What Is It About? – Grovel Part I

October 30, 2014 7:00 am Published by 13 Comments

There are those amongst us who believe that groveling is contrary to the nature of the alpha male.

I call bullshit and Nicole Jacquelyn, author of the The Aces series, agrees—

“If a hero won’t apologize like his life depends on it when it’s necessary – that doesn’t mean he’s too alpha. . . it means he’s an asshole.”

There are few things in this world that make my sadistic little heart sing like a well-executed grovel. Y’all feel free to psychoanalyze that at your leisure. I blame my fascination on my relatively early introduction to the world of romance via the historicals of Jane Feather, Diana Palmer and Judith McNaught. I quickly became enraptured with assholes, rakes and rogues and their various attempts to make amends for their frequently atrocious behavior. I cut my romance eyeteeth on Almost Heaven’s Ian Thornton and The Accidental Bride’s Cato Granville, men who are as alpha as they come and still capable of the sweetest, most endearing apologies. The heroes of historical romance certainly set the bar high, and I’ve been a complete sucker for a good grovel ever since.

I’ll also point out my fondness for groveling is a natural extension of my predilection for strong, self-assured women. There is little worse, in my estimation, than a doormat heroine. I’ll take a ball-busting bitch any day of the week over a woman who allows herself to be steamrolled by some asshole hero. A certain sparkly vampire loving teen comes to mind here, as does a certain doe-eyed lover of fucked up billionaires. . . Does it take a stronger woman to forgive? Certainly. I’d just prefer said forgiveness occur after a suitable apology involving actual words and some semblance of apologetic behavior.

At this point, I believe some clarification is probably in order. According to good ole Merriam-Webster, groveling is loosely defined as kneeling or crawling on the ground to regain favor. Is it my expectation that a man prostrate himself before his ladylove, begging her forgiveness for staring at another woman’s ass in her presence or forgetting the anniversary of their first date? Absolutely not. I do believe, however, that there are circumstances for which I’m sorry just ain’t gonna cut it and groveling becomes necessary. For our purposes, let’s consider groveling a strongly-worded apology accompanied by properly contritious behavior.

I think we’ll agree, ladies, that there’s a difference between I forgot to put the seat down and I slipped and my dick fell into ole girl’s hooha. Some puppy dog eyes and a sweet kiss might get him out of trouble for my lady parts coming in contact with eau de toilette, but God ain’t made a man (and I doubt there’s one in the pipes) who’s eloquent enough to string together the right words to make me forgive cheating.

But Lord. . . Lord, do I love for them to try.

Because every now and again, when it’s done exactly right, all the stars align and the irredeemable is redeemed, the unforgiveable is forgiven and an asshole becomes a hero you could fall in love with. That, ladies, is the magic.

Mt. Redemption isn’t scaled with ease, folks. As a matter of fact, depending on the degree of her crazy and the severity of his fuck-up, it can be downright perilous, fraught with Louisville sluggers, busted car windows and a deluge of feminine tears. Regrettably few heroes attempt the climb and even fewer will reach the summit, either unwilling or unable to navigate the treacherous terrain. In my quest to ease the suffering of asshole heroes everywhere, I’ve come up with a map of sorts—a guide, if you will, on how to grovel correctly.

  1. God made man verbal for a reason. Use. Your. Words.

Love means never having to say you’re sorry.

That, ladies, is a smorgasbord of shit.

It’s really not rocket science. If you’re wrong, dammit, say you’re wrong. You see, women are all about the words. If you can melt our hearts with an offhand I-love-you, imagine what you can do with a well placed I’m-sorry. I don’t care how the fellas in Kristen Ashley-World operate—babe is not a verb and it is certainly not a fucking apology. I’m eyeballing you, Benito Bianchi.

You want my forgiveness? Ask. For. It. Pride goeth before the fall, motherfucker.

  1. Actions really do speak louder than words.

Yes, I realize I’m talking outta both sides of my mouth, but I do recognize that there are men in this world completely fucking incapable of uttering those two magic little words. There’s also times when those little words ain’t magical enough and apologizing becomes less about tell and more about show. When you fuck up like a boss, fellas, be prepared to man up and crawl.

I’m kidding—mostly. A little time on the old knees ain’t never hurt anyone. Just ask Lieutenant Derek Tyler.

  1. Time heals all wounds.

In the words of Mark Twain, anger is an acid that does more damage to the vessel in which it’s stored than anything it’s poured on….

But. . .

In the words of the Dixie Chicks, I’m not ready to make nice.

While I strongly discourage holding grudges (why allow anyone to live rent-free in your head?), I can appreciate that sometimes a cut goes so deep that only time can mend it. Yes, a wound will surely fester if you don’t deal with it—but a pot will also boil over if you don’t remove the heat. Nothing like a little space to slow it down to a simmer and give you perspective.

Drake Stevenson screwed up, owned it and gave his woman seven months and almost three-thousand miles to get over the pain he caused her. Remember, gentlemen, you fucked up–be prepared to wait it out.

While they are few and far between, a number of heroes have successfully climbed out of the holes they managed to dig for themselves. Let’s give it up, ladies, for the fellas who groveled correctly.

Nikki’s Grovel List Part 1



Don’t be disappointed, ladies, if you don’t see your favorite on the list. Please note that this is part one of a multi-part series. Surprisingly, I had a great deal to say on the topic.



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  • scandal says:

    oh MacrRieve – that’s some grovel…I mean he almost kills her so he has a lot of making up to do but his grovel is good to me

  • Carmela says:

    Oh Nikki, you made my day with this article! Your choice of words make me laugh my ass off! I think my love for the romance genre was born when I began reading about the grovelling heroes of Judith McNaught, Susan Elizabeth Phillips and Linda Howard (some of LH’s heroes though, in my opinion, did not grovel enough for their assholery). I borrowed Kiss An Angel by SEP from the library for a major re-read. I believe you mentioned this book as having your favourite grovel scene?

    • bev says:

      Like Sara’s Child? That book! When I first found LH I did a glom on her books, but have not kept up with her newer books. The last one may be with the h who helps find missing kids. That one hurt.

      • Carmela says:

        Yes Bev, who could forget that major ass Rome Matthews! I think I’ve read almost all of LH’s books that she released in the 80’s and 90’s and never bothered, except for a couple, with those released in mid to late 2000s. I’ve heard about that book you’ve mentioned, the reviews I’ve read said it was a good but very painful read.

    • Just Nikki says:

      Carmela! Thank you. Yes, SEP’s Kiss an Angel will be making another list very soon. Like I said, I had a whole lot to say on the subject.

  • bev says:

    Big smile reading this. I have a couple of these, unread, on my kindle. It’s nice to know I have a good grovel waiting. I’ll definitely be coming back to these lists for future reads, so thank you.
    It’s not really a grovel, but I always smile thinking of Kleypas’ Grant apologizing to the sister.

    • Just Nikki says:

      Thanks, Bev! Kleypas’ are amongst my favorite historicals. The Hathaways top that list, and those fellas deliver some fabulous apologies.

  • Helen Marie says:

    Nikkii – You are a fantastic writer! I recall you may have said otherwise on one of the podcasts but you are dead wrong. You’re hilarious, smart and just gave me a whole new mound of books to check out. Thank you!

  • Patty Smith says:

    Awesome post! You’re so right about all of it. I can’t stand when a wimpy heroine lets the hero get away with being an asshole. I had to teach my husband both how to apologise, and how to accept apologies. Lord knows, sometimes men have to be trained!! 🙂

    • Just Nikki says:

      Thanks, Patty! I am not fond of doormat heroines and nothing screams please-walk-all-over-me like letting some dude get away with treating you like shit without one hell of an apology.

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