After hundreds of entries and months of searching for a modern day romantic hero, Mills & Boon - the UK's most successful publisher of romantic fiction - has announced its winner of the Man of the Year 2016 and he goes by the name of Courtney Hayles.
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Courtney, from London, features as the cover star of the publisher's Valentine's release, It Had To be You, putting the handsome drama teacher on route to becoming a household name this year.
Courtney Hayles has been announced as the Man of the Year 2016
Described by his friends as sensitive, loveable and a complex creative soul, public speaker Courtney caught the attention of celebrity judges, including HELLO!'s own editor Rosie Nixon, Robin Windsor from Strictly Come Dancing ‘It Takes Two’ and Loose Women presenter Denise Welch.
The judges felt Courtney's qualities represented the romantic necessitity for a Mills & Boon hero, so he seemed like the perfect choice.
Courtney features on the Mills & Boon book It Had To Be You
"Man of the Year was the dream job for me and Courtney is certainly setting the bar high. All the judges loved his fabulous attitude and undeniable charm which makes him the perfect cover star for Mills & Boon," Rosie commented.
The book, by authors Barbara Hannay and Nikki Logan, features two romantic stories and Courtney felt he had clear views on what being a modern day Mills & Boon hero means.
The winner is described as "sensitive" and "loveable"
"The modern day hero isn’t about Prince Charming good looks, fame or money. Today’s hero can be complex, with challenges and struggles but he has a good heart, a sense of humour and a strong character. Best of all, he’s a true friend who you can rely upon.
"I am delighted that the judges saw those traits in me and that I have the chance to represent the Mills & Boon hero for millions of readers worldwide," the proud winner said.
Courtney reads and excerpt from the new book
Executive Publisher at Harlequin Lisa Milton wished the MOTY winner the best of luck for the future. "I hope Courtney’s success in this fantastic competition inspires men of the UK to unlock and fulfil their romantic hero potential in 2016," she said.
Look out for Courtney on the cover of It Had To Be You when it hits shelves on 28 January 2016.
It Had To Be You by Barbara Hannay & Nikki Logan will be available to buy from WHSmith, WHSmith Travel, Asda, Tesco, Amazon, Apple for £6.99.