Leading Men Just Don't Do It For Me

Christian MacKeltar, Vlad Tepesh, Ian Flannery, Jonah, Catcher Bell, Alcide Herveaux... 

What do these "supporting" characters have in common?  Me!!  I love them all!! More importantly, I love them more than (or at least as much as) the leading men of their series.

Give me a book with two (or more) male characters and, nearly without fail, my favorite will be the one the heroine passes over. This trait of mine simply mystifies some of the Wenches, so I've set out to try to explain my love of secondary characters.

I don't know whether I can convince anyone else to join me in my odd proclivities. My "affliction" might turn out to be merely my own unique brand of fangirling that no one else understands. But at the very least, there will be some man candy to help support my arguments, so I hope you will enjoy reading more about my strange taste in book boyfriends after the jump!


I've always been an unconventional girl. I can never do things the easy way — just ask my husband or my mom. When I was little, I was the one of the biggest tomboys ever. Most little girls have at least some girly tendencies, but not me. For Halloween, I was a White Sox player or Mickey Mouse, not Minnie Mouse. My favorite Disney characters were Prince Phillip from Sleeping Beauty and Robin Hood. I had no interest in the princesses and instead played every sport I could. Some friends and I even tried, unsuccessfully, to join the football team. I never played with dolls or had a tea party or played dress up (unless it was to dress up as one of my favorite characters).

I think my love of the non-hero began with this non-typical girlhood, when I didn't want what other girls wanted, and naturally continued into the PNR/UF books that I've been reading. Even though the leading men in these series aren't your typical heroes, I don't seem to want the characters that the other gals want. I don't know if it's just my need to be unconventional or whether I'd love these men even if they were the hero of the story. But I do it EVERY time. Just ask the other Wenches. They know all too well by now who my men are!

My Men

Christian MacKeltar from Karen Marie Moning's Fever series and the newly released Dani O'Malley series

He was tall with dark hair, a great Scottish accent,.... and pretty dreamy eyes himself, an unusual shade of amber, like tiger eyes, framed by thick, black lashes.
My love for Christian started with his description. I'm a sucker for tall guys with great accents. Then I fell in love with his personality. He is charming, smart, loyal, and so many other things. Plus, he's a Druid, which is wicked cool. But I think what really sold me on Christian was his desire to protect and help his family and the world in whatever way he can. He knows that the ritual is dangerous. He also knows it is the ONLY chance the world has to keep the walls up between our realm and Faery. So he does it, even though it ends up being the beginning of the end of life as he knows it.

I know Barrons and Ryodan are the main men in the Fever world, but to me they are just too much. Too much of everything: too demanding, too secretive, too alpha. I want a partner. I don't want someone who wants to be in charge of every detail of my life, even if it is for my own good. I'd much rather have to deal with Christian's lie-detecting abilities, even with my penchant for embellishment! Christian has some anger issues in Iced. But to me, he seems to still have a flicker of the old Christian left. It's just hidden beneath what he is becoming. But underneath the Unseelie Prince, he's still my Christian and I can't wait to see how his journey continues in the remaining Fever books.

Jonah from The Chicagoland Vampires series by Chloe Neill

This vamp was tall and lean, with longish auburn hair that just reached his shoulders, blue eyes set beneath long brows, and a chiseled chin. He wore a shortsleeved shirt with a collar, the bottom tucked into his jeans. Tattoos ringed each bicep — a flying angel on one arm, a slinking devil on the other. I wondered what he was conflicted about. 
Twice Bitten

Jonah is such an intriguing character. I think what initially drew me to him (besides his smoldering good looks) was his Red Guard membership. The fact that he is willing to risk his position and House status to protect his people as a whole, not just Grey House. I also love that he remembers Merit from years ago when he dated her sister. But the things I love most about Jonah, now that we know him a little better, are his multiple masters/doctorate degrees. If I were going to live forever, that is EXACTLY what I would do, because I loved school. If it had been possible for me to stay in school forever, I would have, and that is what Jonah has done.

In addition to his bravery and sense of responsibility, I love the way Jonah treats Merit. For the most part, he doesn't push her into anything that she isn't ready for, either in their partnership or the relationship he wishes would blossom when Ethan is gone. I have never really liked Ethan very much. Just something about him rubs me the wrong way, but I can't exactly put my finger on it. So when Ethan was gone, I was excited that Merit might give Jonah a chance. Alas, it was not meant to be. But I'm hoping we'll still get to see Jonah in future books, since Merit is still a Red Guard. Also, if I were going to be a vampire in the CLV world, I think Grey House would be the place for me. Not just because of Jonah, but also because of the sports-themed House jerseys and sports memorabilia used as decor. Even though Scott is a Cubs fan and I'm a White Sox fan, Grey House seems like my kind of House.

Catcher Bell from the Chicagoland Vampires series by Chloe Neill

Catcher had a solidly ex-military look about him — a muscular body beneath a snug olive T-shirt that read "Public Enemy Number One" and jeans. His head was shaved, his eyes pale green, his lips full and sensuous. Had it not been for the annoyed look on his face, I'd have said he was incredibly sexy. 
Some Girls Bite

I think what initially drew me to Catcher, besides his description, was his snark. I love a man who can banter with me. My husband and I have a sort of unconventional way of communicating, much like Catcher and Mallory in the earlier books. They seem to be insulting each other or arguing, but it is mostly said in jest. My husband and I are the same way. What I also love about Catcher is his fierceness and the dedication he brings to everything he does. After his prophecy, he knows something bad is going to happen in Chicago. And he risks being kicked out of the Order to make sure that a sorcerer is on hand to deal with the upcoming challenges. I also love the discipline he insists Merit maintain while overseeing her training. That's something that I need in a teacher. Unless someone tells me I can't do it, which I will then take as a personal challenge. So I guess stubbornness is another trait Catcher and I have in common.

What drew me to Catcher rather than Ethan? Over almost everything else, I think it was Catcher's tendency to say what he thinks, without tempering it to be diplomatic or cryptic. Yes, sometimes it comes out wrong or makes him sound like a jerk. But you always know where you stand with him. That's something I enjoy in a man. That and his love of Lifetime movies and witty t-shirts.

Vlad Tepesh from Jeaniene Frost's Night Huntress and Night Prince series

He was about six feet, with an angular face framed by long brown hair and a tight beard. A wide, pale forehead set off deep-set eyes. He wasn't handsome in the classic sense, but his looks were striking. I would have remembered him if we'd met before.
At Grave's End

I'm not sure Vlad still qualifies for this post since he has his own series now, but when we met him he was a secondary character, so I'm including him. Plus I love him. A common trait I'm noticing in these supporting characters I love is loyalty, and Vlad has that in spades. As long as he likes you. I think that might be what I love most about him. He tells Cat that he'll always be on her side because they are friends, as long as her side doesn't endanger his people. I love someone who stands with his friends no matter what. And like Catcher, Vlad is snarky.

The other thing that drew me to Vlad was his age. I love history and would love to hear about the events he has witnessed through the centuries, the historical figures he has met (hell, he is one himself), and the places he has been. The fullness of his life fascinates me. I also love that he is pyrokinetic. Who wouldn't want a boyfriend with a superhero ability? Vlad also knows when to drop the cold demeanor and express some feelings, however reluctant he might be to do so. When Cat needs him, he comes through for her and quite literally talks her off a ledge. Of course, when it comes to Leila (whom I also adore), he is a little more hesitant. Now that Vlad is a leading man, we'll see if I continue to love him as much as I have. I am interested in watching his HEA with Leila develop over the next two books and seeing what else we learn about him. And I hope that we continue to see him in Cat & Bones' stories as well.

Ian Flannery from Jeaniene Frost's Night Huntress series

His pale crystal flesh almost shimmered against the tan color of his shirt...Liam's eyes were a clear turquoise, and his chestnut hair fell past his collar.  Yep, he was pretty. 

One Foot on the Grave

Oh, Ian. I don't even know where to start with Ian. When I met Ian in One Foot in the Grave, I didn't like him very much. He is pompous and, as always, a terrible, terrible flirt. But, as the series progresses and we get to know the real Ian, rather than the villain he was portrayed as initially, I came to really enjoy him. He is smart, cunning, and amusingly inappropriate. Once you get past his more irritating qualities, you just have to shake your head and laugh at him. Otherwise, you might want to throttle him. Once you learn to find him amusing instead of irritating, Ian is a good and loyal friend to have. He is a powerful vampire with a large and loyal "family" and a lot of unusual contacts. He's a good man to have on your side. I know Ms. Frost has said Ian isn't ready for his HEA yet, but I would gladly read his book now, even if it featured him getting into fights and seducing a bunch of women instead of settling down. That sounds like a damn good time to me.

Alcide Herveau from Charlaine Harris' Southern Vampire Mysteries

I opened the door and looked up. And looked up some more. He was huge. His eyes were green. His tousled hair was curly and thick and black as pitch.... He would have to shave a second time if he planned on going out in the evening. He would fit right in on a construction site or a wharf. He was a proper man.
Club Dead

Alcide is where this all started for me. The moment he stepped onto the page in Club Dead, I was hooked. Before he even opened his mouth, I knew I was a goner for this man. I just can't resist a big, brawny man's man. Then he started to talk and he called Sookie chère, which I think is a great term of endearment. He cleaned up his dishes without being asked, he carried her suitcase for her, and I fell even more deeply in love with him. I know quite a few people think he has become a different man since ascending to the position of Pack Leader, but I disagree. I still see the same man; he has just grown up some and is learning to navigate the political world he lives in now. He's still learning to play the game and manipulate situations to work in his favor, just like Eric does. He just doesn't have 1000 years of experience, so he's not as adept as Eric. I see a man who is trying to do right by his pack and the other people who are important in his life. He's doing his best to make sure everyone under his protection is safe and secure. He is working toward a better future for the pups. A world that is in the spotlight instead of just the light of the full moon. I still regret that he and Sookie never really had a chance. And, I cannot believe she turned down his offer to live with him after her kitchen burned down. I would have jumped at that chance! I don't even care whether it would've been a bad idea in the long run, I wouldn't have been able to resist the temptation. The ship has long since sailed on Sookie and Alcide, but I hope we see him find some happiness in the remaining book. He doesn't exactly have a good track record with girlfriends, a streak I would gladly try to bring to an end for him!

The Exceptions

As with everything in life, there are some exceptions to my rule. The following men are also mine, even if they are leading characters.

Crispin Phillip Arthur Russell III (aka Bones) from Jeaniene Frost's Night Huntress series

Hollows and contours became features as he looked up and spotted me staring at him. His brows were distinctly darker than his hair, which appeared to be light blond. Those eyes were dark as well, too deep for me to guess a color. His cheekbones could have been chiseled from marble, and that flawless diamonds-and-cream skin gleamed from under his shirt collar.
Halfway to the Grave 

Bones is my exception to every rule. I've told my husband several times that Bones is the perfect man. He has got everything a girl could want. He's brave, he's smart, he's strong, he's handsome, he's powerful, he's a leader, and because of his former profession, he's quite skilled in many...things. He also knows what he wants and he will do whatever it takes to get it. He knew, almost from the moment they met, that he wanted to be with Cat. And he definitely made his feelings known, but he never forced her into anything. My husband and I went through a breakup early in our relationship because he was scared of his feelings, and it was difficult for me to wait for him to sort out and accept his feelings. The fact that Bones knows what he wants and isn't afraid to fight for it makes me love him even more. This is the primary reason I love Bones above all others in this series. Don't get me wrong, Vlad and Ian are neck and neck, just a half step behind Bones. But in this series, Bones stands alone in the number one spot for me.

Terrible from Stacia Kane's
Downside Ghosts series


This time he glared at her, the greenish lights from the dash highlighting the astonishing ugliness of his profile. His crooked nose — it must have been broken several times — the way his brows jutted out like a cliff over the ocean, the set of his jaw. 

Unholy Ghosts

Terrible is such an unusual and exceptional character. Besides being my type — tall and big — he manages to stay a good person despite his very violent job. And while he doesn't think much of himself, he is actually smart, loyal, and brave. Like Bones, he knows that he is falling hard for Chess and has the courage to tell her that he can't handle just a fling with her. If they start something, he's in it for the long haul. He has already given his heart to Chess before he even tells her how he feels. He is also the first to step up and tell Chess how smart and beautiful and capable she is. And he is willing to put up with a lot of shit from Chess: her addictions, her self-esteem issues, a past she won't talk about, and so many other things. That's what I love most about him — no matter how fucked up Chess is, he is willing to stand by her and protect her from herself. I do quite enjoy Lex as well, but he is a little too shallow and selfish for me. In this series, Terrible is the only man for me!

Eric Northman from Charlaine Harris' Southern Vampire Mysteries

The vampire he'd indicated was handsome, in fact, radiant; blond and blue-eyed, tall and broad shouldered. He was wearing boots, jeans and a vest. Period.
Dead Until Dark

Eric Northman was my very first book boyfriend, and I don't think I could have picked a better one. What's not to love about Eric? He's stunning, rich, and powerful, but not too powerful. And he loves to give presents! Eric is a great man and vampire. He protects those he's sworn to watch over in addition to those he loves. He is pragmatic, but we've learned that he's not as cold-hearted as he seems. I think he is the perfect match for Sookie. When I was reading the SVM, I was hooked as soon as Eric came into the picture, because I was THRILLED that Bill wasn't the only man in these books. Then I met hot-blooded Alcide and I changed my allegiance. I still love Eric, but if I had to choose I'd rather have my rough-and-tumble werewolf, although it's a pretty close call.

So in conclusion...I think I might be a giant weirdo because I love secondary characters more than the primaries. I'm not sure that I've convinced any of you to join me, but I had a TON of fun writing this! It was a blast going back to my book boyfriends and examining what it is about each one that I love. But it was really tough, too, so I hope I've managed to plead my case in a way that at least helps you better appreciate the many fine secondary characters that you might not have taken the time to notice before, while you were busy concentrating on the leading men.

What about you, dear readers? Are you with me on any of these? Is there another secondary character in these or other series that you love? Or do you think I'm totally crazy?


  1. I'm w/ you on all of those except Christian....meh. I have yet to read Iced yet. I also, add Kit Marlowe (Karen Chance's books. Most notably the Dory Basarab series.) & Dick Cheney from Molly Harper's Nice Girls series.

    1. Wow new books to add to my TBR list! Thank you! And while I love my leading men, Christian definitely made his way to my list after Iced :)

  2. I'd have to add Samson from Molly Harper's Naked Werewolf series, Ben from Patricia Brigg's Mercy Thompson series, Luc from Chicagoland Vampires, and Jason from Laurell K Hamilton's Anita Blake series.
    Bones kinda ruined me for all other men though lol. He will probably always be my favorite ^_^

    1. Oooh totally agree on Luc! Although from CLV my fave non-leading man is Gabriel Keene <3

    2. I enjoy Luc and Gabriel, but not as much as Catcher and Jonah.

    3. Jason? Really? I always think of him more of a "door mat", I think asher's my new favorite in the LKH series. He's being an ass, but he's doing it for attention. And really, everyone in that series is busy doing each other and Asher's the only one left with a little danger left to him. Anita's screwed all the rest into boredom.
      And me too:((
      Anyone read Delilah Dawson's Wicked as they Come? Criminy's my new boy friend. He's drool worthy.

    4. Sara, having now read Mercy Thompson, I completely agree with you on Ben. <3 him!

  3. I agree "I usually fall for the supporting guy myself like Bran Cornucopia (Mercy Thompson, Alpha & Omega) Tyler McClain (Jessica McClain) V'Lane (Fever before he was Cruce) and Alcide of course

    1. Oh yeah, I so loved V'Lane before the Cruce thing. Actually can't wait for him to come back in Dani's books! But not as much as I adore Barrons though :)

    2. I totally loved V'Lane pre-Cruceing, and honestly, I still kind of like him now. In that bad boy crush kind of way. Like Alexander Skarsgard in Straw Dogs. I shouldn't like him, but I still do.

  4. Yay!!!! I'm not alone! Also, thank you all for giving me new books to add to my TBR list!

    1. You HAVE TO read Mercy Thompson...they are great! :) And the spin-off series Alpha and Omega is really good. ;)

    2. I actually have Mercy on my Nook, I just haven't gotten to her yet.

  5. I have a tendency to love the lead and the supporting characters. I'm not picky :D

    1. Hehe me too! Well not always, but I do love a lot of the great side characters. Christian, Gabriel Keene, Pam, Lor (New love), Vlad and Ian I loved in NH, and Maximus from Vlad's book. But never more than the leads, just loved them too.

  6. I loved this post. What no Sam from Southern Vampire Mysteries. I'm his only lover and that's fine by me. Alcide for you. Sam for me. However he is still down the chain from my ultimate love of Eric. Completely agree on Terrible, but Lex from Downside Ghosts has a strange appeal to me.

    Re Bones and Co, am I the only non series lover. I must be. I just don't see the attraction myself.

    BraineTS I love V'lane too. I'm still partial even though I know he is evil. Lor of course came onto my radar after Iced. Funny and sexy in one animalistic package. Christian too, although I wonder if my fascination with him is to do with the V'lane liking I already had.

    1. I like Sam, but I don't love him. Same with Lex, I really enjoy Lex, I just feel like we don't know enough about him for him to over take Terrible.

    2. I'm fond of Sam. As a friend. :) Seriously, though, Sam is firmly in friend category for me, even if he were to end up as the HEA.


    3. You don't need to duck Veronica. I've just always had a soft spot for Sam, I think kind of like Anne has for Alcide. He just does it for me I guess.

    4. I listed Sam for F mainly because I couldn't choose Eric twice. Who made up that rule anyway?!? ;-) He seems like the reliable boy next door, which also seems more like a friend to me. But despite the overabundance of characters to choose from on this show, I couldn't think of any I'd like or trust at this point. They've all gone off the rails. They even ruined the Fairy Godmother—who does that???

    5. I saw that Kathi and was so happy you did. It was a hard choice though wasn't it to pick anyone. Would be interesting to see from a book viewpoint as opposed to the show.

  7. Awesome post, Anne! Bless you, woman, for the pictures!

    I'm like Shau, I love the lead and supporting men, and I am with you on most of the men you chose. I just love all the main ones too! Of all of these, I probably love Ian the most. He had me from the first moment we met him at his mansion. He was such a villain in One Foot in the Grave, and I loved him! "You must be mad!" I.was.done. I will sing Bones praises all day long; he is the most perfect male ever to be printed. That's the only reason Ian is #2 in that series for me.

    I would love to add the Guild Hunter series. Raphael is a numero uno alpha male. However, Illium is *mine*. (It's true. Remember, I told Nalini Singh,and she wrote it on my Kindle cover?) Anne, if you read these, you'll find one of Raphael's Seven that suits your tastes.

    1. I do have to get to those. And, yes I do remember, don't worry, I won't steal him!

  8. "I know Ms. Frost has said Ian isn't ready for his HEA yet, but I would gladly read his book now, even if it featured him getting into fights and seducing a bunch of women instead of settling down."

    This! I think I'd rather read something like this for Ian than a typical HEA. I want to read about Ian having fun!!

  9. This was such a fun post to read and LOOK at, Anne! I'm a fan of all the guys you mention here, but none eclipse the leading man for me. I am a sucker for Bones, Barrons, Eric, Ethan, and Jamie Fraser. That does not keep me from admiring and enjoying these other men a lot--keeping in mind that they are yours, of course, and I need to keep my respectful distance. ;-)

  10. Great article, Anne. Really fun to read! :)

    I have to say for myself love of a supporting character over a leading man really just depends a lot on the characters.

    From your examples, I love Christian a lot but definitely not as much as I love Barrons.

    However, and I may get rotten tomatoes thrown at me for this one ;), I love Ian more than Bones.

    And in SVM, nobody comes close to Eric for me. Or at least, none of the men do. Pam...though...that's a different story.

    1. LOL Lisa. No rotten tomatoes from me as I haven't read Cat and Bones.


Post a Comment

You Might Want to Read...

A Tribute to The Fiery Cross

Black Dagger Brotherhood: Scenes That Left us Begging for More

When The Music's Over

Dani Mega O'Malley: Superstar

So Many Questions: The Fever Edition