Hi dear readers! Welcome to a post on one of my very favorite topics – book boyfriends!! It’s a long-ish post but y’all love talking about what makes the ideal book boyfriend, so hopefully you’ll stick around for the whole thing 😉
Anyone who has followed this blog for half a minute has surely figured out that I have a habit of collecting book boyfriends as I read, and I even had a shirt made with 5 of my all-time faves.
I always love hearing about some book boyfriends that other readers collect, too, and I thought it would be fun to ask a couple of the fabulous publicists at Tyndale House about their faves!
Madeline Daniels, Publicist, said,
“As a Bible and church history nerd, my book boyfriend would have to be Aquila from Daughter of Rome by Tessa Afshar. I like a guy with strong principles, and Aquila sacrificed a lot in order to stand by his convictions. In Daughter of Rome, we get to see him first as a heroic suitor and then as a husband in the thick of marriage’s challenges—he’s faithful and humble in every situation.”
Senior Publicist Amanda Woods is a kindred book-boyfriend-collecting spirit with me so I knew for sure I had to get her input too! She said,
“Although I have several “book boyfriends”, I think my #1 is Crowley Mason from Lulu’s Café by T.I. Lowe. Honestly, I’m a sucker for any of the men in a T.I. Lowe book (HELLOOOOOO August Bradford (Driftwood Dreams), anyone?) because I’m just a sucker in general for a small town, Southern boy (which is clearly why I married someone from Indiana, right? Ha!) I grew up in a small town, went to a small town church, and had a close knit group of friends reminiscent of the group in the Carolina Coast series. I think what attracts me to most of T.I.’s book boyfriends is that it reminds me of a lot of the small town, country boys that ran in my circle growing up that I inevitably had big ‘ole crushes on. What attracts me specifically to Crowley is how gentle and patient he was as they navigated Leah’s past together and ultimately the lengths he went to in order to prove his love to her. *swoon*
A close runner up for me would be Elam Albrecht from Jolina Petersheim’s How the Light Gets In. He’s such a quiet, gentle, wise soul and ultimately I could not get my own husband out of my head while reading it. I know that’s why I loved him so much, because I’m married to someone exactly like him 😉 Reading that book had me feeling ALL. OF. THE. FEELS. for literal weeks after reading it.”
They mentioned a couple I haven’t met yet, and Amanda talked about one of my new faves too – Elam. So much Elam. I’ll write a whole post on him sometime soon too.
We’ll hear from author Carla Laureano in a moment, too, but first… let’s talk a bit more about #myJames – the hero in her contemporary romance Five Days in Skye. James (as he’s called in the book… without the possessive hashtag lol) is incorrigibly flirtatious, and I’m a swooning fool for a flirty book hero. The playful smolder! Be still my fictional-character-loving heart! For all of James’ flirting and smoldering though, he has depth of character that most people overlook in their celebrity image of him – and, granted, it is an integrity that evolved with time and maturity. When Andrea is struggling to put past tragedies aside and leap into the potential of the relationship she wants with James, I think I actually shouted, “Leap, Andrea! Leap! Look at the man with all the integrity plus the winking and flirting and SMOLDERING, for the love!”
After a long-but-totally-worth-it wait, the conclusion to the MacDonald Family Trilogy (aka #myJames’s series) released this week – Under Scottish Stars. And apparently the hero in this book gives #myJames some serious competition. Or, so says Carla Laureano anyway…. She presents a very compelling case in a moment. But first, let’s look at the book itself:
UNDER SCOTTISH STARS
SERIES: The MacDonald Family Trilogy #3
GENRE: Inspirational Contemporary Romance
PUBLISHER: Tyndale House
RELEASE DATE: July 7, 2020
Recently widowed Serena MacDonald Stewart focuses on her children to the exclusion of her career, her art, and her sanity. When her brothers ask her to oversee the family guest house on the Isle of Skye, it’s a chance to dust off her long-ignored business skills and make a new start. But her hopes for a smooth transition are dashed when the hotel manager, Malcolm Blake, turns out to be irritating, condescending . . . and incredibly attractive.
Malcolm Blake gave up everything–his home, his girlfriend, and his career–to return to Skye and raise his late sister’s teenage daughter. With few job opportunities available on the island, he signs on as the manager of the MacDonald family hotel, which he’s soon running successfully without interference from the owners. That is, until Serena shows up, challenging his authority and his conviction that there’s nothing missing from his new life on Skye.
Before long, Serena and Malcolm have to admit the spark between them is more than mere irritation. But as single parents, there’s more on the line than their own hearts. Will their commitment to family be the thing that draws them together or the only thing that could keep them apart?
Five Reasons Malcolm Blake Is the Ideal Book Boyfriend
by Carla Laureano, author of Under Scottish Stars
I’m going to say something really controversial, considering whose blog I’m being hosted on: I think Malcolm Blake of Under Scottish Stars might be the best hero of the MacDonald Family series.
I know, I know, I will probably never convince Carrie to turn her back on #herJames, but hear me out. When I wrote Five Days in Skye, the first book in the MacDonald Family series, I wanted it to be a sort of fantasy turned reality. After all, who expects to go to Scotland for business and fall in love with a rich, handsome, considerate, funny, celebrity chef who adores you within moments of meeting? None of us (if we were single) would turn that down, but we all recognize that this situation is far more aspirational than realistic.
When I wrote Malcolm, the love interest for James’s sister, Serena, in Under Scottish Stars, I had a different goal. Since I was basing him to a great degree on my own husband, I was going for a more down-to-earth guy you might accidentally overlook at the supermarket—and then realize later is the perfect man for you.
So without further ado, here is why Malcolm Blake is, in my opinion, the perfect book boyfriend.
- He’s smart and isn’t afraid to speak his mind.
It’s super nice to have someone who agrees with you when he gets the credit card bill for, say, $200 worth of books (“But they’re necessities!”) but over the long term, that kind of placidness can get old. When Malcolm and Serena first meet at her family’s guesthouse, sparks fly, and not just because of attraction.
With each new question, Malcolm’s ability to keep his cool faltered. She might be fit, but she was most definitely a micromanager.
“You know, James and Ian seemed perfectly content to let me run the place,” he said finally. “Why don’t you just come out and say what concerns you?”
“Nothing concerns me. But if you’ve not noticed, James and Ian are rarely here, which is exactly why I bought back my share. It’s a pretty poor business strategy to back away and let someone else make all the decisions.”
“The help, you mean.”
“Someone without a vested interest in the success of the venture.” She drew herself up as if she could add inches to her tiny frame out of sheer will.
“You don’t think I have a vested interest? If I don’t do well, I don’t get paid. I imagine that makes me more invested than you.”
“Considering this property has been in my family for generations, I very much doubt that.”
He flinched. Of course she was going to pull rank. She was an owner; he was just the hired help. And if he were smart, he would surgically remove his foot from his mouth and apologize. But the I’m sorry froze on his lips. He wasn’t sorry at all.
- He just wants to help Serena, even if he doesn’t get anything out of it.
“What are you doing here?”
“Do you want me to leave? I realize you said to let ourselves out, but I thought you might need me. I had Kylee take my car back to the house.”
It was so thoughtful and so much more than she would have expected that the tears came back in full force. He didn’t hesitate before enfolding her in his arms. She sniffled against his chest, battling against the swell of conflicting emotions.
“It’s okay, Serena. You’re a good mum. It’s not your fault.”
“I know, it’s only—” She pulled away and dabbed at her eyes, aware of how watery her voice sounded. “It’s hard sometimes. So hard to do it by myself. And you’re being very sweet, but I can’t let myself rely on you.”
He pulled her into him again and held her tightly. His voice was muffled in her hair. “I would like to be someone you could rely on.”
“Please, Malcolm. Just stop.”
“Why?” Now it was his turn to pull away and look her in the eye. “Why is it so hard to let someone care about you and maybe help a little?”
- He’s a boxer.
I don’t think I need to explain why this is a big plus, but then again, I’m married to a fourth-degree black belt, so I might be predisposed to like a guy who can handle himself.
Serena leaned against the corner of the house, transfixed by the sight. He’d said he’d only been an amateur and now simply boxed to stay in shape, but there was something in the rhythmic, confident way he threw punches that suggested he was nowhere near a novice. A smile came unbidden to her lips. No sense in denying it: his ability to work a punching bag like a pro was about the sexiest thing she had ever seen.
- He’s great with kids, even when they’re not his own, and he’s not above being a little silly.
Malcolm was sitting on the floor building an addition to the castle with her son. “You see, if you’re going to have dragons, you have to have a runway, right? Because some of them need to have space to take off and land, like aeroplanes. Don’t you think?”
Max’s eyes lit up as if Malcolm had come up with the most brilliant plan in the history of dragon-castle building. “I forgot! Because they’re big.”
“Exactly. Really big.” Malcolm’s eyes flicked up to meet Serena’s, but they didn’t linger before he went back to paving the new runway with bright red blocks.
- He reminds us of all the things we love about our significant others or spouses . . . or what we hope to find in real life someday.
Looking for a super-hot single celebrity chef who doesn’t have a massive ego might be a losing battle, but the things that make Malcolm the best book boyfriend are the qualities that we probably appreciate in our own partners or future partners. He’s kind, he’s caring, he’s funny, he’s smart, and he loves kids. And when it comes down to it, while we might love the thrill of first attraction, it’s the things that make us feel safe and loved that make for a wonderful long-term romance.
I may have not convinced Carrie to throw over James (and really, I wouldn’t want to), but hopefully I’ve convinced everyone that they have room for a new Scottish book boyfriend in their lives!
I personally can’t wait to meet Malcolm – I think it’s safe to say that there IS always room for a new Scottish book boyfriend! And just because I haven’t said it quite enough yet in this post – #myJames 😉
Carla Laureano is the two-time RITA Award–winning author of Five Days in Skye, London Tides, and the Saturday Night Supper Club series. She is also the author of the Celtic fantasy series The Song of Seare (as C. E. Laureano). A graduate of Pepperdine University, she worked as a sales and marketing executive for nearly a decade before leaving corporate life behind to write fiction full-time. She currently lives in Denver with her husband and two sons.
On Instagram? Be sure to check out the giveaway for The MacDonald Family Trilogy IG Tour with JustRead Tours! Get all the info HERE (or click the above graphic).
This giveaway is hosted by JustRead Tours, not RimSP
What about you? What makes you want to read Under Scottish Stars by Carla Laureano? What makes an ideal book boyfriend for you?