Please give a warm welcome to romance author, Hope Tarr, who is joining us with her book, Operation Cinderella!
Southern Gentlemen Do It Better
By Hope Tarr
When I sat down to write the draft of OPERATION CINDERELLA, the launch to my “Suddenly Cinderella” contemporary fairytale themed romance series for Entangled Publishing, my hero, Ross Mannon started talking to me—immediately. Ordinarily that’s a good thing, a really good thing. Hell, if my characters will narrate the story, my ego and I will happily take a backseat—and dictation.
Only in this case Ross was speaking in what was unmistakably, unequivocally a Southern accent – a Texas accent, specifically. The book, however, is set in primarily in Washington, DC. What was my big, strong, rough-and-tumble Texan doing in the land of lobbyists and Beltway Bandits?
I tried to rid Ross of his drawl, I really, really tried, but the harder I worked at doing so, the more intractably Southern he sounded. “As nervous as a cat in a room full of rocking chairs” and similar phrases poured from his oh so sexy mouth.
Did I mention he was stubborn?
So, I worked it out another way—by tweaking the plot. What if I…made my ranch-raised Ross a sociologist? A sociologist whose research study on how family structure influences individual behaviors landed him in the national limelight as the host of his own conservative political talk show? A talk show broadcast not from Texas but from our nation’s capital? The latter would settle our little language problem. It would also remove Ross from his comfort zone—and second to undressing them, removing my fictional heroes from their comfort zones is my most favorite thing!
I suppose my…surrender was pretty predictable from the start. You see, I have a soft spot for Southern gentlemen. I do. Asking me why is on par with wanting to know why I like maple syrup on my pancakes, why a sprig of mint makes the iced tea taste all kinds of better, and why on summer nights a porch swing will always be my preferred perch. My attraction to Southern gentlemen just…is.
But as I am a writer, a writer of romance novels, and as this is a blog that celebrates romance fiction, rebuttals such as “just…because” will never do. By way of a compromise, I’ve come up with a short list of attributes: Seven Sexy Ways Southern Gentlemen do “It” Better.
1. A Southern gentleman is the only being on God’s green earth, the absolute only one, who can call you “ma’am” and have it come off as a compliment. Anyone else says it and you’re speed dialing your dermatologist to schedule that Botox session.
2. A Southern gentleman is chivalrous. He will never stand by, or sit by, while you attempt to struggle your admittedly oversized) carry-on bag into the airplane overhead bin. I have never actually had to lift my own bag into the overhead bin on a flight bound to or from Texas—just saying…
3. A Southern gentleman knows that his actions speak louder than words. He probably isn’t going to write you some goopy gushy sonnet, but if something’s broken—your faucet, your car, your heart—he’ll strap on a tool belt and do his damndest to fix it pronto.
4. A Southern gentleman is genetically programmed to not suffer fools. A fools who finds himself anywhere in the vicinity of a Southern gentleman may seriously want to relocate. And if that fool happens to be a jerk to women, watch out! A Southern gentleman doesn’t as a rule start fights—but he sure as hell knows how to finish them.
5. A Southern gentleman is never rude. His momma raised him right, starting with respecting women. For sure he’s still more than happy to help you out of your clothes and, bonus, you can expect a lot of “Please” and “Yes, ma’am” references peppering the process.
6. A Southern gentleman will let you know, in ways large and small, that it’s safe to be a woman with him. Be it the boardroom or the bedroom, he is prepared to be your champion, your ally, your knight.
7. A Southern gentleman never rushes through the important things. Whether it’s a family meal, a heart-to-heart talk, or making love to the lady in his life, he always takes his time. As Ross says to Macie in the latter half of OPERATION CINDERELLA:
“I’m taking you home, home to my bed. And once we’re there I’m going to make love to you my way, the old-fashioned way—slow, thorough, and all through the night.”
Thanks so much for having me, Crystal! I hope readers enjoy OPERATION CINDERELLA and the other books including an in-series novella, A SUDDENLY CINDERELLA CHRISTMAS CAROL releasing this holiday season.