Oh you know you love them. Those "bad boys" of romance.
And now we're celebrating them and all their naughty deliciousness.
Which "bad boy" revs your motor? Is he a hero? Villain? A secondary character?
Show those boys off June 7th-June 17th in the "Bad Boys" of Romance Giveaway Hop hosted by
herding cats & burning soup, Rantings of a Reading Addict and author Blue Remy!
My "bad boy" is not technically from a strictly romance novel. But he most definitely all Bad Boy. Let me introduce you to Roman Semionovich from the Ilona Andrews' Kate Daniels Series.
We are first introduced to Roman in Magic Slays:
We are first introduced to Roman in Magic Slays:
WHEN I WALKED OUT OF THE WOODS, A MAN STOOD by my Jeep, leaning on a tall unfinished wooden staff with a thick top. It looked like he had just cut a thick sapling, haphazardly chopped off the branches, stripped it of its bark, and made himself a walking stick.
A black robe hung from his shoulders down to just below his knees, revealing leather boots. Silver embroidery ran along the wide cuffs of the robe and along the hem. A wide leather belt caught the robe at the waist, and small canteens and charms dripped from it on chains and cords. A deep hood hid most of his face.
A volhv. If the staff hadn’t given him away, the charms on the belt would have. Judging by the embroidery, not a lightweight, but not one of the really old ones either. The younger volhvs couldn’t afford hand-stitched silver, and the older ones didn’t bother with it.
“I have a real problem with people in hoods,” I said.
“That’s too bad.” He had a rich voice, deep and confident. Yep, a fun and exciting storm of magic was about to come my way. Why was it I never got a tech shift when I needed one?
The volhv pulled the hood back. Large eyes, dark like molten tar and framed in thick black eyelashes, looked at me with wry amusement. His features were well cut: high cheekbones, strong masculine jaw, and an aquiline nose, made more prominent because the hair on the sides of his head had been shaved off past his ears. The rest of his jet-black hair fell down his back like a horse mane. His mustache was black, too. His beard was nonexistent, except for a carefully trimmed goatee that met his mustache on both sides of his mouth. His full lips curved into a half smile.
The overall effect was decidedly villainous. He needed a black horse and a barbarian horde to lead. That or a crew of cutthroats, a ship with blood-red sails, and some knucklehead heroine to lust after. He would fit right into Andrea’s romance novels as some evil pirate captain. If he started stroking his beard, I’d have to kill him on principle.
But we really get to know him in Gunmetal Magic.
Andrea meets up with Roman while at the Library:
I turned. A tall, broad-shouldered man stood on the right, by the reference bookshelves, looking at me. He wore a black robe with silver embroidery along the hem and sleeves, fastened by a leather belt around his narrow waist. His jet-black hair was shaved on the sides of his head into a semblance of a horse’s mane. His features were bold and harshly cut: he had a large aquiline nose, a square jaw, prominent cheekbones, and a full mouth that could be either sensual or cruel.His eyebrows were black, and his eyes, full of humor, were black, too. He seemed to really like that color, which was understandable since he was a volhv, which was kind of like a Russian druid, and he worshipped Chernobog, a Slavic god of “Everything Bad and Evil,” as Kate once put it. If you looked in a dictionary under “dark wizard,” you’d get his picture. Except he would be standing on a pile of skulls and holding a staff with magic fire shooting from it.“Hi, Roman.”The volhv put his book down and walked over to us. I had to admit, the robe, the hair, and his height combined into a pretty menacing whole. He smiled, showing even white teeth. “You remembered my name.”He had one of the best male voices I’d ever heard. Rich and resonant and just a touch suggestive. Or maybe I was reading too much into it. The first time I ever saw him, he was in a loup cage in our office, because he’d attacked Kate and she didn’t like it. He’d made some comments to me, which could have been construed as flirting. In a dark, terrible wizard way.I also remembered him having a Russian accent. Not a big one, but now he was talking like he’d been born and raised in Atlanta. Maybe he had been.“Still the same outfit, I see. Do you ever change it up?”“In private,” he said. “Must maintain the whole ‘knitted from darkness and shadow’ image.”“Aren’t darkness and shadow the same thing?” I asked.He wagged his eyebrows at me. “Aaah, you’d think so, but no. Shadow implies the presence of light. I am not all bad, you see. Parts of me are good. In fact, parts of me are excellent.”
And he has the best lines:
“That’s classified.” Roman winked at him. “I could tell you, of course. But then I would have to kill you and chain your soul, so you would be my shadow servant for all eternity. Come on, it’s right this way.”
Roman leaned one arm against the bookcase. “Who, me? I don’t date. I only steal virgins to sacrifice.”
“It’s the family trade. Our pantheon is all about balance. Where there is light, there must be darkness. Life is followed by death and the decay nourishes new life. Belobog, the white god, and Chernobog, they are brother gods, you see. My uncle is a white volhv, one of his sons will likely be a white volhv, too, and our side is the black volhvs. So that’s why I’m Chernobog’s priest.” He turned to me and grinned. “And also for the chicks.”
“You will not pass!” Roman thundered.
Great. Now he had decided he was Gandalf.
“No worries. Look.” He raised his arms, indicating the scene with the dismembered bodies, blood, and his black horse at the beginning of the bridge. “All our enemies are dead, we survived, the horse survived, the staff survived. I even get to say the best line from my favorite book. All is well.”
And let's face it, it takes a real man to proudly wears Eeyore pajamas:
A second Ammit thundered down the street toward us, a huge black horse following it. Roman dismounted next to us, his staff in his hand. He wore a tank top and black pajama pants with an Eeyore pattern.But I think the clincher for me was this:
“I have had it with this shit,” he announced. “I got woken up in the middle of the night, didn’t get any sleep again, rode across the whole damned city, nu na cherta mne ato nuzhno.” He waved his hand in front of his face. “Damn magic everywhere, making me sneeze.”
The Ammit next to him opened its mouth. Roman whacked it with the top of his staff on the nose. “You—shut up.”
The Ammit looked just like a cat who had gotten popped with a newspaper: half-shocked, half-outraged. Roman surveyed the two of us. “What’s the matter with you two? Why do you look all dazed?”
The magic melted, taking the visions of the Nile with it. My mind struggled to formulate a coherent thought, any thought. I opened my mouth. “Your pajamas have Eeyore on them.”
“I like Eeyore. He’s sensible. A sober outlook on life never hurt anyone.”
I found the priest of the Evil God in a corner of the northern courtyard. It was one of those small outside spaces within the Keep, shielded by a tall wall and made to provide relative privacy. To get to it, I had to pass through the stone arch, cut in the bottom of a stocky tower, and midway to it, I heard high-pitched giggles.
The black volhv sat on a bench, surrounded by a gaggle of kids, and was making small things disappear from his hands and reappear behind their ears and in their hair. A female werejackal discreetly watched him from the wall. Visitors to the Keep were never left unsupervised, especially around children.
I leaned against the wall and watched the volhv, too. There was something so joyous about Roman. It was as if part of his life was so bleak and dark that he felt the need to live the rest of it to its fullest, squeezing every bit of fun and happiness out of it. Even his martyred, put-upon sighs had a slightly mocking quality about them, as if he only pretended to be upset.
Roman saw me. “Okay, that’s enough magic for today. Scatter now. Scatter, scatter, scatter.”
Who's heart doesn't just melt for a guy doing magic tricks and making kids smile?
And the absolute best thing about Roman?
He has no love interest at this time!!
That means he can totally be the best book boyfriend ever since I won't have to fight off his HEA. Mine, All Mine. *wicked grin*
These are just a few of the wonderful scenes that include Roman. I hope you are as intrigued by him as I am. And to help get you there, I am giving away 1 print copy of Gunmetal Magic by Ilona Andrews, through Book Depository. So this giveaway is open to anywhere they ship to.
Don't forget to also enter to win the Grandprize drawing and try out some of the other stops on the Hop. Good Luck!