Navy SEALs: Why They Turn My Crank

by Kiersten Hallie Krum

SEAL famous photo
One of the most famous photos of an anonymous SEAL.

It’s no secret that Navy SEALs are their own subgenre of Romancelandia. Among the cops and firefighters and hockey and military heroes, SEALs stand out as a special kind of alpha hero known to really turn a readers crank. An Amazon search for “navy SEAL hero” brings up a cavalcade of options, series and stand alone romance novels. (And that’s without delving into the DVD queue, which you don’t want to do unless you’re prepared to spend money. I took a look for this post and bought 3 documentaries before I could blink.)

So what is it about these modern-day warriors that makes them such compelling heroes?

They’re buff. They’re strong. They hunt down evil terrorists. That seems to sum it up pretty good, right?


But it goes deeper than that. It takes a certain mindset to be that excellent at that difficult a job. A mindset that compels a man to subject himself to the brutal, torturous training it takes to become a member of these special forces. (So far, no women have been allowed to enter the training to become a SEAL. It is one of the armed forces last hold outs against women participants.) Recently on Facebook, a reader told me her fourteen-year-old son was so committed to becoming a Navy SEAL, he’d already completed Navy cadet training along with other accomplishments meant to prepare him for the elite training ahead of him. I was instantly struck with admiration for this young man for being so committed and such a young age to reaching a goal that would demand a great amount of emotional and physical strength.


The fact is, on a whole, SEALs are the epitome of an alpha hero. Physically strong, mentally tough, loyal, protective, dedicated and ripe with sexual prowess. (Oh come, that last one has to be a given, right?) SEALs hit the top of the zeitgeist when SEAL Team 6 took down Osama bin Laden. Suddenly, these clandestine warriors were front page in electronic ticker tape neon.

If I had the good fortune of living in proximity of the Coronado Naval Base where SEALs train, I would so be a SEAL groupie. I know this about myself, I embrace this about myself, even while my mental lip curls with disdain at the very idea. But it true, men who are SEALs seriously turn my crank. I’m a tad worried about my upcoming tour of Coronado during the RWA national conference in July. Restraints may be needed. (Kidding. Sorta.)

And yet, even more than significantly attractions to the archetype, I feel seriously intimidated. While I’ve never knowingly met a SEAL (it’s not like they advertise their status), I’m sure if I did, I’d say something ridiculously stupid because, hello? Intimidated. Because–Hoo. Shah.

Men in the middle of BUD/S, the first part of SEAL training. Also known as Hell Week.

Look, at their core, these men are just that–men. Some of them are good, some of them are assholes. Some of them are faithful, some of them dick around on their spouses. Some are incredible fathers; some never pay child support. They’re not archetypes–however we might use them as such in Romancelandia–they’re human beings who, through some remarkable manner of conviction, discipline, and perseverance, have become the premier warriors on the planet. They deal with some of the worst, most dangerous situations known to man. “We do today what others won’t, so tomorrow we’ll do what others can’t,” they reportedly say. And that’s damn heroic.

navy SEAL in theatre

Romantic heroes who are SEALs have turned my crank ever since I first started reading Suzanne Brockmann’s Navy SEAL Team 16 novels, back when that series was new and un-put-down-able. When I was asked to write a book set in New York Times bestselling author Roxanne St. Claire’s Barefoot Bay Kindle World, I knew two things right away: I wanted to write a reunion romance (one of my two favorite tropes in Romancelandia) and I wanted to write a SEAL hero.

Click on image to buy!

In WILD ON THE ROCKS, I wanted Lieutenant Jasper McQueen to be that epitome of an alpha hero–strong, reliable, intelligent, admired by his peers and superiors, responsible to a fault–and have his core sense of self torn apart when the love of his life leaves him–only to, a year later, after personal and professional tragedy strikes, find her again in the last place he expected to find her: Barefoot Bay.

To discover what happens next, download a copy of WILD ON THE ROCKS!

Look! A blurb!

Wild on the Road

Driven by wanderlust and insatiable curiosity, Quinn Forrester views every new gig for her mixologist business as another chance for adventure. Until the night she wanders down the wrong hallway and witnesses a mob murder. After a week on the run, lack of funds and few options land Quinn in Barefoot Bay where she takes a job tending bar at the swanky Casa Blanca resort…and hopes no wise guys show up to make her sleep with the fishes. But nothing whacks a low profile like having your Navy SEAL ex-husband walk through the door—especially when he’s the love of your life you left behind.

Wild on the Beach

Discovering his restless ex-wife at Casa Blanca—and still going by his name—is enough to drive Lieutenant Commander Jasper McQueen wild. When she ran out on their marriage, Quinn left him a broken man. Now with his career in jeopardy and his sexy ex-wife at hand, Jasper is ready to chuck responsibility and submerse himself in a hedonistic affair—all sex, zero emotions—with the woman he won’t forgive and can never forget. And this time, when they’re done, it’ll be Jasper who does the leaving.

Wild on the Rocks

But a mob enforcer has tracked Quinn to Barefoot Bay. With her days numbered, Jasper may be her only shot at living through the night—if Quinn can get him to believe in her one last time.

Do you like military heroes? Do you find yourself drawn to one particular branch or another? What kind of hero turns *your* crank? Hit up the comments with your choice and I’ll choose one winner to receive a copy of WILD ON THE ROCKS (Kindle only).

Follow Lady Smut. We find all kinds of ways to turn your crank.

Writer, singer editor, traveler, tequila drinker, and cat herder, Kiersten Hallie Krum avoids pen names since keeping her multiple personalities straight is hard enough work. She writes smart, sharp, and sexy romantic suspense. Visit her website at and find her regularly over sharing on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and Tumblr via @kierstenkrum.

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  • Post authormadeline iva

    Have you ever watched G.I. Jane? A fascinating quick little film about a woman trying to become a SEAL. So exciting that some women finally finished Ranger training — that was an exciting story to follow. Okay, obviously a follow up blog post: 10 Best SEAL movies is needed here.

    Reply to madeline iva
  • Post authorKiersten Hallie Krum

    I have seen GI Jane, but it’s a bit too contrived for me, too much designed to be a Demi Moore showcase, not a SEAL one. I usually find SEAL movies to be a hit or miss. For instance, the Charlie Sheen 80s flop is just that but, as likely unreal and, again, contrived as it likely is, I still love TEARS OF THE SUN. And AMERICAN SNIPER is quite moving while ZERO DARK THIRTY is disturbing but good. I haven’t seen VALOR yet because I’m honestly afraid it might hit too close and mess me up emotionally. Still, naturally with movies “based on”, the facts in general are questionably maneuvered to make a better story and likewise murky and so I have a hard time relying on any of them as more than what they appear to be onscreen–movies.

    Though that *is* a good idea for a follow up post…

    Reply to Kiersten Hallie Krum
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