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My phone alerted me to a text. I paused to read it and shook my head. It was from my husband, his latest response to a series of messages between us. I tapped the reply square. “You’re such a man.”

And I didn’t mean that in a “you’re the hunk of my dreams and I swoon at the thought of you” sense, though he most certainly is (go ahead, gag). The context was more: only a man would think that, type that, and actually send that.

 

Because the average man is a far cry from the poetry-spouting knight we concocted in our imaginations at girlhood. And though he might start out playing all the cards he thinks a woman wants to see in the game of courting, over time he transitions back into the flesh-and-blood guy God created him to be: quite direct, impossibly practical, and in need of a good nudge now and then when it comes to the “r” word.

And that type of realism is what I like to see in a good romance novel.

For me the guy who gets the girl has got to be believable. He makes mistakes, says the wrong thing, does the stupid thing, misses the hint, snaps back when he’s fed up, and has thicker skin than the lady sniffling across from him. Good looking is nice, though not required.

He’s also considerate, repentant, makes an effort to “get it,” loves his lady with a vengeance, and would lay down and die for her. He’s patient when she’s driving him insane, strong when she’s weak, a warrior when she’s threatened, and chases her when she runs.

His love for her–and the conflicting way it makes him vulnerable and strong at the same time–that’s romantic. And when I reach “The End” of a novel–whether I’ve written or read it–that’s the kind of romance I want to know exists in the hero.

Even if that makes him the kind of guy who sends a “you’re such a man” text from time to time.

Your turn: What’s your favorite kind of book and why?