt like I had already cheated enough lol.

      Oh Krista you should definitely get to know Ethan and Eric too :D

  9. You are my wife in the only way that matters to me. *swoon*

    That line still pops into my head at random times for no reason.

    1. Right??? *sigh* He says the most wonderful things. I had to actually cut out a lot of quotes I had included because my post was more quotes than anything else lol.

  10. I couldn't agree with you more, except I don't know Terrible... yet. Eric had me in LDID when he comforted Sookie in the elevator after the attack in the church. Just a big aawwww, so many aawww moments :)

    1. Awww yeah Inga!

      “Don’t cry again,” he said hastily. “Just don’t start crying again, and I won’t mind taking this to the cleaners. I won’t even mind getting a whole new suit.”

      He has some AMAZING moments!

  11. I love Ethan!!! Iam obsessed with Ethan since book 1.
    I really like your choices ♥

    1. Thank you Elizabeth!!! We ADORE Ethan here too, I'm more than a little obsessed with the sexy vamp, just like you, I loved him from the first book!! :)

  12. Awesome post, Zee! My heart squeezed as I read about Terrible and Eric, reminding me of all the reasons they stole my heart too. Barrons is #1 for me too. Always will be, I think.

    1. Thanks Amanda! :) You know I sometimes forget, myself, all the reasons I love Eric. Always good to revisit it :) Yup, I have come to terms with the fact the Barrons will always be numero uno!

  13. The quote by Ethan: “But consider the possibility that I made a mistake I regret—and that I’ll continue to regret that mistake and try to convince you to give me another chance until the earth stops turning.” is my absolute FAVORITE quote! Just reading it makes me sigh - why can't I have an Ethan? And now, I have 2 more books to read, because I've never heard of the other 2, and that's just not acceptable!

    1. Hello Stacey! Ethan sure has a way with words doesn't he? That man makes me sigh a lot! It was tough not just quoting every single thing he says! Let us know how you like the other two :D we love talking about book boyfriends here!


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