#rombklove Day 28 Unrequited

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I am using the term Unrequited Love as a catch-all term for one of my most favorite and incredibly emotional tropes. To me, unrequited means that one of the main characters has been in love with the other main character for a love time, but was unable to act one that love because the second main character is already attached to someone else. Or because the one main character just struggled to believe that the second MC could ever love them and allowed this to linger for many, many years

In my experience this trope opens the door for quite an emotional journey for the main character that is harboring a long love for the other. They are usually forced to deal with issues of low self worth and believing that they are in fact worthy of love. Books with this trope tend to be emotional and angsty and often filled with broken characters. And I ADORE broken characters.

For me, reading/watching the main character who has been full of these unrequited feelings of love finally get their happily ever after is just so incredibly satisfying. Sadly, that does mean that the second main character often has suffered some sort of loss, typically loss of spouse either by divorce or death. This isn’t always the case, but the key is to find a book where the author writes a delicate balance of loss or separation for the previously attached MC and the second MC to have their happily ever after.

My absolute favorite example of this trope is On Broken Wings by Chanel Cleeton. I LOVE this book so much. In order to get full impact, I recommend book 1 where we get a little bit of the set up and see how much Easy love Dani. After Dani loses her husband, Easy just knows he could never replace her husband, but he does want to be her friend. Reading the progression from friendship to more was filled with tender moments from Easy and Dani. I just love this book so darn much. I can’t recommend it enough, especially in relationship to this trope.

I submit my next entry on this list under protest as I really, really disliked the hero of this book. In Unbreak My Heart by Nicole Jacquelyn, the heroine, Kate has long pined for the Sean. Sean is in the military and when he loses his wife in an accident, Kate steps in to help with the kids. Even though I had many, many issues with this book, it definitely depicts this trope. It has a 4.12 star rating on Goodreads and it’s been nearly two years since I first read and got ragey over this book, the story still sticks with me to this day.

For a slow-burn example of this trope, look no farther than Kulti by Mariana Zapata. The heroine, Sal, has been in love with Kulti, or at least the thought of Kulti for many years. She finally gets the chance to meet him when Kulti starts coaching her team. He is pretty much a jerk to her to start. But over the course of the book, we get to see them fall in love.

I can barely make a list without mentioning Kristen Ashley, in Raid the heroine has been pining for the hero for many years. She has resigned herself to the fact that it will never be, and then it will be.

Wrong to Need You by Alisha Rai- The hero has been in love with his brother’s wife for a long time. But his brother has passed away and his sister-in law is available now. This book is quite an emotional journey and this is a great example of this trope.

This trope is a little hard to pin down and kind of falls under the category of “I’ll know it’s happening when I see it”. There are many iterations and adjacent types of tropes, like a MC falls in love with siblings spouse after a divorce, or even long time friends to lovers. It’s not shocking to know that Goodreads did not have a clearly defined list for me to peruse and review for the purposes of this post.

Doing a search for more books gives lists that include Lisa Kleypas, Linda Howard, Courtney Milan, Sherry Thomas and many more. What books have you read and loved with this trope? What do you love about it? I look forward to more recommendations for this trope.

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#rombklove day 22 Secret Baby

Secret Baby seems to be one of the most polarizing tropes in all of Romancelandia, but it is one that I absolutely love. It can be completely over the top, but also wonderful.

One of the things I love about this trope is seeing how the author makes an unbelievable situation not only believable but something I can connect with and understand. I love seeing how a fractured family can work their way back to each other. And how an unexpected/unknown baby factors in.

There are so many things that can cause a secret baby- like were they teenagers and broke-up before they found out about the pregnancy? Was it is a one night stand with no way to contact the person after the fact? Will the hero be mad? How long will it take him to get over his anger? Did the heroine sufficiently try to find the hero? Is her rationale for keeping the baby a secret sound?

The thing I love the most about secret-baby trope is the parents getting to fall in love again and the previously absent parents getting to connect with their child. (It was very difficult to locate an example of a pairing that was not M/F) I believe this trope is adjacent to single-parents that I wrote about earlier this month and because of my experience as a single-parent I am drawn to books about families finding their HEA.

Here are a few examples of Secret Baby that I have read and enjoyed.

His Pretend Baby by Theodora Taylor- This book was filled with WTFery and OTTness and I loved every moment of it. The hero is actually the baby’s uncle. Sounds weird, I know, but this book really worked for me. IIRC there are neurodivergent characters in the book as well.

Hold on Tight by Serena Bell- The heroine got pregnant at a young age by a soldier and had no real way of contacting him. Several years later their paths cross and thus begins an angsty journey of reconnection. The hero has to deal with issues from being in the military and the physical impacts on him and how that factors into being a parent. I really loved this story.

Bountiful (True North #4) by Sarina Bowen- The heroine gets pregnant during a summer fling. They didn’t exchange a lot of identifying information. So after the summer fling is over and Zara discovers her pregnancy, she searches for him to no avail. When he shows up in her bar again and discovers her secret, Dave slowly takes on the role of father. I loved this whole series.

Forever My Girl (Beaumont #1) by Heidi McLaughlin- This sits in my memory as one of the first secret baby books I read. I can’t remember the exact circumstances of the secret, but it is there. The hero comes back to town thinking he will reconnect with his first love and finds they have a child together. This book has been adapted to a movie, that I have not yet watched but fully intend to.

Baby Come Back by Molly O’Keefe- This is secret baby adjacent as the hero finds out about the pregnancy and decides he needs to get his shit together and make amends with the heroine. I absolutely adore O’Keefe’s writing and find it angsty and luscious. This book was one of my favorites of 2017.

Books I have not read, but contain the secret baby trope.

Again by Mary Calmes
Along Came Love by Tracey Livesay
Constant by Rachel Higginson
A Little Dare by Brenda Jackson
All Revved Up by Sylvia Day
Lies You Tell by LaQuette
Lisa Kleypas has several secret baby books

Goodreads has a Listopia that has approximately one million more books with this trope

I read contemporary 99.9% of the time, so all my recs are from that genre. As I was searching for books and recs, I saw many Harlequin Presents and Historical tagged as secret baby. Have you read any of them? What are your favorites? What do you enjoy about this trope? What is your go-to secret baby book?

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#Rombklove Day Five- Single Parents

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First, I want to thank @AnaCoqui for the time, effort, love and devotion that she puts in to #rombklove. I love talking about books and #rombklove with the different book prompts is amazing.

So day 5 of #rombklove is all about single parents. I love this trope so hard and relate to it. I am a single parent. My son is grown-ish now, 21, 4th year college student, I could go on and on, but he hates it when I do. Being a single parent is hard, it is emotionally exhausting, etc. It can be particularly hard to date.

So with my experience as a single parent, I love seeing it in romance novels. I love so much about this trope. I love seeing how the single parent balances parenting and dating and then falling in love. How the new person falls in love with not just their new love match, but the kids as well. And how the kids have to at least accept the new partner. How the other biological parent might get portrayed in the story. Do both partners have children, how will they blend the family? Will the partner that doesn’t already have a child get stuck with a sick baby and how will they care for it. Is the child in the story just a plot moppet or a fully formed character that actually serves purpose? But most important with all of this is how will these things bring the two main characters together. How will the childless single hero cope when he has to care for sick kids. How will the tired and overworked heroine see this and will it deepen her already growing feelings for the hero?

For me, romance is full of hope. I love to see a character with whom I relate to in such a personal way get their HEA.

Here are some of my very favorite Single Parent romance novels. I read contemporary almost exclusively, but I have no doubt that romance Twitter will pitch in and rec some from other sub-genres.

Kristen Ashley- So many KA books contain a single parent, but one of my favorites has to be Golden Trail, The “Burg #3. The relationship that Tanner builds with his boys was great. It was realistic, as teenage children can sometimes be the worst. But as he builds his relationship with Rocky, his kids are too. His kids are important to him. Rocky is important to him. I can’t not mention that KA has a nasty habit of vilifying the other biological parent, and this book was no exception, but I loved everything else about this book.

Within Reach by Sarah Mayberry is a beautiful story of a widower who falls in love with his deceased wife’s best friend. Angie comes around occasionally to check on Michael and the baby. Over time they act on their attraction. It’s been a while since I read this, but it is my go-to recommendation for widower falling in love with spouse’s friend. It also solidified my love for Mayberry’s SuperRomances. Mayberry has another SP romance called Suddenly You- single mom heroine named Pippa and hero named Harry. This definitely falls into the category of a hero who is befuddled on what to do with children.  

Getting Hotter (Out of Uniform #8) by Elle Kennedy might be one of the HOTTEST books on this list. Single mom Miranda meets tough Seth and instant chemistry. Miranda is the mother of twins and they end up having to move in with Seth for reasons that only exist in romancelandia. Seth is the type with no experience with kids but he slowly stops treating them like annoyances and grows to love them and Miranda. I should so note that Seth gets blow-job by his male BFF and Miranda watches. In case that is something that appeals to you. You’re welcome.

Emma Chase’s Sustained, Legal Briefs #2 is kind of a cheat because the kids are the heroine’s nieces and nephews, but this is my list and I’ll do what I want. But also this book was so good. At one point the heroine gets sick and the hero has to wrangle six children who are also sick. He did such a wonderful job. The follow-up novella, Sidebarred made me cry.

Tempest by Beverly Jenkins the hero is a widower with a young daughter who gets a mail order bride. They have a meet-shoot instead of a meet-cute and it was a great start to the book. I loved the connection that Regan built with her new daughter. She also worked hard to incorporate the birth mother into the family and let the daughter know that it was okay to love her birth mother too.

Maggie Wells has a whole series featuring single dads. The Play Date Series features a trio of men that run a business together, their children, and the women they fall in love with. I have read and enjoyed the first two in this series and I look forward to the third one.

Worth the Fall by Claudia Connor was so good. The heroine has four young children and is pregnant when she meets the hero while on vacation. The heroine has recently lost her husband and isn’t looking for love. The hero definitely isn’t looking for love with a woman with five children, but well sometimes things happen when least expected. He spends time with the family and might fall in love with the kids first and then the heroine. I really enjoyed this book.

Molly O’Keefe is one of my favorite authors for gritty stories with fucked up characters. Enter Tiffany and Blake from Wait for It. Tiffany is a single mother and Blake is actually her brother in law. But he is a jerk, but not irredeemably so. Tiffany is tough as nails. This is a take on enemies to lovers and one of my favorites from 2017. I recommend this whole series, but especially this one and Burn Down the Night featuring the epitome of cactus heroine Joan.

Priscilla Oliveras’s debut novel, His Perfect Partner got an A review from me last year. I loved every moment of this book. The hero Tomas wants very hard to be a good father. Yaz, our heroine, meets him as she is a teacher at the dance school his daughter goes to. Yaz then agrees to help out with babysitting and a love story begins. This book is very family-centric, but also has some sadness.

Priscilla Glenn’s Back to You is a second chance romance with a single dad. The heroine is a teacher at the child’s daycare. The hero and heroine reconnect and it is just beautiful. This book helped me fall in love with the second-chance romance trope.

Here are a few more that I have read and enjoyed.

Wait for It by Mariana Zapata- Single parent adjacent as the heroine is the aunt.

Seduction and Snacks by Tara Sivec- Be prepared to laugh, a lot. The heroine is a single mom.

Nuts by Alice Clayton- Hero is a single dad. Lots of laughs here too

Welcome to Temptation by Jennifer Crusie- Hero is a single dad. And there is bad sex!

North to You by Tif Marcelo- SP adjacent, the heroine is raising her younger sister

Some Sort of Love by Melanie Harlow- Hero is a single dad

Wrong to Need You by Alisha Rai- Heroine is a single mom

Called Out by Jen Doyle- Heroine is a single mom

Before I Ever Met You by Karina Halle- The heroine a single mom

Mack Daddy by Penelope Ward- The hero is a single dad

Of course this list isn’t every single parent romance out there. There are tons. And probably lots that I have read that I missed.
 

I did find three great lists that have more books with this trope.
 

One from #rombklove participant, Sil from The Book Voyagers- http://thebookvoyagers.blogspot.com/2017/06/single-parents-in-romance-books.html

WOC in Romance also has a great list.
http://www.wocinromance.com/themes/kids/

BookBub has a pretty robust list as well.
https://www.bookbub.com/blog/2016/06/16/best-romances-single-dads

I hope that you have enjoyed my post on Single Parents in romance. I hope to get many recs from this post.


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