If You Like Virgin Heroes
Keishon is running her To Be Read challenge in which you search your TBR pile to rediscover hidden gems (or so you hope). This month’s selection was “hero in pursuit or virginal hero”. The virgin hero is like the unicorn, a myth spoke of in awed hushed tones, but never seen.
I can recall only a couple of virgin hero books I’ve ever read and both were category romances. To name one of them would be to give away a big secret of the story so I’ll refrain from spoiling everyone but I will give you the author – Anne MacAllister. The other author is Susan Napier. The book is Secret Admirer and it also contains an older woman/younger man dynamic. Ah, those HPs, so repressed!
Patricia Gaffney’s Wild at Heart has a virgin hero as does Caressed by Ice by Nalini Singh. We need to start compiling these rare sightings in order to have documented proof that the virgin hero in romance indeed exists. Go forth and recommend!
(As a side note, I think this post is a bit antithetical to the purposes of Keishon’s TBR challenge which is designed to decrease the TBR pile while I suspect this thread will only increase the TBR pile).
I can only remember one from way back when Silhouette did their Man of the Month books. He was a geeky scientist. I liked the book, but not enough to keep it.
I want to say it was a non-western Diana Palmer.
I’ve read 2 virgin heroes. One is a historical by Madeline Hunter, the other contemporary by Jo Davis…They’re definitely in my keeper pile…Loved them!
Agreed, more likely to increase than decrease..
by Jo Davis also has a virgin hero. It’s the second in the “The Firefighters of Station Five” series…
Yeah, this is definitely not going to decrease my TBR pile. I can’t think of any off the top of my head; I’ll check my book database when I get home.
I loved the Napier. Will have to find the MacAllister.
Eloisa James’s When the Duke Returns has one.
I just read when the duke returns (Eloisa James) and that hero was a virgin. I really liked how/why he CHOSE to obstain from sex & it was a pretty decent read.
I’m pretty sure Emily Bryan’s hero in VEXING THE VISCOUNT was virginal. And I just finished editing LOVE LESSONS AT MIDNIGHT by Shirl Henke (July), which also has one. Not that it helps your TBR pile in any way.
I’d read a number of them lo these many years ago but none within last 5 years. This thread will definitely increase my TBR pile.
AAR had begun a list a long time ago, but it looks like they morphed it at some point to “virginal” instead of “virgin.” If I have to guess why, maybe it’s because at least one hero on their list was sexually abused in a brothel as a boy?
Recently Lucy Monroe’s Moon Craving has a virgin hero and I think Trev from Lessons in French by Laura Kinsale does also.
Conrad the vampire from Kresley Cole’s IAD series has one great virgin hero also.
It’s not a strict romance but Jamie Fraser was in Outlander
Born in Sin by Kinley MacGregor (hero has a very good reason – he had a bad life as a child because he was illegitimate and would not risk putting a child through the same thing)
Moon Craving by Lucy Monroe (I just read and thoroughly enjoyed this historical Scottish werewolf romance. The hero is a virgin because his werewolf clan believes that making love means they are committed to that person for life)
Dark Legend, Dark Guardian by Christine Feehan (the twin legendary vampire hunters in the Dark series didn’t get around to having nookie before losing their emotions)
Dark Needs at Night’s Edge by Kresley Cole (part of Immortals After Dark series, hero was born in the middle ages and never had the time or opportunity to lose his V card before he was unwillingly made a vampire)
Two I haven’t read but am pretty sure have virgin heroes:
The Shadow and the Star by Laura Kinsale
Touched by Fire by Kathleen O’Reilly
Diana Palmer does virgin heroes a lot, but I haven’t read her in probably 10 years so don’t remember any names. The hero in my book, Try a Little Tenderness is a virgin. He’s a science prodigy who was in college practically before he reached puberty, so he’s socially awkward.
My third Shanhasson book from Drollerie Press will have not one but several virgin warrior heroes (mfm menage). I don’t have a release date yet.
In paranormals there was Zsadist in Lover Awakened by J.R. Ward –but not. I should delete this one since he was abused but I’m always interested in the “first” consensual sexual encounter and count any character who was forced as still a virgin when it comes to making love.
The most recent virginal hero story I enjoyed was Katie Allen’s Breaking the Silence from EC.
I think Cheryl St. John’s His Secondhand Wife had a virgin hero, but it’s been a while since I’ve read it.
And there’s also Forbidden Jo Beverley.
Leigh Greenwood also has a virgin hero in one of his western romances, Someone Like You.
Libby’s London Merchant – a regency by Carla Kelly.
Hugh from Demon Angel by Meljean Brook and Rhys from Another Chance to Dream by Lynn Kurland.
Jo Beverley’s Forbidden has a virgin hero who gets raped by the heroine. (She doesn’t think of it as rape and was shocked that the hero was so furious with her.)
I’m interested in the recommendations. The virgin hero is one of those things I can only accept in historicals…in contemporaries I feel that for a man to be a virgin he’d have to be either much younger than I’m interested in or he’d have issues that would turn me off (religious, etc.). I’d like to read some contemporaries where that isn’t the case.
Dara Joy’s Ritual of Proof had a virgin hero. . .
Untouched by Anna Campbell. Mixed reviews, but I really liked it.
Besides the books already mentioned, the hero of Pamela Morsi’s Simple Jess is, I believe, a virgin, as is the hero of Nancy Butler’s Discarding the Duke. The former is Americana, the latter a Signet Regency. DtD is a flawed book, but I loved Will, the hero. The book also contains several passages that I marked in my reading journal because I thought they were so powerful/poignant/beautifully written.
Mary Balogh has one book where the hero is a virgin (won’t give title because it’s a little bit of a spoiler).
Mary Jo Putney’s Stolen Magic had a virgin hero- very HOT! He is a shapeshifter- unicorn.
& I believe Gena Showalter’s Lord of the Underworld Torin is a virgin- though he doesn’t have his own book yet. Correct me if I’m wrong.
Lover Enshrined by JR Ward (Book 6 in the Black Dagger Brotherhood – Phury’s story) is in my TBR list on my NOOK. Phury has so far been depicted as a virgin – via his vow of celibacy.
I bought the entire series after reading a recommendation on this blog about Dark Lover being an all time fav of many bloggers / readers and half way into that book I went back and bought all the books currently out in the series. I’m into Book 5 right now
JR Ward Fans… someone please tell me that Tohr is coming back! Also is it worth buying the Insiders Guide?
Laura Kinsale is our virgin hero specialist: The Shadow and The Star, Shadow Heart, Lessons in French
Can anyone remember whether Christie from To Love and to Cherish by Patricia Gaffney was a virgin?
I know it doesn’t get noticed much, since the book proceeds in two parallel timelines, but Camden from my book Private Arrangements was a virgin when he met the heroine and they go to their wedding night two virgins.
I’ve done a few, and one is still available. The hero of ‘Treasure Laid Bare’ is a virgin, but a knowledgeable one because his choice is neither a moral nor a religious one. It’s a paranormal, and my hero needs to retain his virginity in order to retain his power. I did love doing this, because it means the internal conflict can also be an external one.
The other, I hope will see the light of day again. I enjoy doing it because it brings up all kinds of questions and new pressures to bear. If a man can’t, or rather, mustn’t, ejaculate, then it can create great psychological pressure on him.
You can make him as handsome as you like, because it adds to the conflict, and the choice to give it up has to be really important to him.
Also, you have to decide what constitutes a male virgin. I chose the most extreme – never ejaculated, because it’s the most difficult to achieve and I like to torment my heroes. But it could also mean never been with a woman, never been with another man. Since there’s no physical barrier, as there is in a woman, it’s a bit more variable.
I am not sure what to say about Phury without giving spoilers.
As for Thor – yes he comes back.
The Insider’s Guide is okay, you need to read Father Mine but you can get that as a separate ebook. You do get more info on the series (and the crazy level to which Ward identifies with her characters) in the Guide.
Simple Jess and Wild Oats, both by Pamela Morsi.
His Secondhand Wife and The Preacher’s Daughter, both by Cheryl St. John.
Also, supposedly Sweeter Than Wine by Stephanie Mittman. I thought about reading that one for Keishon’s challenge, but alas, I can’t seem to locate it in the massive Bat Cave TBR. I know I have it lying around somewhere….
I just finished reading one last night: Lorraine Heath's The Outlaw and the Lady.
In addition to Secret Admirer, Susan Napier’s The Mistress Deception also features a virgin hero, as does Daphne Clair’s Take Hold of Tomorrow.
Ah, my one of my few keeper books features a virgin hero: “Games of Command”, by Linnea Sinclair. It’s still good when I re-read it.
Would you want YA also? Because I can’t fail to mention Edward from Twilight.
Wild at Heart by Patricia Gaffney
The Shadow and the Star by Laura Kinsale (the hero was sexually abused as a child, but is otherwise inexperienced).
Definitely! Kel-Paten is one of my all time favorite virgin heroes.
Thanks Melissa, I’m almost done with book 5 so I should be into Phury’s story by the weekend !! B & N has the insiders guide for $3.19 for the NOOK, at that price it’s a no-brainer.
Julia Ross’s Games of Pleasure has a virginal hero (and a courtesan heroine!).
Ariel by Steven R. Boyett
Originally released in 86 and was re-released in 2009. Now that I know it’s back out–I’m buying it ASAP.
There’s even a smart-ass unicorn.
The Invitation by Jude Deveraux
it’s an old novella, with an older heroine, younger hero- she had been married, and he had always loved her (since he was a child). It’s an interesting dynamic.
I just remembered Bonnie Dee’s The Countess Takes a Lover. That one is fantastic.
I second Kresley Cole’s Dark Needs at Night’s Edge, that was one of my favorites of the series so far. Also Eloisa James had the story of Esme and her virgin lover runner through all of the Dutchess Quartet books although they did not ever get a book of their own.
I’m pretty sure that Bonnie Dee’s “A Hearing Heart” has a virgin hero.
Barbara Metzger “Snowdrops and Scandalbroth,”
Lorraine Heath “Always to Remember,”
Michaela August “Sweeter than Wine,’
Mary Balogh “No Man’s Mistress” and “Gentle Conquest,’
Mallory Burgess “Beloved Knight” and “Beloved Heart,”
Megan Chance “The Way Home,”
Pamela Morsi “Wild Oats” and “The Love Charm.”
Seems like the fabled virgin hero isn’t quite as mythical as we thought. I’m madly adding books to my Readerware shopping cart.
As if there weren’t already 700+ books on that TBR mountain range… :)
Surrender to a Wicked Spy by Celeste Bradley. Book number two (I think) in the Royal Four series.
Just in case anyone doesn’t equate Keishon & Avid Book Reader, here’s a link to her blog http://avidbookreader.com/ — gorgeous new presentation btw.
And Sherry Thomas, no, Christie from “To Love and To Cherish” was not a virgin.
@Janet W Thanks for the link. I thought I put it in the original post but had forgotten.
Tammy Kane’s BREATH OF FIRE features a hero that is a virginal monk. The heroine takes his virginity and then discards him.
I’m writing one right now, my first romance novel! I love the idea when it’s done right. I like anything that turns the typical gender roles of romance around.
Older but still good. Susan Wiggs’ The Lily and the Leopard.
Even more mythical than the virgin hero is the gay virgin hero. Not in a gay-for-you/been-with-women-but-not-a-man virgin, but an actual never-had-sexual-contact-with-anyone virgin. I finally found one–in Off the Record by Matthew Haldeman-Time. The virgin in question is 23 and actually has pretty credible reasons for not having sex or even dating. It is the author’s first novel (it actually is novel-length, too) so there is room for improvement, but I was impressed with it.
This is an old one, but it probably isn’t too hard to find: LaVyrle Spencer’s The Endearment
Wow, okay, except for two SFFs I couldn’t find any that haven’t already been mentioned. Purportedly (I haven’t read them), Catherine Asaro’s PRIMARY INVERSIONS and THE MOON’S SHADOW have virgin heroes.
I read a Harlequin Temptation years ago with a virgin hero – I think he was some kind of scientist with coke bottle glasses (and therefore somehow hadn’t seen the light of day). Did love it at the time. It’s a trope you hardly see, though.
Eloisa James has a virgin hero in one of her Duke Series books, WHEN THE DUKE RETURNS. I found in weird at the time, but then sweet because the couple eventually got it together.
I’m editing because I realized others have name this one too. Oh Well. I guess that means we have good taste in books.
My short story, “Sundial,” a time-travel set in 1954 Italy, features a virgin hero. That was fun. :)
That doesn’t sound very ‘heroic’… You sure she’s not the villainess? :)
Wow, somebody else read that book. I have fond memories of it, although I haven’t reread it in years.
Lots of memories, I bought it when I was in Salamanca, Spain, for four weeks in 1991. Time flies, and all that! :)
Mary Stewart’s Touch not the Cat has a virgin hero (and heroine too, I think). The scene where the heroine finds out is quite funny and sweet, as the hero tries to make his excuses why he still is a virgin (the reason has to do with the premise of the story). It’s a lovely book – more romantic suspense than straight romance.
An old-school romantic suspense with a virgin hero is Touch Not the Cat by Mary Stewart. I practically swooned the first time I read it.
@Carrie Lofty: Hey, I have that one! I’ll have to dig it out of the electronic TBR pile.
Here's a sampling of science fiction romance books featuring virgin heroes:
Beyond The Rain by Jess Granger
How to Lose an Extraterrestrial in 10 Days by Susan Grant
â€œMy Oneâ€ in Lovescape by Dara Joy
Ritual of Proof by Dara Joy
Parallel Heat by Deidre Knight
Games of Command by Linnea Sinclair
Shadow Fires by Catherine Spangler
Sam's World by Ann Williams
Yep. Love Asaro. I’d add (what has already been added) Always to Remember by Lorraine Heath, The Shadow & the Star by Laura Kinsale and Wild At Heart by Patricia Gaffney. Must LOCATE the Michaela August title that Jayne mentioned. I bought it years ago.
I don’t think anyone mentioned “Preacher” from Robyn Carr’s “Shelter Mountain”. Sigh. Made me want to chuck my life and move up to some small mountain village in northern California, where the men are men, and they know how to treat their women … [dreamy swoon]
Her first 3 books in the Virgin River series are recommendable (Virgin River, SM, Whispering Rock) but I think she’s jumped the shark with the rest of the series. (with apologies to anyone who is still purchasing her books)
Dark Needs at Night’s Edge is my favorite so far out of all the Kresley Cole Immortals After Dark series. Love the big, insane vampire who also turns reverential when he gets his first blow job. Ah.
And I was going to mention the hero from Sherry’s Private Arrangements, at least, when he first meets the heroine. Later…not so much. But it’s nice to find an aristocratic hero in a historical who hasn’t whored and kept a mistress since the age of twelve.
What about heroes who may not be virgins, but who are relatively inexperienced? I like those, too. Can we add them to the recommendation list?
@Dana: Also Jakob in HEAVEN CAN WAIT.
Summer Devon and my new release, a m/m historical “Seducing Stephen” features a virgin and a jaded rake.
Also, an older book of mine from Loose Id, “The Warrior’s Gift”
Since authors are allowed to add, my hero in the medieval novella The Raven and the Rose in “Chalice of Roses” is a virgin knight. Because of a vow to do with the Grail.
He’s very frustrated! And so very happy when the heroine finally turns up. *G*
What?! You mean I’m going to have to read every Mary Balogh book in order to find this one? That’s… um, not such a sacrifice. Ignore my initial indignation. :-)
Wasn’t Zarek, from Sherrilyn Kenyon’s “Dance with the Devil”, a virgin? I have to dig out the book, but I am almost certain that he was.
@Jo Beverley: I have that one too!
I’m going to have to try to get some reading done this weekend. Maybe short stories will ease me out of my reading slump.
Now I really want to read Forbidden by Jo Beverley. But sadly it is Â£67 on amazon… I am going to have to speak to the library.
Umm…maybe more epic fantasy than Romance, but the first Kushiel series features a virgin hero, Joscelin.
Was Ruck a virgin in For My Lady’s Heart? I thought so…but maybe just really close to it?
I LOVE a well-done virgin hero…evidently I am sadly lacking in my research skillz, though, because I had no idea there were so many out there!
@MaryK: I’ll be curious what you think!
@Katie: You could try buying an ebook version:
Oh and the elven hero in Judith Tarr’s The Hound and the Falcon: The Isle of Glass, The Golden Horn, and The Hounds of God trilogy grew up as a Christian monk and it takes ages for the heroine (although the sparks sizzle very soon) to make him accept that they’re meant for each other.
That is a great idea! Thank you.
My two favorite virgin heroes are Clem in Beginner’s Luck by Dixie Browning, and Mitch in Ain’t Misbehavin’ by Jennifer Greene.
Both categories (Silhouette Desire and Second Chance at Love, respectively), both ancient, both wonderful.
Linnea Sinclair has two that I can think of. Kel-Paten in Games of Command is explicitly a virgin, and Rhys Vanur in Finders Keepers is pretty heavily implied to be one. In both cases the virginity was pretty plausible.
@Estara and Katie: “Forbidden Magic” is NOT the one with a virgin hero. I read it recently. It’s a delightful read, but no virgin hero at all.
Looking at Fantastic Fiction (http://www.fantasticfiction.co.uk/b/jo-beverley/) I see that Ms. Beverley has no less than 3 titles with the word Forbidden in it:
The one with the virgin hero is the first one in the above list.
I didn’t find it anywhere in ebook format (I was looking for it as well). I am “renting” it.
“Wow, okay, except for two SFFs I couldn't find any that haven't already been mentioned. Purportedly (I haven't read them), Catherine Asaro's PRIMARY INVERSIONS and THE MOON'S SHADOW have virgin heroes”
Yes, they’re both virgins. Asaro definitely seems to like the young innocent virgin hero paired with the older experienced jaded heroine dynamic. However, she really succeeds in making it work because she makes her heroes a whole lot more than the mere fact of their virginity and comparative youth. The hero in THE MOON’S SHADOW in particular (it’s told largely from his point of view) is bloody amazing.
You can both book as ebooks at Baen – PRIMARY INVERSIONS is actually a free download.
Not strictly a romance per se, but the Black Jewels Trilogy had Damon Sadi who was a virgin (even though he’d been pleasing women for centuries in the bedchamber).
Have to say, that was one conceit of the story that made no sense to me even though I bought into the rest of it.
Lisa Kleypas, Worth Any Price, the heroine was the 2nd women to be with the hero. Don’t know if that counts
I had a virgin hero in Futurelove, one of my Summer Devon books. He was such a virgin, he barely understood how his body worked. (I based it on a great essay by Mrs. Giggles in which she cast the male as a clueless virgin. [“What is this strange thing happening to my penis?”] Sad to say, she’s since taken down that particular essay. )
Jodi Thomas’s A Texan’s Wager hero Carter McKoy and The Lone Texan hero Drummond Roake.
I read a book a few years back, where the author swapped society around (titled women taking virgin men as husbands), and the male had a “membrane” that was burned away when he lost his virginity. The powerful, titled female heroine has to save his reputation from scandal… this ring a bell with anyone? I’ve been trying to find it again…
I don’t think this is it, but Wen Spencer wrote ‘A Brother’s Price’ which has gender mores swapped. Thought I’d mention it in case anybody is interested in those kind of story lines.
@Melanie: That’s Dara Joy’s RITUAL OF PROOF
I really liked A Brother’s Price. It’s not in a usual romance form, but it is a lovely romance IMO as well as having excellent, complex, subtle world building.
Fantasy fiction is a great place to play with different styles of courtship, marriage, and sexuality and really explore what they would mean.
I really liked Wen Spencer’s Tinker, too, also a great romance story. The sequel, not so much, perhaps because the romance part got lost for me.
I really liked Tinker when I first read it. Then I read the sequel and decided I couldn’t figure out for the life of me what she saw in the elf lordling and that she and Pony would have made a much better couple… :)
But still very interesting reading. Spencer is definitely not in the usual vein. I hope her life and health situation will allow her to resume writing and publishing soon!
I also enjoyed the first 3 Ukiah Oregon books, even though I do not read UF these days (I’m moved to claim that she was probably one of the first to write it before it became a fad).
Thanks Meljean, it’s been bugging me. I don’t know that I’d necessarily read it again, but couldn’t stand not remembering who wrote it :) Sounds like there are many others listed in here that I should read instead :)
Anne Avery had a book quite some time ago called The Snow Queen in which both characters were virgins. There was another that I am not remembering the author of, but the title “Cinderfella” is distinctive enough to make it easy to find. Both are frontier books, both from the same updated fairy tale series that was popular some years ago.
I’m also surprised that nobody has mentioned The Naked Duke by Sally Mackenzie.
Actually, I just recently read Lessons in French, and Trev is most definitely not a virgin hero.
Someone mentioned TOUCHED BY FIRE by Kathleen O’Reilly (her one and only historical – so far, anyway) and yes, the hero, Colin, is a virgin. He’s also incredibly adorable. One of my Desert Island Keepers for sure!
Linda Howard has some books with virgin heroes:
I’m sure there are others too.
@EJ. I think the heroes in both those books were not virgins. Were you thinking of the heroines?
I love this trope.
Wen Spencer’s A Brother’s Price.
Seduce Me in Flames by Jacquelyn Frank has a virgin hero. Without, I hope, giving away too much, the hero has some exceptional abilities that he finds difficult to control when he is, um, excited.
This is a rare find but Judd in Nalini Singh’s Carressed by Ice is a virginal hero and a really good one too!
Unclaimed by Courtney Milan is another one. The hero writes a book advocating male chastity, for which he is knighted by Queen Victoria–and becomes, to his chagrin, quite a celebrity. The heroine is a courtesan hired to ruin his reputation.
Another good Courtney Milan book with a virgin hero is The Duchess War.
This is a slightly obscure Signet Regency–but The Holly and the Ivy by Elisabeth Fairchild also had a virgin hero.
Also, someone upthread (from 3 years ago!) asked whether Ruck from For My Lady’s Heart was a virgin–he wasn’t but he had very little prior experience (only being with his first wife a handful of times when he was 17). One of the things I love most about FMLH is that the hero and heroine have such parity in their experiences (both married and had a few sexual experiences when they were teenagers–and both have been “chaste” for the past 13 years, etc.)