All Those Single Dads!: Romance Fiction’s Latest Hero of Choice

It seems as though there’s nothing more tempting to today’s romance heroine than a man raising a child (or children) on his own.  Whether it brings out the mothering instinct, the rescue impulse, or something else entirely, there’s no denying that single dads are hot in the romance arena, in more ways than one. They come in all shapes and sizes (although they’re always sexy and attractive, if not drop-dead gorgeous) and can be anything from high-profile rodeo riders or racecar drivers to down-to-earth ranchers, contractors, or businessmen.

The plot situations differ, of course, but whether it’s a father (or in some cases an uncle or other guardian) fighting for custody of the children, grieving from the loss of a young wife/sister/friend, or simply dealing with the rigors of child-raising from infancy to adolescence, the draw is the same—the hero (and probably the kids, as well) needs help, and the heroine, either willingly or sometimes reluctantly, is there to provide it. Ever popular with fans, romances featuring single men caring for children or teens alone have been staples of the genre for some time, and the titles below, ten for all those Perfect Ten Dads, are a mere sampling of the many available.

Britton, Pamela. On the Edge. HQN, 2006.
NASCAR driver Adam Drake and racecar driver’s widow Rebecca Newman fall victim to the matchmaking schemes of Adam’s charmingly determined ten-year-old daughter.

Jackson, Gina. Cookies and Kisses. Zebra, 2000.
When a woman leaves her hectic New York life-style to settle in to her late grandmother’s house in a small Minnesota town, the last thing she expects to become involved in is a marriage-of-convenience with her next door neighbor, a single dad who is trying to win a bitter custody battle.

Kleypas, Lisa. Christmas Eve at Friday Harbor. St. Martin’s Press, 2010.
A man thrust into fatherhood when his sister is killed, a six-year-old trying to cope with the death of her mother, and a young widowed toy shop owner wary of loving again connect in this holiday laced charmer that deals with serious issues and is a perfect read for any time of the year.

Leigh, Allison.  All He Ever Wanted. Silhouette, 2005.
A rescue worker who saves a young boy in a mine cave-in attracts the romantic attentions of the boy’s father, but they both have personal trust demons to slay before they can find happiness together.

Macomber, Debbie. Mrs. Miracle. Harper, 1996.
A single dad struggling to raise active six-year-old twin boys is given a “miracle” when Emily Merkle becomes his housekeeper and begins to help him get his life back on track in this holiday romance that is one of Macomber’s most popular.  It has been reprinted several times and fans will be pleased to know that Mrs. Merkle returns again in the more recent Call Me Mrs. Miracle (2010).

McKenzie, Lee. Firefighter Daddy. Harlequin American, 2010.
A recently widowed firefighter and his daughter’s free-spirited teacher find love despite their very real differences in this heartwarmer.

Miller, Linda Lael. Montana Creeds: Dylan. HQN, 2009.
Given a wake-up call when his two-year-old daughter, Bonnie, is abandoned by her flaky mother, fast-living Dylan Creed leaves Las Vegas and heads home to Montana to provide a stable home for Bonnie, never thinking he’d reconnect with the girl he could never forget, librarian Kristy Madison.

Taylor, Janelle. Haunting Olivia. Kensington, 2006.
Stewart, Mariah. Almost Home. Ballantine Books, 2011.
A woman is wary of having her heart broken again when the man she’d adored for years returns to St. Dennis with a two-year-old son no one knew he had.  Although complete in itself, this is the latest in Stewart’s popular Chesapeake Diaries series.

Olivia Sedgwick returns to her Maine hometown to comply with her father’s will and discovers that her high school love, Zachary Archer, is a single dad raising her child—a daughter she’d thought had been stillborn.  Danger and mystery add to this romantic adventure.

Wax, Wendy. Single in Suburbia. Bantam, 2006.
Although less child-focused than some of the others in this list, this witty tale about a suddenly divorced mother of two who solves her financial problems in a remarkable, hilarious way, stirs things up in the deceptively peaceful suburbs, and finds a new romance with a single dad is a winner on all counts.