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Why We Love The Alpha

When romance readers are asked what they want in a hero, they overwhelmingly say that they want to read about someone who can get the job done, both out in the world and behind closed doors. An Alpha. Romance novels have come a long way from the bodice rippers of old, but the Alpha character, while he’s evolved from the rakish rogue, still prevails. A quick scan of the bestsellers list reveals Alphas in all forms: billionaires, rock stars, athletes, bikers, and characters that shape shift into predators.

Why do we still love the Alpha so much?

  • So we’ve totally got this. We shattered the glass ceiling, woman can go in combat, and there are women coaches in the NFL and NBA. There are two female candidates for president and no one bats an eyelash about it. We can be anything we want to be. But sometimes, it’s nice to sit back with a glass of wine and let someone else handle it.

  • Alphas take chances and get things done. Fear isn’t in their vocabulary.

  • Power respects power.

  • Alphas like the concept of forever. Happily Ever After. In a world that we throw things out and start over when something’s broken, forever is a comforting concept.

  • Washboard abs. (Hey, this is about romance books, after all.)

  • It’s the fantasy. No matter what the genre, the best books take the reader away from her everyday life and drop her in the middle of another world. Whether the reader pictures herself as the bad ass hero (or heroine) who is busting up a drug cartel, or surrendering to the will of the Alpha behind a bedroom door, books are a safe place to escape and explore what interests us. We want to read about interesting people who do extraordinary things. No matter what side of the power play you’re on, the Alpha grasps the reader’s imagination and doesn’t let go until they are satisfied.

Why do you love reading about Alphas?

Kristen Strassel

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