I grew up reading romances. In fact, the first adult novels I
remember reading were Victoria Holt's gothic romances. Full of windswept moors,
castles, danger, mystery, suspense, and of course, heart-thumping romances,
seeped into my bloodstream and I've been hooked ever since.
My newest book, How to Blackmail a
Highlander, book 3 in my MacGregor Lairds
series, combines quite a few of my favorite romance-book
elements to create a funny, thrilling, and utterly romantic romp through the
are ten things (in no particular order) that I love in a romance:
A good believable conflict -
always a reason the main couple can't get together right away, but it drives me
nuts if the
reason is a simple misunderstanding that a two-second conversation would clear
even these can work if done well). I prefer a good, solid "someone will die if
we get together"
or an "I love you but I'm supposed to hate you" type conflict. A reason to stay
apart that has
some teeth to it :)
A flawed heroine - I really love a girl
that has some weird quirk…maybe she's klutzy, or always has her nose in a book,
or has a scar
running across her face. It's easy for a guy to fall for the perfect
supermodel…I like to see a
girl who isn't so perfect get the hot guy.
A tortured hero - I'm a sucker for the
bad boy with a heart of gold. A Dread Pirate Roberts who turns out to be Wesley
the farm boy.
A thief who meets the girl of his dreams and changes his life to be with her.
Romancing the Stone who tries to romance the treasure out of Joan and ends up
falling in love
himself. As long as there is a good heart beneath the bad activities, it makes
for a great read.
Or, A "non-average" hero - the nerdy
librarian who finds out he's a bit of an Indiana Jones. The soccer coach who
turns into Rambo
to save his family. I love when a regular Joe turns into the ultimate alpha male
when the going
A setting that sucks you in - this is
probably why I love historicals so much. I want to be transported to another
that world is in the past, the future, another planet or timeline, or a regular
world turned on its
ear, I want to live in that world while I'm reading the story.
Actual romance - I'm all for love
scenes :D But sex scene after sex scene can actually get a bit tedious if there
is no romance
going on along with it. A simple brush of the hand can get my heart pounding
harder than the
most graphic love scene when done right. Gotta have the romance :)
A little danger - romance is always a
little more fun when something dangerous is going on. Falling in love while
Squeezing in a make-out session or two between a few near-death experiences?
situations can make a romance all the more thrilling and can make for a great
A little mystery - maybe the main
couple grows closer together as they try to solve a murder, or find a treasure,
or search for a
missing person. Romances are always a little more fun when there are underlying
A great supporting cast - the best
friend who helps the lovers sneak off together; the sidekick who's great for a
little comic relief;
the sibling who puts aside the rivalry to help (or maybe hinder) the lovers
Sometimes these supporting characters can make or break a story.
An intense love that makes me want to re-read
the story again and again - for me this is different from the romance.
The romance is
the building love, the sweet gestures, the tender kisses. Those are wonderful
and I want them
in the books I read (and write!). But I really love an intense love that defies
all odds, that lasts
years, sometimes centuries….Jamie and Claire from Diana Gabaldon's Outlander
and Alex from Celeste de Blasis' Wild Swan series; Bella and Edward (don't judge, I
love these two!) :D I want intensity. I want the pages to smolder. I want
these two to conquer the whole
world in order to be together. I don't ask for much, do I? ;)
Lady Alice Chivers is done being controlled by her family. On the run
from an arranged marriage, she needs a strong highlander to escape.
Only Philip MacGregor insists on sending her back to her pampered life,
so she'll just have to blackmail him instead. But now they find
themselves in an accidental marriage, and soon they're both playing a
role that feels like it was meant to be real.
Philip is cautious, in
control, and in way
over his head with his
unexpected wife. She's intense, spontaneous, and can't follow an order
to save her life. And he might be falling completely in love with her.
However, her distractions endanger the lives of those he loves. Now he
must somehow undo the damage that has been done, before his
friends pay with their lives.
Romance Historical [Entangled: Scandalous,
On Sale: January 14, 2019, e-Book, ISBN: 9781640637054 / ]
Romance and non-fiction author Michelle McLean spent 98% of her formative
her nose in a book indulging in her love of reading and research. She has a B.S.
in History, a
M.A. in English, has insane eclectic tastes, and tends to be a bit of an
organized mess with an
insatiable love of books.
When Michelle's not editing, reading or chasing
around, she can usually be found in a quiet corner working on her next book. She
resides in PA
with her husband and two children, an insanely hyper dog, and two very spoiled