Dear Bitches, Smart Authors Podcast

98. Beta Heroes and Friends to Lovers: Sarah and Jane and Some Listener Mail

Jane and Sarah answer listener mail about beta heroes and friends to lovers plot lines. Prepare ye for book recommendations!

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Here are the books we discuss in this podcast:

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Olivia Warren used to be a normal girl with a bright future. But on one fated night, everything changed.

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  1. 1

    Yes!  Hot Head is a fabulous friends to lovers romance. So touching and emotional and sexy . . . a must-read.

  2. 2

    I don’t think of Julie James’s heroes as being beta, just not the hardcore alphas that some authors seem to write. And they are always well balanced by the heroines, who are fairly dominant, as you say.

    I read it a long time ago, but I think the hero in Dealing with David (Katriena Knights) was pretty beta? Anyway, I quite liked it, just can’t remember it very well at the moment. I read it after Jayne’s review on DA.

  3. 3
    library addict says:

    I don’t define alpha/beta in quite the same way you did in this podcast. Not all alpha heroes are pushy assholes or overbearing jerks. So some of the heroes you had as being beta to me are more alpha. Jayne Ann Krentz and Nora Roberts are two authors who write nice guy alphas. As does Shannon Stacey, though I agree with Jane some of her heroes are beta.

    High Noon by Nora Toberts has a beta hero. As does Black Rose (the middle book in her In the Garden trology).

    But some of the books with nice guy alpha heroes Anna might like are Trust Me, Absolutely, Positively, or Falling Awake all by Jayne Ann Krentz. The Animal Magnetism series by Jill Shalvis also has mostly nice guy alphas.

  4. 4
    library addict says:

    Oops, that should be Roberts not Toberts.

  5. 5

    Beta heroes: some of the classic Vicki Lewis Thompson Nerd series. I think she sort of invented the genre of nerdy computer geek hero (who works out on the side!) finally getting the heroine’s attention. I remember I enjoyed the one where they crashed a small plane on an island – Nerd in Shining Armor. And I think some of her “Wild About You” fun/campy werewolf books are literally about pack betas.

  6. 6
    cleo says:

    I don’t completely agree with the Hot Head recommendation. It’s uber angsty – not sure a Julia Quinn fan would like it (bc I’m a JQ fan and while I like me a little angst, I hated Hot Head). I’d add Marie Sexton’s Promises to the friends to lovers list.

    I agree with a lot of the beta hero / nice guy hero recommendations, and I’d add Jennifer Crusie. Her first book, Man Hunting, has one of my favorite laid back, nice guy heroes.

  7. 7
    Bev says:

    I have a hard time defining betas and gamma heroes, but one I think might fit is Mal from Kylie Scott’s Play.  I do think he may be one of my favorite heroes of the year. 
    So my recall of books can be bad. One book that may fall into both beta hero and friends to lovers is Fallen from Grace by Laura Leone. I have a hard time remembering how beta he was. RL Mathewson’s Sudden Response the H/h have been best friends since grade school and into adulthood. In Kristen Ashley’s Kaleidoscope the hero became friends with the heroine when he was dating her best friend. When that relationship ended he ended the friendship. In her Creed the H/h meet and become friends as children, fall in love as teens then become separated until adults. My first of this trope was A place to call home by Deborah Smith. I remember loving this book. Small southern town where her family is well respected and his is not. She is like five when she meets him and decides to bring him home. He is a few years older but remember she thought of him as ” her boy”. Again they lose contact and meet as adults. Very similar is Katherine Allred’s Sweet Gum Tree. Those are all contemporary but if want to go paranormal I think Anne Bishops new series I think is becoming a friends to lovers arc for the h/h. Long post but really enjoyed all of these.

  8. 8
    Opal Octopus says:

    I have a friends-to-lovers rec that might also fit into the ‘beta heroes’ basket: The Girl in the Yellow Vest by Loretta Hill. The hero and heroine are university friends who work as engineers on a project at the Great Barrier Reef. So it’s competence porn as well (which Hill writes terrifically).

  9. 9
    Cecilia says:

    LOTS of recommendations! Thank you! I didn’t know there was a romance with a graphic novelist as hero. I have to try that out, because that’s my job as well.

    I prefer beta heroes too. My very favourite is Sir Gerald Stapleton in Mary Balogh’s A Precious Jewel.

  10. 10
    Regencyfan93 says:

    Celia, my favorite beta hero is another one from Mary Balogh.  Hartley Wade in Lord Carew’s Bride.

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