My Instant Turn Ons, Offs, and Ifs


Preferences. Everyone has them. There are things you like, love, hate, loathe, and are unconvinced in general one way or another about. When it comes to our romance books, we all have preferences. Here’s mine:

Ons –

  • Blind, wounded, emotionally embittered, scarred and damaged heroes. Need I go on?
  • MOC (Marriage of Convenience) and MOB (Mail Order Brides) stories. Gimme, gimme, gimme. Forced marriages and shot-gun weddings work well too.
  • Westerns, American Historicals (anything before WWII), Highlander, Sheikhs, and Regency. I need to marry an earl or seduce a duke, I tell ya. Oh wait! Add paranormal – vampires. I’m thinking ghosts too, but I couldn’t name one. Why isn’t there more ghost romances, along lines of Just Like Heaven and of course Ghost?
  • Jaded rich hero with poor pretty/plain slightly off her rocker (not TSTL, but off in her own world) heroine.
  • Dark haired heroes: brown, black, yum. Add blue/green eyes and whew dang! Powerful thighs, tight abs/stomachs, and buns of steel. Bounce those quarters.
  • Heroes and heroines hating each other to begin with – woot, a fav!
  • Beauty and the Beast. Fairytales in general really.
  • Sexy banter. It’s a must.
  • Alpha males who fall hard and fight it all the way.
  • May/Decembers. Or big age differences. Think Years by LaVyrle Spencer with the heroine age 18 and the hero age 36.
  • Dominant alpha heroes with secret soft sides. Tenderness, compassion, manners – check. Wrap him up and ship him to my door please!
  • Heroines with poor eyesight; heroines who are clumsy; heroines who are slightly loopy (because I honestly think I’m a little nuts 😉 .)
  • That angsty moment that drives the wedge between hero and heroine.

Offs –

  • Affairs, cheating. This is a romance not reality tv.
  • Estranged, Former lovers. No thanks.
  • Undercover heroes, detectives. Very meh for me. Too much suspense not enough loving.
  • Best friends; super old acquaintances. It’s called the friend zone for a reason. As for the other, for instance, I am highly dubious of the hero being the heroine’s brother’s best friend. Either she thinks of him as an older brother figure and he’s pervy or she’s like his kid sister and the girl is hopeless.
  • Family Trilogies/Series, especially if known. I can read one, but after that no more. It drives me insane, because the new story will have a lead that is not worth the time to flesh out from a previous story.
  • Damaged heroines. Ick. No thanks.
  • Blond heroes. Sorry blondies, you’re just not my type.
  • Leads with kids older than three years old– very few exceptions. Children, romance does not make more lovely, they’re just more quirky and annoying.
  • Older women, younger men.
  • Rape, near rape. Refer to damaged heroines. NO THANKS! Quit it authors, stop it, no seriously, stop. The end. It’s over.
  • Too much dang drama using any of my turn offs…

Ifs –

What are your Ons, Offs, and Ifs? It’s time to spill!

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  1. Susan S.

    Paranormals Men in black leather pants, black boots, black boxers
    Categories “love them”
    Demons- evil but temptingly sexy
    Ghosts- Nina Bruhns “Ghost of a Chance” had a
    gorgeous pirate ghost
    Magick-witches,warlocks, wizards, male fae, sorcerers
    Military- F.B.I., C.I.A., police officials, armed forces
    Flirty & sassy heroines
    Alpha weres-that know what they want & get what they
    Regency-Earls, Dukes

    Offs- Affairs and arranged marriages
    Ifs- Sci-Fi

  2. Just put Ghosts of a Chance on hold at my library. There was one copy – woo. Pirate ghosts here I come!

  3. Okay, what’s ‘The unexpected virginity surprise’??? Do tell! LOL

  4. Susan S.

    Bella, I would venture to say, it’s when the hero assumes the heroine is worldly. He then spends 157 pages making every attempt possible to bed her, they finally make love when WTF!
    Virginity Surprise! (ROFL)

  5. Basically what Susan said. But how does the hero get that impression?

    1. She’s a widowed virgin.
    2. The hero saw her in a compromising situation and assumed the worst.
    3. Heroine says something leading sexually but was a totally innocent comment on her behalf.
    4. She dresses wrong. e.g. Too tight clothes (not enough money but the hero sees curves and thinks – slut/loose!)
    5. Heroine is a natural at the sensual arts. Can kiss like a goddess without prior experience, etc.

  6. Offs:

    Dukes or Lords who are spies for a secret undercover society in London. BAH!

  7. Ooo yes! I agree. Why can’t it be the hunky manservant who spies on his lord and master? Maybe then he can end up with the evil lord’s wife/daughter/sister.

  8. Oh no! Virgin widows. Those can join feisty heroines and manipulative/abusive men in my “no, thanks” column. Every now and again an author can make one of these work, but it’s pretty rare for me.

    I am a sucker for: wounded heroes, strong heroines, friends becoming lovers, a great reunion scene, offbeat characters or little-used time periods. Oh, and strong men with a soft, sentimental side to them. Those get me every time!

  9. I agree with most of your turn-offs. Flawed heroines are fine, but damaged ones, not so much. Also, I think kids ruin a good romance. And I never consider rape excusable or justified. If a rape scene happens, I put the book/story down and never pick it up again.

    One of my biggest turn-ons is any story in which one of the characters is a chef or a foodie. I like the intersection of cooking/eating and romance/love/sex.

  10. Katiebabs~LOL

    I love books where the hero is a cop, or a vampire. Or a combination thereof. I also love books where the h/h fight all the time.

    I’m not a big fan of the instant sexual attraction/obsession trope, although sometimes it works. And I absolutely hate books where the characters can’t figure things out that I already know as a reader. And any romance where h/h marry just because she’s preggers.

  11. Offs Difficult man who turns out to be great — LOL, in RL difficult men are always difficult men. Ya can’t change ’em, and seriously, would you want to live with them!

  12. Haha, Karin, that’s hilarious!

    Good point heidenkind! I agree about the pregnancy –> instant marriage trope too. Just because she’s pregnant and you got her that way does not mean the two of you together are good parents. 😀 Though I have to make an exception for Separate Beds by LaVyrle Spencer, which I need to reread because I can’t swear if they got married or not right now… ahh!

    Allyson – food… hmm… Have you read Never Resist Temptation by Miranda Neville?

    LynnS – You don’t like Virgin Widows; what’s your stance on the unexpected virginity surprise?

  13. Hi, Keira! *waving* It”s late, so I can’t list them all here. But I’ll list a few here and list the rest tomorrow? Okay?

    Girl Next Door -just no. Particularly if it’s in a fantasy story.
    Redhaired hero or heroine -why is it every modern-day romantic heroine is a redhead? It’s discriminating!
    Little Mermaid Syndrome -no way!
    Abusive Relationships -someone get me a paper shredder
    Jock dating the cheerleader -we do not want to read about depressing stuff like that.
    Knight marrying the Princess -it’s been done since before steam and radios were discovered
    That scenerio of when a guy has to inflitrate the enemy but instead falls in love with one of the enemys. (Example: “Avatar”)

    Move on, people

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