Male Characters We Love To See Plummet Hard in Love

It’s usually the female leads in the romance genre that tend to be the ones to fall in love strongly. But it’s these next guys that fall in love just as hard!

Book Culture Opinions
Romancing Mister Bridgerton by Julia Quinn and Why Raeliana Ended Up at the Duke's Mansion by Milcha book covers in gold frames on a pink background with hearts and flowers.

It’s always fun and sometimes infuriating to read a female lead struggle to get the guy, working up the courage to confess to their love interest. And while we shout and cheer for the girl, it’s the main male leads that readers (especially us girls) attentively follow in their love conquest. It’s super engaging to catch those details of a boy who’s lovestruck over their crush!

From loving from afar to mentally fighting off potential interlopers with cold stares to defending their love interest from harm, these next books perfectly capture a guy fighting to get the girl readers can get behind, all while squealing and laughing at these characters’ pursuits for love.

Colin Bridgerton from Romancing Mister Bridgerton by Julia Quinn

If loving and desiring the girl from a distance was a sport, Colin Bridgerton would win the gold automatically. And then win an honorary award for the most oblivious, thick-headed man in existence for not once realizing his dear friend, Penelope Featherington, has always been in love with him. Colin’s obliviousness is the main reason we love to see him suffer, sulking behind the scenes as he witnesses many men who dare show interest in Penelope for marriage.

Romancing Mister Bridgerton by Julia Quinn TV book cover.
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Colin feels he doesn’t compare to the suave, charismatic charms of his older brothers, who, in the books, have already found their partners for life. What he doesn’t realize is that with Penelope, he can be himself, engaging in long conversations he enjoys and doesn’t want to end. We love to see him be this content with Penelope but frustrated at the same time for not connecting the very clear dots of love blossoming in the air. Kissing her was the start of him putting it together.

Very late in the marriage game, Colin craves Penelope’s love from afar, looking on to wishing, then wanting, to be that husband for Penelope, and readers and viewers alike are here for it. With Lord Debling acting as Colin’s competition, the show is a fun viewing of Colin’s anguish. The love Colin truly feels for Penelope shines later on as he makes a valiant shield against the Featherington family’s usual dismissal of Penelope, and we applaud him for his rare acts of protective fire.

Shota Kazehaya from Kimi ni Todoke by Karuho Shiina

It’s not that we like to see Shota Kazehaya suffer in his romantic pursuits for Sawako Kuronuma. In fact, both readers and viewers of the anime root for these two to end up together. It’s a matter of not “if” but “when.” It’s just very funny to see Kazehaya get riled up against other people he thinks might go for his sweet, shy girl.

Kimi ni Todoke by Karuho Shiina book cover.
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Kazehaya is a charismatic high student who gets along with everyone in his class. He gets annoyed but doesn’t outright show pure anger at anyone. It’s only when he develops feelings for the “terrifying” Sawako (her school often confuses her name with the scary Japanese myth Sadako) that other sides of Kazehaya begin to surface. Jealousy is very dangerous for the heart, but the manga makes it look cute on Kazehaya, more like a blushing puppy than a wolf. From getting jealous of his friend Ryu, thinking he was interested in her, to feeling resentment towards his entire class for seeing Sawako smile at them for the first time, slowly diffusing their claims that she’s scary. Kazuma wants to be the only one to see the real, sweet Sawako while also wanting her to flourish out of her shyness, never missing a vibrant blush from him when she does so.

Reiner Kulti from Kulti by Mariana Zapata

Soccer and love? It’s an unexpected pairing of sports romance that works well in this book. It’s a nice slow burn that takes its time developing the relationship between its main leads.

Kulti by Mariana Zapata book cover.
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Reiner Kulti, or Rey, is a big-time soccer player with a long, successful career and a reputation for being a ruthless grump. Enter protagonist Sal, a professional soccer player in Houston (and Rey’s biggest fan since childhood), who will not put up with Rey’s hot and cold demeanor. As Sal and Kulti connect and build a friendship, Kulti quite quickly (quicker than Sal, indeed) realizes that he loves Sal and wants to be in her life – for a long time. Kulti’s frosty exterior melts around Sal, and readers see a sweet, albeit jealous, and kind-hearted man.

Noah Wynknight from Why Raeliana Ended Up at the Duke’s Mansion by Milcha

Reincarnation in fantasy novels is the norm to read and watch, so it takes an outstanding story and characters to stand out from the many isekai anime and webcomics. One of the reasons Why Raeliana Ended up at the Duke’s Mansion manages to be one of the best novels due to its handsome male lead, Duke Noah. Witnessing him fall for the headstrong reincarnated Raeliana makes our hearts swoon with glee!

Why Raeliana Ended up at the Duke's Mansion by Milcha book cover.
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It’s the cold-heartedness with a dash of sarcasm that gets readers and noble ladies alike to blush for Noah, who, with a troubled past, hides behind a rigid golden gaze. When protagonist Raelina comes into the picture with a marriage proposal – as it usually happens in manhuas – he surprisingly agrees, starting his descent into love. The more Raeliana shows him kindness, the more Noah’s heart softens, falling so madly for her that he doesn’t know what to do other than struggle to contain it, knowing this is simply a marriage contract. This doesn’t stop him from casually fighting off potential suitors with his raging stare and cold quips, all while teasing and making Raeliana blush the more comfortable they get with each other. The Duke somehow makes falling in love look very smooth!

Ian O’Shea from The Host by Stephanie Meyer

This one is a classic enemies-to-lovers type of romance. Though a strange situation – falling in love with a symbiotic organism that’s controlling the body of the girl (Melanie) your best friend loves (Jared) – there’s no denying that Ian’s love for the alien wandering Wanderer, or Wanda, is pure.

The Host by Stephanie Meyer book cover.
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Ian detests all parasitic aliens that have taken over the Earth, controlling the entire human race as if they belonged. He’s so headstrong in his resentment that he doesn’t think for a second to spare Wanda, insisting on killing her off. But the more she merges herself in the hidden human community, the more Ian sees what she’s really like. Wanda, not knowing how to lie to save her life, is something Ian sees, coming in as her protector, making sure she’ll always be safe with him, and it’s very cute to witness them become something more. By the time Wanda gets a body of her own (a human without a consciousness), Ian doesn’t care what she looks like, loving Wanda for herself. It’s a very pure love in that regard, loving the soul no matter what.

It’s a different feeling to see a male lead fall hard in love with their female lead. This is mostly due to the fact that many readers want this type of romance in real life. The only way to get that, however, is to read more love stories, and we book lovers aren’t one bit dismayed by that!


Want to read more manga of the romance genre? Click here!

Click on Love is in the Air: Contemporary Romance on Bookshop.org for more romance books!

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