I have a dirty little secret: I love romance books.
It’s not something people usually admit. Despite the fact that romantic fiction outsells every other genre on Amazon, there’s an element of embarrassment around reading these books. Sure, they are not great works of literature but that’s OK. Neither is science fiction or mystery or spy novels, yet no one makes fun of people who read those books.
And by people, I mean men. As far as I can figure, the reason that romance books are “trashy” and embarrassing is because mostly women read them.
My love of romance started when I was a kid and I spotted a well-worn Harlequin at the library. They were a much-needed escape from the realities of real life. I read romance voraciously throughout my youth but then moved away from the books when I went to college until I rediscovered the genre a few years ago.
Then about two years ago I started writing my own romantic fiction and began studying the craft more closely. Romance, like many genres, is a bit formulaic. There are specific “tropes” that are generally used in books, and many of them are a bit ridiculous. But that is what makes them fun.
Here are ten most important things I have learned from romance books that may be helpful to you when searching for “the one”:
- There are a lot of parents putting stipulations in their wills that their heirs have to marry to inherit. Whether it’s an old family fortune, a business, or a property, if you’re a wealthy playboy you are going to need to marry your best friend/assistant/random stranger in order to inherit. But that’s ok, your marriage of convenience will turn to love soon enough.
- There are hundreds if not thousands of twenty-something billionaires in the world. It’s astounding how many super fit 20-somethings are billionaires. They are all way too busy building their empires to do much more than date models, but they will find a spunky average Jane soon enough. If you are lucky it will be you, their super-efficient assistant or next-door neighbor.
- Pretty much every military guy is a Navy Seal. Sometimes they are Special Forces or a Ranger, but not as often. The Seal will leave the service due to an injury that killed the men they were commanding, but they will adjust to civilian life by transitioning into private security and falling in love with you while protecting you from a killer.
- If you are a woman in a small town you pretty much have to be either a bakery owner, a lingerie designer or wedding planner. Your job prospects might be slim but don’t worry, you will not stay single. Your spunky and outrageous grandma or widowed neighbor likes to play matchmaker, and she will make sure you are in forced proximity to the wealthy developer/athlete/rockstar who is visiting town. Spoiler alert: he won’t leave once he falls in love with you.
- Hockey is a great way to find love. There is a professional hockey team in every small city and town across America apparently, and the “bad boy” of hockey is going to be reformed by and fall in love with you if you are his new publicist, physical therapist or the owner’s daughter. You may also have some luck with the local baseball team.
- It is pretty common to be a 25-year-old virgin. These women are not waiting for marriage as a rule, but just have not gotten around to “cashing in the V card”. Soon they will find someone who they can’t resist and once the guy realizes she’s a virgin, he will be filled with such primal possession that they’ll never part again. Bonus: unlike how it was for most of us when we lost our virginity in our teens, other than a “small pinch” the pesky virginity thing will be dispatched with minimal discomfort.
- If you meet an exceptionally large guy in a remote mountain town in Alaska/Montana/Colorado there is a good chance he’s a bear shifter. Or possibly a wolf, but definitely something in the apex predator category. He will soon let you know that you are his fated mate and you won’t be able to resist having sex within the first twenty-four hours. Get ready: once you have recovered from your shock about him regularly turning into a giant animal, you will be living together at his compound. Warning: your kid will be a shifter too, so buckle up for a difficult pregnancy.
- Men and women can never be friends. Harry told Sally this many years ago, and it’s true. One day you are going to look at that boy you grew up with and get together with him, just like everyone you know has been predicting all these years.
- If you want to expand your dating pool, your best bet is your brother’s best friend. It’s very likely you’ve had a crush on him forever, and one day he’ll turn around and see you in a new light. Your relationship is forbidden, but a punch in the face from your brother will make it all good between the guys and your relationship will progress nicely. Just don’t make out in front of your brother.
- If you check into a hotel, chances are extremely high that there is a reservation issue or an unexpected surge of guests that means you will be sharing a room with some guy you don’t like. When you realize there is only one bed, you will argue about who should sleep on the floor but settle on sharing the bed and staying on separate sides. Warning: you will wake up in each other’s arms and things will heat up from there.
Here’s hoping that these tips will help you find love. In the meantime, happy reading.