Top Ten Reasons to Love the Bad Boy

This top ten list is off the desk of Kayla King, Editorial Assistant for Harlequin Intrigue and Harlequin Nocturne.

What is it about the bad boy? Every time one shows up on the page my heart races and I just have to know more.  I don’t know about you, but it’s one of my favorite tropes to pick apart.  So let’s get to it!


  1. It’s forbidden. Sometimes we want something because we’ve been told we can’t have it.  A little ill-advised curiosity can go a long way.

  3. The mystery. What has he done that makes him so bad?  Who is he, really?  A good bad boy is like a puzzle you can’t resist trying to solve.

  5. The angst. The buried past.  The secret pain. Whatever is behind those walls of his, we want to break them down to find out!

  7. The trust. When the heroine (and reader) are finally let in on the bad boy’s secret, nothing feels more valuable than his trust, since it’s not freely given.

  9. They’re usually alpha. Bad boys tend to be confident, self-reliant and dominant.  Combined with his mystique, he can’t help but catch the heroine’s eye.

  11. The soft side. When the hero is a bad boy, his moments of sensitivity and concern are that much more powerful!

  13. He’s fearless. This is usually a character who has been through hell and back – and would gladly do it all again for his heroine.

  15. The risk. The stakes are often high for both the hero and the heroine – will he betray her?  Can she take the heat?  But a high risk can mean a high payoff and is that much more satisfying for the reader.

  17. Deep connection. A well written bad boy, like an anti-hero, is usually a complicated character, but this can mean an even stronger shared connection between him and the heroine when that hard-won connection is finally made.

  19. Redemption. The key part of a loveable bad boy is that he’s redeemable. He has to walk a long road to get there, but the best bad boys are always worth the journey and always come through for their heroine.


Can’t resist the bad boy either? Tell us why in the comments!