How do you feel about the cad? Don’t like them? Well, what about Gregory House of the same named TV series? And there’s Mr. Darcy, Guy Rouillard of Linda Howard’s After the Night, and the Rogue/cad of all, Rhett Butler.
House is the lost soul, the man who has so many layers that in order to get to know him, you pretty much need to use a pick axe. I love his demeanor, yet if I had to deal with him on a daily basis, I’d probably resort to physical violence. Yet, he is such a compelling character, I watch him week after week, or in my case, go on a House jag and watch it on DVR for a week or so.
I know there are some who would disagree that Mr. Darcy was a cad, but look at the facts. He is rude to the heroine of the book, he has layers that have built over the years in response to hurt. Finally, he needs that one special woman to reform him.
Guy Rouillard is a hero after my heart. In the book, he succeeds in tossing the heroine’s family out of town, then tries again years later when the heroine returns to town, he wants a “discrete” relationship with the heroine, but realizes that she is worth more of a fight when their lives are in jeopardy. And the heroine is strong enough to meet his needs, both emotional and physical.
Mr. Butler is the template for the cad. He is rude, crude (for the times) and manly to the point that everyone falls for him, including the men in the book, in manly ways of course. His layers chip away as the book progresses, unlike Scarlett’s (which seem to grow thicker) and in the end, Rhett is the vulnerable yet strong enough to leave Scarlett, at least for the time being.
There’s just something about the bad boy/cad/rogue. You want to reform them. You see something beneath the rough and at times crude manner. For me, I’m sure there’s a little of the good girl wanting to take risks, too.
I find that the books I remember are those with the bad boy/cad as the hero. I love finding out about their history, their vulnerabilities, and their strengths. I especially love reading about the woman who has the strength to love the man, to take the bad with the good, and to root out the real man under all the rough exterior.
So, what do like in a hero when you read? Do you have a favorite cad/hero? Feel free to share.