For so many of us, there’s just nothing better than a moody, brooding, reclusive, detached book “hero”. Okay, yes in real life, I’m thinking that would get old. Fast. But in our book worlds? Pining for that completely uninterested, no-nonsense alpha-male, and then experiencing “being” the one (and pretty much the only one) that finally turns him around (at least, in part). At least when it comes to her.
Ahhhhhhh the unrequited love for that guy that seems to need nobody, but that everyone wants to be a part of. The thrill of the chase (or of the “wait”). That exquisite “have to work for it” feel. Even the tentative friends-first thing. Then it slowly builds. He begins to care. Becomes protective. And eventually wants to claim. And better yet? He doesn’t belong to anybody, but he wants to belong to you. *sigh*
He wants you to claim him. And he wears it like a badge of honor.
THAT is what we love about our moody heroes.
Beckie: I love the “Moody” H because somewhere inside theres something usually dark that has happened that makes them that way. And the Angst lover inside of me NEEDS to know what that is!!
Colleen: … so moody and are so mean at times that you want to just choke the sh*t outta them! But then they turn on the dirty talk and the charm and I immediately fell back in love with them.
Kelli: Oh this is too hard of a thing…to narrow it down to ONE? Just to name a few of my faves…(other than Zsadist and Matt whom I both loved)…there’s Victor (Killing Sarai), Ford (Taut), Sebastian (Surviving Rain), Remy (Real), Lothaire (Lothaire) and Tristan (Bad Things). Really though…I could go on all day long because the moody bad boys are the best.
Rebecka: God we love our mercurial mad men don’t we??? Too many to choose favorites.
Shannon: Loving this list! Brooding, but not too dark….
Maryse: Yep Shannon! I really didn’t want to go too “dark-read” in this one. Just some good ol’ fashion alpha-jerk to sweetheart romance.
Agreed, guys!! So I’ve compiled a list of my favorites, and favorites from our fellow readers, right here!
Many of you already know my favorite book men (I know, I keep going on about ‘em). But just in case some are new here, these are my own personal favorite recommendations (as they really fit our exciting alpha-male-loving “genre”). And yes, most of them are absolute alpha-jerks/moody sweethearts. But either way, their pouting, I mean… “brooding” is a HUGE part of their personality trait.
Flaw? Or fun? You decide!
Sweet Dreams (Colorado Mountain Book 2) by Kristen Ashley <— Obviously Tate!!! Obviously. He had his silly moments, for sure, but he was a big, biker, bad-ass with no room for nonsense. Gorgeous but grumpy, and he’d say some stuff that would just infuriate me. I loved EVERY minute of it! And HIM!!!!!! And pretty much ANY Kristen Ashley book-hero fits this lost, perfectly. You can’t go wrong if you’re in the mood for an alpha-jerk/sweetheart. My review of: Sweet Dreams.
Surviving Raine: Surviving Raine Book 1 by Shay Savage <— THE ULTIMATE in broody, sulky, a$$holey book heroes. He starts off as the ultimate alpha-jerk, doesn’t care much about anyone but himself (or namely, his addictions), and being stuck on a floating dingy in the middle of the ocean with no alcohol or cigarettes in sight is pissing him off! Let’s not even talk about no land in sight thing. And who’s stuck on that dingy with him? Raine. A sweet twenty-something woman who has no idea how to deal with him. Let alone… the no land in sight thing. What a RIDE!!!! I loved this one like crazy! My review of Surviving Raine.
Night Owl (The Night Owl Trilogy) by M. Pierce <— One of my all time favorite moody grumps in the world. And he’s sir adorable in his sullen-ness. I just wanna squeeeeeeze him tight, and snuggle with him and his stuffed manatee. *sigh* Beware of his mouth, though. *gasp!!!!* And Jennifer agrees! “Matt Sky is my favorite moody, recluse, dirty tallking, beautifully broken male character.” Betty says: “My favorite moody boy has got to be Matt from Night Owl!! I mean, he’s got a dirty mouth, a sweet heart and a rabbit… what’s NOT to love?” and Renee agrees, too! “I swear his mouth should have its own zip code” and Tanya loves him: ”…his moodyness & reclusiveness just makes him Matt. He’s the type of guy you don’t pity at all but you just want to hug him tightly and never want to let him go. Plus dirty talk is such an art and he has that s**t down pat!” my book review of Night Owl
Real (The REAL series Book 1) by Katy Evans <— A total bad-a$$ and used to getting anything he wants (especially women), Remy didn’t really have to try too hard to please anyone. Plus, with his crazy moods, it didn’t take much to set him off. Brooding? He is the KING of that. Loving? He is the KING of that, too, but only for one girl (and boy does she give him a run for his money). And Renee agrees: “Remy from Real and because I’m a huge fan of the dirty mouthed please whisper in my ear kind of gal” My review of Real.
Lover Awakened (Black Dagger Brotherhood, Book 3): A Novel Of The Black Dagger Brotherhood by J.R. Ward <— Okay NOBODY is angrier than Zsadist. Nobody. He’s got quite the death-wish. Quite the self-hate. Quite the everyone hate. LOL! Oh and he doesn’t laugh. He doesn’t even smile. he scowls. And he growls. And he threatens EVERYONE away from him (and when I say threaten, he is SCARY!!!). Even to women that try to get too close. Nothing more fun than seeing THIS truest-of-all-true-bad-a$$es become befuddled because one woman just will not heed his warning. BEST BOOK EVER. BEST moody hero, EVER! P.S. My review of Lover Awakened
Amy: I second Zsadist. There are so many brooding BBFs out there, but I have a soft spot for him.
Rebecka: No one like Z, Baby!
MichelleS: ‘Z’ from BDB is my favorite moody, reclusive, growly kind of alpha of all time.
Michelle: I think my favorite of all the moody, brooding, sullen types is Zsadist from the Black Dagger Brotherhood by JR Ward. He is all these things with just the right amount of vulnerability mixed in.
Amy: Zsadist will always be “it” for me as far as moody/broody goes. Should we snuggle him?? I say we snuggle him! <— Awwwww. YES Amy! Great idea. We can fix him with a snuggle!
MichelleS: “Z” and snuggle in the same sentence? SNORT!! He’s definitely the number one “moody, brooding, reclusive and detached” guy in a book.
Darkfever: Fever Series Book 1 by Karen Marie Moning. <— Did I just say nobody is angrier than Zsadist? Well… kind of. But you could equally say nobody is angrier than Barrons (to the left). Mind you, Barrons has just a little more “tact” when it comes to strangers in his vicinity, so “Z” up there, still takes that cake. But Barrons is almost equal to him in his obnoxious, foul-moody, aggressive to everyone (even women), alpha-jerkedness. In fact, I’d almost say Barrons is even more of an alpha-jerk (stress on the “jerk” part) than Z. Z is definitely more vulnerable (but you can’t tell, right away). And Aiman agrees! “Ok i have to say Jericho Barrons from fever series is my favorite ” and Candice, too: “Barrons. He is the alpha of dark, moody, and reclusive.” My review of Darkfever.
And let’s talk about two SUPER-sweet moody guys, shall we? It was kind of a toss-up on whether these two fit this list for me, ’cause while they are moody (each in their own way), they DO give us that perfect “reluctant” (and sometimes, self-sabotaging) hero feel.
Archer’s Voice by Mia Sheridan <— The sweeeeeest of the moody characters, he just wants to stay out of everyone’s way, and wants everyone to leave him alone. And he’s been doing it just fine, for years. Sure… everyone in town thinks he’s weird, but one smart girl is too intrigued by him to let it go. Fantastic read, and so many brought up Archer as a good addition to this list. And Sharon agrees! “Hands down Mia Sheridan’s Archer from Archer’s Voice” and Lauren says: “I immediately thought of Archer as reclusive but I don’t think he was moody other than in the beginning really, at least not as much as some of the others because he was so sweet. Love him!!” My review of Archer’s Voice.
Beautiful Disaster: A Novel by Jamie McGuire <— Okay and of course, what is a “Maryse-like list” without Travis on it? LOL!!! He pretty much encompasses EVERYTHING I could make a list about. Well, except for the dark reads, but pretty much everything else = Travis is the perfect fit! Now, Travis is more of an outgoing, popular, funny guy, so he’s definitely not reclusive, but moody? Oh YES. He can get as moody as any of those bad boys up there (and then some). Oooooof. He could fight his moodiness right out of him, or self-sabotage by finding “another” way to exorcise his moody demons. Let’s just say, I felt EVERY one of Travis’s moods (as the heroine), and LOVED every single moment. And Haley agrees!: Travis Maddox from A Beautiful Disaster is by far my favorite moody person. He somehow makes moody cute lol” <— YES!! His moodiness IS cute! and Renee agrees: “My mind always goes to Travis Maddox when you talk about Moody Characters My first Indie read First up all night reading all the way through book” and Ava chimes in, too: “Travis Maddox from Beautiful Disaster. Moody and possessive; doesn’t get any better then that. ” <— AGREED!!! Here’s my review of Beautiful Disaster.
Now… ready for more recommendations? I’ve read many of these (and some of them, I’ve also personally recommended, above). But some I haven’t read yet, so this list is just perfect for my next moody-alpha craving!
READER FAVORITES (and I agree with so many below that I’ve read – spot-on!!):
P.S. Feel free to leave a comment with your favorite! We’re looking for the alpha-jerks, the reclusive ones, the brooding, scowling ones. The ones that are so hard to reach (and I mean work-for-it hard!!), but that only give in for that one girl… reluctantly (or intensely like Remy & Travis)… so if you know one, chime in!
- Night Owl (The Night Owl Trilogy) by M. Pierce <— Denita loves Matt! “My favorite moody character is Matthew Sky from night owl by M Pierce. Matthew is so cynical and kind of all over the place with his emotions. I love his complexity though. He’s such a deep, wounded in a way, complex person!” And Amie agrees: “My #1 is Matt Sky. Nobody beats the pure a$$holery that is him.” AGREED!! One of my favs!
- This Man (This Man Trilogy Book 1) by Jodi Ellen Malpas <— Linda loves Jesse: “My #1 broody foul mouth delicious man would be Jesse Ward from This Man series. He’s just always “stuck” with me.” and Magdalena agrees: “Sometimes I hate him for that how fast he can change his mood. I was terribly annoyed but hey at the end I love the Lord” and April agrees: “My moody character would have to be Jesse Ward.. He is a mess. Hot, sexy, unreasonable, brooding and bloody possessive! But damn the man is sex on legs! Ahhh he could use that countdown on me anytime.”
- Worth the Fight by Vi Keeland <— Here is Kristina’s favorite: “Nico from Worth the Fight. Love me some hot MMA fighters with a dark past!”
- Real (The REAL series Book 1) by Katy Evans <— Lesley chooses Tate! “My favourite moody character has to be Remmy Tate, from Real by Katy Evans!” and Nikol agrees: “When I think about broody, I think about Remy in REAL by Katy Evans. Broody MMA fighter wins for me.“ YES YES YES!!! Oh he was a mess, and such a sullen character and I loved him! Here is my review of Real.
- Bared to You: A Crossfire Novel by Sylvia Day <— Nadia suggests Gideon: “My brooding hero is, Gideon Cross from the Crossfire series by Sylvia Day.” But of course!!! My review of Bared to You.
- Me Before You: A Novel by Jojo Moyes <— Eliza loves Will: “How about Will Traynor from Jojo Moyes’ masterful “Me Before You”? Moody? Check. Reclusive? Check. You won’t find a more original, heartbreaking hero anywhere.” ABSOLUTELY!!!! Here’s my review of Me Before You.
- Coming Out of Hiding by E. Ayers <— Tina loves Max: “Maxwell Hutton from Coming Out Of Hiding. Haven’t read many reclusive men, but this one stuck with me.” Oh I just read that blurb and wow, yes!! He’s a military man and… “Over forty percent of his body is scarred, and consequently, he hides from the world.“
- The Will (The Magdalene Series Book 1) by Kristen Ashley <— Jamie’s choice? “Jake from The Will by Kristen Ashley”
- Brutally Beautiful by Christine Zolendz <— APierce loved this one! “I have to say Kade Grayson. I freaking LOVE that man. His words just… They’re everything.” YES!!!! Perfect choice!! Here is my review of Brutally Beautiful.
- Driven (The Driven Trilogy Book 1) by K. Bromberg <— Mary loves Colton: “~ shyly~~ Ummmm….Colton Donavan from Driven Trilogy. Alpha, moody, dirty mouthed and constant whiplash!! He was my first love and it’s hard to let go of him!”
- Consequences: Book 1 of the Consequences Series by Aleatha Romig <— Marcie’s favorite? “My favorite moody character has got to be Anthony Rawlings from Consequences trilogy.”
- Killing Sarai (In the Company of Killers) by Jessica Redmerski <— Kelli has a bunch of favorites like: “Just to name a few of my faves…(other than Zsadist and Matt whom I both loved)…there’s Victor (Killing Sarai)…”
- TAUT: The Ford Book: (Rook and Ronin Spinoff) by J.A. Huss <— … and Ford… “Ford Aston is known for many things. Being an emotionless, messed up bastard, a freakishly smart social outcast, and a cold, domineering master who keeps “pets” instead of girlfriends.” <— ahhhh yes. I can see it, now.
- Lothaire (Immortals After Dark Book 12) by Kresley Cole <— … and Lothaire!! “Lothaire, the Lore’s most ruthless vampire, plots to seize the Horde’s crown. But bloodlust and torture have left him on the brink of madness—until he finds Elizabeth Peirce, the key to his victory.” Here’s my review of Lothaire.
- Bad Things (Tristan & Danika Book 1) by R.K. Lilley <— and Tristan… (brooding musician. Fun!). Here is my review of Bad Things.
- Where the Ivy Grows: Bestselling Devoted Seriesby SK Quinn <— Patricia chooses this one: “This is hard since there are many fictional characters that fit this bill ….. but one of the moodiest I have had the pleasure to read about is Marc Blackwell from the book “Where the Ivy Grows” by SK Quinn.”
- Otherwise Alone (Evan Arden) by Shay Savage <— Cindy’s choice: “EVAN ARDEN!!!! From Shay Savage’s “Otherwise” series. Oh baby” Also, here’s my review of Otherwise Alone.
- Envy by Sandra Brown <— Jenny likes: “Parker Evans from Envy by Sandra Brown.” Oh the blurb says he’s a reclusive writer!
- Abduction by Varian Krylov <— Ellen likes her moody men extra dark-moody: “Vaughn from Abduction by Varian Krylov”
- Heller by J.D. Nixon <— Dena loves Heller: “My favorite moody/bad boy right now is Heller from the Heller series by J.D. Nixon. He is so hard to figure out it is unbelievable.”
- Because You Are Mine: A Because You Are Mine Novel (Because You Are Mine Series Book 1) by Beth Kery <— Janet chooses “Beth Kery’s Ian Noble!”
- Lady Luck (Colorado Mountain Book 3) by Kristen Ashley <— Kirstyn chooses: “Ty from Lady Luck by Kristen Ashley. Makes me want to read it again right now!” YES!!! Excellent choice, I read this one too, and loved Ty! Here’s my book review of Lady Luck.
- Breach (Breach #1) by K.I. Lynn <— Boz has one for us! “…another one that comes to mind is Nathan Throne from the Breach Series by K I Lynn. Another dirty talker too.”
- Hidden Riches by Nora Roberts <— Nathalie suggests this guy: “I love Jed from Hidden Riches by Nora Roberts.” Oh! The blurb says: “Jed Skimmerhorn, a cop who’s turned in his badge”. Moody ex-cop. YAY US!
- WUTHERING HEIGHTS (Illustrated, complete, and unabridged) by Emily Brontë <— Rebecca reminds us of the moodiest one! “Heathcliff. The original reclusive moody male.”
- Fallen Too Far: A Rosemary Beach Novel (The Rosemary Beach Book 1) by Abbi Glines <— Dianne has one for us, too! “Can I say Rush Finlay from Too Far series by Abbi Glines” Yes you can! He was a moody guy, wasn’t he. A real alpha-jerk! Loved him. Gave me a “Rush-crush”. Here is my book review of Fallen Too Far.
- Beautiful Bastard (The Beautiful Series) by Christina Lauren <— Lurbin suggests Bennett: “One of my favorite moody characters is Bennett Ryan from Beautiful Bastard.” and Rosie agrees! “lets not forget Mr. Bennett Ryan from Beautiful Bastard.”
- For His Pleasure: The Boxed Set, Books 1-6 (For His Pleasure, For His Taking, For His Keeping, For His Honor, For His Trust, For His Forever) by Kelly Favor <— Heather likes Red! “A brooding recluse??? Why Red Jamison from Kelly Favor’s For His Pleasure series, of course!! ”
- Deviant (Blood & Roses Book 1) by Callie Hart <— Nessa loves Zeth! “Another recent one for me would be Zeth Mayfair from the Blood & Roses series by Callie Hart. Such a tortured hero who’s only ever had the bad and is fighting the good in finding Sloane.” Oh yes, this blurb has me! “She wants me to be her hero, But I’m not a good man. I am her damnation.”
- At Peace (The ‘Burg Series Book 2) by Kristen Ashley <— Lauren loves Joe! “…having recently discovered the ‘burg series, I gotta go with Joe “Cal” Callahan from At Peace!” Oh yesssss perfect suggestion. He is a total brooder. Here’s my Book Review of At Peace.
- Broken Dove (Fantasyland Series Book 4) by Kristen Ashley <— Jacqueline suggests Apollo: “Apollo from Broken Dove gave me major whiplash. And oh, the tears!”
- Fairytale Come Alive by Kristen Ashley <— Michelle also suggests another Kristen Ashley book: “And Prentice in Kristen Ashley’s “Fairytale Come Alive” – was so mean and moody to to Isabella!!!”
- Reasonable Doubt by Whitney Gracia Williams <— Cindy loves Andrew: “Andrew from Reasonable Doubt by Whitney Gracia Williams!! He is such a jerk that you gotta love him!”
- The Fixed Trilogy: Fixed on You, Found in You, Forever with You by Laurelin Paige <— Jess says Hudson fits this list! “I’m currently reading The Fixed Trilogy Laurelin Paige and Hudson fits into this category. Just finished #1. Has a 50 Shades/ Gideon Crossfire feel. Soooo good”
- Fighting Temptation (Men Of Honor Book 1) by K.I. Lynn <— Lauren says: “Jax in Fighting Temptation by K.C. Lynn….love it when Julia’s water breaks & Jax freaks out & he & their friend Cooper (a cop) take off in the police car….lights & sirens on….Julia & Cooper’s GF Kayla just look @ each other…”Did they just leave us?!?!” They come back & Jax jumps outta the car, “Get in the f**king car, Jules!!!!!” Kayla gets mad, “Be nice, she’s having your baby” & he says, “I’m sorry, honey….get in the f**ing car, PLEASE!!!!!” Just LOVED Jax!!” <— Awwwww this guy sounds PERFECT… for this list.
- Tapestry by K. Ranney <— Michelle recommends this one! “One of my favorite moody heroes was Alex in K. Ranney’s “Tapestry”. It’s from a few years ago, but I’ll never forget HIM. And it’s historical romance. You gotta be in the mood for a historical beauty and the beast story. He comes back disfigured from war and she was in love with him since being a young girl… like I said, I’ll never forget it.” Oh this sounds GOOD!!!
- Gabriel’s Inferno (Gabriel’s Inferno Trilogy Book 1) by Sylvain Reynard <— Michelle suggests this professor! “Gabriel in “Gabriel’s Inferno” always struck me as moody.”
- After Hours: (InterMix) by Cara McKenna <— Michelle is on a roll! “And Kelly in “After Hours” – moody and quiet and HOT.” <— YES!!! I LOVED After hours SO much!! Agreed! In fact, here’s my Book Review of After Hours.
- Making Faces by Amy Harmon <— Apparently Michelle loves ‘em moody like we do, ’cause she just keeps the recommendations coming! “OMG – I almost forgot about Ambrose in “Making Faces” (speaking of coming back from war disfigured!!!) how could I forget him? Loved that one.” <— YEP!!!! He was sullen, that is for sure!! Here is my Book Review of Making Faces
- Destroyed by Pepper Winters <— Rebecka suggests “Fox” “I didn’t have time to lust after a woman I had no right to lust after. I told myself to shut up and stay hidden. But then she tried to run. I’d tasted what she could offer me and damned if I would let her go.” <— Yep. He sounds moody alright. Maybe a little “dark” too, while we’re at it.
- Kiss an Angel by Susan Elizabeth Phillips <— Bev recommends this one! “Daisy and Alex are forced to wed by her father. Both, but especially Alex, are upset by this. Oh, and Alex is working for a circus and Daisy must go with him. She writes great rom com that still has a lot of emotion.”
- Seduce Me At Sunrise (Hathaways) by Lisa Kleypas <— And Bev suggests this one: “Have to mention Lisa Kleypas as she writes some of the best heroes. Seduce Me At Sunrise is about Win and Kev. Win comes from a very tight knit happy family and they take Kev in. Kev is Romany and is looked down on by most. This and because of other reasons he is always trying to keep her at a distance.”
- Dreaming of You (Gamblers Book 2) by Lisa Kleypas <— and Bev suggests this one, too! “Same can be said for Derek Craven in Dreaming of You. I mentioned this book in a previous post but he deserves to be mentioned twice. Derek was given up as a baby and grew up in the worst parts of London. He did questionable things to become the owner of his very ssuccessful gambling hall. Because of his past actions he doesn’t feel worthy of happiness with Sara. Both Sara and Win make it very clear how they feel about their heroes. So if I beg pretty please would you consider reading a Kleypas historical?” <— You bet, Bev!! These sound exactly like our kind of angst and turmoil!
- These Old Shades by Georgette Heyer <— Oh and Bev found us another: “Now super old school. These Old Shades by Georgette Heyer. Love love love Avon and his Leonie. She maybe the only one not scared of him.” <— Oh I love when they strike fear in the hearts of everyone… (like Z!!). Except for that one persistent girl, of course.
- Two Worlds Colliding – Jani Kay: Book 1 in Scorpio Stinger MC Series by Jani Kay <— Ooooh Trina just introduced me to a new biker/MC series, saying: “HI Maryse we have quite a few books in common there i see, BUT what I don’t see up there is Jani Kays Ryder books from the Scorpio Stinger Series, now they are hot hot hot. steaming hot You will have to go check them out, cause our Ryder he sure don’t disappoint lol”
- Once Burned: A Night Prince Novel by Jeaniene Frost <— Tessa suggests this sexy broody vampire: “Vlad from Jeaniene Frost’s Night Prince series falls under this. Totally moody and mercurial beyond words.” YESSS!!! Here’s my review of Once Burned.
- KING’S (The King Trilogy Book 1) by Mimi Jean Pamfiloff <— Tessa also recommends this one! “King from the King series too”
- Dance with the Devil (Dark-Hunter Novels) by Sherrilyn Kenyon <— Tessa also suggests Zarek: “One could say Zerek from the Dark Hunter series. He makes Ash seem positively cheerful. ” You are not kidding there, Tessa. How could i have forgotten Zarek. He is INSANELY moody. He’s almost at “Z’s” level. Here is my Book Review of Dance with the Devil.
- Lord of the Fading Lands (Tairen Soul) by C.L. Wilson <— Michelle cam back with another suggestion for us! “I forgot to put Rain Tairen Soul from “Lord of the Fading Lands” on there. Talk about moody. And tragic.”
- Afterlife (Afterlife Saga Book 1) by Stephanie Hudson <— Holly suggests Dominic: “Dominic Draven from Afterlife Saga by Stephanie Hudson!!”
- Broken: Broken #1 by A.E. Murphy <— Holly says: “Oooo how about Nathan from Broken and Connected by A.E.Murphy….moody, OCD and damn right rude at times! Love to hate him though ” Sounds just right, Holly!
- Marked. Part I: The missing Link by J.M. Sevilla <— Lee suggests this one: “I’m reading Marked Part I: The Missing Link by J.M. Sevilla, and the main character Jay is right up there as one of the moodiest!” <— Yep! I read it too and he’s perfect for this list! Really enjoyed it. Here is my review of Marked Part 1 (The Missing Link)
- Beauty in the Ashes (Beautifully Broken Book 1) by Micalea Smeltzer <— Jessica suggests this one, and it’s one that was already on my TBR list! “Caelan from beauty in the ashes!” From the blurb: “…he wasn’t a good person then, and he’s certainly not a good person now. He’s retreated into a world where all that exists is numbness and his passion for painting. When Sutton Hale moves into the apartment across the hall from Caelan she’s not prepared for her reaction to him. Something in his broken blue eyes calls to her—after all she’s always had an irrational need to fix everything. But Caelan doesn’t do relationships or feelings.“