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November 6, 2009

Romance Tropes and Why I Love Them.

My special guest today is Jennifer Leeland. I read about her new release Marked For Pleasure at Leah Braemel’s blog and immediately pestered…ah emailed her to come and do a guest post for me. Being the nice Romance Diva that she is she said yes, and here she is talking about romance tropes! Over to Jennifer…

Marked For PleasureI’m so sad and pathetic. I stand in front of the book section at my local grocery store and sneer at the “The Sheiks Virgin Princess’ Secret Baby” titles but the truth is, I love the familiar romance tropes.

The Secret Baby trope–She’s pregnant…or had a baby that belongs to him but he doesn’t know a thing about. I have to admit, I love these. (Favorite example: Lucy Monroe’s “Goodness had Nothing To Do With It”)

The Bodyguard trope–She’s in danger, he protects her. The opposite variation is fun too. (Favorite example: Any Christine Feehan Ghostwalker series. They all have elements of this trope)

The Mate/Mate trope–“You were made for me”. I don’t know why I love this one, but it’s just so cool. (Loribelle Hunt’s Delroi series)

The Arranged Marriage trope (or Marriage of Convenience)–I actually just started one of these as a sci fi erotic romance. To complete a peace treaty, the heroine has to marry an alien. Conflict ensues. My absolute favorite of these devices is “Prince Charming” by Julie Garwood)

The Reformed Rake—I ADORE this one. I know. Sad, isn’t it? Can the playboy ever stop playing? Will the heroine find love or heartbreak? Variations are also “The Hero Who Is Determined Never to Commit”. My absolute favorites are “Master Of Cormus” by Charlotte Lamb (1978) and Kate Pearce’s “Simply Sexual”.

The Damaged Hero/Heroine Healed By Love–Oh, my FAVORITE. “Simply Sinful” with Peter being “healed” by Abigail’s love. Joey W. Hill’s “Mistress of Redemption”, a complete twist on this trope. “Rough Canvas” by Joey W. Hill.

Those are the highlights. All of my favorite books have elements of these. “Paul’s Dream” by Rowan McBride has the Bodyguard trope since ultimately Kian attempts to protect Paul from an evil sorcerer and Paul ends up saving his bacon instead. “Lonely Places” by A.L. Debran features a marriage of convenience. (Though that book took that trope and twisted it all around. LOVED that.) All of Kate Pearce’s “Simply” books feature men who are determined to maintain their freedom.

My newest release MARKED FOR PLEASURE is a combination of the Mate/Mate trope and a marriage of convenience. In a dangerous situation, Conner marks Rhea as his mate, tying her to him to protect her. I love to place my heroes and heroines in danger and make them work together to escape.

So, what’s your guilty secret? Do you love the Slutty Virgin Trope? You know, the hero thinks she’s been sleeping around, but she’s really a virgin….which he finds out the hard way. Or how about Friends To Lovers Trope? They’re friends but he’s never thought of her “that way”. What will she do to get him to see her?

Did you ever notice how silly the word “trope” looks? LOL.

Leave a comment and I’ll pick one random commenter to receive a copy of MARKED FOR PLEASURE by Sunday November 8th.

Tell me all about your favorite trope.


  1. jodi

    lol–please don’t enter me in your drawing. Much as I enjoy your stuff, I prefer your rs.

    I have a thing about cheesy titles (is that a trope? :eek:)

  2. N.J. Walters

    I’m a sucker for the bodyguard book, the reformed rake and the damaged hero. What can I say…LOL…I’m a romance junkie!

  3. Natasha Moore

    Love the reformed rake and the damaged hero and the mate/mate. And I’m going to be starting a bodyguard book soon. Oh, and what about forced proximity – you know, snowbound in that mountain cabin/shipwrecked on that island/alone on that spaceship :wink:

    Yeah, I love those tropes too!

  4. Kim Knox

    Yep, I’ll join the bodyguard fan club.

    I also love Reunited Lovers…especially when it ends badly the first time. Double bonus points if the heroine flattens the hero *grin*

  5. Jeannie Lin

    I kept on reading and thinking “oh yeah, I love that…and that too!”

    I have to say, a nice twist on the captive heroine trope is always entertaining. I love it when the H/h clash and then fall in love in spite of it.

  6. Ella Drake

    I love them all! I’m also a sucker for the best friend trope. The woman of his dreams has been under his nose the whole time or the secret crush that’s finally rewarded.

  7. Jaime

    The damaged hero/heroine is my favorite. Beloved Vampire by Joey W. Hill being an example. Love, love, love Joey!

  8. Katrina Williams

    Hi there! I’m with Kim, my favorite is the reunited/second chance story. I love the idea of figuring out why it didn’t work the first time but will the second time. I also really love the captive heroine, like Jeannie, as found in one of my all time favorites Perfect by Judith McNaught.

    Great topic!

  9. Jennifer Leeland

    Ooooh I forgot about the Captive Heroine/Hero. I love those too.
    One of my favorite romances EVAH is “Prisoner of My Desire” by Johanna Lindsey. HOT!!!!!

  10. Kaye Manro

    What an interesting post, Leah and Shelley! I never thought of it exactly in this way (where have I been anyway?) But it’s really good to see ‘the trope’ spelled out for us. I tend to like a combo of several.

    Thanks Leah!


  11. Jennifer Leeland

    Me too, Kaye! I realized when I wrote this that most of the books I love have SEVERAL of these tropes in one.

  12. nessa

    I love them all. My fave is the Bad Boy who has secretly given up all other women once he’s met his soulmate but he doesn’t let her know.

    Flash 55 – Holiday Preparations

  13. Cari Quinn

    Great post, Jennifer! I like most of those tropes…in the hands of a skillful writer, any trope can be made fresh. I do like the Slutty Virgin though…that’s fun. ;)

  14. Rita Sawyer

    I’d have to say for me it’s the hero who has had his heart broken and becomes a loner or recluse. Until he meets the one woman who makes him want to love again.

  15. Miranda

    Nice post! I didn’t even realize that trope was used that way… now that word is trooping through my head over and over and over! AKK!

    My fav has to be the damaged beyond repair hero/heroine – lots and lots of drama surrounds those stories!

  16. Susan Helene Gottfried

    Yep, Trope is a funny-looking word. Funny sounding, too.

    No need to enter me, ladies. I’m being rebellious (working with some Trevor, Shelley!) and posting this at Win a Book even though the inbox has stuff in it.


  17. Shelley Munro

    I think trope is a weird word. It always makes me think about the three billy goats gruff trop, trop, tropping over that bridge.

    I really like a friends to lover trope, and lately I’ve been enjoying writing a variation, friends-with-benefits.

    Another one that’s great is two enemies. Can you tell I’ve been watching Buffy and Angel circle each other? Sort of a Romeo and Juliet plot. That can work well in some cases.

    I’m enjoying your book, Jen. I started last night.

  18. Shelley Munro

    Susan – I’m glad you’re spending time with Trevor! And thanks for including Jen at your Win a Book blog.

  19. Jennifer Leeland

    Oh Thank you so much, Susan!!!!!
    And Shelley this has been awesome. I really hope you like the book. I loved writing it.

  20. Jennifer Leeland

    Nessa and Rita, I love that one too. Watching a heroine drag a hero out from his shell…*happy sigh*
    Cari, the Slutty Virgin has been used in every conceivable way and I just love it every time. Amanda Quick’s “Mistress” is one of my favs.
    Miranda, I hardly EVER use the word “Trope” and I had it, what, like fifteen times in this post? LOL.
    LOVE the drama around the “damaged” H or h.

  21. Alice Audrey

    I absolutely adore all these tropes! In my reading I tend toward the friends to lovers. As a writer, I go with whatever the characters and/or story wants

  22. Jennifer Leeland

    Once, just for kicks, I wrote an amnesiac, woke up engaged…but she wasn’t really his fiancee and he was a PI investigating her, but ends up protecting her….you see what I mean. It was fun.
    The only thing missing from that story was the secret baby.

  23. Shelley Munro

    Jen – sometimes it’s fun to see just how many you can fit into a story. :grin:

  24. Jody F

    My favorite is the damaged hero/nurturing heroine trope. I also the time traveler falling in love with the person helping them acclimate to their surroundings. These tropes definitely give the story a more heart-tugging experience.

  25. Saranna DeWylde

    The Reformed Rake might be my favorite. I really have a love for them all, but I think I’m biased because in rl, reformed rakes really do make the best husbands!

    And what about reformed rakesses? I’m one of those…*laughs*

  26. Juli

    I like the “Princess who saves the knight from the dragon” type stories, myself, and the reformed rakes, too, I must admit!

  27. Jennifer Leeland

    What is that about the reformed rake? “The Devil In Winter” by Lisa Kleypas anyone?????

  28. Linda Henderson

    I like the friends to lovers, bodyguard, marriage of convenience and really I just like romance books. I mean sometimes they may sound kind of corney, but I still read them. I am a long time romance reader.

  29. Jennifer Leeland

    Exactly, Linda. Even though I’ve caught myself making fun of some of the obvious story lines, I still sigh happily when Ruiz and Leigh get together in the marriage of convenience story “Dark Star”.
    Am I the only one who has a collection of old, closed door sex Harlequins? LOL.

  30. Kate Pearce

    I love secret baby stories-I really do :blush:
    and I also love rattling and subverting those romance tropes by having heroes who don’t quite fit the norm. :wink:

  31. Linda Henderson

    Jennifer, I still have some old Harlequins. My sister has all the Mary Burchell ones. I have a collection of the Essie Summers & Joyce Dingwell ones.

  32. Shelley Munro


    Congratulations to Jaime who wins a copy of Jen’s Marked for Pleasure.

    I’m sure you’ll enjoy this book, Jaime. I did!

  33. Lucinda

    Okay, I’ll admit it. I like the Reformed Rake. I also like the “you were made for me” scenario where the h/h have just been waiting for each other to come along, and when they meet, they know it instantly.


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