Karen Kirst – Why Bad Boys Draw Us In

What makes a slightly dangerous man so darn irresistible? Is it the confident swagger, the boldness in his eyes, the fact that he’s in control of his world?  Or is it the challenge of conquering his hardened heart?  I for one favor these strong, mysterious types. My shelves are full of books that feature bad boys and the courageous women who dare to love them.  That’s why I just had to write a bad boy hero in my debut novel.  Evan Harrison is tough, but he’s also loyal.  He feels deeply and is set on protecting the woman he was forced to kidnap-Juliana O’Malley.

The Reluctant Outlaw is the first book in my Smoky Mountain Matches series set in 1880’s East Tennessee.  A September Love Inspired Historical release, it’s available now.

Here’s a preview:

A Kidnapper—and a Gentleman?
The ruthless criminal who took Juliana O’Malley hostage was a thief and an outlaw-or so she thinks. But on a perilous journey through the Smoky Mountains, he becomes her unlikely protector. And when he pledges to return her home safely, she somehow finds herself believing him.

Evan Harrison has risked everything to find the men who killed his brother. Saving spirited, strong-willed Juliana could blow his cover with a deadly gang. Yet her courage and unwavering faith make him dream of the home and family he thought he could never have. And suddenly, that future is incomplete—without Juliana in it.

Smoky Mountain Matches: Dreams of home and family come true in the Smoky Mountains
Copyright [2011] by [Karen Kirst]
Permission to reproduce text granted by Harlequin Books S.A.

What do you think?  What makes bad boys irresistible?

Karen has offered to give one lucky commenter a copy of The Reluctant Outlaw. Leave a comment and we’ll put your name in the hat.

Guest Blogger


  1. What makes bad boys irresistible? Must be the hope of redeeming them or becoming bad oneself.

    Best wishes for success of The Reluctant Outlaw and thank you for the chance to have.

  2. For me what makes bad boys irresistible is trying to softening their heart. I realize that may take a while for some! Would enjoy reading this book. Love me some Love Inspired books!

  3. Thanks for stopping by ladies! From your comments, I think we can agree it’s the challenge
    that hooks us. 🙂

  4. Bad Boys carry that aura of danger, of living on the edge, of not caring what people think or say.

    What makes a bad boy irresistible?

    I think we’re drawn to their freedom. We want to be reckless, to enjoy some wild times, to get away from our ordinary lives, to release our inhibitions…if we happen to capture that wild man’s heart along the way WOW! What a ride that would be!!

  5. Fabulous cover, Karen! I like bad boys, too. It takes strength to be rebel. It takes even more strength to reform. Hmmm . . . That sounded like a tag line. Thanks for visiting P&P!

  6. Bad boys are a lot different than the safer guys you might meet. It is this difference that causes them to look more attractive. They aren’t what we are used to and we like the change. At least that is my opinion.

    Thanks for the chance to win this. It looks like an amazing book.


  7. Fantastic cover, Karen! I like to read and write about bad boys, too. I guess it’s the challenge of softening his heart without losing that edge. They always have this strength and cool calm veneer when staring down a bullet.

    The Reluctant Outlaw sounds like a wonderful story! Best of luck!


  8. I love the cover and this takes place in TN where I was raised. Cannot wait to read the book. Congrats!!

    Walk in harmony,

  9. Laurie G, loved your comments! Not caring what people think or say…what freedom that would be! I wish I could say that for myself.
    Vicki, that is one awesome tag line! lol You should use it. And thanks for having me 🙂

  10. Rebecca, do you think we see the nice guys as weaker? Just something I thought about after reading your comment.

  11. Kirsten,
    I like the way you put that, staring down a bullet with cool, calm veneer. That level of confidence is attractive.

  12. Melinda,
    I grew up in East Tennessee, not far from Gatlinburg and Cades Cove. Since I love it so much, it was an obvious choice of setting for this series. Thanks for stopping by!

  13. Hi, Karen! I am so excited and intrigued by your new “Smoky Mountain Matches” series. I was born and raised in the mountains of VA, where my mother’s family originated. However, my dad was from East TN, and I am very proud of my TN legacy! I love the sound of the story line and characters from “The Reluctant Outlaw” : )

    While dark and wounded heroes bring out the nurturer in a woman’s soul, I also think that they ignite the spark in a woman’s spirit! There is something about them, even though you may try to remain proper, that makes you want to show your own mischievous self : ) They certainly won’t reproach you for letting down your hair and giving in to a sudden impulse! Bad boys are just as delicious and delectable as that last piece of chocolate fudge cake that you devour in the dark on a midnight kitchen raid!

  14. Bad boys are irrestible because we have the sad hope of changing them,,,,doesnt happen often,,but it can ,cool post,,made me stop an think,,was attracted to them for sure,but my common sense kept me from going toward the fire,lol

  15. Oh I always love a bad boy… I love the cover Karen… He is a guy that could make my petticoats rise…LOL

  16. We always go for the bad boys because we know its something we really shouldn’t have. Everyone wants what they can’t have. Yes we think we can tame them or change them. It the challenge.

  17. How they hide their soft-heart from everyone but the heroine and her family.

  18. Welcome to P&P, Karen, and congratulations on your debut release!! Getting your book in your hand, holding and smelling it, for the first time is so exciting. Nothing better than seeing your baby in all its glory. We’re so happy to have you blog with us today. Hopefully, this will be the first of many times.

    I love all kinds of cowboy heroes, but my favorite is the one who has stepped over the line more times than once. That kind seems to have more depth than the others. I’m already in love with Evan. Can’t wait to get this book.

  19. Bad boys definately get my heart racing…I think that is why I married one! 🙂
    Welcome Karen, and I am looking forward to your book coming out. It sounds like a great read, and it will have a place on my bookshelf for sure!

  20. Oh that is a wonderful book cover! Gotta love a bad boy! Sounds like it is a great book to read… thanks for sharing with us! 😀

  21. I’m really enjoying reading everyone’s comments…it’s a rainy day here in NC and I just fixed myself a pot of pina colada tea and scones with whipped cream. I’m willing to share 🙂
    Virginia C, I hadn’t given much thought to the nurturing part of all this. I do enjoy the stories when the tough, seemingly indestructible guy gets in trouble or gets himself hurt and here comes the heroine to nurse him back to health. It’s a good opportunity for intimacy. Vickie C., you sound like one smart lady! 🙂

  22. Kathleen and Colleen, I did a happy dance the first time I saw this cover! The art department did such an amazing job. I love this hero and his attitude!
    Quilt Lady and anon1001, I agree! Linda, thanks for having me! It was such a surreal experience to walk in Walmart and see it on the shelves. I’ll never forget it. And Tammy, I have to ask-how did you go about capturing your bad boy’s heart?!

  23. Bad boys have a certain air about them that just your regular Joe lacks. I think maybe it’s the attitude more than anything…whatever it is I’ll pick him over the meek , mild little Joe.

  24. I like to read stories about bad boys that are redeemable and not the bad boys that are really bad. I am always looking for new authors to read. Your book sounds really good and I have added it to my TBE list.

  25. Me too, Jackie! lol Joye, I hope you enjoy the book. Thanks for stopping by, ladies!

  26. Hi, Karen. I am surprised at the number of people with TN connections. We currently live in NE TN Not far from where you grew up. It is pretty country and I can see this story happening here in the 1880s. The cover certaihnly has the feel of the area.
    I think many of us like the bad boy because it appeals to our sense of adventure. For many, it is there own way to be rebeellious. A bit of the forbidden fruit.
    Best of luck with your book and writing career.

  27. Good Morning I am a little late to the party but had to join in. Had a big day full of birthday parties yesterday.

    I think somewhere down deep most bad boys are just wounded little boys, a product and victim of how they were raised. That’s not to say there aren’t those that are just plain down right evil.

    Love the Smoky Mountains been there several times. I live in middle tennessee (Columbia)

    Can’t wait to check out your book.

    Have a blessed day

  28. Hi Karen, Love the cover and already have this book on my wish list.
    Bad boys appeal to women in different ways. Some want to tame them, change them, mother them, and some just want to love them and be loved back. Can’t wait to read.
    Thanks for opportunity to enter giveaway.

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