Let’s take another look at the various tropes found in romance and/or urban fantasy. Some are beloved standards in the industry. Others are, for me, a hard line drawn in the sand. All generate different reactions from different readers (and sometimes from the same reader at different times in their lives). I’ll give one I love, and provide links in case they appeal to anyone else, and one I’d rather leave behind.
Standard disclaimer! I’m not saying these tropes are bad (okay, one or two kinda are), these are just my personal preferences. If you like something I dislike, and a lot of folks do, that’s okay! If you dislike something I love, again a lot of folks do, that’s also okay! If we all read/liked the same books, libraries would be small and boring.
So, with that out of the way, let’s dive right in.
Like: Forced Proximity
Trapped in a cabin during a snowstorm, clerical mix-up causing two people to share a single hotel room, stranded on a deserted island, there’s nothing better than being stuck together to encourage a spark to become a flame. Generally, the pair know each other beforehand. Most of the time, they’d prefer it if they didn’t (while secretly wanting more)!
Here are a few of my favorites. What would you recommend?
An Irresistible Force by Rosanna Leo. Second in the Handyman series, Eli Zorn is the landscaper of the trio of TV renovation brothers who’s the fixer. Bernie’s determined not to let the Handymen demolish the cabin she grew up in, despite her uncle’s contract or the yumminess of a certain Zorn brother.
When she chains herself to the cabin in protest, Eli’s tasked to talk some sense into her. Instead, he discovers a woman who fascinates and attracts him, some dark secrets about his mentor who owns the cabin, and all the interesting things you can do in a pair of work boots (and nothing else).
I adore the Handyman Series. A Good Man is one of my favorite books ever. Give them a shot if you haven’t already. They’re amazing!
Eternal Kiss of Darkness by Jeaniene Frost. Second in the Night Huntress World series, a spin off of the popular Cat and Bones, Eternal Kiss focuses on Mencheres. The ancient vampire is ready to die, weighed down by guilt and time and responsibility, and is willing to let a group of ghouls do the job. Until Kira steps in and risks her life to try to save him.
She sees more than she should, so he takes her back to his place to protect her from his enemies. But spending so much time together may be the best mistake the vampire ever made.
Mencheres has always been one of my favorite supporting characters in the original series, and Kira is perfect for him. Like all of Frost’s books, this one’s a scorcher. So if you’re a fan of audiobooks, you might want some earbuds for this one!
Wolves of Sorrow: Shoba by Elaina Roberts. Yup, this one’s mine! Rescued from a dying planet, wolf hybrid Shoba and her pack prepare for life on a new world. When she’s forced to work with the Rifaniir ship’s captain Vaistu Elloufen on behalf of her pack, suspicion turns to an attraction neither can deny. But she carries old wounds on her soul, and the captain harbors a secret.
Rumors, secrets, and enemy plots threaten to tear them apart, but once a wolf finds her mate, she’ll do whatever it takes to keep him.
This is either a long novella or a short novel, depending on how you look at it. I really enjoyed this couple, and I hope you give it a try
Dislike: Step sibling/parent
I am sooo not a fan of this trope in a romantic setting. Cruel Intentions, the 1999 movie based on the 18th century novel, Les Liaisons Dangereuses, works because it’s more cautionary tale than steamy romance with a happy ending. I can almost deal with Step-Sibling romances if the couple were adults when their parents married, but those who grow up together? That’s too close to incest for my tastes.
Step-parents also peg out my Squick-o-Meter, but for a different reason. A person becomes a step-parent because they’ve married into the family. So, a step-parent romance is a son/daughter who romances/has sex with their parent’s spouse. Cheating is not something I enjoy reading about, so… nope!
If you enjoy it, maybe drop me a comment and let me know what’s your favorite step-romance and why!