The human brain is quite interesting. It can be incredibly resolute and heal itself from severe injury. Just as my friend Chuck, who is making strides the doctors never expected in his recovery. On the other hand, I realized this week that I’ve been brainwashed with nary a whisper of suspicion.
Have you ever noticed that when you read a massive number of books in a short amount of time, you tend to coalesce them into a simple series of patterns? For instance…let’s just say, for the sake of argument, that I have read roughly two dozen series/books with a character named “Ben” within the last four months. (Yes, I went back through the records I have kept and counted.) And in every single one of those books, “Ben” has been pretty much the same character: The male Main Character’s brother/cousin/business partner/best friend/frienemy/trusted henchman. In every single one. Sure, in one romance he became the third in a triad, but he was the secondary relationship that came along halfway through the book, rather than the primary couple. And that was only one in the two dozen.
So somewhere along the way, my brain decided that ALL Bens are the mMC’s sidekick.
I started a new series this week. Something my friend Gina has been trying to get me to read for about forever. When I’m done with the series, I will review it. But right now, I’m just enjoying it immensely. Or, at least, I was. Until my brain played a trick on me.
See, in the first book, Ben was the lawyer of a male character that I happened to love from the second he walked into female Main Character’s radio studio. I loved this guy so much. I immediately texted Gina and told her, “I want Cormac to marry her.” She laughed at me. I regularly text her partway through a book and tell her who I want the main character to end up with, even if she won’t for another ten books. I’m looking at you, Kim Harrison and your ridiculously slow burn between Rachel and Trent!! So Gina wasn’t really surprised that I picked a supernatural hitman to be the main romantic interest of our intrepid female supernatural detective. Duh.
Second book, I was totally cool with Ben now being fMC’s lawyer as well. She needed one because she was going to be in Washington D.C., dealing with a senate hearing. So, of course he’d show up. and be a part of that book. Cormac wasn’t there as much, but at least he was mentioned.
Third book, a tragedy happens to Ben, Cormac brings him to fMC…and then everything went sideways. I’m thinking, “Yay!! Here’s where Cormac makes a move and they at least start to get together!!” No. Oh, no. BEN becomes her romantic interest. They’re a proper couple by the end of the book!! Book four they get engaged! Book five they get married!! This is a totally reasonable timeline for any urban fantasy series’s side plot romance. Totally expected. But, dude!! Why BEN?!?! Why not Cormac!?!
And then I realized why. Because somewhere in the last 100 books I read, I decided that all Bens are only the mMC’s best friend. Never the mMC. I probably would have picked up on the cues in books one and two if I hadn’t been so fixated on Cormac, and hadn’t unconsciously thought that Ben could only be a sidekick name. My brain is so ridiculous.
And then, not only did I laugh at my brainwashed brain, but I had to laugh at my personal choice of MC. I wanted a hitman to be the romantic interest. That’s got to say something about how messed up my brain is. That a steadfast lawyer isn’t a suitable partner, but a hitman is.
But then, as Gina said, “Bad boy book boyfriends are way more fun than bad boy real life boyfriends.”