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The Boys in Blue (and other colors)...

He’s a COP. Yeah, the hero of that latest novel is an officer of the law! Why are we so enthralled by the notion of romance with a policeman? There are mega-gazillions of novels out there featuring heroes in blue or variations thereof - detectives, forensic specialists (VERY hot - thanks to television shows like CSI), FBI agents and other assorted undercover sweeties.

They track down bad guys, solve murders, rescue citizens in distress and fall passionately in love with the heroine while doing any or all of the above. Talented guys, that's for sure. Brave too. Think of bomb disposal squads, or the environmental hazard forces with their yellow HAZMAT space suits...eeeek!

It’s easy to dismiss their appearance in a romance novel as a natural consequence of their bravery. They have all the attributes we want in our heroes - and of course, most of the time, writers ensure they’re also devastatingly handsome, in excellent shape, free to pursue the woman of their dreams and possessed of the skills necessary to kiss her silly while solving a string of serial killings.

Yes, it does sound too good to be true. But we still devour these stories, held captive by the exciting tales of larger-than-life men. (And occasionally women. It IS the new millennium after all. Equal time, folks.)

So what’s the appeal?

Okay. It’s the gun, isn’t it? (No, you naughty people. Not THAT gun. The one strapped to his hip.) The Smith and Wesson, the Colt, the 9 mm Sig Sauer - the 44 Magnum and occasionally the 357 Magnum (think Clint Eastwood all squinty-eyed, staring over the barrel! You feelin’ lucky? Well, ARE you?)

There’s an unspoken power that seems to accompany anybody “licensed to carry” these days, either openly or concealed. Something that says - “don’t mess around here. I’m serious and I mean business”. And if his gun is saying THAT, then the rest of him is pretty much saying the same thing on a much more personal level. When he puts his arms around the heroine and their lips meet - the message is loud and clear. He isn’t messing around. He means business.

Then there’s the whole “I feel safe with you” thing. Being in the arms of the law has to offer a particular sort of security, the kind that doesn’t necessarily come along with a close embrace from a plumber. Law officers are trained to protect. We girls KNOW that these arms are not only strong and solid, but skilled in the arts of self-preservation and that his talents are going to protect us too. Sort of like falling in love with an entire police department and getting all the perks, just boiled down into one particular man.

The danger element - well, that’s off the charts with these guys. They put their lives on the line more times than we want to think about, selflessly stepping into the line of fire with very little thanks or acknowledgement from the community they are sworn to protect. Our heroine is going to be able to show her appreciation in many wonderful ways - a chance for all of us to experience the pleasure of saying “thank you” vicariously to these unsung heroes. When she tenderly embraces him, bandages his wounds (only a scratch, of course) and finally surrenders - we’re there with her, cheering her on, knowing that she’s found a man who deserves everything she’s going to give him - and THEN some.

Yes, there’s a whole bunch of stuff going on in our heads and our hearts when we read romance novels with cops as heroes, no matter what their rank, specialty or skill. And it’s all good!!! God bless ‘em, and may they long continue to appear on bookshelves everywhere.

Submitted by your Features Editor, May 2006

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