S02.2 The Alpha in Romance Novels - Interstitial

As we lead into Season Two, and consider the fact that some of our faves are definitely going to be problematic, we’re talking about the alpha hero this week — we’re also tackling the beta hero and the cinnamon roll, and why these archetypes largely don’t work for us. We’re talking romance heroes who changed the game for us and the genre, about how hard it is to turn the alphahole around, and how satisfying it is to watch it happen. We’re also talking the female gaze (of course) and the patriarchy (like always).

Next week, we’re digging into one of our original alphas, Derek Craven! You can find Lisa Kleypas’s Dreaming of You at AmazonBarnes & NobleApple BooksKobo, or at your local indie. It's currently $2.99 in digital everywhere, so snatch it up! 

Show Notes

12: Do Not Let the Lykae into the Yankee Candle Store: MacRieve

MacRieve is here and so is friend of the pod, Sierra Simone! We’re so excited to talk about The Full Kresley, what makes erotic romance, The Simone Scale™ of taboo romance, why MacRieve is so tough to read, why Sarah thinks it might be Kresley’s best book, and why Chloe is such a badass. There’s a lot of hysterical laughter, and Sarah is preparing for legal action.

Don’t forget to subscribe to the podcast in your favorite podcasting platform — and while you’re there, please leave us a like or a review. 

In two weeks, we’re starting Kresley’s contemporary series The Game Makers (we’re reading the books in original publication order) with The Professional. Get ready for Wroth Brother fanfic that Kresley herself refers to as “way sexier” then IAD. Get The Professional at AmazonB&NApple BooksKobo, or from your local Indie.

Show Notes

taboo chart.jpg

Lost Limb Count

Arms and Hands (8)

  1. Conrad cuts off his own hand with a rusty axe so he escape the "witched" chains his brothers locked him in. (Dark Needs at Night's Edge)
  2. Cadeon has both of his hands burned off in the same scene where he loses an eye. There's description of what Cade's baby fingers look like as they are re-growing. It's...kinda gross. (Dark Desires After Dusk)
  3. Sebastian pulverizes most of his right arm during the Hie. He regenerates. (No Rest For the Wicked)
  4. Lucia peels all the skin off from her hand in order to free herself from some handcuffs. (Pleasure of a Dark Prince)
  5. In order to retrieve the ring from La Dorada , Lothaire cuts off her finger. (Pleasure of a Dark Prince)
  6. Lanthe and Carrow cut off Fegley's hand so they can use his thumb to unlock their torques. He's later killed. (Demon from the Dark)
  7. After receiving Lothaire's heart in a box, Ellie cuts off her middle finger and sends it to him. (Lothaire)
  8. Chloe's shoulder is dislocated in the escape from her auction (MacRieve).

Chest and Torso (7)

  1. Omort severs Rydstrom's spine and punches through his torso in a fight. Sabine saves him and enlists Hag to help heal him. (Kiss of a Demon King)
  2. Lucia's neck is broken. She regenerates. (Pleasure of a Dark Prince)
  3. On Torture Island, Regin,
  4. MacRieve,
  5. and Brandr are vivisected. It's pretty terrible. (Dreams of a Dark Warrior)
  6. Declan's skin is peeled off by the Neoptera as a child. (Dreams of a Dark Warrior)
  7. Lothaire rips out his own heart and sends it to Ellie in a box. (Lothaire)

Head, Face, and Eyes (6)

  1. Bowen loses an eye and most of his forehead during the Hie. Mariketa has cursed him and he can't heal until he returns to her. (Wicked Deeds on a Winter's Night)
  2. Cadeon loses an eye and part of his forehead and hair when fighting. It all regenerates. (Dark Desires After Dusk)
  3. During a rugby match, Garreth has his teeth knocked out and swallows them. (Pleasure of a Dark Prince)
  4. Lothaire kicks out La Dorada's remaining eye and throws her over a cliff. (Dreams of a Dark Warrior)
  5. In the Bloodroot Forest, the tree grows over Lothaire's lips and tongue. (Lothaire)
  6. After she gains her immortality, Chloe's hair grows, but she cuts it off every morning. (MacRieve)

Horns (2)

  1. Cadeon cuts off his own horns to prove to Holly that he is worthy of being her mate. She tells him to let them grow back (Dark Desires After Dusk)
  2. Malkolm is captured by his enemies in Oblivion and taken to the city of Ash. The publicly cut off his horns and then intend to kill him, but Carrow saves him. (Demon from the Dark)

Legs and Feet (3)

  1. Lachlain tears off his own leg to reach Emma. He regenerates. (A Hunger Like No Other)
  2. Mariketa's skull is fractured and her leg is torn from her body. She heals herself after Bowen lays on the ground. Ivy grows over her and heals her. (Wicked Deeds on a Winter's Night)
  3. Thronos is chasing Melananthe and loses a foot when a portal closes on it. (Kiss of a Demon King)

Beheading as a Romantic Gesture (4)

  1. The first time Garreth spies Lucia, it's when she shoots an arrow and beheads a kobold. He notices that it's "a fantastical shot" and he's super into it. Later, he helps her pick up the head because he's a real gentleman like that. (Pleasure of a Dark Prince)
  2. Later in the book, they are under attack from vampires and Lucia asks him to help. Garreth promises to "give her their throats" and beheads two vampires. But she's upset about it because of a previous bad experience with cannibalism. (Pleasure of a Dark Prince)
  3. Malkolm beheads men that attacked Carrow in Oblvion, and he throws them to prove he's a worthy mate. (Demon from the Dark)
  4. Declan fights and beheads several creatures as they escape Torture Island, including squeezing one dude so hard his eyes pop out and then he twists his head off. (Dreams of a Dark Warrior)

Beheading as a Non-Romantic Gesture

  1. Ellie cuts off Lothaire's head, leaving a slender 1/8 of an inch left. It was kind of an accident, but he deserved it. (Lothaire)


  1. Does Garreth's losing his connection with his mortal soul count? (Pleasure of a Dark Prince)
  2. When Soroya inhabited Ellie's body, she subjected her to a full Brazilian wax. Ellie doesn't realize it's happened until she takes control of her body again. (Lothaire)

2: The Best Led Zeppelin Song is by Pink Floyd: No Rest for the Wicked

We’re two books in this week, reading No Rest for the Wicked, starring Kaderin the Cold-hearted and Sebastian Wroth, participating in the Talisman Hie…Kresley’s version of The Amazing Race.

Sarah & Jen cover everything from pop-culture in romance novels to the lengths we’ll go for the people we love, and the immense trust required when we fall in love…all while marveling at the way Kresley sets the stage for a series that will subvert tropes and genres again and again.

Don’t forget to subscribe to the podcast in your favorite podcasting platform — and while you’re there, please leave us a like or a review.

Our next read (in two weeks) will be Wicked Deeds on a Winter’s Night and the witches are coming! WDOAWN is the story of Bowen MacRieve (werewolf) and Mariketa the Awaited (witch)…and the book that really breaks open the wide world of IAD. We’ll be joined by the brilliant Adriana Herrera, and you won’t want to miss it. Get ready for the read along at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Apple Books or your local indie.

Show Notes

  • Some fun facts about The Amazing Race.
  • The Valkyeries in mythology, and maybe you didn't notice that "Val Hall" is a play on Valhalla.
  • Vampires in pop culture & literature.
  • Remember your high school English teacher talking about characters who are foils of each other? This is not to be confused with your algebra teacher talking about how to solve quadratic equations.
  • On Urban Dictionary, I want to kiss the person who defined Frigid it as "An outdated, Victorian term used to describe women who aren't interested in sex. Only used today by drunk men in bars to explain why the woman they attempted to pick up wasn't interested."
  • A wacky look at some potential real life examples of time travel.
  • Just out of curiosity, this is what you'll find if you google "Bad Ass Estonian General." IMPRESSIVE.
  • Sarah's wet noodle joke is part of a long literary tradition where vampires just need a good dose of viagra.
  • All about beta heros, cinnamon roll heroes, and a link to a lot of talk about the latter from Ana Coqui's November 2018's #RomBkLove.
  • Sarah mentions "the vampire chained to a bed" and she's talking about Conrad Wroth, the hero of Dark Needs at Night's Edge (book 4).
  • Just a brief review of birth control, how we use it, and why it is so important to women's rights.
  • In case you were wondering why Jen talked about "no one ever has to go to the bathroom." It's a thing. Sarah accused Jen of RUINING ROMANCE, but clearly that's not the case because here we are.
  • More about lightning and planes.
  • Chicago's Bubbly Creek. That's real. If you ever want to nerd out on this history, Jen recommends a book called Nature's Metropolis. Honestly, you really have no idea how fascinating grain elevators are.
  • The short and incomplete list of magical items introduced in this book: Kaderin gives the Furies armor that can't be pierced and a battle axe that can kill Lore beings without having to behead them. The New Zealand coven of Valkyeries has a choker that allows the person wearing it to sing a siren's song. No one knows what happend to the armband that makes the wearer feel overwhelming sexual desire. Amphitrite's tear is a bead that will heal any wound. The Blade of Honorius never misses its target. Thrane's Key was the time-traveling prize in this Hie, and at the end of the book, Riora gives Sebastian one to use at his discretion.
  • Deus Ex Machina is fun to say, but kind of a bummer when that's how an author gets her characters out of a jam.
  • All the cool vampires from the mid-2000s carry RAZR phones.
  • Diamonds are a construct, just like virginity.
  • Sarah is pro-Kardashian.
  • Bowen & Mariketa are coming up next, but the thing she was excited about at the end of that book actually happened at the end of Dark Needs at Night's Edge.
  • Swineherds vs. shepherds, and the only time Jen ever felt truly understood on Reddit.
  • The Battle of Evermore by Led Zeppelin, and if you think Jen wasn't dying to update Genius with this Kresley Cole reference, you don't know her at all. But maybe the video is more your speed.