I've noticed a trend in romance books lately, perhaps you've noticed it too? I remember ‘borrowing' my mum's Mills and Boon as a teen, and reading them under the covers at night, and the trend was pretty similar. The characters met, got to know one another, then towards the end, when they were sorting things out, they slept together.
These day's, you're just as likely to find a sex scene in chapter 3 as in chapter 23. Sex is no longer the culmination of a relationship, it's present in the beginning. Of course, this mirrors the change we've seen in society at the same time. Sex is no longer just an expression of a couple's love, it's part of getting to know one another.
And as such, it makes sense that it's place in romance novels is changing. People like reading about sex, and it's place in romance, and readers are seeking out romances that are high on the ‘heat' scale.
But, is this level of heat necessary for a good romance? Can a romance novel have a slower build up, with a couple getting to know one another before they decide to ‘go all the way'? I have to admit, I'm a little biased. The romance between Tyris and Marlee in Reckless Rescue has a slow build up. It takes the characters a while to realise that they do, in fact, care for each other, then a little longer to decide that they want to commit to a relationship, despite the possible risks of being separated again.
What do you think? Does a romance novel have to be ‘hot' to be good? Do you have a preference to heat level, or do you enjoy a variety of different styles of romance novels?
(Sorry if this post isn't up to my normal quality. I'm rather miserably sick at the moment, so just typing this out and posting it as it is!)