Heroines Going For It

Kathryn asks:

I wanted to consult the collected powers of bitchery readers to get some book recommendations.

I was wondering if anyone knows of a book where the heroine is the one who makes a move on the hero initially, instead of the other way around. I am really over the whole man pursuing woman with massive erection angle (haha, angle). Can anyone help?

The first book I thought of was Maya Banks’ The Tycoon’s Rebel Bride, which features a virgin heroine who pursues the man she has wanted for years. It’s a good one, especially for the final scenes.

What about you? What romances do you adore – all genres – that feature the heroine making the first move?


Comments are Closed

  1. 1
    StephB says:

    Nora Roberts’s Red Lily and Jennifer Crusie’s Crazy for You both have that…

  2. 2
    RachelT says:

    I’ve just finished the brilliant His at Night (Sherry Thomas) in which the heroine makes the first approaches. I can’t recommend it enough as a well-written, cracking good story.

  3. 3
    Claudia Dain says:

    Is it gauche to talk about my own books? I’ll do it quickly, and then run and hide.

    I was feeling the same way, tired of the old routine, so wrote about women pursuing men in Regency England in the Courtesan Chronicles. There are five books (come July) in the series, but the books which feature heroines going full tilt at their men of choice are The Courtesan’s Secret, The Courtesan’s Wager, and How To Dazzle A Duke. The Courtesan’s Daughter and Daring a Duke do it to a lesser degree.

    I had such a great time writing about pro-active, unabashedly assertive women; they’re not everyone’s cup of tea, but you might have fun with them.

  4. 4

    I recently read Mary Balogh’s First Comes Marriage which might fit your qualifications. 

    The heroine, Vanessa Huxtable, proposes marriage to Viscount Lyngate partly to save her sister from accepting his intended proposal that same day, but also because she can’t quite stand to see her sister with him.

    I really enjoyed her proposal scene, where as a widow, she assures him she knows how to make a man happy!

  5. 5
    Estelle C says:

    Mistress of Pleasure by Delilah Marvelle immediately comes to mind.  The heroine picks the hero out as the perfect choice to de-virginize her so she won’t have to worry about being respectable any more.  Sexy and funny.

  6. 6
    Beki says:

    Lani Diane Rich’s Ex and the Single Girl, and I second what StephB said above about Crazy for You by Crusie and I really love that entire Nora Roberts In The Garden trilogy which includes Red Lily, though that book IS the one where the heroine is more the pursuer than the pursued.

  7. 7
    Malle says:

    MANEATER by Gigi Levangie Grazer. I haven’t cared so much for her subsequent books, and I listened to this on audio, but I thought the heroine was a delightful, in-charge, selfish woman. She drove the story. More chicklit than romance but one of my favorites.

  8. 8
    JamiSings says:

    I’m sorry, but I can’t stand it when she chases him. I’m old fashion and think it’s the man’s duty, right, and honor to do the chasing.

    I don’t mind ones like Goddess Of The Hunt where she is practicing on another guy because she’s preparing to chase a man. Because of course you know she’s not going to get the one she wants to chase. Her “teacher” will end up chasing her and catching her. Besides, I have sort of My Fair Lady fantasies now and again.

    I know, I know, I’m a bad modern female. But I don’t care. Men who get chased rather then do the chasing turn me off big time. I’d sooner never have a date ever again then chase a man and I don’t want to read about women chasing men either.

  9. 9
    JanOda says:

    I adore and love ‘Just a Litlle Fling’ by Julie Kistler. It’s a contemporary romance (and my personal favorite of all time), where the heroine becomes 30 on the wedding of her evil half-sister. So she decides to give herself a present in the form of a one night stand with an old friend. She ends up in bed with someone completely different though!

    I loved that her going after the guy was something out of character for her, and that she felt uncomfortable with it afterwards. (Later in the story they pretty much go after each other).

    This is not the reason why it’s my favorite book though—that has more to do with how incredibly funny it is. She is a designer for underwear for ‘big’ men, which get fitted, there’s nightly stake outs with black outfits and watches that are set together, there’s food fights, and the hero and heroine are just really, really nice. Not without fault, but they deserve each other so much.

    I always think this book is way too unknown. It’s awesome. And it features underwear for big wangs, featuring banana’s. Ahhh. I’m going to reread it now :p

  10. 10
    Nikki says:

    I liked The Betrayal of the Blood Lily, by Lauren Willig.

  11. 11
    JanOda says:

    Ooops. Obviously I meant “Just a Little Fling”. I hate typo’s.

  12. 12
    quichepup says:

    The heroine, Vanessa Huxtable, proposes marriage to Viscount Lyngate

    OK, am I the only one who pictured Bill Cosby’s daughter in this scene?  I imagine she’s trying to save Rudy from a lousy marriage. That would be a book worth reading.

  13. 13
    Rae says:

    It’s driving me crazy, but I read one recently where the woman (accountant, I think) decides she wants to have a kid and that her client (super rich, brilliant man) would be the perfect sperm donor. So she proposes a week away at this “conception spa” on some island for a baby moon. She doesn’t expect to fall in love, but manages to do so. So does he. Of course.

    I could have sworn I saw it recently when dealing with my Shelfari shelf, but I can’t find it.

    Problem25? maybe the 25th for today…

  14. 14
    Brandyllyn says:

    Talk me Down, by Victoria Dahl. I love VD in general and her heroines in general know what they want and how to get it.

    In Talk me Down the main character, Molly Jennings, moves back to her hometown and pursues her high school crush (and town sheriff).  Steamy, funny and lovely.  Highly recommend.

  15. 15
    Alpha Lyra says:

    Interesting. The woman chasing the man is not a situation that particularly grabs me, because I figure if the hero doesn’t show much interest in the heroine from the start, he’s not ever going to be very committed to her. (Can you tell my marriage broke up due to male infidelity?) But I could see it working if there’s a good, understandable reason for his not pursuing her in the beginning. I haven’t yet read any good examples of this kind of book, but I’d try one if it were well recommended.

  16. 16
    Ginny says:

    I second Talk Me Down by Victoria Dahl

  17. 17
    Jora says:

    The Magic of You by Johanna Lindsey comes to mind.

  18. 18
    JanOda says:

    Rae, I have the one you talk about I think.
    It’s Irresistable Forces by Brenda Jackson. It’s a Kimani romance from Harlequin and it was one of the free ebooks you could get for their 60 year anniversary. You can still get a copy here: http://harlequincelebrates.com/

    Personally I didn’t like the writing in that one, but the story was ok. Though I’ve become a bit tired of the “independant woman wants child by herself but wants to make it the natural way” plotline. It’s too unrealistic for my liking.

  19. 19
    Melissandre says:

    The Raven Prince by Elizabeth Hoyt might work.  The heroine goes to work as the secretary for a lord, and they both fight off an unacknowledged attraction.  I don’t know if it would exactly fit your criteria, since she makes her move anonymously, but what she does to be with the hero would have been incredibly bold for the time.  The second book in the “series,” The Leopard Prince, features an aristocrat heiress making moves on her working class employee.  I don’t remember if she’s always the pursuer, but I believe she is definitely the instigator.

  20. 20
    SylviaSybil says:

    What a great idea for a thread!  I am also tired of the big strong he-man always making the first move, and the timid lil woman always waiting around for him.  Let’s have some books with women who know what they want and how to get it!  Taking notes on all these recommendations.

  21. 21
    Anne says:

    Karen Ranney’s Tapestry comes to mind for me, with a heroine chasing a hero she’s wanted since she was a child, and having to do pretty much all the first-moving there is to be done.  Also a Regency, so if you’re into spunky period ladies…

  22. 22
    Lisa Hendrix says:

    An oldie-but-goodie that came to mind right away: Kristin Hannah’s THE ENCHANTMENT.  Virgin hero meets aggressive non-virgin heroine on a magical hunt for the lost city of Cibola.  It’s from 1992, but there appear to be a few copies available via Amazon.

    And I’ll second Delilah Marvelle’s MISTRESS OF PLEASURE. Fun read (and Marvelle has a new trilogy coming out back-to-back-to-back early next year)

  23. 23
    Carahe says:

    Brandyllyn said on…
    05.28.10 at 07:55 AM

    I love VD in general …

    I have nothing helpful to contribute here at the moment, but I just about dies laughing when I read this.  For context to the younglings here, “VD” used to mean the same thing as “STD”.  Sweet buttered Moses on toast.

  24. 24
    Peggy H says:

    Private Arrangements by Sherry Thomas is the first book I thought of.  I also love how Sherry deliberately twisted the hero-thinks-heroine-did-something-awful-when-she’s-really-pure-and-innocent stereotype by actually having her do something bad. And I am getting my copy of His at Night tomorrow—can’t wait!

  25. 25
    Sandy says:

    I love Gillian in Julie Garwood’s Ransom when she makes the first move on Brodick.  Quite a switch with him being one of the strongest alpha male characters ever written.  :)

  26. 26
    Lyssa says:

    I will toss out a few Suzanne Brockmann books for consideration because so many of her romances have female characters who are willing to get their man. In Gone to Far, the WWII sub-plot involves a friend of the family who begins ‘courting’ a widower who has lost his wife while overseas, this romance is cultimated when the war ends. In An Unsung Hero, Kelly goes after her highschool sweetheart Tom with a directness that was delightful. In a more recent novel, Tracy acts and pushes Deck to act on the attraction that is between them.  In all three examples the male protagonist have reservations about the relationship. The first because he feels the interratial nature of their relationship will hurt her. The second has Tom unsure of his physical health (and thereby his career). Deck’s unwillingness results in his seeing his position in the company as that of ‘Tracy’s boss’ therefore inappropriate. More of her stories have women taking the lead, but those were the ones I thought of right off the bat. I like the storylines because I like women who see what they want,  act on it, take the risk of rejection, and communicate their attraction. Brockmann writes about Alpha men, but she also writes about women who are secure in their own sexuality, and know a good thing when they see it.

  27. 27
    Lara says:

    In Susan Elizabeth Phillips’ Nobody’s Baby But Mine, the ridiculously smart scientist decides to seduce a dumb football player so her baby won’t be as smart (and miserable) as she’s been. Too bad the football player’s actually very intelligent.

    And this may count—in Liz Carlyle’s Never Deceive a Duke, the heroine is sleepwalking, and pounces upon Gareth (the titular Duke) without ever really waking up. Hot dream sex in the rain!

  28. 28
    dreadpiraterachel says:

    Georgette Heyer’s The Convenient Marriage features a young woman who proposes to the hero (who is planning to marry her sister who’s in love with another man). It’s set in the Georgian era, so it’s not quite as overdone as all the Regencies. It’s a charming book; just thinking about it is making me want to reread!

  29. 29
    Carin says:

    I also endorse Victoria Dahl’s Talk Me Down.  I LOVED how Molly went after her sherrif.  I agree with Carahe, though, VD=Venereal Disease for me.  I guess I am getting older!

    I like Claudia Dain’s smart women, so I’ll second that rec, too.

    Eloisa James’ Desperate Duchesses series has strong women, and it’s been a while since I read it, but I remember An Affair Before Christmas has them banding together to help one of them seduce her husband.  I really enjoyed that!  (That one might not technically meet your criteria, since they’re pretty much trying to seduce each other, but don’t realize it.)

    I love this topic!

  30. 30
    Carin says:

    I remembered one more.  To Seduce a Sinner by Elizabeth Hoyt has a woman proposing marriage to her longtime crush.  It’s a great story!

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