One. Cowboy heroes are smoking hawt. No gym physiques here. Their bodies are hardened by dawn-to-dusk sweaty work—riding, roping, fence mending, hefting saddles and bales of hay (and their women) with ease. They're scarred and broken, inside or out. There isn’t a woman alive who wouldn’t want the calloused hands of a good cowboy reaching for them. Throw in a crackling campfire and a star-filled night and hoo boy.
Two. Cowboy heroes are found in lots of genres. Science fiction (Han Solo anyone? Total hot cowboy . . . space cowboy if you must), historical, contemporary, paranormal. No matter where they are, cowboys are gritty and determined, resourceful and earthy. You won't find a CEO or a politician or a billionaire—that’s a different trope entirely. Cowboys get their hands dirty not from boardroom intrigue and deception but from sweat and blood and picking themselves up off the ground for another go; at the bad guy or at the woman they love who stubbornly refuses to admit . . . (whoops, don’t want to give anything away about my own Rough Edges submission).
Three. Cowboy heroes are inherently good. Even if the character is portrayed wearing the proverbial black hat, we readers know there is a heart-breaking reason for their misdeeds and the suffering it causes them and we can't wait for the heroine to unlock their white hat, or, at the very least, the gray one. Cowboy heroes make bad decisions for good reasons. That resonates with readers.
Five. Cowboy heroes ride horses. Maybe it’s just me (I’m a horse nut and in my Wolf King series one of my heroines is the one who rides) but it shivers my timbers when a rough-edged cowboy reveals his gooey center by treating his favorite horse like the prize it is: using patience, firmness when necessary, seeing to its care before his own. Am I saying I want my cowboy to treat me like his horse? Maaaaaybe.
Anna Kyle's novella Skye Falling and novel Omega Rising from her new series of hot romances, The Wolf King, are coming soon from Red Moon Romance.
This blog post previously ran on corividae.com.