I want my heroes and heroines to be single – that’s not asking a lot in a romance book, right? And I’m not talking about romance books that feature the hero and heroine already married and they have to work through issues, or the quick marriage of convience which is one of my favorite tropes. I’m talking about a hero or heroine who is engaged or dating someone who is not going to end up being their happy ever after (HEA).
Yesterday I read Pretty Reckless by Jodi Linton. The book opens with the heroine engaged to a guy named Nathan. Now you know he isn’t going to be the hero because he is all around kind of boring and blah, and when they have sex he is done in about ten seconds. Definitely not hero matieral – and I kind of felt bad for the guy. Our heroine is named Laney and she is a deputy sheriff. Her old boyfriend, Gunner comes back to town (he is a Texas Ranger) to further a drug investigation he is part of and he gets caught up in some murders that Laney is dealing with. She is also being threatened by an unknown person.
Through most of this book, Laney is engaged to Nathan but since this is a romance book and we are working towards a HEA, she starts having feelings again for Gunner. There are constant references to Laney checking out Gunners butt but then reminding herself she is engaged. She hates Gunner because he cheated on her when they were together, but now that he is back and so sexy and hot, she can’t stop drooling when he is around. Except she is engaged!! I can’t sit back and enjoy a romance when there is emotional cheating going on. I just can’t. Why did Laney have to be engaged to this guy all through the book? She hates (but really loves) Gunner, so there is already conflict and drama to work with. Why the extra drama of being engaged?
I had similar problems with Plain Jayne by Laura Drewery. From my previous review:
What really annoyed me and frustrated me was Nick’s girlfriend Lisa, who he is dating when the book starts. Lisa herself I liked, but the problem is – Nick doesn’t break up with Lisa until the 78% mark in this book. Let me repeat – the hero is dating someone who is not the heroine, until the 78% mark of this book. …..
I don’t want to read a romance where the hero and heroine fall in love while the entire time the hero is committed to someone else. And to make things more frustrating when Nick finally breaks it off with Lisa (who of course isn’t’ even angry – she encourages Nick to follow his heart *ugh*) Nick and Jayne don’t realize they love each other.
I can’t think of any books off the top of my head where a character was committed to someone else for the majority of the book and I ended up liking it. Have you read something with a similar set-up and found that it worked?