Guest blogger: Lena Hart
Okay, maybe I’m being a little presumptuous with that title, but I can’t be the only one who’s noticed the rising popularity of dark romances and anti-heroes, particularly in a contemporary settings. In the past, dark romances were typically stories that featured gothic or supernatural elements, as in vampires, werewolves, ghosts—you get it. ‘Darkness’, however, has also found a home in contemporary romances where themes of captivity, emotional abuse, psychological manipulation, and/or dubious consent are explored. Now all of this may sound like anything except a romance, but when it’s done right, a dark contemporary romance can leave a reader … breathless.
As a reader, I never imagined enjoying a little darkness with my romance. But I do. (Though admittedly, in small doses.) My first—oh-my-word—dark romance was Ice Storm by Anne Stuart and I have to say by the end of it, all I could think was: whoa. I had never read a romance where I literally got half-way through the story and was wondering, okay, so when is the HERO going to show up? Turned out, the ‘hero’ was actually (what I later learned) an anti-hero—a central character in a story that lacks conventional heroic attributes.
Or more aptly—someone who has been shoved into the dark side and has decided to stay there.
And as an author, characters like that fascinate me. Maybe because they break convention and keep me guessing as to how far will they go. Or maybe their stories allow me to explore a world that I would normally run far, far away from. Or … maybe I’m secretly a little dark and twisted myself … *insert evil laughter*
Truthfully, the main reason I find myself attracted to dark romance is because of its ability to have me experience ten different emotions in one sitting. By the end, I almost always feel, if not blissfully content, a sort of muted relief because this couple was deserving of their happily-ever-after—or happy-for-now.
A good romance will do that to you. A great one will inspire you.
And that’s what happened to me. In my upcoming release, The Devil’s Bedpost, my hero will be tested—and tested some more—until he is forced to choose between remaining the honourable man that he is or converting into the person he’d always been afraid of becoming. In this spin-off novel, which I like to consider romantic suspense with dark elements, I will get a chance to delve into the dark side of my hero and hopefully see him through to the other side. It may not be a true dark contemporary romance (I don’t know if I’m ready to write one yet!), but I’m excited to see how far my hero is willing to go when he has nothing left to lose.
*evil laughter fades in the backdrop*
Lena Hart is a Florida native currently living in the Harlem edge of New York City. Though she enjoys reading a variety of romance genres, she mainly writes sensual to steamy romances with a flare of suspense and mystery. When Lena is not busy writing, she’s reading, researching, or conferring with her muse. To learn more about Lena and her work, visit her website or sign up for her mailing list for updates on her upcoming romantic suspense, The Devil’s Bedpost. You can also find her spending too much time on Facebook and not enough time on Twitter.
What would you do if you had nothing left to lose?
Life for David Carrone couldn’t be any better. Business is growing and he’s about to marry his sweetheart, Athena Lewis—Vegas’ new mover and shaker. Unfortunately, their happiness is short-lived when a scandal of lies and an unspeakable tragedy slices a wide rift between them.
Yet, where there are secrets, danger is never far behind …
With his life spiralling out of control—and their enemies lurking near—David is forced to make some unlikely alliances to protect all that he holds dear. But when the one woman he’s ever loved is taken from him, David is prepared to do whatever he must to get her back—even if it means treading the murky ends of the law to face the devil himself.
Join the reveal on 30 August.