We all love a hero. In a really good romance novel the hero could be anything from a rugged firefighter to a rock star. A dashing rake in a regency ballroom or a billionaire businessman. We love our romance heroes to be gorgeous with abs to die for. And while they may be a little rough around the edges, that heart of gold is always guaranteed. The romance hero is a man we can count on to save lives and battle demons (sometimes literally). He’s often conflicted, battling all sorts of angst from his traumatic childhood… or his traumatic work situation… or his traumatic past relationship. Let’s face it, there’s usually a trauma of some dramatic kind in there somewhere.

Of course, once we’ve finished the final pages of the book and given our last dreamy sigh, we’re looking for a hero of a whole different ilk. Our real life heroes.

The real world is full of heroes who go to work every day to battle fires, save lives and protect us from crime (although, I suppose we have to admit the ship has sailed on the rakish regency ballroom guy). But today I want to highlight the husband who gets up in the middle of the night when you hear a strange noise outside. The boyfriend who brings home flowers on your birthday. The son who mows your lawn so you don’t have to do it yourself. He’s also the guy who snores at two in the morning, farts in his sleep and maybe has abs that aren’t quite so discernible to the naked eye (though he’ll do his best to flash them for you is you ask nicely).

Personally, I met my very own hero twenty years ago. Over the years he has saved me countless times in so many different ways. He’s challenged me, supported me, made me laugh and generally been a great partner.

A couple of years ago I came down with pneumonia. I was in bed for nearly a month. I coughed so hard I fractured two ribs. My hero took over the household. He worked his normal number of hours as well as managing to drop our two children off at school and pick them up again. He cooked all the meals, did all the cleaning and helped with homework. All the while he took care of me as I lay in bed feeling like death and moaning in pain after every coughing fit. He even fought his way into the heavens to steal me genuine Ambrosia to drink to make me feel better (it was a blend of apple, pear and strawberry juice he bought at the store, but at the time I swear it tasted like Ambrosia).

Somewhere in the middle of all this he turned 40. On this milestone birthday he stopped off at the local grocery store to buy himself a cake. Then he cooked dinner for the family and cleaned up afterwards. He never once complained (within earshot). He was, however, very relieved when I recovered and became a fully functioning part of the household once more.

This man, to me, is all the hero I’ll ever need.

So, while I still enjoy reading and writing about larger-than-life romance heroes and their fiery heroines, when it comes to the real world I’m not holding out for a hero. I’ve already got mine.

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