Who Are Your Favorite Bad Boys?

Don DraperThey’re mad, bad, and dangerous to know.  And we couldn’t live without them.  (In fiction, that is.)

From the first moment I was introduced to prototypical Bad Boy Vidal in Georgette Heyer’s Devil’s Cub, I’ve been a sucker for the Bad Boy mystique.  Though I recovered from my real life addiction (“tortured” used to be a positive guy descriptor for me in college), nothing fulfills my fantasies quite like a Bad Boy tempting a good woman.

My favorite Bad Boys?  Vidal was my first and will always hold a strong place in my heart.

I am currently swooning over Don Draper from TV’s Mad Men, early 60′s ad man extraordinare who has it all and nothing at the same time.  Men want to be him. Women want to sleep with him.  And he couldn’t be more lost and alone.  Hey, it works for me, baby.

In fiction, for the past four or five years, Eric the Vampire  from Charlaine Harris’ Sookie Stackhouse series (now being brought to life so splendidly on HBO’s True Blood by Alexander Skarsgard) has held top billing.  I’ve wavered a bit here and there with flirtations with J.R. Ward’s V, but for quite some time now, Eric has been my guy.  Or make that my vampire.

So, here’s the plan.  It’s a hot Friday in August.  We’re feeling languid and lazy.  And what better way to pass the time than by collecting here a list of our favorite Bad Boys of all time? Then, we’ll narrow it down to the top eight or so and poll on the blog next week to name our unofficial favorite AAR Bad Boy.

Sound fun?  So, hit me.  Who are your favorite Bad Boys?

-Sandy AAR

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80 Responses to Who Are Your Favorite Bad Boys?

  1. mamaofthree says:

    Lucky Doucet—Lucky’s Lady

    Sebastian—Devil in Winter

  2. Herta says:

    All time favourite bad boy, Charles in Evelyn Anthony’s The French Bride.

  3. JML says:

    Kell Sabin from Diamond Bay by Linda Howard
    Derek Craven from Dreaming Of You by Lisa Kleypas

    And from the paranormal romances a character whose story I’m most looking forward to is the very bad, very sexy, Jonas Wyatt from Lora Leigh’s Breed Books.

  4. Lea/AAR says:

    I have to agree with you about Don Draper when it comes to TV. But when I’m thinking reading and bad boys, Zsadist from Ward’s Lover Awakened easily ranks as number one.

  5. Jenny says:

    Sebastian from Devil in Winter.

  6. Kayne says:

    I was trying to pick one of Anne Stuart’s dark heroes like Christian from Devil’s Waltz or James Killoran from to Love a Dark Lord.

  7. KatiDancy says:

    James Durham, Viscount Sanbourne from Bound by Your Touch by Meredith Duran. Delicious and funny as hell!

    Lord Bramwell Lowry Johns from Always a Scoundrel by Suzanne Enoch.

  8. Kelly says:

    Oh, another vote for Derek Craven! Also, Bentley Rutledge from Liz Carlyle’s The Devil You Know. And definitely, Hardy Cates from Lisa Kleypas’ Blue Eyed Devil. Wow, need a fan to cool off from just thinking of these bad boys.

  9. xina says:

    Ash Farrell, from The Second Coming Of Lucy Hatch by Marsha Moyer, and Johnny Harris from One Summer by Karen Robards. Gotta love the bad boy.
    And Sandy, I agree with you on Eric. Bad boy vampire who is deliciously cute too.

  10. KristieJ says:

    Johnny Harris for me too – in fact I just recommended this book on one of the message boards.
    Gabriel St. Croix from Broken Wing – Judith James
    Derek Craven from Dreaming of You – Lisa Kleypas
    Julien Langlois from Absolute Trouble – Michele Albert (Jerrot)
    Brandon Carlyle from Darkling I Listen – Katherine Sutcliffe

    Those are just a few. And of course television wise – Sawyer from Lost.

  11. Nana says:

    Hm. I think of Don Draper as a Bad Man, not a Bad Boy. Maybe I’m being biased by the title of the show :) but I think there’s a difference. With Bad Boys, I expect some degree of recklessness and indifference to consequences (Vidal is a good example), whereas Draper is so clearly Establishment. He just seems too… well, too mature to be a Bad Boy. By contrast, Ward’s vampires, however old they are, act like teenagers and therefore always strike me as Bad Boys.

  12. xina says:

    Kristie…LOL…We must be on the same wave length this morning. You and I must have posted about Johnny and One Summer at the exact same time. You know what they say about great minds…… :)

  13. AAR Sandy says:

    Nana, Don’s willingness to bail on his family and leave everything behind at the end of season one was definitely boy-ish by your definition. And, yes, he is a man. As is Eric. (As we just saw in True Blood, don’t ever call him baby!)

    And love the list. Keep ‘em coming. I so agree on Derek Craven and Lucky Doucet, two of my absolute favs.

  14. Maria F says:

    Dain from Chase’s Lord of Scoundrels
    and Kleypas’s Craven (Dreaming of You) and St. Vincent (Devil in Winter)
    Vidal (Heyer, Devil’s Cub)
    Zsadist (Ward, Lover Awakened)
    Sean O’Banyon (Jessica Bird’s Billionaire Next Door)
    Spike (Bird’s Man in a Million)
    Wrath (Dark Lover), Rhage (Lover Eternal; what can I say, Ward’s writing works for me…)
    Philip (the Falcon) from Chase’s The Sandalwood Princess

    (I know I’m not thinking of some obvious ones….)

    (Maybe another time do a poll of favorite bad boys in movies?)

  15. Spike, of course.
    And what about Rhett Butler, AND Han Solo?

    Literary bad boys…John Smythe for me (from the Vicky Bliss books) and also Roarke.

  16. Magnolia88 says:

    Don Draper, definitely. Yum.

    (If you haven’t seen “Don Draper’s Guide to Picking Up Women” that aired when Hamm hosted SNL, google it immediately! Hilarious. The key to picking up women is basically to look like Don Draper, apparently.)

    As far as romance novels go . . . maybe Sebastian from TO HAVE AND TO HOLD by Patricia Gaffney. A bad, bad man.

    But Sebastian, Lord St. Vincent is a “bad boy” who isn’t really as bad as he thinks he is, and is a lot more fun.

  17. xina says:

    Oh…If I keep thinking on this subject, I will get nothing done today. So…one more try..
    Dain from Lord Of Scoundrels
    And while I am not a fan of the Lymond Chronicles…not yet anyway, I would have to suggest, Francis Crawford Lymond qualifies as a Bad Boy.
    Christian from Lady Gallant and Cash from Slow Heat In Heaven, although he skitters along the fine line of Bad Boy to sort of a jerk.

  18. Samantha says:

    Another vote for Dain in Chase’s Lord of Scoundrels! Also in the Historicals, Billy Blade in Gaelen Foley’s ‘Lady of Desire’ and Sid Malone in Jennifer Donnelly’s ‘The Winter Rose’ (both gangsters, so tortured…lol).

    But above all I must agree with you about Vidal- I love his relationship with Mary in Devil’s Cub!

  19. Tracy Grant says:

    I agree with Nana’s point about Don being a more a Bad Man than a Bad Boy (though as Sandy says, he definitely has impulsive, boyish moments). Which may be why, while I loved Vidal as a teenager, he annoys me more as a I get older. I still like the book, and I even like him, and I believe in the happy ending. But I’m more inclined, on rereads, to say “oh, for heaven’s sake, grow up.” Don, by contrast, is a grown up, flaws and all. And though some of his behavior is arguably worse than Vidal’s, he’s more likely to intrigue me than to annoy me.

    I think my favorite literary Bad Boy is Damerel in Heyer’s “Venetia.” Like Don, he’s really more a Bad Man. Like Don, Damerel has a great deal of self-awareness about his own flaws.

  20. Katie Mack says:

    Off the top of my head: Roarke (of course), and Luc from Rachel Gibson’s See Jane Score. I’m sure there are some I’m forgetting.

    As for TV, I’m with KristieJ in voting for Sawyer. Mmm, mmm, mmm.

  21. Susan/DC says:

    Magnolia88: As far as romance novels go . . . maybe Sebastian from TO HAVE AND TO HOLD by Patricia Gaffney. A bad, bad man. But Sebastian, Lord St. Vincent is a “bad boy” who isn’t really as bad as he thinks he is, and is a lot more fun.

    Actually, one of the reasons I liked Gaffney’s “To Have and To Hold” so much is that Sebastian is truly a bad man at the start of the story and we get to watch his transformation. I definitely count him as one of my favorites.

    Another is Nardi from Judy Cuevas/Ivory’s “Bliss”. Anyone who is introduced while vomiting into a piano due to an overdose of alcohol and ether is definitely a Bad Boy. He certainly retains aspects of that in his character, but he charmed me totally by the end.

    Lord Edmond Waite from Mary Balogh’s “The Notorious Rake” began as a selfish cad but is quickly flummoxed by his love for a woman who makes him see beyond himself for the first time in years.

    Johnny Cain from Penelope Williamson’s “The Outsider”. Abandoned and abused as a child, he grew into exactly what you’d expect someone with that life story to grow into: a cold-blooded gun for hire with no ties to anyone or anything. This is such a beautiful book, because it creates fully realized characters who are such opposites yet so perfect for each other, and Williamson makes you believe in them and their HEA.

    I don’t actually see Derek Craven as a Bad Boy but simply as a working class guy in a genre filled with aristocrats. He ran a gaming hell, but that alone doesn’t make someone bad unless the management engaged in cheating, pandering, drug pushing, and other nefarious deeds, and I don’t remember that. Perhaps I’m forgetting the details, however, as I read the book a long time ago.

  22. jebe says:

    Man, boy, whatever, send Don Draper over to be a bad influence on me anytime! And yes, great call KristieJ, Sawyer is the epitome of bad boy!
    The mention of Michelle Albert got me to thinking of another favorite bad boy:

    Bobby Halloran-Off Limits by Michelle Albert
    St. Vincent-Kleypas (God I loved watching him fall!)

    A recent addition to my bad boy list: Jerricho Barrons- the Fever Series by Karen Marie Moning. I can’t quite tell what his deal is…

  23. Marcella says:

    Dain – Lord of Scoundrels – Loretta Chase
    Tucker Longstreet – Carnal Innocence – Nora Roberts
    Rafe MacKade – Nora Roberts
    Roarke – JD Robb
    Nathaniel Finn – The Ring on Her Finger – Elizabeth Bevarly
    Nick Gentry – Worth Any Price – Lisa Kleypas

    In the movies/on tv: Richard Armitage as Sir Guy in Robin Hood, Sean Bean as Sharpe

  24. Tracy Grant says:


    I just saw a wonderful production of “The Music Man” at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in Ashland with my friend Penny Williamson (who wrote “The Outsider” and would be thrilled by Susan’s words). Penny and I agreed it was a very romantic production. Harold Hill’s transition from Bad Boy to man who stands up and faces the consequences was beautifully done. The changing emotions flitting across the face of the actor (Michael Ellich) in the last part of the play as he realizes the heroine really does love him, knowing full well the sort of man he is, were wonderful.

  25. Patty says:

    I just finished reading Eloisa James’s A Duke of Her Own. I think
    Leopold Dautry, the Duke of Villiers, fits the definition of bad boy.

    Vere Mallory from Loretta Chase’s The Last Hellion.

    And less well-known, but a great bad-boy, Tamnais Nathrach, the sexy former dark mage goblin in Lisa Shearin’s Raine Benares books.

  26. KristieJ says:

    Oh – yes, yes, yes!!! “Johnny Cain from Penelope Williamson’s “The Outsider”. *head desk* How could I have missed him. I love that book – - And to see him portrayed by Tim Daley in the movie – oh my heart be still!

  27. Mary Skelton says:

    McCady Trelawny from Penelope Williamson’s Once in a Blue Moon.
    I agree with Vere Mallory from The Last Hellion and Dain from Lord of Scoundrels.
    Gray Rouillard in Linda Howard’s After the Night
    Niall in Howard’s Son of the Morning
    Lestat in Anne Rice’s Vampire books

  28. Umm…stepping outside typical romance boundaries for a minute. Wolverine from the X-Men movies. Sorry, but as an Aussie, I have to do the Down-Under salute to Hugh Jackman. That’s one bad boy hero that could drive a dozen romance novels!

  29. Katie Mack says:

    Tracy Cooper-Posey: Umm…stepping outside typical romance boundaries for a minute.Wolverine from the X-Men movies.Sorry, but as an Aussie, I have to do the Down-Under salute to Hugh Jackman.That’s one bad boy hero that could drive a dozen romance novels!

    Oh yeah, definitely. He’s the main (perhaps only) reason I watch the X-Men movies.

  30. Trish says:

    The mention of Michele Albert’s Bobby Halloran made me smile. I love him! I’ll add SEP’s Bobby Tom Denton and Rachel Gibson’s Nick Allegrezza, McKenna’s Seth Mackey, Stuart’s Bastien.

    As for historicals, I second Carlyle’s Bentley Rutledge, Chase’s Dain, Kleypas’ Craven, Duran’s Sanburne and would add Gaelen Foley’s Lucien Knight, Carolyn Jewel’s Gwilym (Banalt) and Alden (Gracechurch) from Julia Ross’ THE SEDUCTION.

  31. Katie Mack:
    Oh yeah, definitely. He’s the main (perhaps only) reason I watch the X-Men movies.

    Wouldn’t it be great to write or read Wolverine’s ultimate romance? Just think…who would be the woman for him? She’d really have to be something.

  32. Maria F says:

    Thanks, everyone–I’m jotting down all the ones I don’t know already! :)

  33. Trish says:

    Oh, I forgot one – Stuart Aysgarth, Viscount Mount Villiars from Judith Ivory’s UNTIE MY HEART.

  34. Not Derek Craven, he seems to me more of an alpha type.

    Gabriel, from Robin Schone’s “Gabriel’s Woman” and the hero of “The Lady’s Tutor” – bad and lost.

    Jervaulx from Laura Kinsale’s “Flowers From the Storm.” and oh, Allegreto from “Shadowheart”!

    John in Dickens’ “Our Mutual Friend.”

    Captain Blood

    Dr. Syn.

    And as a writer, the bad boy can be the trickiest and the most rewarding to write.

  35. Perrin says:

    Sigh. I love me some Don Draper too. Did you happen to see the new pics from Vanity Fair Sandy? http://www.vanityfair.com/culture/features/2009/09/mad-men200909 That man does not take a bad pic.

    I have to agree with the ladies who suggested Dain and Craven. And I adore Allegreto from Shadowheart too Lynne!

  36. Renee says:

    This is fun. I want to vote for Christian in the Devil’s Waltz and the hero in Mary Jo Putney’s The Rake. I just can’t remember his name.

  37. Magnolia88 says:

    Reginald Davenport aka Reggie is the hero from THE RAKE by MJP.

    He’s another wonderful Bad Boy. I thought he was a great hero, with a good guy hiding underneath all that drinking and carousing.

    I’m with Susan/DC that I don’t see Derek Craven as a “bad boy” at all. He did a lot of horrible things in his younger days but he had to do them to survive on the streets, not because he chose to be “bad” out of some desire to “raise hell” or just boredom or anything. He was certainly hardened and cynical from his experiences but I thought he felt truly ashamed and bad about himself because of the things he’d done in his past, and that’s why he felt unworthy of love blahblah.

  38. Diana says:

    Nodding my head in agreement with all of these memorable Bad Boys. From Linda Howard, Diaz of Cry No More, Simon of Death Angel, and John Medina of All the Queen’s Men. Oh and Kel Sabin of Diamond Bay. Anne Stuart’s Ice heroes especially Sebastian, Takashi and Reno.

  39. Nancy says:

    TV/Movies – Wolverine – Hugh Jackman anytime;

    Julian Kane – The Vampire Who Loved Me;

    Wulfric Bedwyn – Slightly Dangerous

  40. Irma Ortiz says:

    Sebastian Ballister-Lord of Scoundrels (Loretta Chase)
    Christian- Flowers from the storm (Laura Kinsale)

  41. while I love Wulfric, I think he’s the opposite of a Bad Boy. He’s so bound up with his responsibilities, takes them so seriously, that he’s in danger of missing personal happiness.
    Another type, and one of my favorites, the man who puts others above himself, so ingrained that love nearly passes him by.

  42. Renee says:

    Thx, Magnolia, for Reginald Davenport’s name. Seeing all of these names makes me feel like I need to go dig all of these books out and revisit the moment. I also agree about the Linda Howard heroes like John Medina, Simon and Diaz. They, too, fit the bill. However, in their cases some of the bad boy attributes are a function of their job.

  43. Lee says:

    My list and Susan/Dc’s are identical, with one exception. The ultimate bad boy in my book is Sean Culhane from Stormfire. He is really a monster in the beginning – he kidnaps and rapes the heroine in the first few chapters as payback for her father. She is a virgin, and he wipes up the aftermath with her petticoat and sends it to her father. The rape is not sugar-coated either. There is no rape/seduction debate possible here. He is definitely using rape to degrade the heroine, (much like is being done in Darfur today, I think) and we really feel it. The heroine hates him and tries to run from him for the first half of this very long book. But somehow. . . and I don’t like it, but Sean’s character is so well-written that his eventual redemption from bad boy to besotted husband is believable. And strange as it sounds, when he’s not being a bastard, he is so charming and teasing and funny with the heroine. But it takes a long time and it’s a big fat book and alas, they don’t seem to make those anymore.

  44. Nancy says:

    Lynne Connolly – Hello,

    Wulfric is a bad boy in the very sense you stated.

    There are many types of bad boys, men with wealth and power who enjoy that power, men who are rogues with women by reputation or gossip, men who take their responsiblities so seriously that to satisfy their physical needs have a mistress and in the meantime look down their noses at everyone else. Men who refused to show any emotions, never say they are sorry. Vidal from Devil’s cub was a brat, spoiled and loved by his parents, brought to heel by love. Men that appear to have bad attitudes and are liked by their male friends.

    You mentioned Captain Blood, a man who did what was necessary to survive injustice and yet a good guy who loved one woman and one of my favorite heroes.

    Can anyone think of a bad boy who hasn’t had any redeeming qualities?

  45. Lea/AAR says:

    On second thought, I’m adding a few others to my list besides Zsadist (he seems to be bad in another sort of way).
    Bad boys are one of my favorite types of heroes and my top is probably Simon of Death Angel followed by Christian of The Devil’s Waltz and Dain of Lord of Scoundrels.

  46. Heather says:

    Sebastian from Devil in Winter
    Zsadist from Lover Awakened

  47. Bethany says:

    from books:
    Sebastian from Devil in Winter by Lisa Kleypas
    both Vere Mallory and Dain from The Last Hellion and Lord of Scoundrels by Loretta Chase
    Michael Stirling from When He Was Wicked by Julia Quinn
    Zsadist from Lover Awakened by JR Ward

    from TV:
    definitely Eric from True Blood
    I’d also say that McSteamy from Grey’s Anatomy totally qualifies as a reformed bad boy.
    I’m also going to add Seeley Booth from Bones in there, not because he really IS bad, but more because his entire life is dedicated to atoning for his past life as an Army Ranger and sniper.

    from movies:
    Rhett Butler

  48. Tracy Grant says:

    It’s interesting how we define terms differently. I think they way I define “Bad Boy” there’s a certain amount of self-centeredly doing what they want/what will benefit them. So I’d call Vidal a Bad Boy (spoiled and indulged) and also Han Solo, who isn’t so spoiled and indulged but has learned to put himself first to survive. I’d put Harold Hill from “The Music Man” in that category and also Rick in “Casablanca.” But I don’t think I’d call Peter Blood or Lymond or Wulfric Bad Boys because because all have a sense of goals/responsibilities beyond themselves.

  49. Katie Mack says:

    Tracy Cooper-Posey:
    Wouldn’t it be great to write or read Wolverine’s ultimate romance?Just think…who would be the woman for him?She’d really have to be something.

    Definitely. She’d have to be extraordinary. No average heroine for him.

  50. Kimberly says:

    Okay, I don’t read historicals. But for me, gotta just swoon for Nick Sinclair in Judith McNaught’s Double Standards. That book is soooo early 80′s, but I still LOVE it!

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